Another Day, Another Poem

Posted: December 9, 2011 in Uncategorized

All This and More

By Mary Karr

“The Devil’s tour of hell did not include
a factory line where molten lead
spilled into mouths held wide,
no electric drill spiraling screws
into hands and feet, nor giant pliers
to lower you into simmering vats.
Instead, a circle of light
opened on your stuffed armchair,
whose chintz orchids did not boil and change,
and the Devil adjusted
your new spiked antennae
almost delicately, with claws curled
and lacquered black, before he spread
his leather wings to leap
into the acid-green sky.
So your head became a tv hull,
a gargoyle mirror. Your doppelganger
sloppy at the mouth
and swollen at the joints
enacted your days in sinuous
slow motion, your lines delivered
with a mocking sneer. Sometimes
the frame froze, reversed, began
again: the red eyes of a friend
you cursed, your girl child cowered
behind the drapes, parents alive again
and puzzled by this new form. That’s why
you clawed your way back to this life.”

All This and More, by Mary Karr is a very interesting poem. I like it because of its mysteriousness and way of keeping you guessing by not giving you all the information you want. It doesn’t tell you who one of the main characters/person being talked about is. This keeps you interested and curious about  the poem after you’re done reading it because of the uncertainty. It also might make you take a second look to try and figure it out, or even recommend it to a friend so that maybe the could have their own ideas as to who it is.

One of the lines I liked in this poem is:

“The Devil’s tour of hell did not include
a factory line where molten lead
spilled into mouths held wide,
no electric drill spiraling screws
into hands and feet, nor giant pliers
to lower you into simmering vats.”
I find this line kind of reassuring, even though it’s just a poem, it’s always nice to know that the thing that people are told is the worst possible place to go (hell) is not as bad as it seems.
Another line I liked is:
“So your head became a tv hull,
a gargoyle mirror. Your doppelganger
sloppy at the mouth”
At an earlier part of the poem, he says that the devil “adjusted your new spiked antennae” which kind of fits into the TV line in this quote. I find this interesting because she doesn’t mention who this person is…
I appreciated this quote, as well:
“the red eyes of a friend
you cursed, your girl child cowered
behind the drapes, parents alive again
and puzzled by this new form. That’s why
you clawed your way back to this life.”
This is a REALLY good line. It fills just enough gray area to quench your thirst, but not nearly enough to satisfy your curiosity. She says “Your child cowered behind the drapes” this tells us that this is a parent, possibly her husband. It also tells us that he’s probably in some scary form because the child is cowered behind the drapes. His parents are alive in the devil’s fantasy world, too. At the end she says “That’s why you clawed your way back to this life.” This can be interpreted in many ways, I kind of took it as if she made the whole story up just to insult him at the end by saying something like “OH THAT’S WHY YOU ENDED UP BACK HERE WITH ME FROM HELL. But that’s just my opinion.
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