Christian Barter’s ‘Poem’

I have this thing for syllables. The first thing I do when I read a poem is count the syllables of each line. I enjoy a poem that has the same amount of syllables in each line. Christian Barter does not do this. What he actually does, and what kept me reading, is that he gives you two lines with thirteen syllables, then he gives you two lines with eleven syllables. Then he gives you a line with eight syllables. Christian Barter sets you up for a pattern, of syllables, and then destroys the pattern and starts a new one. But then he goes back to the original pattern of syllables. The effect that I get from this is a sense of being distracted. The person in the poem wakes up with the hope of writing a poem but seems to get distracted by the radio. The person hears Bernstein’s drifting violin. Am I like the person in the poem? Have I started to hear the syllables like the person has started to hear Bernstein? Because of this the poem starts to become less of a poem and more of an experience with sound and the movement of my lips and tongue.

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