Saturday, August 28, 2010

I GO FORMAL

I sat down to write last night just before bed, and I ended up with a pantoum, strangely enough. I always thought I hated this form just slightly less than the sestina. I hesitate to say that I've never written a formal poem, because I've tried several times (and I'm afraid my students will find out that I'm not a fan of the formals), but I've never come up with anything I felt was worth revision. I almost wrote a sonnet last summer. And I think I wrote a haiku a couple months ago, sort of, that went something like: I try to look coy. / Man sitting beside me asks, / are you feeling ill?

But I try not to put much stock into the poems I write whilst on the benching machines at the Y. Besides, it only reminded me that men don't flirt with me. I look ill when I think I look good. (Well, I also wear jean shorts and drive a Subaru-- complete with bumper sticker that says domestic shorthairs rule-- so they probably have other assumptions, but whatever. This is beside the point.)

My point is, I wrote a pantoum!


MAKING PEACH PRESERVES

The peaches are local but they aren’t ripe.

She stops me to ask what pearls are made of.

She thinks it’s oyster shit but I guess some kind of calcium

and keep slicing, orbiting the knife round the hard pits.


She stops me to ask what pearls are made of.

Grains of sand, maybe, trapped until they fester properly.

I keep slicing, orbiting the knife round the hard pits,

sawing into the red grooves beneath too-pale flesh.


Grains of sand, maybe, trapped until they fester properly,

but now she wonders why we string contagion round our necks.

Sawing into the red grooves beneath too-pale flesh

I have little patience for philosophy, the purpose of pearls,


but now she wonders why we string contagion round our necks.

Because we love what does not happen often enough, even infection.

I have little patience for philosophy, the purpose of pearls

not as captivating as the pile of red pits bleeding into my cutting board.


Because we love what does not happen often enough, even infection,

she thinks it’s oyster shit but I guess some kind of calcium

not as captivating as the pile of red pits bleeding into my cutting board.

The peaches are local but they aren’t ripe.



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3 comments:

Amber said...

I read your peach poem this morning, then I ended up writing a peach poem of my own.

Your's is much better. When you have lines worth repeating, well, they're...worth repeating.

I didn't follow any format; I would like to try to start exploring traditional forms, though.

My poem would very much like some constructive criticism, if you could spare any!

The Caffeinated Mommy said...

THE LEZBARU!

Sorry. I just love your car.

You're right, this poem is a LOT different than your typical writing...way to branch out! And I don't even know what a pontoum is!

The Rowdy Chowgirl said...

I'm impressed! Especially because I've been wrestling with my first pantoum for...oh, about 6 months now!