Another Ode to the Body: #instapoem and Print Poem

I am torn between which medium delivers this poem better; or rather, I am torn between what each medium gains, but then loses. You just can’t get the nod to Whitman’s long, overflowing lines in the #instapoem nor the sense of the tension between the arc of a sentence across the arc of lines, stanzas, line breaks, and stanza breaks. I don’t use punctuation, except for blank spaces, and most of that is lost in the #instapoem. However, one can still feel the breaks via the slash, and if we listen to the weight of the language as it moves through the poem (to echo Merwin), the blank spaces of the print poem are really not needed. One can sense those spaces by attuning themselves to the language itself. Moreover, I love the silent, looping video of the birds, for the poem begins ego-centric, but ends as an ode to the bodies of Bolt and Birds. At any rate, I juxtapose both mediums here for a resource for future class discussions.


“Another Ode to the Body” / (for my brothers) / but on a bike / barreling along / like a *crushed bit of god* / because /fast is fun / and I am a washed-up romantic / a disciple of Shelley and Walt / yes I strip bare my heart—my bosom-bone—and plunge over earth mad for contact with wind and odorless atmospheres and I never ditched that desire to be a torn cloud before a hurricane O Spirit of Solitude / and so I pedal / with dawn behind me / faster and faster on a flat road / hoping to break Bolt’s top speed / when he runs / how does a body move that fast / without being a centaur / or a cyborg with wheels / I shift to the lowest gear and fill my chest-cavity to full capacity / gaining on Bolt if only for a moment / and in that moment / furious heat fills my thighs / only to rise / like the flock / of blackbirds streaming / out of an autumn tree on palpitant wings / I once rode toward / months ago / epitomizing the funktionslust / of bodies in flight / hundreds streamed from that blazing tree / animal exhalation rushing / me to a halt / where they filled crisp air / with tumult and song
#hillman #biketowork #instapoem #funktionslust

A video posted by Aaron M. Moe ( on



*crushed bit of god* is a line from Brenda Hillman’s “May Moon” in Practical Water

“funktionslust” is a German word referring to the joy one experiences from doing what one does best

“fast is fun” is something that my older brother would say, and it has become a mantra of sorts for all of us

the lines by Shelley and Walt ought to be self-evident

last I checked, Bolt has ran 27 mph, even if for only a few seconds; it takes all I have to get my bike to 28 mph on a flat road and to hold it for a few seconds

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