079.1: Johnathon Williams:: Anniversary Sonnet & Soliloquy to the Peephole of Apartment 9 & Camping in the Ouachita National Forest
26 September 2011
To read these poems by Johnathon Williams is to allow oneself to be entirely overwhelmed by the unimpeded force of a moment of time that is both "all / too much" and also "slipping away." Each of these poems begins with a moment of crisis that expands outward until it seemingly encompasses and embodies the narrator's entire life. These thoughts and observations accumulate, weighing down on the both the narrator and the reader: "Jesus, the arch / of her back. Her fists and hair. My shame and joy." The narrator finds that recognizing the situation is not enough, that something is still missing: "I recognize the language but not the words." The struggle to move successfully through the day becomes a struggle for survival—the survival of one's purpose. The second poem references Ovid and Goethe, though these poems seem more to respond to Rilke's You must change your life, answering "But time / is the whole problem, its relentless march / away".