age 8
wrote 2 poems

a little story
my own myth-making
sky people: rain & stars
feeling corny
as soon as words
hit big-ruled paper
too clever by half

somehow sent out
as an exemplar
followed me for years

exploring one color
shades of purple
seeking my own joy
in a poem
of image and tone

noticed and loved
only by me

age 12
never mind the tortured
wrung out
of early adolescence

scrawls in 4 colors
on spiral-bound notebooks

in the adult side
of the library
obscure poets, modern, local
now I forget
her name
but remember the texture
of the books’ covers

a class project
collecting poems
famous, obscure, and mine
the fierce forced push
of keys
grandfather’s typewriter
into rough-shiny translucent
eraseable paper
in 4-color ballpoint
stick figures

age 19
lusting and trying
and being left

all the time
notebook in hand
walking strange streets
at night

the tall chestnut
tree’s roots
lift the sidewalk
crossed in passage
from wierd dangerous nights
into days
taking notes
next to the oblivious
rich white kids

but not really notes
for class
poems of the house
with the virtiginous
the plate window shattered
by burglars
on Xmas Eve
the original victorian
big enough for 3

age 19/20/21/22
and all along
poems for her
because I’m no good
with words

age 24
poem at a wedding

a backyard courtyard
San Francisco
sunlight & flowers
and everything just so
the food, the guests,
the 2 men
old friend & new
(it won’t last)

the maid of honor
in a red silk shirt
and a long black skirt
reading aloud

lines that flowed
onto the journal’s page
waiting for a bus
under a flat grey sky
a thousand miles
(everybody cried)

age 27
a monochrome PDA
from work
fits enough words
for haiku

and the moon

walking back
from lunch
bunnies in the brush

a bee on the lawn
drawing more attention
more of a poem

than a moment of
and the gathered crowd

age 30
in the vanpool
the wide river valley
green, filled with fog
seeing words in it

after years of silence
all the cliches
of dark lifting
ice breaking
all true

a bit queasy
from chemical amendment
pulling the pen out
from the spiral
of wire
opening and turning
to a blank page

without lists
of what’s not done
or prose rambles
of wanting the knife’s
more than any
other thing

start a new poem
and it doesn’t matter
what it says

age 32
this is now
at the end
of the longest poem
in maybe a decade

has it been that long?

and today is the pivot
into fall
a lurid sky
promising rain & clear
equally, indifferently
as the sun vanishes

my hair is freshly cut
and I walk past
the bike shop
the empty lot, the burger stand
to home

to revise this poem
type it up
and go on to the next

[this is a slightly different response to this week’s poetry thursday prompt. two side notes… 1) I’m at a complete loss for a title, which is fitting given how much trouble I’ve had with titles, suggestions welcome; 2) Kat, if you read this: what year was G&L’s wedding?] 

2 Replies to “untitled”

  1. Elaine–i found your site after you posted a comment to my blog. I really like this poem. Long, yes, but full of detail that resonates as the role of poetry evolves in your life.

    I’d love to be brilliant and propose a terrific title for you but i also happens to be one of my weekends. i usually lean toward corny which is almost never what i’m looking for. sometimes, i’ll look for a powerful line from the poem. How about “Roots lift the sidewalk” i like that line a lot and it’s actually a metaphor for poetry in your life. keeps resurfacing.

  2. Hi, like your “long” poem. My favorite part is root’s lift the sidewalk. It reminds me of a Brooklyn street in the summertime.
    Your poem tells a story of a girl-woman walking between the lines of her poetry to growing awareness. Lovely.


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