Friday, September 26, 2008

another old one

Written my senior year at BG while I was taking a Psychology of Language class. I'd kind of forgotten about this poem. Actually I remembered writing it, and who it was written "about", but didn't remember much of it clearly. When I went back and read it today, I liked parts of it. This is actually a slight edit; I took out the set of lines that were really a vindictive commentary on the specific person, and made a couple of other very small changes. There were several people in my creative writing cohort who wrote a lot of very intelligent poems based in other academic disciplines (art, physics, music, chemistry, etc) and this sort of fit into that same mold, in a way, though it's got my particular penchant for the sex/romance/personal aspect as well.

Regressive Saccade

The eyes do not only move forward
when reading, but backward too,
fixating on words already seen,
an effort to comprehend. And not all words
are equal - fixation varies
according to frequency, plausibility, length.

I think of seeing you
naked when we made love,
how seldom it happened – you’d shut off
the lights, dress after, your body
still a mystery shrouded in sheets;
and how I never thought
it would work between us, but tried
anyway while you hid yourself
from me with cotton and lies.

The average time of fixation
is 200 milliseconds, but a poor reader
may take 500 or 1,000, wasting
a whole second on one unworthy
set of letters. Our duration
was one month, long enough to learn
my initial reading had been correct:
a non-word, there was no meaning.
I had performed badly on this task,
wasted time, failed to let my eyes move;
but I know that learning has occurred,
the brains tiny neurons will remember
this pattern, next time I will know better.

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