Wednesday, November 10, 2004


Just found a stack of old 3 1/2 inch floppies with old poems I thought I'd never see again. This is a poem for Ashley, a brilliant creative writing student from Bismark North Dakota. Ashley hated my line breaks and would often write "BB" (which means Bad Break) in the margins of all the poems I would workshop. This poem is about breaking things and is for her (it's written in her impeccable style)....

Love song for Ashley Krenelka

“The preordained frangibility of the hymen,”
James Joyce, Ulysses

According to Ashley Krenelka
A creative writing student
From Bismark, North Dakota
I can’t break a line of poetry
To wipe my ass with.
It’s not that I haven’t had trouble
Breaking things before.
Every toy I had growing up
Broke rather easily.
My mom accused
Me of rough-housing
When I broke my sister’s
Cello, hurtling my other
Sister into it after watching
I blew out the brakes
On my Christmas ten-speed
Going down a hill
In Bradley park
Trying to halt
Before hammering into the front
Bumper of the park Marshal’s Jeep
Opportunely stationed
At the bottom of the hill.

I had no trouble breaking
Meredith Willow's hymen
Breaking into her body
Our foreheads
slapped with sweat
Facing the other
As bodily fluid
Mixed with tears
Mixed with blood

I had no trouble breaking up
With several girlfriend’s
Had no trouble breaking
My words then
Had no trouble telling them
Things that I knew would hurt them.
Separating the noun from the verb.
The action from the event

On more than one occasion
I have had trouble breaking
away from the bar stool.
Thinking that eventually
My body would drift away
Out into a pond of sobriety
Where eventually everything
Would somehow make sense.

The windshield my body snapped
Spittle glass drippings
Chandelier teardrops coating my
Body on the front of my hood
The din of traffic horns
Fluttering voices of paserby’s
Telling me that I am lucky
And of course, I heckled,
Because I felt at the time
That I could break anything.

Or the window I shattered--
My fist the size of a human heart
pummeling through the transparent
Gloss of my own reflection
Again I laughed
Watching as my face
Tumbled into triangular shards
A vacuous rectangular frame
leering back at me,
A socket culled from some other world.

But I still can’t break a line of Poetry.
When Ashley critiques my Xeroxed poems
There’s capital hot-pink BB’s
At the end of every sentence
Indicating bad line-breaks.
Apparently her eyelash
is only capable of soaking
Limited amounts of language
In a single blink.

Maybe the reason Ashley breaks lines
With such grace and facility
(She writes her poems
like she wear her jeans—tight!)
is because, being female
she possesses the innate power to crunch
a man’s chest though words.
She knows what it’s like to feast
From a sac of male arteries
She knows what fine delicacies a male
Aorta presents for the female palette.
How the heart tastes like squid pate
As it moistens on the feminine tongue
Before being digested.

She knows all this
and hums it to herself—scribbling
“BB” at the end of my every sentence,
Knowing that men
break in half horizontally,
A lightening slash fissure
zipped across his chest
Pawning off a superhero’s
Claiming they can leap light years
Using the moon as a belt buckle
They can save the world
While no one would notice
That they are broken
from the inside,
like my poems,
Never break
Even when I am already
Broken in half again and again
and again.

-David Von Behren



Ace said...

*smiles* this is an interesting poem.
In ways it reminds me of when I only used to write in rhymes. Till one day someone criticized me sharply and said that all my rhymes seemed artificial and it was unnatural to write in rhymes. I had been lavished a lot of praise and criticisms but never one that core. It forced me to change my writing style and I just stopped writing in rhyme entirely.
Eventually I guess I stopped writing for quite a long while...

But this is interesting.

daku said...

good lord, this is good stuff. i feel like deleting my hoopster cafe blog. (-:

David Von Behren said...

Daniela no delete hopster cafe blogg!!!!!

Thanks for the compliments. I'm giving a reading tomorrow night for a lit magazine. I'm not sure if I'll read short stories or poems (If I plan in advance I'll be too nervous when I 'get up there')but whatever I read I'll try to remember to send a shot out to my beloved, bloggers for all their love and encouragement!!!!!!

Shine on!!!!!

arya said...

there are good writers like david and then there are the rest of us. but my perspective is that if you write for yourself then you should write the way you like to write. anyone that writes poetry in rhyme will be harshly criticized for it but if you are not writing for poetry journals, who cares? writing should be liberating. and if you can hang out with cool writers like david who tollerate a forced rhyme or two, then you are really lucky.

David Von Behren said...

I think we're all really lucky and blessed.....

Ashley said...

It's amazing what you can find when you google yourself . . .

I know I have this poem tucked away in one of my files from college, along with the Broadside issue where it was published. I enjoy it just as much now as I did when you first wrote it :-)

David Von Behren said...

..yes Miss Krenelka, it is indeed...all the best ol' friend...