Saturday, January 27, 2007

Late (or Early) Poetry Feed

I woke up in the middle of the night from out of a deep sleep. It was weird, and I felt unsure of where I was. I think I had a dream that I was in a jail cell somewhere, that I was in holding...that I was hiding from someone or something. I can't really remember. But I just woke up, sat up and grabbed my journal and started writing. That's the first time in a very long time that I have immediately gone to my journal like that. It felt like I had never left.

I got this idea that I would find some poetry I wrote during high school in my freshman year and try to see how much I have grown (if any) as a writer through the years.

Here's the first poem that we ever had assigned. It was a memory poem. We were told that we had to create a memory poem based on the earliest childhood memory that we had. The only requirement was that at the end, the last stanza should leave the reader with an everlasting impression of what we remember that memory as. Basically, a summary. So here it is, final draft written October 19, 2000:


I hardly knew my Grandmother
before she died of cancer.
I was six at the time.
After she left, my only memory of her
was set in a small house with its
dark and muggy yellowed walls
that surrounded my frail five-year-old body.
My Grandmother stood in her living room,
the faded flowers in her nightgown
her white hair thinned,
and the coke-bottle glasses magnifying her eyes
that shone so joyously with life.
That afternoon,
I stood in her living room,
my chest heaving with hiccups.
My Grandmother accompanied me
with her own forced hiccups
between soft words of comfort.
A year later, when in her eyes I saw death,
her body lay limp in the hospital bed,
I could still hear her faint laughter,
droning with the monitors and machines around her.
Her soft hiccups remain with me today
as echoes in my heart.

This next poem was the first time I had ever written about the earliest abusive confrontation I had had with a boy. I was 12 1/2, almost 13. When I wrote it as a metaphor poem, it made it easier to get a lot of the things off of my chest. I felt like I could hide the truths and the emotions behind this screen of a metaphor. That way my personal experience was still left in the poem, but the metaphor helped allow someone else to read it and understand what it meant to me to go through that. This is the 11th draft.

The Snowstorm

His love was the snowstorm.
The first snowflakes fell,
pressing against my cheeks, eyelids, and
lips so softly
they swirled about my body,
blanketing me with warmth and adorning me
with crystal coool imprints of sweet nothings and
affectionate words.
The pleasantly chilled winds
brushed against my flesh tenderly.

Days went by, harsh winds arose,
pushed forcefully along my spine, whipped across my body,
leaving aches and small bruises
like fingerprints across my skin
as the snow continued to descend harder-
the signs of a treacherous blizzard
moving across the maps of my soul.

It has been a week,
the storm has progressed to sleet and hail,
my salty tears have turned to blood,
painting my cheeks dark crimson
stones pound hard against the blood covered landscape,
freezing the blades of my fragile spirit,
until they break apart.
Now the wind whistled rapidly, cursing as it spun
sputtering loud screeches in the dark.
Chunks of lies and shattered dreams
begin to pelt everything in their path
leaving eternal welts on the trees' limbs
and scars that could only be seen
after the frost melted.

Soon, the blizzard softens,
winds slowly die away
the sleet and hail fall distant and
snow is left to drift silently
upon the thawing ice,
ripples enveloping each flake
until every last one disappeared
yet my splattered blood
was bequeathed by the soil,
making it strong, rich and fertile
once again.

Thanks for reading!

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