Posts Tagged ‘imagery’

This is some advice I’ve received about writing poetry. I’m just relaying it:

  1. Concrete images trump metaphorical or abstract concepts. “Red grit bricks” trump “the voice of God,” “calloused knuckles” is better than “soul.” No one knows what a soul looks like. Concrete images are usually examined under the lens of metaphor anyway.
  2. It takes years to cultivate your voice. Try new and different things. Try traditional forms. Experiment with perspective and tone. Stay on things for a while. Try writing lists for a month, then try sonnets, and then try love poems.
  3. Write early in the day, or late at night. What you think is great in a moment may turn out to be crap later. Come back hours later and look at what you’ve written. Keep what you like. Cut what you don’t like. Don’t just try to change it. Get rid of it.
  4. Your heart is the center of your poetry. Get in touch with that, and let it pour out. You have time to rein it in later.

Happy writing. ­čÖé

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Somewhere among the dueling concrete

and greenery;

somewhere among the orchards

and the painted dollhouses of suburbia;

somewhere in the obnoxious cries of the gull,

the wail of the baby, the shoots of light

that grow out of the sun;

somewhere in the deep

blue-black forest of scrawls by the poet,

there is

hope.

My eyes are dry.

My lungs feel like wool sweaters

rolled and stuffed inside me.

Spine is slowly turning into the St. Louis Arch.

Bones stiff as flint.

Muscles like ink pens, exuding

pain from the inside, out.

I’m turning into cardboard.

I’ll be arthritic

before I’m twenty.

I am where the fury cannot reach me.

Claws of ice, of cold glass

would cut my cheeks

when I was younger, when I was

more foolish.

Now the breath of the globe

stirs its perfect blanket, it separates

into particles that cluster into talons,

but once would melt against my raw flesh-

no harsher than a mother’s love.

 

There is beauty

in this rage.

Only where I am is where Earth

could fold a new layer of skin

over itself, and become pristine,

with no black macadam,

no brown roots,

no pink beasts

to disturb its purity.

They are all too afraid.

My midnight is not black.

It is dark blue–

darkest blue, heart of the ocean.

It enfolds me.

I am robed in this shadowless

cover. We have made a covenant.

This moonless dark blue

holds me like a mother holds her child.

My nostrils prickle with scent of earth.

This is

what only I can perceive.

This sheath of dark water,

solid as air,

I move through it like cloth.

It wraps me,

claims me.

I cannot tell if my eyes are open.

It whispers they’re not.

It doesn’t matter.

Night has taken over me.

If I were to peel back your skin,

what would I find underneath?

Is there some sort of baby there–

howling, malnourished,

thin as cardboard with veins

bulging underneath its tomato-skin like fat worms?

Is there nothing but an idol

whose limbs operated so humanly,

but only after the pale curtain was pulled away

was the inhumanity of its brass knob joints,

rigid gold stature,

and manufactured glass eyes revealed?

Or is it human?

Is there a heart?

Small, churning

and humming like an engine;

taking shape not as a crimson fist,

but as a flickering light,

fluttering like the sun,

nestled under your skin

in the cavity of your chest.

Humped backs

of giants dead

or sleeping.

You present yourselves

as places of song,

absent of stillness;

fuel my desire for freedom

to rush wildly over

and feel like a bird

soaring under seethes

of golden, snapping grasses

which decorate you.

The city behind,

stuck as

a stopped clock,

is eclipsed in grandeur.

Small or large

you curve, wave-like,

ever onward,

illuminating promise of future,

and quickening my heart

with your majesty.

In this sight,

you are The Kingdom.