Below you will find the first poetry exercise I did at university. Embarrassing, yes. But it is also proof that I’ve moved on – grown a lot as a writer. We were instructed to take our favorite book (I was 18, I didn’t really have a great reader record at this point) and pull lines to build a poem. At the time I was reading a collection of poetry called ‘Paint Me Like I Am’ – a compilation of work by inner-city high school students. I was also reading The Woman In the Dunes by Kobo Abe for my Buddhism and Literature class (Awesome course!).
How She Bleeds
The desert is full of women,
Women go to bleed tints of roses and smoke
Growing like pine trees, such graceful execution
Fingers stink like melted gold,
Words translating in their hands
Arms twisting with bone and ropy muscle
Primal screams, “The war is real”
Unforgiving life, such innumerable causalities.
The woodcutter’s daughter
Hearts of hammers, diamonds of the night
Sorrow strung from their faces
Creaking crutches and dead souls
The right to live
A symphony of lively spirits
Swirling tide pools in a sunken sea
The friendliest god, but this is not your city
The seams of your coat
Beige pantsuit, constant vigil
Roots down to the deepest places in your heart
Paint me like I am
What you are shrieks so loudly
I cannot hear what you say
Just paint me like I am
an acre behind and in front
that Daddy taught me to drive on the John Deere.
We rung-round the fat bottom branches,
heads avoiding headaches.
The rails lay two large leaps from the chain link,
beyond the sticky Pines;
lay pennies out—kinked keepsakes,
next to a week-old possum ribcage.
I grew up black-footed; trampoline tinged toes—
Blackfoot Indian, like Paw, except self-made.
Summer screened porch nights and tales
of the Jabberwocky slide me under the sheets,
too scared to sleep,
and the Cicada’s screaming lullabies.
I grew up blanketed by beads,
swallowed by flaking chains
of plastic jewelry that rained
off street parade floats.
That year Chris got ashes in his eye
and Mama couldn’t get out of the crowd quick enough.
Daddy‘s shoulders like a pedestal
I’d never be able to stand on any other time;
fingers spread to ring them, drape them
like medals around my neck.
I grew up saving crawfish
from Styrofoam cases, running
them to a dry ditch, thinking they were free.
I remember the spices and screams
of those that didn’t make it.
Sneaking thirds of the King Cake sure I’d find the baby first.
Johnny-Lynn soaking me in OFF!
Nona painting me into a fairy.
The powdered beignets so light and sweet in my hands.
Look for “Abita Springs” in Synaesthesia Magazine‘s forthcoming ‘Cities’ issue.
Number 2 in a series of poems for my experimental dissertation submission.
take your time
wait, no mind the time
give it time
don’t mind the time
give your mind the time
mind the mind
I stack postcards on my desk, already addressed to you. The fronts are prints of book covers published by Penguin. The covers are intentionally chosen. I stack postcards on my desk, collect lines from writers I wish to be. The postman carelessly covered part of a line with the stamp. It’s a Dahl quote. Please say you still get the meaning. It costs 88p to send a postcard that doesn’t leave much room for writing. I don’t sign them because I know you know it’s me. I fill red corner postboxes with cardstock bits of myself, sending all I can from here, for now. When I arrive I’ll stand next to the stack, just able to glance over the top. Will you see the resemblance of the me on the page and the tangible, fleshy me?