Sunday, November 04, 2007

NaBloPoMo #3

Yep, I'm a day behind my poetry posts. And, I'm sleepy--not a good combination.

Today's poem comes from Starbucks. I liberally picked phrases from this blurb that was on the back of my grande hot chocolate. Here's the quote and then the poem.

The Way I See It #282

Childhood is a strange country. It’s a place you come from or go to – at least in your mind. For me it has an endless, spellbound something in it that feels remote. It’s like a little sealed-vault country of cake breath and grass stains where what you do instead of work is spin until you’re dizzy.

-- Lyall Bush, Executive director of Richard Hugo House, center for writers and readers.

(Also, there's a Ntozake Shange reference in the poem.)



****


Childhood Elegy


Childhood’s a strange country,
one in which I now need a passport;

it is my lost and found, my place in between
when the rainbow isn’t enough.

Back when my nickname was Trouble,
I was all cake breath and grass stains.

What did I want to be when I grew up?
A superhero, of course. In June’s humid evenings

I’d tear the blossoms out of honeysuckles
to suck the sweet nectar from its center.

That’s what it was like, one big
hide and seek—and I was always “it.”

I’d draw pictures for hours
ntil blisters formed under my skin

while the colors blended black
into a ruined sky.

Oh, my little other, my dark one:
hold onto your teddy bear

and never let go.

11 comments:

Goodnight, Mom said...

Very nice, Jana. I've not been posting much this month but I'm back on the train!

Catherine said...

The ending snuck up and surprised me, it gives a nice turn to the poem (not quite a "twist")

chiefbiscuit said...

That's a special poem - and I totally agree with Catherine.

paris parfait said...

Oh I like how you've taken a quote found at Starbucks and created a wonderful poem! I especially like the ending. Nice touch.

my backyard said...

Your Starbucks has paid for itself by inspiring this poem. The end really got to me.

January said...

My backyard: I always read the backs of Starbucks cups. I've found more my share of gems while mulling over what to write.

Thanks for the kind words.

January said...

Thanks for the feedback everyone. The poem still needs work, but I like this first draft.

poet with a day job said...

God, J, that's a beautiful poem! I also love how the Star*uck's inspired you! It's giving me a good idea!

pepektheassassin said...

Good quote, good poem! Remember Edna St Vincent Millay's (I think) Childhood is the Kingdom Where Nobody Dies--nobody that matters, that is. Cats die...they lie on the floor and lash their tails, and suddenly their fur is all in motion with fleas one never knew were there....(Not bad, this from memory of something I'd not thought of for years and years).

January said...

Thanks Pepek. I don't know the poem so I'm excited to look it up.

Jessica said...

This is beautiful -- I love the line, "I was all cake breath and grass strains." This is evocative and lovely!

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