I'm in the Poetry Workshop this semester. We've met five times so far. I've written four poems for class. These are three of them.
this is a trying-to-be-narrative poem, in couplets. i wrote it on sunday, february 14. valentines.
Scars (for mom)
i live in an old house, with an old door.
beveled glass in a heavy wooden frame.
we have a doorbell. two of them really.
one on the front door, one on the back.
they sound slightly different, but it confuses the dog,
who runs back and forth between them, barking.
sometimes though, people will knock
instead of ringing. who knows why.
they usually knock on the glass.
it makes a clattering, rapping sound.
knocking on wood sounds hollow,
too quiet. i'm tempted to knock on glass too.
but i don't. my mother's hand is always there
on my wrist. her voice in my head.
Don't Bang On Glass. her sweater was blue,
blue like her eyes and mine. she pushed up the sleeve.
Don't bang on glass. I know it seems strong.
But it can break, and you can hurt yourself.
I don't want to scare you, but see these scars?
they crawl up her arm like white worms
burrowing under her skin. Don't bang on glass.
she pulls her sleeve back down.
When I was young, younger than you,
I fell through a glass door. My parents were out.
We had a babysitter. It was just me and Aunt Leni;
Aunt Sarah wasn't born yet. She locked me out
on our porch. I was so mad, she was on the other side
laughing and teasing. And I was banging on the glass door.
She felt really bad afterwards. My arm was bleeding.
The babysitter had to drive me to the doctor.
We were stopped in traffic and my dad, grandpa, pulled up
beside us. He didn't know what was going on.
But he came with us to the doctor. I had to get lots of stitches.
The cuts were just as big as they are now,
but my arms were so much smaller, do you know what I mean?
I hated the way the scars looked. I thought they were ugly.
I'm used to them now. But I don't want you to bang on glass.
It hurt a lot, and I don't want you to get hurt, okay?
her eye-blue sleeve was glass; i could see right through it.
see the secret scars she wore everyday.
my eyes are blue in the glass door. the color of my mother's eyes.
i look through them, out at the world. i knock only on wood.
I wrote this poem on Sunday, February 7th. It was supposed to be about joy in love, and use rhyming couplets. I don't usually rhyme my poems, so it was an interesting exercise for me.
Have you been cold enough to sleep in snow?
They say wind sings lullabies, your blood flow
slows, your eyelids drowse like sleep or passion
and the snow cuddles you like a cushion.
And when it begins to snow, I wonder -
will it stick? Will I disappear under
down so thick it will wash away my past?
How do you ever know if it will last?
Sometimes I think it snows like redemption -
snows lumps in throats, jaw and eyelids clenching
back tears. Or it snows like smoke, like steam. It
snows but sometimes doesn't even mean it.
Or else it snows, melts away, starts again,
snowing like thickening mist or grated rain.
I'm no meteorologist; I don't
read falling snow like tea leaves, and I won't
ever know whether it will stick. But still,
when flakes begin to fall, or fly, I will
too. I'll reach out my fingers and my tongue,
and as they kiss I'll squint into the sun,
the smudged charcoal sky - into the snowing.
Afterwards, my skin still flushed and glowing,
naked in the kitchen, my clothes melt to
puddles while numb legs lose pricklies all too
quickly in flannel pajamas. It still
snows outside; I watch at the window sill.
And with words instead of fingers I reach
to catch it on my tongue and sleep in speech.
This poem I wrote in response to an assignment on imagism. I tried to take emotion and narration out of the poem and describe purely things. We were also supposed to experiment with initial repetition. So I did.
the moments after she told me you were dead
i sit on the toilet for long minutes
it is the institutional kind with a split lip and no lid
i sit and my butt grows cold against the seat
i see a sign on the stall door
that says not to flush tampons, it's a septic system
i see the tiles are yellow rectangles, white between
i feel the last time i hugged you
your leather jacket's cool squeak against my cheek
i feel your warmth, tunnel my arms inside it
i stand up and flush from habit
the clear water swirling away, where does it go? if
i stand in the mirror, can you see you in my eyes?