poetry

A year (or so) in the making / Valentine’s Day

I’ve been focusing on theatre and haven’t really written a poem in quite some time. The following has been sitting in my notebook for nearly a year. Every so often I cross out a word and replace it with another. Sometimes the meaning grows, other times it fizzles away.

It’s a love poem, I think. It’s about how I find something as simple as his scent to be the most intoxicating thing about him. Eyes shut I could tell if he enters a room just by the way my body reacts to his space, his smell. So today being Valentine’s day I thought I should put an end to umming and aahing and just type it. Because, you know, typing a poem is finishing it. Hitting publish on a blog post is saying, “I’m done.”

So Ben. I’m done. And this one’s for you…

My husband’s ears smell erotic,
his fragrance dances around me.
No longer the awkward staccato
of a school disco.
Now our pheromones collide,
and ignite,
swaying together,
they have slowed to
the languishing legato
of a couple
steeped
in their own intimacy.

It’s not enough. Poems, like love stories never really finish. They continue long into the night, away from the reader/audience to be enjoyed privately by the (profound) effect they may have on us.

Happy Valentine’s Day.

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National Poetry Day

The minute I heard my first love story,
I started looking for you, not knowing
how blind that was.
 
Lovers don’t finally meet somewhere,

they’re in each other all along.

You’ll wait a long, long time for anything much
To happen in heaven beyond the floats of cloud
And the Northern Lights that run like tingling nerves.
The sun and moon get crossed, but they never touch,
Nor strike out fire from each other nor crash out loud.
The planets seem to interfere in their curves –
But nothing ever happens, no harm is done.
We may as well go patiently on with our life,
And look elsewhere than to stars and moon and sun
For the shocks and changes we need to keep us sane.
It is true the longest drout will end in rain,
The longest peace in China will end in strife.
Still it wouldn’t reward the watcher to stay awake
In hopes of seeing the calm of heaven break
On his particular time and personal sight.
That calm seems certainly safe to last to-night.

Todo lo que quise yo,
tuve que dejarlo lejos,
siempre tengo que escaparme
y abandonar lo que quiero.
Yo soy el buque fantasma,
que no puedo anclar en puerto,
ando buscando refugio
en retratos y en espejos,
en cartas apolilladas
y en perfumados recuerdos.

I celebrate recent occurrences with three of my favourite poems.

Antiques

Antiques

I sit at my new writing desk, very still
Meditating upon the literary adventures
I am about to embark on.

My fingertips, wearied by a day of housework,
Unfit from lack of exercise and unaccustomed
To this grand, yet delicate form
Shyly approach the smooth contours of my new toy.

I am a child on Christmas day
Hiding behind the tree
Lingering in anticipation
That the next gift may be for me.
Equally hesitant and fearful.

I know not the greedy pleasure of
Attacking with zealous joy
As there is no bow to untie
No card to read
No thanks to proclaim
Only unequivocal timidness
That this century old piece of furniture
Holds more wit, more charm
More pazazz than I could ever muster.

The wood itself whispers
A hundred stories of its previous owners,
Taunting me with its untold secrets
Of illicit Victorian trysts.
The leather upon which my hand rests
Is pock-marked with impressions-
Calligraphy tattooed love letters.

I bend my head closer to hear
And as my ear touches down
It is greeted with nothing but the sound
Of my own heartbeat,
Reverberating,
Wrenching in sympathy
Fearfully excited of the many sleepless
Nights that are yet to come.

Once my brain starts working, there’s really no stopping it.

The room at my parents’ house is finally coming together. For 6 months I’ve been living here, surrounded by books and papers that need stacking and filing. On my walls are photographs that no longer represent the person I have become. I can tell they are disastrously old as the blu-tack has not only melted through the corners and given them a greasy feel but also stained my walls. Today I bought a desk, and two book units. The units will be delivered tomorrow, but I was so excited to finally get my life in order that I hurled myself into the task of arranging, re-arranging, categorising and filing. I’ve led myself to believe that the state of my bedroom and the haphazard way that I conduct my life are intrinsically intertwined. I can’t progress, I can’t fulfill my to-do list, because I have no idea where anything is.

But now I have my desk and now I write…lest I completely forget what that feels like.

someone like you

I hear Adele sing so longingly to her ex and realise that I have nothing but disdain for mine. I wasted so much time, sleepwalking through a relationship and it was only when I finally awoke, opened my eyes and encountered the Manhattan skyline did I understand just how long I had been snoozing on my own life. I once created a piece of theatre with a group of wonderful ladies. My contribution was:

“New York pulled me into the woman I am today”

This isn’t about to be another blog post on how much I love and miss NYC (although I do, greatly) it’s more of a reflection upon hearing someone talk with so much nostalgia about someone that got away.


I wasn’t me with you.
I know that seems ridiculous to say,
but it’s so true.

You were under my thumb,
but it’s I who was pressed,
moulded

restricted into thinking that I
could not exist in my entirety
without your fingerprints
marking every inch of me.

I can’t finish it because I’m not quite sure what I want to say. I just feel release tonight in a way that is satisfying. I’m not bitter or resentful. Merely grateful that things have transpired this way. It may not be perfect, it’s definitely twisted, but it feels right.

words words words

I have a skill-
to manipulate.
This is as much about language
as it is love.
Watch me as I
contort my mouth,
construct and constrain
my airways to release sounds
that resemble ordinary words
but signify thickly woven
reams of meaning to
lasso you in.

I bob, weave, surf
through a sea of speechlessness
on a board of
witty anecdotes-
my intense vocabulary
is my Excalibur
with which I jab, cut and stab
away the outer layers
of your emotional protection.

It’s not what I say
but that I say it, oh so well
whispering over the delicate skin
surrounding that part of you
that even I can not name.
Can you feel my lips as they sound out
oohs and aaahs over your tongue?
Pluck, tease, twist your heart strings
using only my linguistic prowess?

I command your attention.
This is more than us.
Our depth intertwined with
Nouns and verbs.
Your adjectives embrace my fingers,
Driving forward my manipulation
Of our moments.

Our history objectified
Simplified, into a string
Of grammatical points
Arching high
and then soaring towards a
plateau of temptation
from which I weasel away
using only?

That’s right,
my words.

It’s been a very long time since I have been overcome with inspiration. I raced home from the park in order to get this down. The washing still sits in the dryer, waiting for me to finish, for my brain to stop spewing forth more words. The coffee sits in the microwave where I set it to heat, afraid that if I didn’t record this wave of passing emotion, then I would lose it all together. That’s the constant battle…not being able to capture the energy, the driving force of my very being. I let things slide, it’s part of my easy going nature, but it’s also the thing I fear the most. Being left with nothing; a blank page.

I think when I was writing this, I was taking into the consideration the large amount of spoken word that I’ve been listening to recently. I enjoy rhythm and slow flow. I like hearing poetry sound like music and I’m hoping that I managed to incorporate that into this piece. It’s hard for a post-modern poet to move into the realm of form. Not that this has much…but I’m trying to write, in whichever way it comes.