Morgan Bazilian, Flows

Rosemary Bailey, Char 2



Gently she flows
over years
time for everything she says.

is her default
the raging waters
are an aside.

air pockets.

A river straining against
little snow.

The water is disappearing
complex interactions
negotiations of man
not changing the fundamentals.

Morgan Bazilian


Review by Sheldon Lee Compton

In this poem, Bazilian gives us four stanzas that are incredibly steeped in the nature of water—raging water, gurgling eddies, the river straining, and even water in the form of  “little snow.” And we have in that first stanza the unnamed “she” flowing over the years and days. It’s an effective building of imagery that leads to an ending stanza that could not be more different, and therefore more memorable. Bazilian moves away from nature, from water, and the language connected to that, to the stripped down word choices that would better match a theoretical scientist or mathematician. With a deft turn, we’re told “the water is disappearing” and are given “complex interactions” and “negotiations” and “fundamentals.” It’s a surprise and raises questions that don’t exactly require answers. Tickling the brain is poetry enough.


Review by Massimo Fantuzzi

     Complex interactions
     negotiations of man
     not changing the fundamentals.

Are we able to stop or at least temporarily suspend these interactions and negotiations to capture and express the fundamentals of things?

“Bracketing” refers to the process of standing apart from one’s usual ways of conceiving the world and the things in it, and attempting to intuit “the thing,” the object of interest, the phenomenon, directly in an unmediated way. Van Manen (1990) defines it as “suspending one’s various beliefs in the reality of the natural world in order to study the essential structures of the world.” The term “essential structures” of the world has a hard and substantifying feel to it, as if “the world” was understood as something “out there,” whose structures—another term implying reification—could somehow be discovered. This is not Van Manen’s intention at all. The “world” in this phenomenological discourse is the “experienced life world,” understood as a fluid overlaying of which the person finds her or himself as a part of all the familiar and recurrent experiences of body, time, space and social relations which make up a person’s felt world. The “structures” of such a “world” refer more to recurrent central themes within the experience: “what” makes the experience what it is, and the “world” in this sense “what’ it is.” To turn one’s mind back to these experiences in their raw unclassified or unanalysed state requires developing a way to bypass rather than extinguish the ordinary, habitual ways people develop to interpret and name their world. This is the function of bracketing (Peter Willis, The “Things Themselves” in Phenomenology, Indo-Pacific Journal of Phenomenology, 2001).


Review by Jared Pearce

The correspondence here between the water and the woman are wonderful: the she moves and works like the flowing river that strains against but cannot ultimately change what is essential in another.  But more than that, the she continues to strive—not for the argument, not even to change others (for the raging waters / are an aside)—because that’s what rivers do.  The removal of personality from the river is not what’s at stake in the poem, but the application of a force of nature—the depersonalization of the person—is what makes, for me, this poem so much fun.


Review by Sophia Vesely

For me, there is an immediate optimism with the first stanza. The concept of a woman flowing over time with “time for everything” leaves me with a deep sense of hope that captivates and encourages me to explore further. To be “lonesome” then, ironically, roots itself in this optimism, for it is the woman’s “default.” This leaves me with the understanding that lonesomeness can be a vessel for the fluidity of time. This gentle, passive “lonesome” that flows in time in a way that preserves it for everything is then starkly juxtaposed by the raging waters that are “Rambling/gurgling.”  Compared with “complex interactions” and the “negotiations of man,” the waters that “strain” leave an impression of chaos and confusion in a way that destroys any fluidity. The imagery and diction in this poem highlights wonderfully the juxtaposition of lonesomeness and intense interaction. Bazilian reveals a sense of peace and restfulness that can only be found in solitude and is destroyed in the company of others. She leaves the readers with the notion of “the fundamentals”—our fundamentals—that are rooted in the time we spend alone in introspection. With this poem, I cannot help but think of our own isolation and loneliness in this past year. Although daunting and unbearable at times, the lonesomeness we felt certainly allowed for the reflection of time in a way that made it fluid and put it into perspective as opposed to a figment of chaos and confusion.


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