Posted tagged ‘draft poem’

On the Way to the Airport (draft poem)

April 22, 2013


On the Way to the Airport (In Kerala, India)

Our driver says, “so your problem, home, all finished?”
as we look out at palms
on water, women in burqua
on sidesaddle, motos and
rickshaws, and after one slow roundabout, a grand filigreed
church, Catholic, its forefront embroidered
with maroon and gold umbrellas shading
the spillover, and “oh,” I say, “you mean in
Boston?” And “Finished, yes?” he repeats,
and I try, “Yes, I guess. I mean, they caught
the guy,” not knowing what else to say, his face
beaming with the pride
of arcane sympathy, and we hear the music now, as we drive,
emanating from this side of the church, music that chirrups
like a Bollywood dance number, and my daughter mutters
something about the aim of amplification here (to reach as
far as it will go, no matter)
and also something about
Miranda rights, and I feel the harsh prickle on the skin
that I’ve lived in for so long, the skin made smooth
and supple (so it thinks) by civil rights, but also flash the headlines
of amputations and that lost child’s gap-toothed smile, but mainly my mind
circumnavigates its wish for something, whatever it is,
to be done right, the music still reverberating
over our overpass, and over people on the street below too
people buying, you know, betel nut
on the corner, and grams of fried
snacks, cellophane gleaming its pink mirrors
over the golden morsels, stacks of light,
shadow, refrain, a flak of debris
at the sides.

Here’s my first attempt at a poem in a while. I am not sure what it means. I am back in the U.S. now. Thanks so very much to everyone for your kind comments during my trip to India. I really appreciate your support.

The photo above doesn’t really go with the poem, but was a bit tired to get another one.

Thinking of Ongoing U.S. Troops In Afghanistan

April 9, 2013

To U.S. Infantryman, Afghanistan

Dear one,
dear one.
I don’t know why
they put you on a road
that hides mines. You
who are not truly
theirs. In a truck rumbling,

If I were a bird who could circle, I would swoop down
and snatch you up–you would
cry out at first, so prised– your buddies might
lift arms–but my wings would beat
implacably, beak flashing, and soon the sky
would hold us in its light clasp, in our
blue laughter, you who have
such an easy laugh.

But I am not a bird
and you are on that road
and I can only try to impress it
with the will of the many who love you,
to roll out upon it
an invincible mind tar, a safe-sealing asphalt.

But how does one impress one’s will upon
a road?

Pray for a safe
away, reason that your passage will somehow make
a space for trucks of books
next time, busloads
of school girls.

I try to hear
their chatter, the wisped swish of braids
as backs shift soft planes
between angles of shade and brilliance, the curved inroads of
their smiles, lips’ foray into mound cheek.

They would smile at you
if they could, you whose sweet smile
seems to say to each it meets, I’m yours, yours
for a short while.

A bit of a break from thinking of India today (in A/C of Ahmedabad hotel room morning) and thinking of the recent deaths of U.S. servicemen and State Department personnel in Afghanistan, and the ongoing presence of American troops there, including a dear family member. Keep these guys and girls in your hearts and minds–they are still at risk, perhaps even more so with the drawdown. Let them get home soon.

I will try to post for dVerse Poets Open Link Night, though I am a bit confused abut timing. It is Tuesday noon here already. k.

“Meeting of the Minds” – Day 2 of National Poetry Month

April 2, 2012


In past Aprils on this blog, I have posted a draft poem a day in honor of National Poetry Month.  Some of the poems are pretty rough, but the commitment is a fun tool to get one writing poetry and I urge you to join in on the exercise.  Here’s today’s:

Meeting of the Minds 

I never knew, she says, that a body stayed warm
so long. You know.

Me neither, I say.  I didn’t know

Now we are silent, confirmed in
what we both know, but without a clue
as to what comes

As always, I welcome and very much appreciate your comments and suggestions, particularly since many of the poems I will be posting this month will be still-in-progress!  That said, if you want to read work of mine that is finished, please please please check out:  my very silly but fun novel, NOSE DIVE,  my book of poetry, GOING ON SOMEWHERE, or my children’s counting book 1 MISSISSIPPI. )

Memorized poetry poem

June 18, 2011


New experiment today: seeing if I can write a poem on the iPad! (And on the train.)

