Tuesday, May 6, 2008

A Poem I'm Still Working On

Someone interesting suggested I should consider more poetry here, so here's one that I'm still working on -- it may actually suck, I'm really not very objective about these things. Regardless, I'm hoping that by posting it here, it will somehow miraculously finish itself . . .

slip


she writes a letter and in it: slivers, planks of wood, symbols for dissection, pause, break, closing remarks. she skipped the salutation and signing; he’ll know. the light pools in its marshy way across the kitchen window but doesn’t enter. the envelope is sure and fit and she is ready to mail in now now now and so she sits by the front door waiting, licking glue and sticking stamps and clips it to the mailbox with a clothespin so there’s no mistaking it. pigeons roost and coo in the porch roof next door. there is a break in the momentum; saliva pools and back inside. she slips.

she writes a letter and in it: slugs, pumice, a shallow grave. deep poultice of love, it's laid on thick. she is clay, stale bread, and this is her last blood chance. derivative of nothing, sealed with crumpled scotch tape. she’s out, down the stairs into the writhing brick street and to the blue mailbox with its cavernous space into which she could possibly fit. small white square seems insignificant now and she’s afraid it will be lost amidst the rest, left in a deep tomb. a gut. digested.

she writes a letter and in it: she forgives. nothing.

6 comments:

ColinJ said...

Alannis Morrisette released Jagged Little Pill quite a few years ago now (the one where she virtually spent the entire album threatening her ex-boyfriend with ripping them off and feeding them to the dog). It was savagely brilliant but for most us guys a tad of a struggle to get into, hard to connect with those emotions. So how relieved we all were when it was alleged quite recently that Ms Morrisette actually wrote very little of that record and the lyrics were, in fact, primarily written by one of us! Only an allegation and seemingly just plain wrong, but it was good enough for me, we could ALL finally enjoy some great songs without those feelings of shame and guilt. Of course, the same lyricist also wrote that silly "Isn't It Ironic?" song and filled it with coincidence and happenstance, and actually mentioned nothing "ironic" at all - so what would she/he know anyway? But I digress......

Now I mention this, not just because Flea and Navarro actually played on "You Oughta Know" (nice symmetry tho it is, isn't it ironic?), but because I just had this nasty little flashback when reading your poem. The beginning of your second verse....phew Angie!

I'll take your word that you are still working on it. It seems finished to me. I really liked it on the first read and like it more now after many reads. It's very moving, I can see her. I like her fear about the letter (also) being lost amidst the rest, left in a deep tomb - very clever that. Still working on "digested" and those pigeons but leave them with me, I'll get it soon! Nice work.

ColinJ said...

(further thinking) that line is actually more than clever, I think it struck me so because it takes her from being vulnerable and a little (alot) scared and very pissed, to someone who is without confidence and maybe a little irrational, the result of whatever the letter is about. It deepens her character/psyche for me. Is that what you are trying to convey? go on, tell me (I won't tell anyone else I promise)

I hope Wisconsin mommy shows up soon because I think I am already beginning to have a conversation with myself on this blog (that's scary)

Angie Shultis said...

Actually, you are having a conversation with me, at which you have a distinct advantage because you know way more about me than I know about you (which amounts to screen name). That is the nature of the blog however, so I will move on . . .

You are exactly right, I think, about the beginning of the second verse. I'm really interested in juxtaposition, in deepening meaning through contrast, so hopefully that's effective here.

Also, in response to the Morrisette references, I think most of us thought of that album as being unarguably confessional at the time, but coming from the vantage point of a female writer who's been through some stuff, I maintain that it's entirely possible to write songs/poems that appear to be confessional but are instead using words/emotions/common experience to elicit reaction (in an artistic sense) without being completely Plath-ian.

Hate that Ironic song, incidentally.

So, ColinJ, this is just between you and me, right? (er, Wisconsin Mommy, you can jump in anytime . . . )

Angie Shultis said...

Oh, and ColinJ, I forgot to thank you for the depth of your feedback . . . did not expect anyone to think all that hard about this one. You encourage me, though I'm not sure if that's advisable . . .

But thanks!

ColinJ said...

I would argue that, in terms of this type of writing, it's not only possible to appear confessional (without it really being autobiographical at all) that perhaps is the objective.

One of my favourite pieces of pop writing is Springsteen's Tunnel of Love album (you're getting lots of pop references from me eh?). Lots of very heavy relationship stuff there from a guy who had just seen his brief marriage disintegrate. For the uninitiated to this great American poet's work, it seemed a voyeuristic blow-by-blow description of a marriage gone bad. But little, if anything, was actually about what happened of course. It was just a wonderful piece of writing.

Angie Shultis said...

Exactly. Oh, and by the way, the pigeons are just an anchor to normalcy, really, a context point. Also, my neighbor has pigeons roosting in the porch. Which still does NOT make this autobiographical . . . ha ha! Maybe.

Love the pop references but don't really know much Springsteen -- have never been a fan but certainly am aware of his writing chops. Point taken, however.