Review of Alexandra Naughton Poem “My Posey Taste Like”

Screen Shot 2016-04-25 at 2.05.22 PM

Alexandra Naughton – “My Posey Tastes Like”

“my posey taste like coca cola. my stanzas snide like american thighs. i open up for a palm that’s colder. ashes fly like american skies.

“honey’s in the bathtub singing like she’s in a movie. dressing up my eyes. honey’s in the bathtub singing and it’s making me crazy. i just want to feel alive

“or like I know what this is.” – Alexandra Naughton, “My Posey Tastes Like”

I tried to analyze the poem above by Alexandra Naughton as follows. I read the poem and applied the denotations found in various sources, like dictionaries, mainly focusing on The Urban Dictionary (http://www.urbandictionary.com/) given Naughton’s contemporary meaning. Words I never knew were so defined, I learned about through The Urban Dictionary and in conversation with Naughton.

While I have shown Ms. Naughton the following interpretations, she said she did not like them.

I have included her poem above, so you can draw your own conclusions. But, where I once believed that poems were separate entities, whose secrets could be revealed through denotation and connotation, Naughton and I were in conflict about this particular poem’s meaning. As a poet myself, I have simply left interpretation to others because I have never felt that I wrote poetry to tell anything but what I felt. The words were never mine, for example. They always came to me either as the words themselves or as the emotion within which words seemed to have been born. Still, when I go back, I have clear ideas as to what the poems mean, but then again, I do not presume to know what they mean to others. I just hope that they are as powerfully felt as when I felt them.

In the poem “My Posey Tastes Like” (also the name of the book) Alexandra Naughton is talking about the narrator’s behavior, which is affected or attempting to impress others, to gain something from them, whether love, attention, approval, respect, or some other personal reason. It matches the emotion or mood of Lana Del Rey’s music and specifically relates to the persona inherent in Del Rey’s “Born to Die:” “[or] partying [that] is fueled by a knowing sadness, and sung in that laconic, hypnotic voice, which ultimately saves this thoroughly dissolute, feminist nightmare of a record for the romantics among us”.- Empire, Kitty (January 29, 2012). “Lana Del Rey: Born to Die – Review”. The Observer

The narrator/persona is personifying the character affected or inherent in the actor-singer Lana Del Rey, who said, “People weren’t taking me seriously, so I lowered my voice believing that it would help me stand out. Now I sing quite low… Well, for a female anyway.” – Copsey, Robert (November 23, 2011. “Lana Del Rey: ‘People didn’t take me seriously with a high voice’”. Digital Spy.

In the lyrics of “Born to Die,” there is a sense of uncertainty and co-dependency in the persona in Lana Del Rey’s song “Born to Die.” The persona wants her lover to love her and want her exclusively. The persona feels alone, and wants to know that if she tells her honey that he is hers then will this make her feel at home? She wants to be the kind of girl he likes and will accommodate him. The persona asks her man to choose his words carefully. It has been said that the song speaks of a doomed relationship. (See: Lana Del Rey: “Born to Die” on Wikipedia.)

This behavior or attention-getting in the song matches the poem, where the persona’s “posey” tastes like cola — a vanilla, cinnamon, with trace amounts of orange, lime, and lemon and spices such as nutmeg and serves as a good example of how to advertise a product, first marketed as medicine, curing headaches, to revive and sustain, which seeks to repeat business and to create brand loyalty. Today Coca-Cola is one of the most visible companies thanks to a successful ad campaign. (See: Wikipedia)

The narrator’s stanzas exist in a derogatory or mockingly indirect way. They are sexy, thick, full-bodied due to diet and culture.

The narrator opens her thighs (exposing her pussy) for a person, who is heartless and absent emotionally. Here, the event of great consequence to very few will work in an acceptable way, and take place in reality.

Like America, which could be construed as mindless, stereotyping, bigoted, ignorant, and could be related to what the American government ends up doing or could be friendly and intelligent is something, in this case, the skies are the only thing known to science that has been made more beautiful by pollution.

So, the girl is in the bathtub singing, like she is in a movie. She is putting eye makeup on that is more dramatic for night time, but tires often of the “smokey eye” style, and it makes her crazy. She just wants to feel alive or certain about what kind of relationship she is having, but in her uncertainty and compromise, we sense the relationship is doomed. Power cannot be wielded, where there is no interest.

Advertisements

3 comments

  1. From what I have seen till now, I think you carefully try to provide solid arguments for any poem interpretation. There is not just one possibility to understand a poem. Your interpretation does not have to be the same as the author’s. That is precisely what T.S.Eliot defends in The Frontiers of Criticism, p.15: “The first danger is that of assuming that there must be just one interpretation of the poem as a whole, that must be right.”, and: “…the meaning of the poem is not exhausted by any explanation, for the meaning is what the poem means to different sensitive readers.”

    I like this: “As a poet myself, I have simply left interpretation to others because I have never felt that I wrote poetry to tell anything but what I felt.” And this: “I do not presume to know what they mean to others. I just hope that they are as powerfully felt as when I felt them.”

    • I like that. I am glad I allow others their interpretations. And then once everyone has provided input we can choose which best reflects what the poem means to us. There was a video interview of the The New Yorker cover editor that kind of relays this process of getting to the truth. We often don’t have the words and someone else’s triggers them.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s