Tuesday Poem 004B


Chevrolet Camaro

Chevrolet Camaro (Photo credit: stevelyon)

Those of you who are writers or poets or musicians or artists know what I mean when I say we work on our work, and we often wonder if it is EVER done. When I’m in the middle of working on a poem it bounces around in my head while I’m doing everything else unrelated to writing and suddenly I’ll have this word pop up and I have to go write it down because it’s EXACTLY the word I was looking for in the first place but couldn’t find it. Sometimes this type of brain pop happens when I can’t write down the word or the phrase and I’ll pray, “Please, please don’t let me forget this before I get to pen and paper.” And sometimes my prayers will be answered, sometimes I just plain old forget whatever I thought of.

In any case, a couple of weeks ago I posted the poem “The Precise Colour of Orange”. It was a draft poem, still I felt I could share it with you here. And since them, today specifically, there have been new words and phrases and ways of writing lines that have changed my original draft somewhat. I haven’t turned the poem on it’s head (which I find incredibly hard to do and I’m waiting for some guidance from an hard core poet friend of mine on this type of editing being good for me rather than feeling like death). So, here’s the new draft. I like it more than the first. Is it finished… nope. Will it ever be ‘finished’. I doubt it.

I hope you enjoy this work in progress.

The Precise Colour of Orange

We sit in the driveway, he slaps the steering wheel
of his Dad’s Camaro Z-28, punctuation marking
my small indiscretion, my attempt at last words.
In this way he teaches fear. Visceral, unexpected grip
where I don’t know what hit me, ‘til he’s long gone.

I make a point, slam the car door, run down the
road half blind and furious, hindsight like Lot’s wife
with similar salty consequences. By the time I’m back
I know I’ve settled. Lines I draw for hard hands make
way to soft. I don’t know what else to say. I could say

time, like dry ice white-hugging a concert stage, obscures bodies
and connections. I could say gravity holds its breath while
I hold tight against the chill. All I know is I am anchored
arms wrapping knees on cool sand, sun smoothing brow
of round topped Monashee, while Lesser Scaups gather Grebes

float out to meet the dark. I could say a florescent orange
mooring float is a garish substitute for unsung hues
of a sky set on fire.

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6 thoughts on “Tuesday Poem 004B

  1. Wow! ok…first can I say how courageous you’re being…I went through this a couple of times on my poetry blog and almost started ANOTHER blog so that I could experiment!

    Somehow, once I have the words on screen, I get this thing that everything’s got to be perfect so I can’t put up a poem unless it’s ‘finished’.

    it’s a deadly way of thinking…it often gets me stuck.

    i hate the thought that I haven’t put up ‘my best’ – but in there lies pride and ego and folly me thinks!

    So. I’ll take from your courage.

    The poem;

    Some things are better – it’s clearer for one, and I adore the ‘lot’s-wife-and-salty-image’ thing you’ve done.

    BUT….I like the last one better!

    It has something to do with ‘how….’ you come into the poem – sort of tentative, ‘how…’ the presentation of the images and the sentiment is like an invitation, ‘how…’ each stanza builds off the last but the whole being too delicate to be real, like not written on stone, but gauze, and ‘how…’ finally…’…a florescent orange mooring float is a garish substitute
    for unsung hues of a sky set on fire., ‘

    It’s hard to be clearer than that so you’ll have to sift through the spirit of the reply to find answers that are helpful to you.

    ‘I could say…’, has turned the following image into a sentiment – if you see what I mean.

    When I first read the last one, I knew there were gaps – I think it’s in the writting…specific words here in there…tense within the lines…like that, nothing too drastic in where you place the reader.

    I’m taking alot of crap – excuse the phrase – but I’m trying to ‘speak to the poem’ in the spirit that it’s calling from me.

    There is something you have learned in the re-write, perhaps something for your NEXT poem, but in placing yourself so clearly in the poem, the images seem imposed upon.

    I think you’ve GOT to keep lot’s wife, but return to the previous one and see what the poem was telling YOU.

    You don’t need to tell the poem what it should be doing.

    And perhaps in the return, the few tweaks for clarity will be there.

    Let me know ASAP if you feel what I’m on about, and thank you for letting me say.

    Also by they way, get more opinions! But more deeply, listen to yourself in the poems.

    • Hi Kenny, thanks for all you’ve given here to think and work with. And thank you for saying it all… I agree… ‘how’ is a soft, somewhat hesitant startup… but I did like it too… then questioned myself, listened to another voice rather than believing in the inspiration of the first. Thank you for giving me permission to listen more to myself and to the poem as well… I m not certain I’m there yet… my ability to listen to the poem, I mean… but I’m intrigued by what that might look like. Cheers, my poetic friend.

  2. I am a terrible self-editor as I’ve shared with you before. However, as you suggest, it is the healthiest thing writers can do. Someone once said that the truest writers are those most willing to slay their best work. We kill the good in conquest of the great. You’re well on that road, my dear!

  3. Pretty cool talent here. I agree – be ruthless in the editing. It’s like packing for a trip. Put every thing you want to take onto the bed, then put half of it back in the closet. (Thanks for visiting my blog)

    • Hi Susan… how lovely of you to stop by. I ‘found’ you via Lisa Merrick’s link on FB… read some of your posts… was touched by your journey. I love your packing analogy… I can visualize that quite clearly as I usually have the overweight bag at airport check-in :) Thanks for your thoughts.

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