- Egrets, Regrets
To look at Gogol’s overcoat and see how the coat itself becomes the main character in the tale, the way the poor clerk disappears beneath the weights of value—social, personal, survival—invested in a thing, is to see form. Not as shape or outline, but as a kind of immanence. The way feelings that are formless seek to attach to people dreams words theories acts to exist in a material word that form lies trapped in.
No doubt my poetry errs, wrote Hopkins, but as air. . . .
Air and err and air and err. A kind of sonic opening.
My regrets bend back their long necks to pick at the scapulars.
In the Marxist reading of Bartleby, the lawyer’s indifference becomes the maincharacter in the tale. This feels like an allegory of form. In air.
To speak of the parable in parabola is to sing a little. Which isn’t on the agendatoday.
Gogol’s mistranslated overcoat is really the cloak of social concerns.
How difficult to put something out there. [End Page 41]
Brian Cochran lives and writes in University City, Missouri, often simultaneously. His poems have appeared in VOLT, Ninth Letter, Denver Quarterly, Cimarron Review, UCity Review, and other journals. He has been a Millay Colony of the Arts Fellow, a Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts resident, and has received a grant from the Vermont Studio Center.