Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Arlene Ang in Shampoo

Check out the poetry journal Shampoo for some well-crafted, compelling poetry. The current issue includes the following poem by Arlene Ang:

First Name: Laron

Coarsened by dungarees,
he whitewashes my walls.
His brush thriftily dampened
into the can is spared of drip.

Face tipped to his backside,
I am thinking he may ask me out.
The pungency of his wet paint
makes me hold my breath.

Like tossed coin, a sober globule
lands on last week’s newspaper,
obscures what the Premier quipped
regarding women on the moon.

Arlene Ang

I love the word choices in this poem: dungarees instead of jeans; a brush "thriftily" dampened; face "tipped" to check the guy out; a "sober globule" of paint. Ang is a master of creating compelling imagery and tone through judicious word choice.

The word "dungarees" is interesting; it is a word that evokes a man who is more earthy and who labors for a living that the word "jeans" would. There is something primitive in the speaker's description of him--his clothes, the "dampened" brush, the "pungency" of the paint, and her checking-out the guy's physique. It is a moment of nearly pure attraction.

A drop of paints lands on the paper, covering what I'm sure is a highly relevant quote about "women on the moon." Does anyone know to what this refers?

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