Poem for Poetry Thursday

This is a *painfully* new poem that I may scrap altogether. Constructive feedback welcome. Be gentle.


I pick up a brick from
the unfinished walkway and think
a house is a house is a house.
But the truth is
I revel in my homeowner sense
of accomplishment—
the flagpole staked on the front lawn,
our manifest destiny flapping in the breeze.

The world is full of wrecked houses
home after home,
with owners who won’t come back
or don’t know how,
astonished that this is not
the life they expected,
gardens of heavy overgrowth,
and the piercing sting of thorns.

At night, ultimately
everything comes back to me
this brick I loved and that one,
my impenetrable heart
surrounded by a chorus of tiger lilies
shaking their heads, Yes! Yes!,
in affirmation.

Every day I make the choice
not to throw a brick through my window.
Every day is a gift I accept

For more great poems, visit Poetry Thursday.


paris parfait said…
Well if you're looking for criticism, I can't offer much more than praise! I think this poem is filled with layers of meaning and double entendre - and well done!The only thing you might consider is in the last line change accepted to accept and begrudgingly to grudgingly.
January said…
Hi Tara: thanks for the feedback. I caught the "accepted" typo. Thanks for catching the last line--I'll change it "grudgingly."
Catherine said…
I do love the last line though agree Tara's suggestions improve it. I also love the impenetrable heart surrounded by a chorus of tiger lilies. It's a poem that I need time to think about, but this isn't a negative - the best poems make me think.
wendy said…
I like the feeling expressed in this poem..the pride and the pressure involved in owning anything...tangible...or not.
Dani said…
"Every day I make the choice
Not to throw a brick through my window"

That resonates with me so much right now. Good job!
bb said…
i like the layers of response in the poem, from the non-chalant 'house is a house', peeling back to 'the truth' of 'accomplishment', through to the choice of not throwing a brick, a gift accepted 'grudgingly'. It means that i never quite knew where the poem was leading, and I do like to be kept on my toes :-)

Just as an aside, the only thing that didn't sit quite right with me were the 'tiger lilies shaking their heads, Yes! Yes! in affirmation.' while I LOVE the affirming tiger lilies, why are they *shaking* their heads when they are affirming. it could be of course that their heads are saying no and the protagonist is reading this as yes. if not could they just be shaking (no mention of heads)?

Hey you must've done something right for me to be so involved with that image :-) Another PT coup!
January said…
Thanks for the great feedback, BB. I felt like the tiger lillies had to be doing something :)

Yes, I had trouble with that image, so I'll go back and take a second look.
bostonerin said…
I love the concrete details of the tiger lillies and the flagpole and brick, juxtaposed with the intangibles throughout the piece.

My only comment is that using 'the world' in the second stanza seems too broad. It took me out of the poem. I'm not sure why....and I don't have a suggestion as to what should be there in its place. Sorry.
twitches said…
How about:

"Surrounded by a chorus of tiger lilies affirming yes! yes! yes!"
January said…
Good suggestions, Boston Erin and Twitches. I'll take a look over the weekend to incorporate as many comments as possible.

Thanks, everyone, for the feedback.
poetmama said…
Poet mom, I've been a lurker for some time. Your blog's name is my "sister site". I just couldn't keep quiet any longer, as I love this poem so much. I struggle daily with the desire to "revel in my homeowner sense" as I am apartment bound in the ridiculous real estate market of Los Angeles. Other lines that I love: "our manifest destiny flapping in the breeze" and "Every day I make the choice not to throw a brick through my window" You really have a way with words, Poet Mom!
Nic said…
Hey January: Loved the flagpole and the tiger lilies! Also using a picked-up brick to kick off this meditation is a cool idea. A couple of thoughts as you work on this - overall the piece ended up pretty abstract apart from the flag and the tiger-lilies -- a house is a house; wrecked houses; astonished owners; impenetrable heart etc - all these could be grounded in the concrete in that great way you have. A strong start. Good luck with the revision. Cheers, Nic
Bug said…
I also loved the tiger lillies, and the idea that gardens can be good or bad (thorns, overgrowth) depending on how you describe them. I'm not particularly gifted at commenting on poems, but something bothered me about the 2nd stanza. I thnk maybe because the narrator seems to be struggling a bit with the same things that she's chiding other home owners for (if I'm reading the brick throwing right).

I wish I shared your reveling in home owning. I definitely don't revel in owning my condo. Ah well Live and learn I guess.

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