Three Poems: 7:51 am / On Cleaning Out the Car / Michigan Ave

Rilke cautions the young poet to not write about love.

It’s good advice to a certain extent, but from my experience, we have to write shitty poems about romance before we can learn to write about anything else. Part of me wants to apologize for some of the poems I’ve written in the last three years, but it’s all part of the journey and so while I won’t share any more than I already have, I’m not sorry.

Also, I think that every poem is about love in some form (the absence of it, the perversion of it, the love of mornings, of self, of god, of brother, of partner etc.) and so rather than being banned from writing about love, we should readjust the kinds of love we write about.

All that to say, I don’t know if I’ll ever be any good at writing poems. But I want to practice because that’s the only way to really tell. So here are three very short poems. I wrote them all tonight, but each are based off my own journal entries from last semester. In some ways, therefore, these poems transcend time in that they contain both old stories of pain and current moments of joy. If you hate them, it’s ok. me too (depending on the day). They’re works in progress.

As am I. (As are you.)




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7:51am
the surface tension on the cornea is too taught for light
to catch water and the dermis runs with
nerves accustomed to spread eagle sleeps
alone because I forgot your name as if I never knew it. Even more,
I forgot your face enough to see it new.
SPACE
Esther found a small, toothless smile
and carried it as one would carry a flower picked in autumn and
forgotten.
 SPACE

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On Cleaning Out the Car 

Beneath the seat,
we found unsent letters stuck to gum wrappers and
half -drawn monks:
there was a point of reference, but no shadows.

In the console,
we found words about the skin of teeth
(please do not forget the half-drawn monks).
All is shadow.

But we keep them
(the monks, not the letters).

SPACE

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SPAKE
Michigan Ave 
 SPACE
two blinks in the bucolic center of a roaring city
stilled at the glory of a head-tilted-back, upper-belly laugh of
those who have learned that love is aggression
and wait to rest among the lambs ear
SPACE

Note: each of the journal entries was based on a song that I related to in that moment. While the poems that have emerged don’t completely align with the songs anymore, I still included them because it’s kinda fun.
OK NOW TO THE HOMEWORK I CAME TO THE LIBRARY TO DO
Another Note: I feel like I’m breaking all the rules of poetry by explaining my process and attaching images and songs to them. If I were really brave and mysterious I’d just post the poems and let them speak for themselves. I’m not quite there yet.
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Three Poems: 7:51 am / On Cleaning Out the Car / Michigan Ave

Dickinson / Today, I’m in Costa Rica

and I slept more last night than I did in the last three days combined and I got to hug my sister and dad and mom for the first time in months and I met a really kind man named Donald who has never been to America but loves the NFL so he wants to visit Dallas someday (just thinking about that now, I should have told him Dallas isn’t the best place in the states) and I did my morning run along the beach like they do in movies (do they do that in movies? idk, they should.)

costa-rica-beach

But I also have my final essays due online and so despite the fact that I’ve left my phone in the room and decided to not pay extra for internet, here I am, in the lobby, writing about Faulkner, Emerson, Nature and Dickinson. I’m not mad. So here’s this beautiful quote about poetry:

“If I read a book and it makes my whole body so cold no fire can ever warm me, I know that is poetry. If I feel physically as if the top of my head were taken off, I know that is poetry. These are the only ways I know it. Is there any other way?”

-Emily Dickinson

Dickinson / Today, I’m in Costa Rica