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04 February 2009 @ 07:35 pm
To Write a Sestina
I want to write a sestina
That says something about the way
I was raised, the girl that I am
After 21 years on this planet, ravaged
But not wrecked by my own experiences. But
I can’t help but wonder whether it will suck.

Because aren’t we all (deep down) afraid that we suck?
I mean, really, what qualifies me to write a sestina
When I struggle to finish a sentence. (But
Everyone finds a way
To say the things they bottle up in their ravaged
Minds, eventually.) Am

I right in assuming that I am
Not the only person to face such uncertainty? Suck
Awhile at your own self esteem. Ravaged,
It will return to you, smaller than before. (Sestinas
Were designed for poets who can find their way
To the end of a thought, of a poem.) The size of my butt

Or the way I talk, walk—chalk these up to minor insecurities beside the terror but
-tressing my writing. The mind-numbing fear that I am
Destined to crave praise for putting words together, mixing them up in ways
That don’t suck,
Might sustain me for the rest of my life. Sestinas
Don’t come easily. End stanza four and I am ravaged

By the demands of shaping this poem. Ravaged
Bolstered by the possibility that I might complete this sestina
By bedtime. I am
Not going to let fear suck
Away at me forever. There are ways

To confront yourself. There are ways
To emerge at the other end, unravaged—
Alive, at least, or so I’m told. Suck
-ing In breaths that sting. No buts,
Only a “Yes, I am
A poet, or one day will be.” (This sestina

Is not just a sestina. It ravaged
A path through my psyche.) Way out on the edges of buts
And can’ts I am hopeful that I made it out alive. And that I don’t (completely) suck.

Concrit more than welcome.
My father's car smelled like:
City air, worn leather, sticks of gum and
Saturday mornings—driving to Bethesda

In that old blue civic. And we would
Listen to "Your Money Matters."
That's what my father's car smelled like.

I was eleven. My heart exploded when
He dragged us away from family, friends, from our
Saturday mornings—driving to Bethesda.

We learned to fight. We were too
Alike, Mom said and it was every other word—a screaming match.
That's what my father's car smelled like

Until it stopped. He left mid-mid-life
Crisis for someone else. Four states away from our
Saturday mornings—driving to Bethesda.

And it was over—the fighting, shouting—we
Became polite facsimiles of former selves.
My father's car doesn't smell like
Saturday mornings—driving to Bethesda.

Concrit welcome, as always.
11 July 2008 @ 02:41 pm
You Will See Blue Again Tomorrow
We'll start with this: a house. This is where Jane lives.
What is art about?Collapse )
01 May 2008 @ 09:27 pm
London Crawling
I build saints out of my isolation
and the damp soil that smells of summer
soon arriving (tail-lights departing),
enjoy the swell of sticky pride within my ribs
as I navigate these streets turned familiar,
the weight of education against my hip.

Here, my toes trace the paths of poets
and novelists who trod these streets, touched
these posts. Built sonnets in this
square where life spins on.

Seventy-eight days and I've read
twenty shining books that span this city,
fingered pages as the bus pushed past Euston at
rush hour and gasped in their words.
Geography peels the compass needle back
into days and weeks and generations
gone sour on the kitchen counter.

My faith is bound in Bloomsbury
while I tower saturated sugar cubes into
another mug of tea.
The night curls above our
frosted skylight at three AM
to watch the turn of the spoon
in my hand.

- 5/1/08
18 April 2008 @ 01:18 am
Night Noises.

Dorothy’s voice down the hall,
through my door,
in my ear. Miranda’s anxiety warms the night
around here and Dad, next door,
his snores the white noise I learn to sleep by. These
night noises a soundtrack and the
leaky faucet dripping harmony, a little

This house is a nightmare
infested with darkness like termites
or ghosts. Big empty rooms with dark corners
and closets and lights that glow in the night.
Eyes at the window where nightmares breathe and lie
in wait.

These new nooks that fill with sound:
the creaky hinges on the laundry chute,
the shudder of the glass panes above my bed
the gasp of water in the bath.

Everything’s expanded in this house with
cold floors and big windows, with space for
the cowardly lion, curled over my sister’s ruby-slippered feet,
and the scarecrow and the tin man, moving into the spare room
with Glinda.

There’s no place like home.