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What to Say–Day Fifteen #OctPoWriMo October 15, 2017

October 15, 2017

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What to Say (Version 1)

Sometimes when I write a poem
it feels I am pulling my own entrails
out through my pen

Sometimes I am Loki or Robin Goodfellow
dancing through a meadow to discover
where I can stir up the most mischief

Sometimes I prepare compost
pick peel of banana, my own skin
crush the eggshells of hope in my palm
pulverize them with coffee grounds in today’s damp filter
anticipate sweet soil, nurtured green tendrils
of a perfect poem

But then, without warning,
banana peel, coffee grounds
crusted shells, putrid but unaltered
vomit from my pen
and before I can stuff them back to ripen
you say, “your poem reached my rawness.”

Sometimes when I write a poem
pain and tears exhaust me
and as I lie face down, empty
my poem peers up
complete on the page
crumpled and red
from when I used it
to staunch the blood

But always, if you type, “Good poem”
or “I liked this part.”
I feel a fraud, an impotent imposter
and yearn to reply,
“Oh, this old dress?”

Then I stop
read your words again
restrain excuses
that fly from brain to flighty fingers
smile to myself
and just type

thank you

 

What to Say (Version 2)

Sometimes when you write a poem
it feels you are pulling your own entrails
out through your pen

Sometimes you are Loki or Robin Goodfellow
dancing through a meadow to discover
where you can stir up the most mischief

Sometimes you prepare compost
pick peel of banana, your own skin
crush the eggshells of hope in your palm
pulverize them with coffee grounds in today’s damp filter
anticipate sweet soil, nurtured green tendrils
of a perfect poem

But then, without warning,
banana peel, coffee grounds
crusted shells, putrid but unaltered
vomit from your pen,
and before you can stuff them back to ripen
someone says, “your poem reached my rawness.”

Sometimes when you write a poem
pain and tears exhaust you
but as you lie face down, empty
your poem peers up
complete on its page
crumpled and red
from when you used it
to staunch the blood

Then, if someone says, “I like your poem”
do you feel a fraud, an impotent imposter
and yearn to reply
“Oh, this old dress?”

Stop

Read your words again
restrain the excuses that fly
from brain to flighty fingers
smile to yourself
and just say

“thank you”

 

 

8 Comments
  1. Yes, it’s amazing how what we pull from our depths — or just jot down on a whim touches others. Love your writing, Barb. This line struck me today:
    “and before I can stuff them back to ripen
    you say, “your poem reached my rawness.””

    Thanks so much. xoA

  2. Carrie Danielson permalink

    Ok this one is genius. This daily poetry thing is bringing amazing results. Superb. You are going to have a chapbook at the end!

  3. I dreamed about this poem last night and realized it should be second person, so I made the changes.

  4. I absolutely loved this poem – fantastic – completely agree that this is genius. Thank you!

  5. Terry Redman permalink

    this is raw power. thank you for sharing.

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