Journal 6

The Still Frame House

I remember an adventure began with a full tank of gas,
your mother’s old Subaru and miles of country back roads
that I knew a little and you not at all.
I remember we raced the birds and the clouds
until we found a driveway overgrown
from neglect which belonged to a house falling  in on itself.

I remember holding onto your jacket sleeve like a frightened child
as we crept in through the back door. The floors had rotted, the walls crumbling under the weight of time.
I remember holding my breath because laid out before us In this battered old home was a moment in time captured and preserved: a perfect still of someone’s memory.

I remember there was petrified wonder bread still in the icebox and a cereal box on the counter. All of the kitchen chairs were pulled neatly to the  little wooden table.
I remember there was a stuffed toy bear on the living room floor between a floral print sofa and chair set. Books, papers, and crayon drawings were evidence of of the echo of life.

I remember the floorboard giving out underneath one of my feet,
leaving me with one leg up to my chin like a flamingo, the other buried In the foundation, covered in mud.
I remember your choked laughter as you pulled me up with your left hand while you lit a joint with your right. We stood and passed the spliff between us,  contemplating the scene like TV detectives.

What I remember the most is the photo album. I remember the pictures of the family, the proud and doting parents and their little girl with her stuffed bear. I wonder if you still have those photos, and if you ever remember, too.

 

Journal5

Word Cento

Why do I not forget?
The words are maps.
You think she read it somewhere-
a thimbleful of sound,
not a cruel song, no, no not cruel at all. This song
(I could read) and carefully
the squat pen rests; snug as a gun
without care for time or density. O world
and the language obscene
my first. You might ask why. Here’s why. Poetry.

[Sources: Louise Gluck, Adrienne Rich, Hannah Gamble, Sara Eliza Johnson, Brigit Pegeen Kelly, Elizabeth Bishop, Seamus Heany, Marcus Wicker, Sylvia Plath, Carol Ann Duffy]

journal 4

1
The cows stand
under the trees in the wet grass,
lifting their necks to pull the leaves
down. We slow the truck, pull over
to the side of the road to watch them.
How graceful they look, how unlike
themselves. We get out and lean
on the fence.The cows don’t seem to notice
we are there.

This version of the poem I read as a stream of consciousness. For me, the enjambed lines added a feeling of moving through the poem, with the stops being a sort of relief at the end of each sentence.

 

2
The cows stand under the trees in the wet grass,
lifting their necks to pull the leaves down.

We slow the truck, pull over to the side of the road
to watch them. How graceful they look, how unlike

themselves. We get out and lean on the fence.
The cows don’t seem to notice we are there.

In this version of the poem there are internal rhymes in each stanza: trees/leaves, truck/look, lean/seem. The middle rhymes stood out to me, and I felt like it was more lyrical.

 

3
The cows stand under the trees
in the wet grass,
lifting their necks to pull the leaves down.
We slow the truck,
pull over to the side of the road to watch them.
How graceful they look,
how unlike themselves. We get out and lean on the fence.
The cows don’t seem to notice we are there.

In this version, I played around with the length of the lines. I found that when I varied the lengths according to their natural stops, it changed the voice of the poem to what I interpreted as more of a wistful tone.

 

Journal 3

Hands

I remember my hair was soft as goose down,
My nails were uneven, bitten into jagged, rocky hills. My
Arms, once able to lift the world as though it were a water pail, Balanced carefully on my hip
Now pinned to my side like a lamb tied to the fence post
Pre-slaughter. I struggle like a
Fox caught in a hunter’s carefully placed snare
Breath that smells of liquor and lust rests on my face like
Mud clings to the sow’s belly,
Sour like buttermilk.
Hands. Rough hands, not like the comforting
Solidity of tree bark, but sharp and cold like the creek in winter,
Hands.


I remember my hair was soft as goose down
My nails were uneven like a page ripped from the spine of a worn book. My arms, once able to lift the world like a mother lifts her crying infant
Now pinned to my side like a spider’s silk encases its prey, I
Struggle like a kite, powerless against the wind
Breath that smells of liquor and lust rests on my face like a heavy morning fog spreads across a lake,
Rotten like boiled eggs left out out too long.
Hands. Rough hands, not comforting like the
sandpaper of a cat’s tongue, but sharp and cold like scrap metal,
Hands.