portion of the artwork for Timothy Schirmer's poetry

Timothy Schirmer’s Comments

“I see a dog that is maybe a wolf.” is a poem pieced together of many memories, a few of which lead to revelations or insights. A friend/teacher had challenged me to write something in the style of Edouard Levé, and I really didn’t know how to approach his style. Levé wrote these punchy, minimalist sentences that could essentially stand on their own, however, their proximity to one another was key. Two seemingly unrelated things, placed side by side, can make each burn hotter than if they stood on their own. As a writer, it was an amazing thing to finally grasp—I felt like I should have known it all along, but didn’t. There was a problem, though; I was blocked, I didn’t know where to start.

One day I was walking through the East Village and the idea came to me to just look around on the street, it could be that simple. I got a coffee and went for a long walk through Alphabet City, making observations of certain interesting things I saw, and then allowing those observations to lead me into my own memories. If something caught my eye, I asked myself what from my past it reminded me of. It was a long walk, and eventually I had a lot of seemingly random memories and insights recorded. I sat down and began to elaborate on some of them, and began to shift them around in relation to one another, playing with their proximity and trying to heat them up. And that’s how the poem came to be. It’s funny to think that the invisible base-layer of this poem is a walk through New York City, and yet, the finished product would never lead one to suspect. This sort of poem is pretty different from what and how I normally write, and I haven’t tried to replicate it, perhaps because I am afraid it can’t be pulled off twice. I’m sure, though, that I’ll give it another try.

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FRiGG: A Magazine of Fiction and Poetry | Issue 44 | Fall 2014