jakebe: (Default)
"The Unfinished Meal" was mostly all right, though Peregrine was right: the mixed metaphors are doing me no favors here. I think the image of a tiny man mining giant bits of word-food was planted by Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs. Yes, the movie actually is that weird. Despite that, I actually kind of liked the poem at first glance, and I'll definitely come back to it to see if I can tighten the writing.

We Love You Back )

Easter Sunday )
jakebe: (Poetry)
I actually had written most of "Commute" in my head on March 31st, and tried to remember it so I could write it down yesterday. The ending was the trickiest part; I had this idea on how to take the observation and tie it into a 'statement' a bit more eloquently, but I forgot that part. So it came off kind of preachy and lame. "Look at you sheeple. You laugh because I'm different. I laugh because you're all the same!" Ugh.

If I can remember it the first thing I'll do is change the feel of the poem. I think I might have a better handle on it once it's been in a drawer for the rest of the spring.

Anyway, here's "The Unfinished Meal":

Warning: Poetry. )
jakebe: (Default)
In celebration of National Poetry Writing Month, I'll be writing a poem a day for the month of April. If you're interested in joining a community of poets who are doing the same thing, feel free to come to [livejournal.com profile] napoewrimo and join us!

Commute )

I'll let the poem sit for the day and post my thoughts about it the day afterwards.
jakebe: (Default)
The Third Person

The last time he liked anything
it was a root beer float he made
from three scoops of vanilla ice cream
and a frosted glass,
and some gourmet bottle of the stuff
that boasted of roots that had come
all the way from Madagascar.
He had been thinking about it on the drive home, and,
after the dog had been fed,
and the mail had been attended to,
and his clothes had been put away,
he opened, took, opened, poured, and carried it,
so cold it stuck to his fingers,
and ate it with a spoon in his backyard.
It was fall, and the weather had gotten too cold
for this sort of thing but damned if he didn't
eat most of it, and drink the rest,
and licked what was left
while the smell of rain and dirt and dead leaves
were around him.
He could smell his own sweat
and the leather on his boots
and the stale tobacco in his right shirt pocket
and his dog, who farted,
and regarded him with an apologetic look.

It's hard to get worked up about much, he finds;
the job's a job, and his life isn't much,
and his dog doesn't do much besides eat and sleep
and shit where he's not supposed to
but every once in a while, he sits in his yard
with a glass of tea, or of whiskey, or of soda,
and he remembers that frosted mug, and he can't see
a single thing that's wrong with the world.
jakebe: (Poetry)
I had to wrestle with this one for a little bit, and it's still not quite where I'd like it to be. I'll be spending the summer fine-tuning most of these I think -- they're not bad enough to scrap completely, but they're not good enough not to need some massive retooling, either.

It occurs to me I need a better poetry icon. :)


The Persistence of History

Like most of you,
I desperately wanted a culture that wasn't mine.
There was nothing interesting
in the old spirituals and tales of struggle
endured by my parent's generation,
nothing profound in the garbage
that littered the streets of my neighborhood
blasting bass into the night
in a never-ending turf war with the crickets.
This was not home for me. Never had been.

But unlike you,
my options for co-opting were limited.
I could not disguise my hair or my nose or my lips
I couldn't hide other cultures in my skin
I couldn't pass off the songs I heard on holidays as my ancestry
but I tried.
I told people that my forebears were Mongols
who somehow learned to cross the equator
and ended up in an arid land, eating insects and getting water
from songs that live under the ground.
People found this improbable;
they could see the lines of entirely different continents
chiseled into me, they knew what I was running from.
I only stopped when I knew they wouldn't let me get anywhere with it,

but to this day, when I hear
the muffled beats of my East coast memory
driving down the street
I have to sit down
and imagine
that they were just strangers shouting their identities
to anyone who would listen
instead of my brothers chasing me down,
calling me home.
jakebe: (Default)
Not a big fan of this poem, though I do like the point I was trying to reach at the ending. Something that I'll probably have to tinker with a few times before I'm even half-pleased with it.


