Wednesday, October 14, 2009

It's true...

...that I've been ignoring my blog. One of the things I've been doing instead is experimenting with reworking and rethinking some of my writing.

Last week, I made a second attempt at starting a poetry group, and was grateful (more than I'd care to say) when someone showed. It was worth the wait. I met a local poet who teaches psych up at the college and she had some interesting insights about my poems. One thing she told me, I already knew: I tend too much toward the narrative. But instead of viewing this as a weakness, she said, "Maybe you're a poet who should really be writing stories." She also pointed out that some of the longer pieces seem to have poems within poems that interrupt or detour from the flow of the larger poem, that maybe could stand alone.

When I got home, I looked of those poems and started to experiment with pulling them apart and reworking them, both as prose and separate poems. I tried not to think of it as chopping apart my babies but rather that the sum of the parts might be lesser than the actual parts themselves. It's a challenge to think about my writing in new ways, since I'm such a creature of habit, but I'm trying to be open.

One of the ones I've been working with was "Lac De Roche", a poem I wrote earlier this spring. The middle section is a vignette about picking gooseberries for my grandmother, and in looking at it with fresh eyes, I think it can (and probably should) stand alone. Last week I tried reworking it as a short, short prose piece, and am not sure how I feel about the product. So this morning I've been trying it as a poem. I'm going to give it a test flight at a poetry open mic night this evening, down in Yakima. Wish me luck!

Gooseberry Pie: a Disappointment in Three Acts

Hidden in the tall grass
low bushes of gooseberries grow wild
along weather-silvered fence rails
their taut globes whiskery
pale-veined translucent green
warm under my fingertips
from hanging all day in the sun
my hands weave a delicate dance
through prickly branches
plucking enough to fill an old plastic bucket
and when the soft one-by-one of them
no longer plunks against the bottom
when a few unruly berries
spring over the rim
when it holds enough for a whole pie
I carry my bucket back to nana.

She measures butter, flour, sugar
leveling each cup
with the straight side of a table knife
rolls out a delicate crust
with deliberate strokes
eases it into a glass pie plate
fills it with berries
then more butter, flour, sugar
finally, she cuts and weaves a fragile lattice
to crown her masterpiece
before commending it to the oven
and for a delicious hour
the cabin walls strain to contain
the golden aroma
of buttery crust and bubbling berries.

No scent of foreshadowing
prepares me for the sour regret
of braving thorns for bitter fruit:
I suck my cheeks in hollow
after a single sharp bite of pie
poke once with my fork at its sugary crust
and leave the rest
still steaming on my plate.

1 comment:

aubrey said...

beautiful. so how did it go at open mike night?