May 10, 2010

A Divergence: Poetry

I used to write poetry all the time, every day. Every waking moment I managed to pen something into a notebook, on a scrap of paper, on my old online journal. I did slam poetry in Omaha, and I poured out my heart in classrooms. I even once recorded a poem on video, sending it to the beloved recipient. But this venue, my "Jewish" blog, has never been one where I felt comfortable expressing myself outside myself. So here we are. Part 1 in a hopeful multi-post series. 

There's Something in My Eyes

Few places can I find peace of me
Spaces away from where the world outside spins,
Top speed topsy turvy, while I stand,
or sit, still and calm with dusty eyes
and sandy cheeks.

The static of streams, tiny drops dripping
down in systematic streaks, landing, circling
the drain, lost in a tube to tomorrow.
So I drizzle my loofa like a giant cinnamon roll,
toying with the taste of soapy sweets,
while the walls melt from steam, heat, from
standing still for minutes, hours. It all streams
together, and dusty eyes stay still despite

Engine rolling, radio on off, then on
with lyrics loud and reverberating, matching
heart beats and the steady sound of
breathing. Quietude, solitary, being alone
with the hum crossing rhymes with voices
streaming from speakers.

Peace of mind, peace of me. Even when
I sleep there is little time for thinking,
fears slopped onto subconscious walls.
Few places can I find peace of me, so
I stand, or sit, with dusty eyes and
sandy cheeks.


shualah elisheva said...

*snap snap snap*

i dig.

Karen Zampa Katz said...

lovely...poetry to me feels so much more personal...bravo for finding the courage..
I only posted poetry you go is teen poetry from a 40 something year old!

Anonymous said...

Ooh, interesting. I don't know what I expected - I can't write poetry like that. I find it much easier to write about external stuff and weave a little bit of me into it. Yours is all you, and I envy you that.


Chaviva Gordon-Bennett said...

@ShavuaTov Here's one I wrote on February 15, 2004, called "assigned seats" that is more outside myself or observational, than personal. I wrote a lot in college ABOUT college and the people that were there. My most well-known is one called College Town. I'll post it up in a new blog post later.

---begin poem---

you walk into the room, the names plastered
on every wall: lost a tooth, august birthdays,
reading leaders, time-out-in-the-corner kid.
everyday you wander in, backpack plastic,
glitter or shimmer with the newest, coolest
movie, cartoon, toy, dream. back in the cubby
you place yourself, and leave it there to
go sit in the desk you’ll forget next year.
nameplate, faceplate, pencils, check, crayon
box, half-chewed grey eraser, paste, every kid’s
desire – but mine. plop down, third row back,
two from the left. assigned seat behind the
girl with the pigtails and painted nails, peeling
like the wallpaper in the bathroom at home.
you glow, and forget the kid next door, the one
who smells like yesterday and has clothes that
haven’t changed in a week. nobody notices,
and when he asks to borrow your thick lead
pencil you scowl and say ‘no way’ and go
back to practicing your ones and twos and
threes and wondering when the peanut butter
and jelly sandwich will sit in your tiny, empty
stomach that passed up pancakes and eggs
for morning cartoons and playing with the dog.
day rolls on and the intense exercise of four
square, ABCs, and play dough fun wears you
out for naptime and milk with carrot sticks,
fluoride treatment soon after. the day ends
and you pick yourself back up off the floor
in the coat cubby trying not to talk to the girls
and ignoring again, still, always the boy
with the ratty coat and the sneakers with holes.

day rolls around again and you walk into the
lecture hall, hundred seats, fashionable feet. you
nod your head at the girl whispering something,
anything, you know she wants you. trod down
to the front, the T-zone they told you about
a million times that you laughed at but sit in every
day anyway. third row back, two in from the left.
unassigned seat you place yourself in every day
because it’s easy, it’s comfort, it’s what you know.
in front is the girl with the pigtails and shirt
with the latest activity plastered along the back
in fun font. next door the kid in the cords with the
generic backpack and the cheap pencils requests
a lender, a borrow, a please-let-me-use-a-utensil-so-i-don’t-fail-the-class glance. you ignore him and hit it up with your friend to the left talking about the chick in the back who wants you, the piece of quality USDA meat you are. class rolls out and you’re done and over and you head to the gym, stare in the mirror for five hours while the chick from class stares on and you know it and you show it. then you’re done, staring glaring, she isn’t
the piece you thought. you leave, home for
cartoons. you start from where you were.

Anonymous said...

'you start from where you were'

Without sounding like an old-timer (well, I am older than you, so tough!), this gets more true, the older you get. This is really hitting home with me at the moment as I stare 'A Birthday' in the face and wonder why it is that in some respects, I still repeat certain actions, mistakes, over and over, when I should be older and wiser than I was?

The answer is - 'you start from where you were'. Whether you belive in nature, nurture or a mixture of both shaping who you are, your experiences growing up mean you are likely to repeat certain processes and/or reactions, over and over again.

Well, that's what I seen in myself, anyway.

Wow. I didn't expect to be so deep today.

Thank you for sharing and for making me think.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing!

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