Sunday, May 24, 2009

So, So It Begins Means It Begins

I saw this poem appear in The New Yorker a few months back. It caught my attention, but I was sort of confused by its meaning. After pondering it for a few more minutes, I want to explore what it might possibly mean. Any other means of interpretation would be very helpful.

So, So It Begins Means It Begins

by Mary Jo Bang

And so it begins, Mickey, birthday cake (party), special
Night, whoops, and take a box.
So it begins, take a bow, hold your head up,
Scowl now. That is your own guitar.

Stop and see a movie.
Stop and see whether the eagle holds up at the end.
I'm leaving. See how I pull the door to.
The door is the floor and it's rising up.

Below is a dungeon. It's all you can see in the dark.
There is graffiti on the wall.
The bugle has ceded its call to power.
It's the time when we are waiting to be told.

Nothing is getting better. And nothing is getting worse.
A duck and a mouse. A house and a hat.
Having lunch and having a medal of honor.
Let's put our culture on a cartoon's.

Why not? Have the mouse answer the phone.
Have the receiver click. Then the real comes to
Its awful end. That point where, as he said, all came in
"With the shoutmost shoviality. Agog" Agog.

So, so I think that it starts out at the beginning of life, when everything is simple and excitement comes from a simple birthday cake or Mickey Mouse. This "mouse" and "cartoon" thread seems to go throughout the poem.

The rest of the poem seems to show the dullness of growing up. Nothing is exciting anymore like it used to be. Our lives are even kind of like cartoon's--not too deep, not really changing, always there, pretty dull: "Let's put our culture on a cartoon's." Our culture is somehow mirrored through this cartoon, and we sort of live it ourselves too. It never leaves us even as we age.

There are smaller bits and phrases that I'm not really connecting with: bugles, medal of honor, movie, the door and its rising. I bet they connect somehow, but it's not coming to me. And what's with agog?

And what's with the title? So, so it begins means it begins. Life begins right from the start (in some kind of state or with some kind of impression or mood) at an early age? We start out as children with this idea she's trying to get across and it stays with us through adulthood? I don't know if I'm really connecting with this.

What do you think of the poem? Any suggestions or meanings?

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