I love writing poetry by hand. But it is interesting to stretch one’s brain, and, frankly, it’s always terrific to write in a way that does not require transcription.

So here’s my attempt. What I was thinking of was another current interest–memorizing poetry. Followers of this blog know that I was very impressed by memory techniques outlined in Joshua Foer’s recent book Moonwalking With Einstein. My own memorization efforts have slackened recently, but the way in which the memorized poems have stayed with me has been kind of interesting. See below.

The Bits I’ve Got By Heart

In my head the women come and go
talking of Michelangelo.
And indeed there will be time, time for
the lines to formulate in the brain,
and when they are formulated, to drop like gentle rain
from a heaven that’s not quite consciousness;
to break, but soft, into a waking dream,
to be each morning morning’s minion,
as my head turns from the pillow,
plucking, before day is quite begun,
the golden apples from what might otherwise be
a simple rag and bone shop–too bland for foul,
scuttled by ragged part-my-hair-behind prosaicness.
Instead, those half-remembered verses,
gleaned from a teeming brain,
roll up into one ball all I ken
of poets’ strength
and sweetness, and the
dancer, who is part dance,
pirouettes, keeping time
with a beat that echoes
on the inside.

Leaves, Buenos Aires, Draft Poem

May 12, 2011


I am in Buenos Aires, a beautiful and extremely leafy city. I may be particularly conscious of the leaves because it is Fall here, a time in which one is always very conscious of leaves. Fall, and Buenos Aires, also have a wistful quality, which, as a kind of wistful, Eeyorish, person, I am quick to glom onto. Here’s the draft poem of the morning:

My world without you – Leaves

My world without you
is like a tree fallen in a forest;
without you there to hear it,
like a tree that may have fallen
in a forest somewhere, without you
next to me, a tree possibly falling somewhere,
out of my range too; nothing,
in short, feels real
without the warmth of your hand
at my back.
So when we talk of leaving, let it be of leaves (mine)
pressed up to leaves (yours); let it
be of leaves only, grown, blown, each to each,
their veins nearly in line, their
outlines coupling, leaves of a tree
not fallen, swaying gently, mightily.

All rights reserved, as always. Suggestions welcomed.


National Poetry Month – Too Tired To Write A Poem Poem – or How I arose to the occasion of Day 25

April 25, 2011
I felt pretty sure today that I could not go on with my self-imposed commitment to post a draft poem every day of this April, national poetry month.  (Yes, I know, I’ve already missed some.)
Finally, I followed an old rule:  when lacking in inspiration, try a sonnet!   A poetic form is incredibly useful when you are having trouble writing.  It creates an automatic thread, which, in turn, leads you to some kind of shape and meaning.


I’m just too tired to write a poem tonight.
The old synapses lie limp and lumpy,
clotted with the vernacular; no sprite
darts from nerve to page, rather a frumpy
dim drags over observation, blotting
out comparison (much less caparison–
the embellishment of the plodding.)

In defense, I say my garrison,
my true home, is found in prose that cares not
how a rose would smell by other name,
but even my dull brain knows what is what,
and that a rose can never smell the same
once read, once heard, once lit by other’s light.
Oh–oh–oh, how I long for that insight.

All rights reserved.   Suggestions welcomed.

National Poetry Month -Day 18 – “That Same Night”

April 18, 2011

I tried to post this draft poem from my iPad just to see if I could.  (I couldn’t.)  The effort may have put a crimp in my poetic style!  (Ha!) On the other hand, mucking about with technology was a great escape from thinking.  Oh well.

All rights reserved.  Suggestions welcomed.

National Poetry Month – Day 15 – “Buddha Hands”

April 15, 2011

Draft poem for today.  It has nothing to do with taxes!

