Tuesday, July 18, 2006

New Poem

Afternoon Commute Love Song

Every day I approach this landscape like a crime scene:
glimpses of tiger lilies along a stitch of road,
all those violent hues
of orange and crimson abutting
dented guard rails, the shrapnel of tires.
Summer with its small explosions.
Sprigs. The interconnectedness of things.
Humidity pushing everything down
while the blacktop reflects skyward.
Most days, I am fierce behind the wheel
armed with a stone for a heart.
I seek out what’s coming and try to destroy it
before I am destroyed. The highway
with all of its whispers.
I tell you this at the risk of madness.
I know where love goes
when there is nothing be to loved—
Tree roots break through asphalt,
its branches clipped by power lines.
Every day, I hear the lecture of the organic.
Roll down your window.
Everywhere there is evidence. Remains.
I am a small hazmat team.

(Note: I can't figure out how to "tab" with Blogger. So if some of the enjambments look awkward, it's because I can't format the poem correctly. Drat!)

(Another note: I started this last Wednesday when my 45-minute commute home turned into 2.5-hour ordeal. There were 30-second stretches where the cars weren't moving so I took out my journal and wrote. I was bored--I can only listen to so much NPR in one sitting!)


Jennifer said...

love it! (I can't figure out how to tab either)

Bug said...

I love the dichotomy of these lines:
Humidity pushing everything down
while the blacktop reflects skyward.

Good for you--being productive in a frustrating situation!

twitches said...

The last line is great - reminds me of James Wright's "sitting on a hammock" poem.

I do think you could lose this line:
"I seek out what’s coming and try to destroy it before I am destroyed." It doesn't seem needed with all the wonderful descriptions you're giving of just that experience.

I also love "Every day, I hear the lecture of the organic."


January said...

Twitches: Thanks for the suggestion. The line is so "me"--I don't know if I should delete it or not. But I'll read it aloud later to hear how it sounds without it.

*I'm curious about what others think that line.*

And I'll have to check out the James Wright poem.

Bug: My free time is so limited that I have to take advantage of every opportunity I can get!

ecm said...

This was great! I loved the images of battle. I'm usually a pretty mellow person but I definitely have a low frustration threshold when it comes to the road!

Colorsonmymind said...

I have to cary my journal with me...this is great.

At least something productive came from that jam.

Dick Jones said...

I really enjoyed this. I love a poem that finds colour & depth in the commonplace. There are some delightful images, acute & funny - 'I approach this landscape like a crime scene', 'dented guard rails, the shrapnel of tires', 'Every day, I hear the lecture of the organic.' I'll be back!

chiefbiscuit said...

FANTASTIC - or as kiwi vernacular puts it - fanbloodytastic!!! I LOVE it!

Yes I know what you mean about the listening for only so long - I was thinking today "I can only listen to so much Corrs." (You may not know them - an Irish group, very nice ... but you can only take so much of nice!)

A truly perfect poem January. Well done. (I wished I'd written it!)

January said...

Dick Jones: Thanks for stopping by. Can't wait to visit your blog.

CB: "Fanbloodytastic!" Now that is high praise. I am honored. I do know the Coors. I feel that way about Enya--there's only so much you can take!

And thanks to everyone for your comments!

twitches said...

James Wright - Lying In A Hammock At William Duffy's Farm In Pine Island, Minnesota

Over my head, I see the bronze butterfly,
Asleep on the black trunk,
blowing like a leaf in green shadow.
Down the ravine behind the empty house,
The cowbells follow one another
Into the distances of the afternoon.
To my right,
In a field of sunlight between two pines,
The droppings of last year's horses
Blaze up into golden stones.
I lean back, as the evening darkens and comes on.
A chicken hawk floats over, looking for home.
I have wasted my life.


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