National Poetry Writing Month: Day #5 (April 5, 2014)

Today’s promptwrite a ‘golden shovel’…The last word of each line from [Terrance] Hayes’ poem [The Golden Shovel] is a word from Gwendolyn Brooks’ poem We Real Cool.

I made two attempts at this. I’m including both here.

For the first one, I used something I wrote in December 1987.

Somehow it was clear that I
wasn’t as smooth as I’d thought
I guess it hadn’t occurred to me that being
here wasn’t the space to be in

Yet there was something about all this
I felt apart, locked in my own room
At no time did I ever think she would
actually take anything I might bring

Now this sense of unease hovers over me
it seems unlikely that I might find peace
Everything I do has that in mind, but
things seem to only get worse instead

So, just what is it that I expect to gain from my
time spent here, wrestling with my thoughts?
With no destination in mind, am I doomed to wander,
to find that I’ve simply drifted farther?

What is it that will take me away,
wrest me firmly and finally from
the indecision and doubt that weaken my
spirit, my resolve, my heart?

My second attempt is based on David Sylvian’s lyrics for the song ‘Burning Bridges’, from Japan’s 1980 album Gentlemen Take Polaroids:

I could tell you it’s
not everything, not all
Locked here, behind
these secrets within me,
inaccessible now

Nothing here is a ‘the’
it’s all part of the work
All things being equal is
a sign that nothing’s done

There is no I in ‘we’
There is no push in ‘pull’
But I can’t wish this away
or forget where I came from

Meanwhile, she washes herself in rivers
in waves of pleasure that cover the
skin she has opened to the light
She knows what she’s made of

While I search for a…
for something distant,
for heat for the fire,
the one I only suspect still burns

Will I be disappointed again?

(5 April 2014)