Poem for Poetry Thursday

Last Minute

Say nice sweater. Say I look beautiful.
Say the rain is a shadow inside my body.
Maybe you meant to say shallow. Maybe
I was mistaken. Maybe I was only thinking
about the rain and someone’s woolen voice
wrapped around me. Say I am an Amazon rainforest,
with canopy of leaves protecting my understory.
Say the words so I can stretch them across my dry,
cracked body. Say that gravity is just the earth
pulling me back home. Tell me all of this
and I’ll tell you how I treaded
an ocean of indecision to get to this sweater,
its woven imperfections under the heavy layers of winter.
Tell me how lucky am to recognize irony
as an element of beauty, that I chose something last minute,
because in real life that’s the only real minute we have.
Tell me I look like rain today.
Tell me I must be mistaken.

Happy Poetry Thursday! (Don't get me started on my morning--let's just say I spent it trying to get my frozen car window up from the down position with a hair dryer!)

What a great prompt! I chose Jim Brock's line, "the rain is a shadow inside our bodies" and tweaked it. I feel like I used a really great line and surrounded it with a mediocre poem. And what I mean is, my instinct is to get rid of a really great line to strengthen the piece as a whole. But I think with a little more tweaking I can make it work. I just wrote this so it's really raw--hasn't found the right form yet.

Looking forward to reading lots of poetry this week. (And thanks, Jim, for sharing a piece of your work with us.)


Rethabile said…
If it needs touching up, then only a bit. too much would kill some of the wilderness in it. I like.
Jone said…
"Say I am an Amazon rainforest,
with canopy of leaves protecting my understory." I love this image. I also like the repetitiveneass of "Tell me"
Kamsin said…
I love this. It has a real rawness and really conveys a lot of emotion.
I agree that I like the raw quality of the voice here--how lovely this poem is. I also copped Jim's line, so we were on the same page with that one!
(also wanted to say that I love your new profile picture!!!)
bb said…
raw works for me :-) the repetition seems to flow as effortlessly as the rain that washes through the poem...
sciolist said…
There is a low-lying sense of impression-knowledge that makes this poem more appealing than raw. Or maybe its just my predilection for natural lines that's speaking out.
January said…
Sciolist, thanks for stopping by. I'm uneasy with my line breaks but I think I need to put the poem away for a few days and look at it again with fresh eyes.
January said…
Thanks everyone for the comments. It's good to be able to show you the poems I enjoyed working on, even if they are still in the early stages.

Looking forward to reading as many poems as I can this week.

Poetry Thursdays ROCK!
la vie en rose said…
january you always do such a fabulous job with your poems!
G said…
I agree with Rethabile, this poem doesn't need much tweaking, if any. It has a nice consistency with all the water/wet/ocean imagery, and its repeated commands convey an ironic vulnerability. I like it a lot.
J.B. Rowell said…
"First thoughts best thoughts" - a strong poem as is!
Dennis said…
January – I loved your poem. Everything you write is just so darn good. Always worth a second or third read. But what is that incredible poem under your picture about eating a crayon? Did you write that? It’s amazing! I hope you don’t mind, but I copied it and put it with my collection of favorite poems. I love visiting your page.
jim said…
January--I love this, the turning and twisting, the imagery playing off of watery beauty--in fact, as you play with revisions, I would only encourage more and more, as the repetition can only deepen and complicate it all.

Say you look great in green!
twilightspider said…
I so admire your ambition and eye for revision - though I think this poem is fantastic as it stands now. "Say the words so I can stretch them across my dry, cracked body" is such a fantastic sentence - such a fantastic idea. Your words do that - they give moisture.
Catherine said…
I totally disagree with your idea that it is a mediocre poem. I love it - but I'm not sure about that word "treaded" - should it be trod? Or is it normal American usage?
This poem is not mediocre. I wish it was MY poem. (which IS a mediocre hack-job). It works for me!
ecm said…
Don't fix it up too much...I actually really liked it and think there are quite a few good lines in there. I like "I treaded an ocean of indecision" (although is it tread w/o the ed?) I like how it's something so big "to get to this sweater" Great contrast.
Deb R said…
I'm with everyone else - it works for me. I love the sensuousness of it.
I wouldn't tweak this, its great as it is.
gkgirl said…
i think this is wonderful
as is...
very much so.
January said…
Thanks everyone! I like Jim's suggestion about possibly making the poem longer, so I'll have to try that in the revision stage.
January said…
Catherine,EMC: I was thinking about treading water when I wrote the poem, so I don't know if "treaded" or "trod" is the right verb for past tense use. Would you use "tread" for past and present tense? I'll have to look it up.

I should know this but I don't. Maybe that's becasue I can't swim.
January said…
Pepek, I've read your poem and its far from mediocre--it's excellent.

Read Pepek's Poem.
January said…
Dennis, that is my poem under my picture. I'm flattered and humbled that you (and others) like my work. Thanks!
January said…

"Say you look great in green!"

Flattery will get you EVERYWHERE!

Bug said…
I love this poem! I like the use of imlpied 2nd person
Anonymous said…
I love the line "Say that gravity is just the earth
pulling me back home." turning something that is normally a burden into something comforting.
January said…
Thanks! I had forgotten about this poem, so thank you for reminding me of it.

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