The Hands Against The Glass poems were written between 1981 and 1986, approximately concurrent with the Sonnets. The overall outlook is not particularly positive. It was a period of transition--from a lone traveler to a homesteader. The locations are Montana, Idaho, Las Vegas and Reno.
None of this is "free" verse. Some of it rhymes; all of it is presented through some kind of structure. "My Heart Broke Again," for instance, is a series of haikus. That is, each stanza employs the 5-7-5 syllable motif. My feeling about it is that poetry ought to have some structure, or construction, to it, otherwise it's just chopped-up prose. The trick though is to let the poem say what it has to say without the structure dominating the language. One should be able to read the poem right through the rhyme, rhythm and form. Sometimes I almost get there I think.
I hesitate to say much about the poems. Like a joke, it spoils it to have to explain it. As for the subject matter or theme, "hands against the glass" is the proper image for the collection. "A Study Of Obstacles," the title of one of the later poems, could stand as the subtitle for the whole batch.
I don't know what a reader might be able to glean from these poems. I doubt they hold much interest as autobiography, although they are quite inwardly aimed. Which is the ideathe speaker is trapped inside himself, working his way out but knowing what keeps him inside is his own fascination, obsession, with the trap. Well, something like that. The poems might offer some insight into introversion, but what I rather hope for is that they would elicit some degree of appreciation for the workmanship. Whatever the subject matter or the idea being communicated, it is the quality of workmanship which distinguishes art from mere craft and craft from crap. Naturally, I aspire to art; I fervently hope I achieve craft.
A poem ought to have some entertainment value also. Which is that it gets some kind of emotional reaction from the reader or listener. A laugh, a tear, a jolt, a jog of memory, a point of epiphany. Even revulsion. Something besides so what. Unless the poet is a really fascinating character like Rimbaud, introspective self-obsessed poetry doesn't get far beyond so what. Pure workmanship can do it for me. I love Dylan Thomas' work just for his sound. I can't follow Hart Crane's meaning through a single stanza, but the architecture of his language stuns me.
Naturally I hope there is a little entertainment value somewhere in this collection of poems of mine, even if the overall tone is a bit glum and self-centered. Might I humbly suggest "Who Let The Blues Loose" or "Morning Conversation" as possible redeeming examples?
I should say, too, that after 15 years or so I've fairly well outgrown the angst of trying to fit myself into a world I didn't much approve of. Lacking such a focusing inspiration I have wandered away from poetry to other kinds of creative endeavors. Websites for instance, graphic design, song lyrics, the occasional piece of blue box prose. None of this aspires to art, but as crafts I apply my consciousness of workmanship and entertainment value as the soul and heart of art.
All that being said, I hope you enjoy these poems. Please let me know what you think.
--Michael Faubion. Anchorage, Dec. 2000