Thursday, September 21, 2006

Poem for Poetry Thursday

Okay, so I ran out of time to right a new poem. Spent so much time writing yesterday's poem I lost sight of today (hard to believe, I know).

So today's poem is an oldie, but one that fits the prompt. And, it a roundabout way, addresses one of my favorite indulgences.


I pour a tablespoon of sugar on my kitchen counter
spreading it thin with the back of my spoon
Each grain becomes a moment,
a seed resting on tilled earth,
the words forming in my husband’s mouth as he says
kiss me, and I am reminded again and again
of the first, the beginning, the newness of his mouth,
his plump lips deciphering the arc
of my teeth; his tongue a new species born
in my vast ocean. I myself a creature,
made of sugar and water
capable of dissolving right out of existence,
salvation and destruction in one sweet instant.
Each granule is a lost poem, an unanswerable wish
spinning on the edge of consciousness.
I say to the pots and pans: every act of nature
requires a human narrative.
I tell my story to the cereal boxes, the soup cans—
they turn their labels away in disbelief,
their stupefied lids open wide like paper sacks.
For every truth I hold to be self-evident,
I touch the flat of my tongue
to the counter’s surface.


ian russell said...

i really enjoyed this poem, january. it felt like i was taken on a journey by someone who actually knew where they were going - if that doesn't sound like a compliment, i assure you it is!

i'm taking the last lines with me to savour.:o)

madd said...

I loved the memories of my own yours brought back to me...the wonder of a kiss...thanks

Nic Sebastian said...

Very nice, January. My one nit would be too many modifiers -- you could lose a lot of them without losing any punch -- "new" "plump" "vast" "lost" "unanswerable" etc -- they are not adding much to the strong structure you have here. Nice work. Good luck with the revision. - Nic

January said...

Thanks for the feedback, everyone.

Nic: I'll take a fresh look and see what I come up with. Cool.

paris parfait said...

Delicious poem! Well done.

bb said...

nic was thinking of modifiers?
i was only lost in the sensuality of the build up. keep every last one of them (the modifiers, that is)
(and i only ever manage one haiku plus one longer poem a week - i tremble at the thought of setting myself a higher target ;-))

Shelley said...

Thank you for sharing this.

Isn't it so cool when you have one "in the can" that will fit the bill?

Susannah said...

i love this (actually, i've yet to read poem of yours i don't like :-) it reminds me of Sharon Olds, so sensual, mixing the ordinary with the extraordinary... fab x

Paul Decelles said...

Wonderful! Very magical!

nike said...

fantastic poetry . as sweet as sugar really .

wendylou who? said...

I like the blend of the memory of the new kiss...and the staples , the cereal and soup...very concrete.nice job!

Deb R said...

Put me in the camp of those who like the modifiers! I think they make the poem feel very sensual. Nice job, Jan!

Kamsin said...

This was great, perhaps even "sweet".

Catherine said...

I love "every act of nature requires a human narrative".
I see Brian Turner is reading at the Dodge festival - it was quite a surprise to me to see a New Zealand poet there (assuming it's the same Brian Turner).
I'm looking forward to hearing your reports.

January said...

Thanks again for the kind words. I've been writing a lot of "domestic poetry." Wish I could write something else, but I'm hoping the Dodge Festival will get me going in the right direction.

Catherine, I think it is the same Brian Turner from New Zealand. I haven't read his work but look forward to exploring it before I arrive at Dodge.

jim said...


I can't begin to tell you how smart this is. I love the turn, speaking to the pots, pans, the cereal boxes! And then that final, graceful assertion to close the poem--such deliberation. And yes, ymmmy.

And yes, too, have fun, absorb and receive all that language and spirit at the Dodge!

January said...

Jim, even though I've never met you, I will miss your presence at Dodge.

I know you will be there in spirit.


ecm said...

Wonderful, wonderful poem! I love the ordinaryness of the kitchen counter and the sensuality. Beautiful.


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