“After Bernard Marie Koltès”

I have to give you a poem.  I just read Bernard Marie Koltès’ In the Solitude of Cotton Fields.

"After Bernard Marie Koltès"

one thing we know:
language is power.

us men are always
hiding in the curves

of words.  we get worried
about how we feel

because someone said
we were born beasts and chickens.

us men need language
to offer any of our goods.

language is the only thing
for sale and worth buying.

how much would you pay 
to be brave for a day?

it costs us more
to be brave at night.

us men need poetry
because we are cold

and only music keeps us safe.
rarely are we ever honest.


3 thoughts on ““After Bernard Marie Koltès”

  1. Yes yes yes! Language is everything. In Koltes and Haley, the way they use words–and their lack of words as far as stage directions–is masterful. I love the look of your poem and the way sentences flow from one line to the next. It has been a long time since I was inspired to write poetry. Compositions like this remind me of how often I used to write it when I was in my teens and 20s, and I wonder how and why that changed. I write a lot about music these days, so your line about “only music keeps us safe” is powerful for me. I can see here how you read this play. When I write about music, I’m taking a song that on the page looks a lot like this, but then I write thousands of words about how I experience it. I guess I’m fascinated by how you took long paragraphs of dialogue and put everything we need to know about it into a poem. I do the opposite when I write about a song.


  2. Very nice poem! Not only did you drive it home with a beautiful style, you pegged the essence of the play. Like Dana above, your piece inspired me as well. It made me excited to initially see it even before reading it. It makes perfect sense in relation to the story of the play. The repetition executed created a mood directly reflective of the back and forth gossip of the Client and Dealer. Your prose succinctly relayed their cause, thoughts, and motivations. I think you took all the wild and deep emotional info from Koltes’ monologues and packaged it tight and neatly together complete with a little red bow on top. Really cool!


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