So I have this problem.
It’s not necessarily a problem, depending on who you ask, but if you ask me, it’s a problem.
I write such depressing poetry.
I like to consider myself a good poet, but for whatever reason whenever I go to pen something I can’t help but morph the whole thing into several stanzas of despair and twisted agony, and I can’t keep from throwing in a reference to suicide or death or cutting or giant metropolises engulfed in flame…
Yeah. I need to work on it.
I think part of my problem is that I’m not pushing myself hard enough. Sure, I’m pretty proud of the desolate poems I do churn out, but if there’s anything I’ve learned over the course of my writing “career”, it’s that it is MUCH easier and MUCH more fun to instill an emotion like sorrow or terror in your reader than it is to describe happy, peaceful things. It’s usually more powerful and haunting, too. In example, have you ever heard of Edgar Allan Poe? Who wrote such poems as “The Raven”, “Farewell Leanor”, and “Annabel Lee”?
What about Kay I. Kramer, who wrote a poem called “The Beauty of Nature”?
I rest my case.
Nonetheless, for one full week, I’m going to challenge myself here and post a POSITIVE poem daily–inspired by the daily Figment writing themes delivered to my email inbox–not quite daily, but I have at least seven unread ones stored up.
Oh, and this project is going to be followed through, you hear me? With the amount of shtuff going on in my life right now, I realize that it is fully ridiculous to be investing in a week-long poetry project as well, but this is something I care about; I promise it will not be fated as the Savory October Challenge (fail), or the December Photo Project (didn’t happen).
So…first poem, inspired by the prompt:
- pillars of ash, where once stood a kitchen table, a plush sofa
- the color black, around the edges of all things
- the puckering of the floorboards, the curling, the furling inwards
- the darkened banners of surrender, telling of a life of sugar
- rolled in salt, and soot
- a clot of humanity
- the would-be scab on the wound
- pressing in, congealing
- no more blood escaping
- this clot
- hosts benefit concerts
- where men paint their faces black
- and white
- and scream into
- black microphones
- and turn their wailing into money
- and this clot
- gives all they have
- to build something new
- a house
- not so black
- the white walls and glow-in-the-dark stars on the ceiling
- putty pinning that two-dimensional universe into place
- just to bring a smile to the face of that girl in the white bed
- (hospital beds are always white)
- (want to make you forget blackness)
- the girl in the white bed
- with oxygen whistling into her
- the smell of maple syrup
- (sometimes oxygen is not enough to breathe)
- (and even oxygen has to be taken away sometime
- but when the tubes are removed
- and the only concrete phrases are
- the new house
- the sweaty construction workers
- the men with black and white faces
- and the thin little girl off oxygen
- and all of them smiling
- [not the house]
- breathing feels right again
- and the smile bounces
- to the faces of newscasters
- and newswatchers
- and dissolves
- alka-seltzer smile
- and the human clot flakes away
- leaves a scar
- but scars mean that wounds healed)
Okay, I realize that even that had quite a dark tinge to it. But it ended happy, I’m getting better, and I wrote it in about twenty minutes total (reading the prompt to finishing the poem)…thoughts? 🙂
–The Girl in the Orange