Buddha Hands

My mother says she was a sassy child.
Her father egged her on, she thinks now, liking
to see whether she could get a rise
out of her own mother, a kind of a tease.
“Terrible,’ she says, and I see
her father, whom I don’t truly remember, as
a sharp-nosed, sharp-tongued man, who nonetheless
had a wink about him, his reddish face rough from the cold of 
Minnesota when he ducked into the kitchen to warm up
with coffee and a bottle of brandy stashed
in a cracker tin.  He, she tried to please, but her mom, she says,
she could be ornery to.

Yet, when she was tired, my mother says,
her mother, to whom she could be so ornery, would let her
put her head on her lap, and would wipe her hair
back from her face, smoothing her forehead.
It felt so good, she sighs, that now, nearly 88,
she sometimes wipes her own hair back in just that way.
As she speaks, as she stands before me, she palms
the grey strands from the still dark
widow’s peak; she soothes the reddish brow
again and again, passing her hand over and up
her forehead.

I think of how she used to do exactly
the same to me: in the back seat of a car, on a long drive,
where no tasks could tended, and my pointed, busy, mother, stroked
my head.  I think too of Buddha hands,
a temple market in Asia, where they were lined up
inside a counter, the tapered fingers
flaked with gilt, and how if there were ever such a thing on this
Earth as freedom from desire, freedom from suffering,
it could be found (for me at least) in that one
smooth space on my forehead where my mother, her mother too,
ran their hands,
without grasping, without clinging, without even
holding on.

All rights reserved.  Suggestions welcomed.

PS Sorry to those of you who follow this blog regularly that I sometimes recycle old drawings.  This arises from lack of time (and illustrational capacity!)

National Poetry Month – Day 12 – “That One’s Taken”

April 12, 2011

Day 12 of National Poetry Month.  This is also tax season!  A very busy time for me.  As a result, I’ve found that the only free time I’ve had to do my draft poems in the last couple of days has been on my subway ride to work.   The subway (if I have a seat) is actually one of my favorite places to work.  It is one place where you really can’t multi-task.  Someone else is doing the driving and your handheld computer/smart phone doesn’t work.   And, yet, if you are like me, you can always find something else to distract you, something to keep you from writing a really great poem!  See below.

That One’s Taken

On subway mornings, I try to write,
to jot down something new and bright.
My brain fills with a melody,
however, most unfortunately,
it’s not composed by me at all,
but from some Broadway musical.
Worse still, I find I’m doomed to hear
the jangling in another’s ear.
Their iPod’s turned up way too loud;
they’re making music for the crowd.
Though that’s just what I long to do–
to be heard by more than one or two–
my spoken tune, my thoughtful rhyme,
some memorable (I hope) line–
I cannot think for all the din,
the pre-played music out and in,
and when I try to write a poem,
I’m stuck in someone else’s song.

All rights reserved.  Suggestions welcome.

National Poetry Month – Day 10 (?!) – “Into Porter”

April 10, 2011


It seems impossibly soon to be April 10th.  It is still cold here in Manhattan!   (I am wearing silk long  johns and a wool sweater as I write.)

On the other hand, the beginning of National Poetry Month seems very far away.

I have to confess that I spent all day working on a separate graphic design project, which is something I’m not very good at.   My slowness depressed me enough that a great deal of dancing was required afterwards.  Not Fred Astaire this time, but pure Cole Porter:


Into Porter

The trick of Cole Porter,
other than the high order
of wit, is the double rhyme.
Yes, he writes of bubble time–
champagne and effervescence,
an age’s evanescence–
which he crams into a lexicon
where every single word’s spot on.
(It’s huge!  It holds the steppes of Russia
and the pants of a Roxy usher;
Mahatma Gandhi, Mickey Mouse–
all take hands in Porter’s house.)
But, to me, that word cabal’s so cunning,
the terribly banal’s so stunning,
because of the double-barreled rhymes
that punctuate all Porter’s lines.
Alack a day, what can I say,
he’s still the top of all Broadway.

As always, all rights reserved and suggestions welcomed.