Archive for August, 2012

Romance (with paper draft–8/23)

Thursday, August 23rd, 2012

(Image: Paper draft of the poem. I thought it might be cool to include that visual.)

Romance (draft)

Our heads bend like swans

while the deep dark between us

maps the sudden wake of emotion

a finger traces a path

over the body

memorizing scars and curves.

It is these six years that I work

to find words for, words

that never carry enough.

I can only reach

for your hand, silent and final,

to stay there all night.


Creativity and Invention

Thursday, August 23rd, 2012

This summer I had a goal. I wanted to get better at invention.

The reason for this was simple: while I think I am a relatively creative person and at least competent in intellect, I feel I am poor at invention, or at the very least I could be far better. As a poet and a teacher, invention and creativity are important to me. As an individual, creativity is important to me. And I wanted to be a better creator and so I thought I needed to read some books and learn to better improve it and continue that work in my actual work.

Another reason I wanted to do this was because when I am solving a problem, I usually throw out things I don’t need to solve the problem. I may ignore these things and maybe revisit them later, or discard them entirely. Considering everything I already knew about invention, I felt that was a bad habit I needed to break and I wanted to learn strategies for how. In truth, doing this has been the hardest part. I even told a friend who is an engineer and knows exactly what I am talking about that doing this might be “an impossible task.” I don’t know. Maybe and maybe not.

What I learned was that maybe I am better than invention in some ways than I think. For one, it just takes me longer to come up with things. For example, in class I don’t come up with my best ideas; instead, I come up with them after the fact and bring them with me for the next class or they end up in my homework. I need to realize that this is my typical MO and it isn’t a bad thing. It just means sitting in class can be a frustrating process as everyone else (or at least most others) say really smart, insightful things.

Another thing I learned is that i need to do things that I may not necessarily good at, which is always hard for me to do because at heart I am a competitor. I also learned that I need to add unrelated elements to things I already do. For example, I write poetry, but I don’t typically write sonnets. This means I should write a sonnet, right? Probably.

I also realized i need to take better notes. I don’t always take good notes of the things around me. Like what someone said at that dinner party (though I did sit down and write down a few things this morning after last night). Or like when I am going to school and I see something that interests me. I may remember these things for a time, but I need to take larger and better notice of them. And I need to listen a bit better because sometimes if I feel something isn’t important to me (I know, I sound like such a snot here), I tend to not pay too much attention or even say something not so nice. While I think I am polite listener, I need to let go of my biases a little more. I think we could all learn something from that.

What we expected and what we got

Monday, August 13th, 2012

What we expected and what we got

Days of sunlight have settled

into a fever brought on by how we all

expected the rain  and the island cold

to brittle our bones to the marrow

now we squint our eyes into the yellow

dancing against the green leaving shadows

we cannot catch with our open bare hands

cupped together as if trying to catch water

from a stream whose name we have already forgotten

we have lost track of cities and rooms

names of people we met in pubs telling us

stories of what the real Ireland is like

as we sip the darkest beer we can find

our backs leaning against the booth

our pens leaking in our pockets as the stranger

colors in the meaning of Ireland’s history

a story full of shadows

filled in by a language we cannot

call home and our only belongings

gathered silently around a strange room.

Edge of Water

Monday, August 13th, 2012


Edge of water

Here the sky is sliced by water

and the greenest of land.

Sun fades and then gives one last glisten

against the opening of clouds

This is the place where the sea

can take on a voice

and a body that can touch

yours, right down to the bone.

Alone, Watching

Monday, August 13th, 2012

Alone, watching

the girl quiet in the pub

acts as if she doesn’t know

how she got here

her new shoes click

crack against the legs

of the chair, the dark pub

floor sticky with memories

from the other night

and its romances

I watch her as she squints

to look at something bright

in the doorway and to remember.

Memory (draft)

Thursday, August 9th, 2012


I can’t quite reach the place
where the heart buds
like lips in black and white or
a movie scene so dark and distant
a life in a photograph you keep
without remembering why.

This is like all the boyfriends I have had
who I broke up with on my own
in expensive restaurants
outside of movie theaters
once over a phone

And I don’t apologize for anything,
because I am still not sure how to get there
or how I found myself here.
And I pretend I don’t care anymore.
but don’t you dare tell me that I don’t care anymore.

Just give me back, take me back
to the place where I could walk for hours
through weeds whose names I never remember
weeds that cut my legs and left thorns
at the edges of my finger tips, thorns that felt like
my words caught in the middle of this confession.