Pablo Medina

The Fulcrum

Eureka! Eureka!

ONE DAY AFTER I had been writing prose for months, the thought occurred to me that my poet-self would die if I did not write a poem. I moved away from the computer and sat with notebook and pen. What came out was a six-line piece in Spanish. I tried again a few hours later and came up with another six-line poem, this time in English. Over the next few days, I forgot all about prose and wrote what I eventually called fulcrums at a furious pace, in both languages. At times I was totally unaware of what tongue I was using, so effective the form, so unencumbered by the preconceptions that we bring to the writing of poems. The fulcrum was not only keeping my poet-self alive in both languages, but also making it leap with excitement out of the water of its lethargy.

The fulcrum — or fulcro in Spanish — is essentially a six-line poem divided into couplets with a syntactic/semantic shift in the middle stanza. The structure is reminiscent of the Taoist hexagram. It is a meeting of chance and form, spontaneity and shape, movement and stasis. It combines the dialectic of the sonnet with the imagistic power of the haiku, but is free of either tradition, its primary intent being the shaping of language and silence into a point of balance floating in the ocean of time. —Roosevelt, New Jersey, July 12, 1997