This was evidenced quite obviously in his poem “Don’t let that horse” which had no punctuation or repetitious structure to force any pauses or enjambment between such lines as “And became famous/And kept on painting/The Horse With Violin In Mouth. ” Frightening shows an astounding ability in this regard to take structure and use It to gulled the piece while maintaining a free flow that Isn’t “nailed to the paper. ” Rather that nail it, he loosely binds the piece to Itself with irregular accents and rhythms and uneven rhyme schemes that develop the meaning far beyond face value.
The structure though, doesn’t only hold the piece together as a tool, it also can serve to further illustrate as in “The Changing Light” where the line organization is nebulous and similar to fog and mist. In the effective use of these tools Frightening is able to manipulate most If not every aspect of his poetry to serve the meaning and depth as a whole. In practically every Lawrence Firelight poem there Is a strong visual element to the piece that is tangible but figurative.
The poems begin with solid examples of the physical world such as the ocean in “A Vast Confusion” that are a surface meaning of the poem that can be understood by anyone. Below that though, is a subjective and often deeper level of understanding that lends the poem a more profound meaning ether than Just a surface view with a pretty picture. In the Instance of “A Vast Confusion” the ocean was characteristic of the continuous onslaught of sounds that were tethered together by a deep universal hum that exemplified and Illustrated a pattern to the cacophony he was hearing.
The key characteristic when identifying a Frightening poem is the commonplace visuals he gives of the surroundings as if from the perspective of a ordinary person. In his poem “Number 20” he speaks of the “Jellybeans” being part of a state of unreality that Is firmly illustrated with the subtle but Important “semi-gloom/of that September afternoon. With the few rhymed words within those three lines the setting and mood was established as a gloomy afternoon in a candy store that is quite visual and very common.
This underlying tool of Firelight’s readily establishes him as a talented poet and a man that is gifted with the understanding of brevity when it comes to description. Yet another characteristic of Frightening is his Beat generation themes regarding the status quo and mainstream poetry. In many of his poems including “Bird With on political and social issues claiming that the government is “Two right wings” and that underwear is like an opinion.
Though either of these references seems absurd he carries this conceit, especially with the underwear, to the point of some people being “bound” by their opinion-underwear and unable to escape the recurring pattern of “interchangeable” leaders of the nation. The fact that he would say things in his works that others wouldn’t places him in the Bohemian/Beat era of poetry that was starting when he began writing. He even steals some of his techniques from writers like E. E.
Cummings and James Joyce with “incorrect” syntax and selective capitalization to emphasize words and phrases. His adaptation of these styles works o make his poetry more of a reader-based interpretation of such mystic lines as “and stretch/her sweet anatomy/let fall a stocking” in “Number 8. ” The simple point of view established by the observation of the woman pulls the reader into the bed as the man but the shifty structure and the lines that stand as their own serve to reinforce this by pulling the reader into the mind of the man.
The thought-like phrase “let a stocking fall” with its simplicity and brevity lend to the feel that it was a fleeting observation or perhaps wish. While some verses in his poems hold the face value interpretation many have a deep meaning that is created with the Cummings-sees style. Not only though is Frightening identifiable by his views, he is identifiable by his viewpoints. His description of life as in “Dog” and “No. 20” evoke a feel of a man walking the streets speaking out the truths of common experience rather than an objective distanced dictation.
Moreover his poems read like an oral presentation “The pennyworth’s beyond the Ellis where I first/fell in love/with unreality’ as one might find from a man of the streets. The conversational style and good natured erase are indicative of a public reading situation that an “open air” poet would write to. The alliterations and repetitions such as “and balancing on beams/above a sea of faces/paces his way/to the other side of day’ from “Constantly Risking Absurdity’ are another identifying characteristic of Frightening when coupled with the haphazard and hidden rhyme style and shifting meter that he is known for.
He champions the idea of informal poetry modeled after the vernacular of the people with his simple lines from “Sometime During Eternity’ “Him Just hang there/on His Tree/looking real Petered outland real cool. In this instance the crucifixion of Christ is related with phrasing indicative of the common language Frightening would talk in though it is oversimplified to make it a bit more obvious. The point of view established by the diction and structure of the poem coupled with the selective detail is perhaps one of Lawrence Firelight’s most powerful attributes.
Alas perhaps the most interesting and subtle characteristic of the collective works of Lawrence Frightening is the innate ability to describe with little to no actual description. In the poem “Wild Dreams of a New Beginning” the special attention to correctors and relationships between them is beautiful. The “breathless hush on the freeway’ and the calm “candlelight couples” establish a peaceful setting that carries a degree of suspense as the artery of travel, the freeway, is silent.
The mood and the setting of the piece were both illustrated in two simple lines that are later twisted into a “deathless hush on the freeway’ that initiates the turn of events. His civilization act as very basic pieces of information that change the poem from calm to tumultuous within a single stanza. Notable though, is the very little information that s given about the destroyer or the civilization it’s wiping away yet the depth of the setting and feeling of the piece.
Frightening is notorious in all these analyzed poems for being able to build a beautiful frame for a work and letting the imagination of the reader fill in everything else not unlike Hemingway short stories. This ability to write between the lines is what identifies him as a master poet and writer. Whether it is the structure of him poems or the themes they embody, there are certain defining characteristics of Lawrence Firelight’s poems that set them apart from all others.