21 Days/21 Poems: A Commonplace Object

Crumpled Paper

It sounds like what the heel knows
of landscape, the fiery chewing
of autumn's dry and unspared remnants.
That a season should leave itself
exposed so, and I walk it
into a fine grind, a radio's static errancy.

Are we not the world's antenna
always refining the received?
Would that we had ears
to seize glass molecules turning
the melt of it into seeming solid,
or ice forming in trays or weather.
That we could hear the seal
of scab on tissue or the snake's
interlocking scales upon the ground
it elegantly deafens in its stalk.

Because the ear fails, the hand pursues
in the leather of the now
opened sheet a landscape like the moon's
or a still shot of the ocean's faceted maze.
Mirror upon mirror closing like petals
or atoms, a fist of refractions
laid out in wave within wave, crack
within a crack of the paper I crumple
up again and listen to.


"Crumpled Paper" by Ricardo Pau-Llosa. The Mastery Impulse. Carnegie Mellon University Press, 2003.


Ricardo Pau-Llosa is always pushing himself to conjure associations while observing everyday objects, and to use the details to create poems. The poems arise from an attention to the intricacies of the object and influenced by Husserlian Phenomenology, Pau-Llosa contemplates their effect on his consciousness. In "Crumpled Paper," like many of the other poems in The Mastery Impulse Pau-Llosa lifts the object from the quotidian into metaphor.


And the music!: "a fist of refractions/ laid out in wave within wave, crack/ within a crack of paper I crumple."




About Ricardo Pau-LLosa

Ricardo Pau-Llosa  is a Cuban-American poet, pioneer art critic of Latin American art in the US and Europe, and author of short fiction. Pau-Llosa was born into a working-class family in Havana. In 1960 Pau-Llosa fled Cuba with his parents, older sister, and maternal grandmother — all of whom emerge in his autobiographical poems of exile and remembrance. He graduated from Belén Jesuit Preparatory High School in Miami in 1971, and went on to major in English (literature) at various universities, among them Florida International University (BA, 1974), Florida Atlantic University (MA, 1976), and the University of Florida (1978–1981). Divorced with no children, Pau-Llosa is also an avid collector of modern, folk, and tribal art from the Americas. He lives in Miami.

Source: Wikipedia

 21 Days/21 Poems: A Commonplace Object

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