28 May 2010

Soliciting Your Opinion Yet Again

The portfolio I'm working on for my creative writing class has to include poetry, which I am much less comfortable with than prose. Prose I know where I stand whereas, with poetry, I am on much less certain ground. So, here are eight poems I've written in class - let me know which ones you like the best. The poems are linked below.

The Dilemma
Not old, not brand new
Gently used is how I would say it
if I were to put an ad on Craigslist or eBay
or in the long-forgotten penny saver.
Just gently used red shoes.
They might do for me
or they might pinch at the toe
the size being not quite right.
But it would be a pity to let them go.
They are only gently used, too happy a shoe
to be left on the shelf in dire days
too structured a shoe for
arthritic and swollen feet.

Double Delight
I have started to forget the names.
Some I remember,
like Rio Samba and St. Patrick’s Day
which was green, but had no smell.
Rio Samba smelled slightly spicy, like mango salsa
on a hot day.
There was a pink and white one that smelled like cotton candy.
A smell intensified by heat
when warmed by the sun reflecting off the brick
of the house.
Gemini, maybe it was called, like the twins;
a double threat of beauty and smell.
Another smelled like pepper, in a way that reminded
one of home-cooked meals
rather than the grinders found in restaurants.
But the best, the one that outshone them all,
smelt of happiness and joy.
A smell you can’t place but know instinctively as part
of the good days.
That is the smell I remember, the rose I keep in my memory
until I have a yard of my own.
That is the rose of better days, of times before tears
of summers spent together
when worries didn’t mute the sunshine.
That is the smell I’ll miss if I ever drive past the old house again.

Blood Loss
Starting over and over, repeatedly fighting vampires until I win;
rewinding the nightmare to the beginning should I lose.
Sleep is no longer a refuge
as the battles of the day resume in the subconscious.

It isn’t quite the same, there is no loss of life in day.
Only the haunting exhaustion of burdens carried far too long
without respite.
Losing myself to the demands of the hour, the day, the week.

But only in the night does my subconscious fight back,
refusing to let me become a victim of the blood-letters
refusing to lose.
I make my last stand in my subconscious and hope it bleeds through to day.

The Spectre of Social Networking
After all this time apart
Between years of school and
Careers changed with circumstance a
Decade of differences
Exacting its revenge
Flows between us
Gives no one a
Hint that we ever knew anything
Interesting about one another now
Just friends on Facebook
Knowing nothing but what is written in the occasional status update
Like how work or school goes
Maybe who we have befriended
Nothing that speaks
Of how you once
Played a James Taylor song just for me to
Quiet all my apprehension
Risen from being thousands of miles from my
Sick mother while I
Tried to write an essay reflecting my
Understanding of how Parliamentary powers have changed over the
Vast centuries between Henry VIII and Edward VIII
When you could strike my nerves like a
Xylophone and you never knew how
You filled my thoughts and dreams – all this
Zipped up in a duffel bag shoved under my bed

10:41 on a Sunday Night
I wish I could call a time out on life
and catch up on all the things I need to do
and all the sleep I've missed
                                                in the last four years

It has been four years
of weddings
the endings and the starting-overs that punctuate life

but my life has not had punctuation
no periods
no semi-colons
not even one little comma
                                                in the last four years
just one
long run-on sentence in which I am neither
the subject nor the verb
                                    not even the direct object

Simply the space after each word that links
one to another providing structure
and rhythm

The Value of Feminism
They sell bikinis at the GAP
for two year-olds

and kindergarten girls shop
for miniskirts and spaghetti-strap camisoles

while ten year-olds watch High School Musical II

and discuss the various merits
of curled hair versus straight

their older sisters in the next bedroom over
perfecting the application of mascara

planning outfits from which various pieces can be removed
after passing parental inspection

because someone decided that being sexy
was the only acceptable expression

of the feminine power that once stood
at the pinnacle of creation

There Is Always a Base Note of Urine – a Decade in Urbanity 
London smells mostly of dew and garbage
on early Sunday mornings
with a tinge of urine
if you are up and out the door before 8 am
and take a deep breath
as you walk to the tube station
when the sky is still grey
matching the sidewalk

DC is more humid and hot
the garbage collectors keep the garbage smell at bay
so it is just the smell of heat and urine
as you sweat under the sun
and endure the heat index of 115
and the metro station appears like an air-conditioned oasis
tempting you to ride it for just one block
forgetting to mention the train is like a sardine can without A/C

Even Salt Lake City
with its inhabitants’ delusions of utopia
hints in its evening breeze
of an underground metropolis of homeless
entering the parks at dusk and relieving themselves
on the meticulously manicured expanses
on which so many children so recently played
when the smell was hidden by collective will

I imagine when I get to Paris or Athens
Singapore or Sydney
perhaps even as far as Beijing
that as I’m astounded by the beauty
the grandeur
the individuality of each metropolis
I will find the familiar scent of urban life underneath
whatever exotic top note dominates the city

35 Euros Well Spent
Orange and blue
Red and grey
Yellow and purple
Carry force across the crowded gallery
Enough to block out the name
The famous name
Of Yeats

Not the Yeats, the other one
The brother who painted like the father
The brother whose brush strokes contained power and rage
Thought and vision same as
The words and rhythms
Of the Irish poet
Even Americans have heard of

These Men of Destiny
Hands in pockets
Confident that the purple ocean and the yellow land
The blue-grey sky
And the red-orange rocks
Are theirs and no one else’s

They are not the ones
Slouching towards Bethlehem
They are the ones
Filled with confidence
They are the centre that holds
Something you can hang on your wall
To remind you

That they exist
Those men of destiny
That believe in themselves
And believe in you
So that you have no choice
But to believe it yourself
As you rush out the door at the start of another day


lathorpe62 said...

I like the first one.

Parker said...

Ok, well, I like all of these, in different ways. Probably not helpful, so I will narrow it down to Dilemma, 10:41, and 35 Euros.

The Ringmaster said...

Dilemma, Double Delight and 10:41.
You are an amazing woman!

Jenny said...

My favorite was Double Delight and then 10:41.

Katie said...

Dilema, Double Delight (I could smell the rose garden), and 10:41 are my favorites. (And clearly you are a talented poet!)

esperanza said...

L-O-V-E these! ESP. the social networking and the 10:41 one. I think you have a huge talent for poetry! I felt something when I read these poems.

Christy Lou said...

Loved 10:41 - my kind of poem :) Looks like everyone agrees too!