I especially love the gum with the gimmicks.
The flavor crystals that promise a burst of intensity
as soon as the stick hits your tongue,
or the jellied center that waits
until you've sucked through the candy coating for a while
to strike --
surprising you because you had been fooling with it for just long enough
to forget it was there.
I fervently love the ones that manage to change their flavor,
first a watermelon, then, perhaps, something complimentary
like lemon or mint or even strawberry
if they're feeling ambitious,
because it lasts forever, and you forget sometimes
that you've stuck something in your mouth
and you begin to think your tongue has always tasted that way.
Or, if you're more grounded,
you pretend
and really, isn't that what it's all about?
Gum is our way of being more sophisticated children,
reveling in the simple delight
of tasting something good and sweet,
and being able to hold on to that for a while
with just a little chewing.
jakebe: (Poetry)
Yes, I do know that I'm a month late.

Hail Mary

I've always thought of poetry
as a sort of confessional,
a way in which I could be honest
when I could be honest no other way.
I would see myself when I was writing,
speaking every line in a polished wooden closet,
my face pressed against the grate,
murmuring to you in fervent, urgent whispers.
I would say
"I believe the world is a fallen place
that is hard and bitter and cruel.
I don't want to be out in it.
I don't want to participate in this any more."
And you would reply
"It's all right, son,
we all slip sometimes.
For penance, you must write this down
and in ten years, when you are looking at the
sun through the leaves,
or eating a really good strawberry,
you should take this out to remember how you were.
You will look at yourself with an amused and bewildered fondness
and you will forgive yourself for hating the world."
I left, heart heavy, and purchased a book
I took with me everywhere. And I wrote down everything.
And now, reading it back to myself one warm, fine morning,
I find that I do, because I did.

Some Poetry

Apr. 2nd, 2008 02:07 pm
jakebe: (Poetry)
Gary, My Day One Poem )

Survivor's Guilt, My Day Two Poem )

I'm participating in National Poetry Writing Month for the third time this year, over on the community [livejournal.com profile] napoewrimo with a whole host of folks. It always surprises me how easily I can get back into the groove of writing this stuff, especially when there are so many great poets to be inspired by. :)

If you're interested in joining the community, it's never too late to start! Constructive feedback is always welcome.
jakebe: (Default)
All right, so I've done the first week of NaPoeWriMo. It's been pretty hectic, but I've managed to keep up. My biggest goal for week two is to actually critique a lot more than I have been doing.

Delirium at Room Temperature is a pre-January poem that I'm just including here. It was written during a kind of funk that was induced just by a coworker calling me 'weird'. Sometimes you wear it like a badge of honor, sometimes you shoulder it like a curse. Anyway, I could explain it a bit more but I don't want to make everything *too* clear, do I?

Patchwork is something I wrote for [livejournal.com profile] ladyperegrine and I hope she doesn't mind that I used it to break the ice for the month, or that she saw it first posted on the NaPoeWriMo page. I've always been fascinated by and attracted to 'cool moms', a group to which she definitely qualifies. To maintain a vibrant imagination while being actively engaged in raising children is no small feat, and she succeeds admirably.

The Thin Black Line is a poem I wrote because I've always been fascinated by the line between existentialism and out-and-out nihilism. Tube described it as 'apology of nihilism,' and several other people offered up similar comments such as 'scary' and 'yikes'. I think I should make it a little more clear that I really don't like nihilism. :)

Dissolution is yet another clumsy attempt at explaining how loving and being loved makes me feel. The ending, I think, particularly needs work.

Sit and Movement, beyond having a silly title, is a response to poetry that can be found here. I don't think it's nearly quite as good as the other two, but I like it anyway...mainly because it's written with, you know, timeless love and everything.

Donning grew out of the ending, actually. I really hate it when I come up with a few lines that sound like they'd be a neat closing thought, with nothing to actually lead up to it.

Dear Leonard, From Ayn is an imaginary "Dear John" letter from Ayn Rand. Since actually making it good would require reading more of her and developing a feel for her writing style, I think I'll just leave this one where it lies.

Shock, Future is a poem I'm actually kind of proud of, though it's jumbled and messy and not very clear. I think it's the closest I've come to putting down what I think about the possible end of the world on paper; absurd and romanticized and too horrible to think about.

Well, there, I think that catches us up. On to week 2. :)

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