Actual Size Abstraction

Actual Size

Author: jd

Joseph Duemer is Professor of Literature Emeritus at Clarkson University in northern New York state. His most recent book of poems is Magical Thinking from Ohio State University Press. Since the mid-1990s he has spent a good deal of time in Vietnam, mostly Hanoi. He lives with his wife Carole & five terriers (four Jack Russells & one Patterdale) on the stony bank of the Raquette River in South Colton.

6 thoughts on “Actual Size Abstraction”

  1. I like this very much. I saw it and some time/days later saw this by Transtromer and remembered your picture:


    Headlong headlong waters; roaring; old hypnosis.
    The river swamps the car-cemetery, glitters
    behind the masks.
    I hold tight to the bridge railing.
    The bridge: a bird iron bird sailing past death.

  2. Yes I think it’s the hiddenness
    what’s hidden the poem/poetry’s
    finally “toward” or after, as in
    expressionism, where some exploded
    detail of murky reality starts
    to melt away a little
    but can’t quite reveal
    what isn’t visible anyway
    death tucked
    inside it.

  3. That image looks a lot like when I was in NYC last week among the concrete canyons. I looked up and saw a slice of the sky.

  4. Sorry,just noticed, the last line of the Transtromer poem above ahould read: “The bridge: a big iron bird sailing past death” not “bird iron bird” as I typed it.


    Shall I set as background
    to my life an actual size
    abstraction rather than
    how the whirlpool sliced
    and bridged me how I held on
    to that bird of death
    after all you were with me.

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