Narcissus and Echo

My ear leans into my echo
as a narcissus leans over
its reflection;
I scan this page
to gather the reflection
of my words
and I see that this biography
requires the reader
to come part way to the poem so that the truth that lies somewhere between them can be illuminated.

If all is demanded at once,
if the reader wishes for fast fluff
that requires little chewing,
less digestion,
it’ll leave little nourishment —
he’d have been better off drinking the lemon-water out of his finger bowl;
or spooning the mint jelly into his mouth
without tasting the rack of lamb;
or quaffing the cabernet with the beer.

These thoughts fly so fast
my fingers can’t keep up with them
on this keyboard;
Nor can my eyes on this screen.
I read this poem now
and try to meet it half way.
I give this poem to you now.
Here! Meet it half way!

~ Dean Morrison McKenzie

Dean Morrison McKenzie is a kid from the village; it shows in his themes. His poetry, fiction, music, films and essays are laden with imagery gathered from the world that surrounds small prairie towns. So far he has co-authored two or three chapbooks, read his stuff on public radio and has had his voice used to record commercials and training films. McKenzie’s first CD,
Prairie Hejira was published in 2001 and on November 23rd, 2003, at The Yardbird Suite, he and the band released The Silver Apples of the Moon. He also wrote the script for Skipping Stone — the AMPIA-award winning film produced by Frame 30, and recently Michael Hamm screened McKenzie’s Night Benz, another short film based on the prose/poem included in Dean’s chap book. It was awarded a Silver Medal at the Houston International Festival of Independent Films in the category Jazz/New Age/Spoken Word.

When asked about life as a retired English teacher, he refers to it as a bus man’s holiday. “I’ve been editing the work of others all my life; now I’m smoothing out my own roughness.”

4 Responses to “Narcissus and Echo”

  1. I appreciate the poet’s courageous insistance that the effort of writing deserves a like response from the reader.. the wish for the poem to be the stimulus for intelligent communication between the reader and writer, the audience and the “performer”.. Without this, how is he to know this is not other than a narcisstic drop in the void?
    This poetry evokes feelings that are ( to the dismay of the literate) beyond words .. I love your work dean!

  2. Some (many?) works of imagination demand we meet it(them) halfway, and receive benefit/rewards for our efforts. Still, there are narcissistic poets and artists (one and the same) who practice a kind of literary onanism (Dean’s words once) for the satisfaction of the artist and perhaps a limited few cognoscente. I prefer the former. Hi Maureen!!

  3. I met it half-way, Dean! And was grateful, as always with your work.

    I hope you’re well.

    I’m in the UK, writing a novel about the follies of TV that I hope will offer the reader quaffs of both beer and Cabernet, the spoonful of mint jelly AND a good helping of the rack of lamb.


  4. Good to hear from such a variety of aficionados. I’ll send another poem soon. DMMcK

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