Ink Notes #2: "There are two kinds of purity"

It's a shame this poem didn't turn out, because I love this song, but that's always the way - it's harder to write something honest if you love it, and honesty was never my strong suit in the first place.

There are two kinds of purity,
       The first is to be clean:
1) The plump-faced tidy smiling one
       Who know where her hands have been
2) The pretty little meadow with
       The purple-paley blooms
Of violets
                     3) The well-swept floor
       Of a fresh hospital room.
4) The handsome white of new-scrubbed hands
       5) The freshing scent of mints
6) The smell of elementary schools
       Where other souls were sent.
7) The burn of bleach on bloody sheets,
8) The sound of freshly butchered meat
9) The clean cut limbs of paper dolls
       Before they touch your hands.
But don't forget the second strand
Of purity reserved for man -
       For if you are not neat
You only need a pretty way
Of putting all your parts away.
Perhaps inside a little box
       Or underneath the sea
       You might consider it to be
An injury -
I disagree.

(No more, in it's peculiar way
Than other purities.
The soap that scrubs can dry the skin
       The mint can burn the eye.
The pretty child can snap a heart.
       The violet can die.)

A hurt is not defined by pain,
       A wound, not circumscribed by blood,
              A broken breast not evident.
To injure - is to fail.
Cleanliness is injury
To she whose made of crumpled leaves
And last December's soil.


Amanda said...

It seems to me it'd be hard to write a poem based on a song that is essentially a poem.

I don't like (in a visceral way) the idea of making one's self pure by hiding away all the not-neat parts. That's scary to me. I like that part of the poem, because it did scare me. Does that make sense?

margo said...

I didn't know this song was a poem! I couldn't really understand them :( I like this poem. I can't pin exactly why but I like it. I had to listen to it with the music - to better 'feel' it. I have THE OFFCIE in the background - I don't think that helped :)

Amanda said...

I guess i just assumed the song was a poem, particularly because it starts out all ballad-y.

Jason Gignac said...

Amanda - Not at all - poems are great poem inspirations, far as I'm concerned. I wrote a poem a few years ago that was a love song to Emily Dickinson and Sylvia Plath. I'm glad the poem scared you (though it sounds odd to say so?).

Margo - Yeah... I could see the office being an awkward accompiament... ;)

Things Corp. said...

Hah, Jason, there is a book someplace that is written in homage to H.P. Lovecraft by a group of authors in the 90's. One of the stories is about a rock star, and I think you might like it. It's a lot like your poem.