The following is a monologue for one actor, written by T.J. Green and Nick Edinger
What’s up, my fellow poets? It’s me, Frank Loquacious. Today, I’ll like to share with you one of the best pieces of work by E.E. Cummings: “Spring is like a perhaps hand.”
Spring is like a perhaps hand
(which comes carefully
out of Nowhere)arranging
a window,into which people look(while
arranging and changing placing
carefully there a strange
thing and a known thing here)and
changing everything carefully
Now that’s some good shit right there.
I’ll tell ya, I haven’t been more excited since the Cubs were in the World Series. Didja notice how the simile implies the direct input of a force that may or may not exist, invoking the deliberate actions of a divine creator while subtly implying He’s only in our heads? Woo, boy. It’s a lot like when your wife says ya can go watch the game on date night but then ya go home to a note sayin she’s stayin at her mothers and that she’s disappointed in you. It’s a contradiction, in a tragically ironic way. I think about God a lot when I think about broads. They always getcha doin what they want ya to do, even when ya don’t want to do it. You think ya have freewilll, but BOOM, there’s this force over there sayin “no I don’t think that other chick has a nice rack, and don’t talk like that in front of our kids.” Did The Virgin Mary have a nice rack? I’m wondering. All those Renaissance-era painters seem to think so. You can’t trust guys though, most of them are pigs. But not me… I’m a poet, and it’s impossible for poets to be pigs. I don’t leer at a lady’s breasts, I leer at a lady’s SOUL.
Let’s step away from simile and metaphor and look at what da people are actually doin’ in this here poem. So a hand may or may not exist, but people are lookin’ into this window watching things change from Winter into Spring. It’s a strange and a known thing, says the poem. Now that’s the truth, ain’t it! We watch the flowers bloom every year, and yet we never seem to notice it. And we can’t claim “I just woke up, officer, and these flowers had already bloomed!” Nah, that crap’s happening all the time. Spring don’t just “is,” it BECOMES. The gerunds in the poem confirm it- all the arranging, changing, placing, it’s stuff you can literally see happen outside. And not in that dumbass, millenial, “literally now means figuratively,” way. Those people can literally stick THEIR strange and known thing in front of a sawmill blade.
Now people always ask me “Frank! What the hell is that line about the window about?” Some poetry-ers may say “oh It’s all a metaphor!” But those guys are all Packers fans, so who gives a shit what they think? See what really was goin’ on was: he was watchin’ the super bowl through a window outside the bar .When this big guy walks over gettin in the way, E.E had to arrange himself in a way to see it, and he did so by poppin’ that guy right in the kisser. From the perspective of the big guy, Cummings’ hand seemed like it came from nowhere. Now, like all true artists, Cummings took a big risk with that move of his. We might’ve had a Death of the Author situation on our hands. But because he arranged things by his window, he got to see a truly beautiful thing: The Patriots staging a heroic second half comeback. Talk about things slowly changing, huh? Discussing all this in terms of metaphor totally ruins its practical applications. I try to tell my kids, “Poetry’s more than just silly words that’ll get you girls, it MEANS something in this bleak an’ terrible world!” But they’re too busy watching Barney. I bet Barney never taught anyone about the universe-damning creep of nihilism. Phooey.
Now of course, like all great Poeming men, E.E. Cummings could be interpreted in a many different ways. For examples, the themes of change could have also been E.E. upset about Lebron leaving Cleveland. Or maybe his wife decided to clean his garage and now he couldn’t find his favorite drill. He was a complicated man, that E.E.. I see e.e.’s name in lowercase on my copy of Great American Poetry, or the copy I keep on the john at any rate. Why would he do that? I thinks he was trying to reinvent himself. Can I let you all in on a secret? My last name isn’t actually “Loquacious.” It’s a, it’s a whaddayacallit, a stage name, a phoney name. Honestly, at the time, I just had to get away from the wife and kids for a while. My wife’s wonderful, got a sweet smile, always finds time for my son’s ball game. I just didn’t always see it back then. So back then, when I was trying to get away, me and some buddies went down to the bar. We got a few beers, and had ourselves a long in-depth discussions about existential dread and what it all means. Like ya do. And my pal Homer says, “You’re a loquacious man, did you know that?” And I stopped right there. I never thought of myself as deserving a smart-person adjective. But then it hit my like a punch to the head: there’s no way Homer knew what “loquacious” means! He probably thinks it’s some kind of male ointment. So if he can redefine my personality without knowing anything about my soul, then, fuck, why can’t I do that too? I go home, apologize to my wife, and decide to commit myself to studying poetry so I can be a good man to her. Now at first, the words didn’t mean nothing, ya know? Like, why do I care what road that Robbie guy takes anyhow? But then I realized. It wasn’t about the words, it was about the feeling and what it all means ta me. See, that Frost guy was wonderin what kinda milk to buy. The wife said she wanted a certain kind but he wasn’t payin attention. So there was this normal two percent milk. Safe bet. But then there was this free ranged organic bullshit milk. The wife would probably like that more. So he picked that. See, the lesson here is Robbie Frost is a chump that drinks organic shit. It’s all in the meter, I’m tellin’ you.
Now I admit, I know nothing about Mr. E. E. Cummings. I’m not that big on The Google. But there’s one thing I do know, and that’s that Mr. Cummings was a blue-collar guy like me, probably with a beer gut too. I bet his ideal evening was havin a smoke with the guys, checkin’ out some girls, and shootin’ some pool. He was probably 6 foot 6, 290 LBS with brown hair and blue eyes just like me. That really comes across in his writings. If there’s one truth I know about analyzing poetry, it’s about your own interpretation, your own personal feelings. It’s impossible to be wrong, unless you think Walt Whitman’s talking about Captain Crunch or somethin’. Nah, it’s about love. All great poetry is. We all know it. And, like me, E.E.’s always changing, always becoming better, like Winter becoming Spring. It’s comforting to know that E.E.’s like me, that I’m not alone in a changing world. Now that I think about it, Cummings probably voted for Trump too. What a nice thought! Now if ya excuse me, the guys and I have a tailgate party going on outside the art museum. Those Renaissance paintings are gonna be fuckin’ ARTISTICALLY LIT tonight!