Sometimes, if not always, I want my poems to be subtle as one of those muffled early blues recordings you hear in period movies where the music sets the atmosphere by sounding anything but crystal clear. The static, or whatever it is that makes the record sound old, is as loud as the music it’s framing, but if you really listen the singer’s or player’s passion comes through as if hearing were far more than what one hears.

Similarly, I love poems that take me beyond their words to where sensual engagement is completed by what seems mysterious . . . as if the poem has no words and therefore has them all. And as if it has all silences and all the graceful curves of inspiration. I see dancers of necessity and luxury dancing in such poems, behind a scrim that, um, screams for ice cream and, in fact, is held in place by a freakin’ blast from the Arctic.

A blast or a soft dream: thus the artist’s eternal conflict. He resolves it (maybe) by speaking under his breath, then inviting those interested to hear him. But they’d have to listen close, maybe too close for comfort. They’d have to tune out the ambient noise (technologically unavoidable) and hear the wild duck strangely being eaten by a poet whose immaterial wealth could buy everyone enough ducks to last a cold winter. That’s because they’re all in the champagne of his imagination, just as the seasons are more a matter of mind than what mind considers matter.

It would be a winter that finds its contentment in the fusion of spirit and body that gives a whisper wings . . . and gives flight a little bird to tell his secrets to his poems. Secrets that upon telling are no longer secret, yet must be unlocked in solitude and silence and the unwavering attention which the utmost artistic subtlety always requires. Now that’s the kind of verse or prose poem that keeps me coming back to it for more of its mojo.