Archive for the ‘Sarah S.’ Category

revision of dog poem

Wednesday, October 11th, 2006

so I’m not sure if we’re supposed to post revisions, but here’s one of my dog poem. hope its a little more cheery now:


Perhaps it was a bad idea, taking her

to my house for the week. I insisted;

“She’ll love it.” Dad frowned

and left the address of the beach house prefaced

with emergency vet numbers

and 24-hour kennels.

I envisioned wagging tails and long walks

but I couldn’t avoid the warning signs. Fur ruffled

along her shoulder blades as we passed under the

foreign door frame together. She searched the house

as if there had been some mistake; there was no doggy door,

there wasn’t even a fireplace. Perhaps I should not have ignored

the quiet cries as I helped four tired legs

up the unusually uncarpeted stairs.

But I could have sworn

I saw her black beagle lips form a soundless smile,

thanking me every time I reappeared in view.

The first to come under attack were the bedposts,

carefully whittled to jagged edges. She had autographed

my chair legs by the second day, scrawling her name

with hundreds of tiny teeth marks along the dresser

and desk posts. I let her take over

the room, but it was not until she found

the purse from New York that became supper

and the shoes from Paris for desert

followed by presents scattered to every corner

that I surrendered and packed up the car for home. She watched

knowing where we were going, her tail

beating against the passenger seat like a pulse

as we pulled onto the highway.

“She’s just old,” my mother said. “you know

she can’t be away from the house.”

I should have known

she couldn’t be away from the house, and yet

somewhere between Fredericksburg and DC

between the reassuring pets and promises of her bed

I thanked her for her inability to change.

The car went into park as her nose left its last smudge on the window

and we both smiled as we unlocked the front door

and went from room to room, turning on all the familiar lights.

this was the poem featured on my birthday

Monday, October 2nd, 2006

the poem of the day on poetry daily, may 1, 2006:

“When Dylan Left Hibbing, Minnesota, August 1959”

by John Hogden

Not even Dylan then, more like David the Blue-Eyed Shepherd Boy Giant Killer instead,
the way he must have looked in those Golden Book Illustrated Bible Stories we never read,
the ones with the pictures of the prophets, each with a gold record stuck to his head,
or like the Classic Comics Crime and Punishment, Raskolnikov rocking and rolling on his bed,
heading on down the highway out of St. Petersburg, the landlord’s axe still in the shed,
throwing stones at all the stop signs a-bleeding in his head.

Wasn’t he a singing terrorist then, slaying us in the aisles, knocking us dead,
like some wild-eyed kid from Fallujah now, his machine gun guitar slipped over his head,
his ass in a sling, his mind full of dynamite, his righteous streets turning red,
his only song his heaven’s door, toward which he runs, arms outspread.
Oh, Zimmerman, we never heard a single word you ever said,
from Ararats to ziggurats, from alpha down to zed,
our heads cut off, our tongues cut out, no words left to be said,
all the things we’ve ever loved, dead, dead, dead, dead.

like I’ve said in a couple responses, I love Bob Dylan, probably because I grew up with my dad reading me dylan songs and poems, by both bob dylan and dylan thomas. this poem is actually about the day bob dylan, then bob zimmerman, left his small hometown of hibbing, minnesota to go to college and eventually get his music career underway.

this poem almost sounded to me like a dylan song. the sound, especially the endings, all variations of the sound “dead” all just remind me of something dylan would write. im pretty sure its about when dylan changed his name from zimmerman to dylan, maybe explains the line “oh, zimmerman, we never heard a word you said,” since he wrote everything under the name dylan. im not really sure of the literary references in the first stanza, and theres quite a shift to the second, especially with the violent imagery, but i really like the phrase “singing terrorist,” implying that dylans songs actually elicited some sort of physical response.

Sunday, September 24th, 2006

from Robert Pinsky’s “Impossible to tell” (the 1st 6 stanzas):

Slow dulcimer, gavotte and bow, in autumn,
Bashõ and his friends go out to view the moon;
In summer, gasoline rainbow in the gutter,

The secret courtesy that courses like ichor
Through the old form of the rude, full-scale joke,
Impossible to tell in writing. “Bashõ”

He named himself, “Banana Tree”: banana
After the plant some grateful students gave him,
Maybe in appreciation of his guidance

Threading a long night through the rules and channels
Of their collaborative linking-poem
Scored in their teacher’s heart: live, rigid, fluid

Like passages etched in a microscopic cicuit.
Elliot had in his memory so many jokes
They seemed to breed like microbes in a culture

Inside his brain, one so much making another
It was impossible to tell them all:
In the court-culture of jokes, a top banana.

its funny, I actually came across this poem when I was watching the simpsons the other day, robert pinksy was visiting the college where lisa was pretending to be a student and read (well, read some of) “impossible to tell.” I had never heard anything by Pinsky so I googled him and found the poem (which is pretty long, by the way). I think what drew me into it was not only hearing Pinsky read it (he really was a guest on the show) but the sound in general; his vocab is crazy. i had to look up “ichor” (it has something to do with pathology), and i think Basho is a japanese artist.

enough with the cliche love poems

Sunday, September 17th, 2006

From Poetry daily:

“First Love”

They say

the first love’s most important.

That’s very romantic,

but thats not my experience.

Something was and wasn’t there between us,

something went on and went away.

My hands never tremble

when I stumble on silly keepsakes

and a sheaf of letters tied with a string

–not even ribbon.

Our only meeting after years:

two chairs chatting

at a chilly table.

Other loves

still breathe deep inside of me.

This one’s too short of breath to even sigh.

Yet just exactly as it is

it does what the others still can’t to manage:


not even seen in dreams,

it introduces me to death.

-Wislawa Szymborska

I actually chose this poem because I hated it. No really, I thought it was terrible. And I also picked it because I thought it fit exactly into what Hugo was talking about when he said don’t talk about/write about huge things: death, hate, grief, LOVE.

I really had a problem with the language in this poem. If you’re going to write a love poem, I feel like you have to do everything in your power to avoid cliches, which to me, is damn near impossible. Love itself is cliche. The letters image, and worst of all the “chairs chatting” image are both images that have been overdone.

It made me think about how I would write a love poem. I think there are a lot of images about love that can still be mentioned in a poem. I read this short essay by David Sedaris once about love and his relationship with his boyfriend and how they always fight, they know each others routine, they don’t even talk or look at each other when they go out to dinner, but they love each other, and thats what happens in long-term relationships: you become routine. I think I would like to write a poem about that. Theres still somethings that could be said in love poems.

Triggering Town quote

Tuesday, September 12th, 2006

howdy howdy howdy. the quote that stuck with me the most in TT is on page 6:

“You owe reality nothing and the truth about your feelings everything.”

This quote was at first a little confusing, mainly because Hugo wrote that one owes the reality nothing followed by the truth about your feelings everything (the word choice is kind of weird, I’m sure it was intentional or something). I think the reason this quote stuck with me is because I believe it really sums up one’s job as a poet. my only qualm with it is that it seems extremely personal, but I suppose that why one writes as a poet at times. it doesn’t matter if you can’t get the names of certain people right; what matters is how it works for the poem (ultimately, how it works for you in the poem).