David Biespiel is a poet after my own heart, which means that he prefers to have his language interesting and spiky on the surface rather than being merely clear; this will allow the reader ample chance to sort through his tricky conflations and tricked up tropes and so enjoy the benefits of delayed awards; for all the cuts and nicks his writing can cause the uncalloused psyche, there is a marvel of a writer taling about the plain facts in not so plain ways, and that's fitting. Nothing really is what it seems to be at first, right? Well, no, nothing is what it seems like at second either, which is why I suppose Biespiel writes the way he does, and why his poems merit more than one, two or three readings. They are compact measures of various narrators climbing out of their life time of rhetorical defenses. This we see in his poem Though Your Sins Be Scarlet"There is something intensely private going on in this poem and for want of anything else to say, the conflict herein involves someone struggling with sexual orientation . There are enough phrases and oppositions joined in smarting retorts to make us assume this otherwise unremarkable interpretation , especially in this richly conflicted section:
Scarletted-up—all those years—I fiddled and giggledAnd got muscle-bound as a deaf dreamer, a striper,A pressed-against pirate, got teary and ripe with the scuttledWorry coming back again and again, and no winnersTo speak of, no vintage TV to settle in with like sinsOf the zodiacal light or kissing cousins or crummy laws.I haven't been called a weak sister, and I don't mean to, that's plain.But the rummy tumblers, the bloody knuckles, I'll crawlFor them. I'll crawl. And the cutting up and the swear words—
This poem speaks in a voice that soothes pain with the pleasure of extravagant language but, unable or unwilling to name the source of pain directly, arrives at no closure--the poem doesn't so much end as stop, for now.. The speaker needs to keep talking because silence is unbearable, while the playfulness of linguistic invention comforts.