Two Poems by Zebulon Huset

The Buried Poem

  1. Buried

“The Buried Poem” is a sort of Anti-Erasure poem of my own devising. You start with a short poem or bit of text (I prefer using a famous poem or quote), and without changing the order of the words in the original poem, add in a bunch of your own words in between them to create a brand new, original story or poem that is much longer than the original and is wholly your own, by you, and likely about something entirely different—however should someone want, they would be able to make an erasure poem out of your piece to reveal the original “Buried Poem” that you used as the piece’s impetus/constraint.

The original poem can be something like Rae Armantrout, Sappho, a girl you know on Instagram—the idea is to pick a direction and start running, using the original words as your guideposts, like an open racetracks’s turn markers.

Don’t worry about telling a full story, flash, vignette, even longer poems are good for me. Armantrout’s poems are perfect, because she gives you a solid core that allows you to start running your story in any direction. Ideally, for the purposes of these Buried Poem exercises, if you’re to use one of her poems about a bus, the piece has to use the bus, but its focus shouldn’t be all there, the poem or story should stand up as its own piece aside from the original piece.

  1. Look Closer

“The Buried Poem” is a sort of Anti-Erasure poem of my own devising. You start with a short poem or bit of text (I prefer using a famous poem or quote), and without changing the order of the words in the original poem, add in a bunch of your own words in between them to create a brand new, original story or poem that is much longer than the original and is wholly your own, by you, and likely about something entirely different—however should someone want, they would be able to make an erasure poem out of your piece to reveal the original “Buried Poem” that you used as the piece’s impetus/constraint.

The original poem can be something like Rae Armantrout, Sappho, a girl you know on Instagram—the idea is to pick a direction and start running, using the original words as your guideposts, like an open race tracks’s turn markers.

Don’t worry about if you tell a ‘full’ story—flash, vignette, even longer poems are good for me. Armantrout’s poems are perfect, because she’s a writer that gives you a solid core that allows you to start running your story in any direction. Ideally, for the purposes of these Buried Poem exercises, if you’re to use one of her poems about a bus, the piece has to use the bus, but its focus shouldn’t be all there—that poem or story should stand up as its own piece aside from the original piece.

  1. A Priest’s Blessing

The boats sluiced waves by the Lucille Sound. Brother Clifton—formerly head pontiff at St. Mary’s—stands on the shale hills thinly blanketed by weak soil. He speaks softly to himself and to God: “May the wind blow, may the tide that is entering even now recede at the shoreline and not spill over the lip of our understanding, leave our homes and lives as you carry out your duties, your natural pulse, the wavelengths that you know in and out. May the sky alone remain beyond the reaches of our fingertips, and may we face the strange and shifting mask of fear. May you kiss every droplet of rain, every breath of the wind then release it to us who both accept and reject it, turn from it while glancing over our shoulders certain that if it is your will, you will love us so fiercely that your front and your back disappear and we can never recognize what is the gravity of your love and what is the gravity of our spinning planet. May you open our hearts to your eyes, our lungs to the nurturing water of life beyond unexamined desire, the blanketing water waving forever from the horizon ever inward, and may you, in your glorious innocence and devotion, sail those turgid waters through the sound to us from the unobservable, perfect land—show us the pathway from this to that.”

 

When Down, Brown Butter

Do not worry about burning the butter,
watch it. Stir it. It will not burn
unless it is your will. You—
control the butter, not the reverse.
It will not look perfect— a thin
layer of particulate will settle—
do not be so easy. The parts may char,
but do not despair. You control the butter.
The world waits on your command.
The clarity inured is clearly tarnished
but there are steps to clarify. One:
sieve the silty solids that’d scorched.
Two: marvel at the ability of butter
to transmogrify—the clear nuttiness it inures
it embraces. Things will get better.

 

About the Poet

Zebulon Huset is a teacher, writer and photographer living in San Diego. He won the Gulf Stream 2020 Summer Poetry Contest and his writing has appeared in Meridian, The Southern Review, Fence, Atlanta Review & Texas Review among others. He publishes the writing blog Notebooking Daily, edits the journals Coastal Shelf and Sparked, and recommends literary journals at TheSubmissionWizard.com.