Prime Number Magazine
is a publication of
PO Box 30314,
Winston-Salem NC 27130
Issue 109, Jul – Sept 2017
Prime Number Magazine is a publication of Press 53, PO Box 30314, Winston-Salem, NC 27130
Lois Marie Harrod
followed by Bio and Q&A
If Every Word Is an Elegy to What It Signifies
what will you do with all you have written,
those plots of verse?
Do you think if you talk about your arthritis
in an artful way, that diminishes pain?
Particulars erase the luminous,
and your life has been nothing but particulars—
the way your lover’s beard feels kissing
down your spine. You like the scratch.
You don’t want a light touch
dissolving into a ticklish abstractions.
No ideas but in things, that doctor said,
someone who heard specific complaints.
Sometimes no idea in things either,
just a cemetery of objects bereft of meaning.
This morning you woke thinking you heard
your daughter on the phone, lost somewhere,
a train station, so distraught she couldn’t
speak. You mourn that too.
Lois Marie Harrod’s chapbooks Nightmares of the Minor Poet (Five Oaks) and And She Took the Heart (Casa de Cinco Hermanas) appeared in 2016. Her 13th and 14th poetry collections, Fragments from the Biography of Nemesis (Cherry Grove Press) and the chapbook How Marlene Mae Longs for Truth (Dancing Girl Press) appeared in 2013. The Only Is won the 2012 Tennessee Chapbook Contest (Poems & Plays), and Brief Term, a collection of poems about teachers and teaching was published by Black Buzzard Press, 2011. She is widely published in literary journals and online ezines from American Poetry Review to Zone 3. See www.loismarieharrod.org.
“If Every Word Is an Elegy to What It Signifies” began in a dream in which my daughter phoned me but she couldn’t talk. I could see her in the dream and she had the phone in her hand but she couldn’t speak. However, I didn’t realize that dream until I read Robert Haas’s poem “Meditation at Lagunitas” in which he says: “a word is elegy to what it signifies.” It recalled Emerson: “Language is fossil poetry.” As I wrote the poem, I realized that silence too is loss—and the memory of the dream occurred.
What is your #1 pet peeve?
Stupidity in High Places.
What is your favorite article of clothing?
Since I broke my toe, my Crocs, which are the only shoes that don’t hurt when I walk. However, I hope by the time this poem is published I will whisk around in sleek sandals.
What book have you read from beginning to end more times than any other?
There are several poets that I keep returning to, rereading—not just for what they say, but for how it is said, how the poem works to reveal its truths and beauty. So Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson, Stephen Dunn and Kay Ryan—especially Kay Ryan The Best of It: New and Selected Works.