I have always loved writing poetry. I grew up a voracious reader, and in addition to fantasy series which would capture my attention for hours, I would sit with collections by Shel Silverstein and Jack Prelutsky reveling at the clever rhymes and funny illustrations. I wanted to live in the worlds they created-- worlds where you could "fall up" or make "a pizza the size of the sun." I created countless poems in elementary and middle school before being swept away from this art form with the rush of tests and classwork in high school and my first year of college. At the start of each quarter, I would make myself a promise to find time to write; however, the minute homework piled up and midterms began, poetry was the first thing which slid. When I realized that I could take an introductory verse class to count towards my minor in writing, I jumped at the opportunity to immerse myself in this medium again.
I have never again been as excited to attend a morning class as I was when showing up for English 283. Our instructor, Lauren Schlesinger, was wonderful; her knowledge of verse and ability to convey complex and flexible concepts in a clear and concise manner made it easy to stay focused. If my thoughts strayed from the classroom, it was only to contemplate how I might use something we were learning to revise a poem I had written earlier in the quarter. I also discovered Don Paterson, who is now my all-time favorite poet, in this class, and his collections continue to inspire my writing. While I cannot sit here and say that I found it easy to incorporate writing into my life once this class ended, I can say that it was a transformative experience and that I now make more time for writing than I have done since my middle school days. I have also worked to incorporate verse into other classes since then, such as the sestina which I wrote on my study abroad trip in Rome and one which I am currently working on in a class centered on autoethnography. I also find myself viewing the world through the lens of a poet. I am consistently mindful of sensory experiences and catch myself trying to reify abstract thoughts and emotions in verse form with the running commentary at the back of my mind.
Looking back at the poems I wrote in English 283, I almost feel a bit embarrassed. I can see countless revisions itching to be made, language I wish I had use and ideas I wish I had captured better. However, I can also see how far I have come in my writing since taking this introductory class, and I don't think I would have noticed this progress without reflecting on this experience and sharing them as a part of my portfolio. So have a look!
The young woman with locks of burnt umber extended a hand to cup his clean-shaven cheek. And he, and industrial man, looked down to meet her moss-green gaze. “I think you are a father,” she said. Her hands trembled as young flowers do in bursts of summer wind. And he, jaw unhinged, swayed forward then back before reaching to steady her wavering fingers. “Please don’t be mad,” she whispered, words hardly touching his ears before they dissipated into molecules of silence. And he smiled, first with rose lips and then tawny eyes, shut and curved faintly to resemble inverted bridges. The young mother melted forward, rested her head to his chest to hear the thrumming inside. And he let her lily aroma fill his consciousness.
Rain succumbed to sunlit days as she painted the nursery’s cream pigment pink and planted lilacs in the garden. And he sprayed the earth with fumigants to stamp away the weeds, watched her stomach rise and fall as she inhaled fresh buds of oxygen. Tiny linens were cleansed with detergent, hands with anti-bacterial soap, whilst she sipped arabica coffee to slow a growing somnolence. And he practiced lullabies long after she slept, melodies sung to their everything— all the way until her middle cramped. Until their everything dissipated into atoms of emptiness. The young woman with matted strands of burnt umber and wilting green eyes woke to a windy morning and a vase of cut flowers.
Is it not sad to live but for the Spring? Born from verdant buds amidst rain-soaked air, a fist unclenched, soft petals unfurling the season, first and final, they will share. White blossoms fade to brown, tanned by the glow of sun, frayed leaflets collapsing out-to- in like a soul without the strength to slow the passing months, which turn pouring skies blue.
But colored orbs of fruit grow from decay, emerging from graves, galvanized by death stems cling to limbs, intent to live, to stay. Yet come fall they will take a final breath.
Everything burgeons when nothing is left. Who knew the miracle of life is theft? _____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Dali in the Eclipse of Time “The Persistence of Memory” (1931) by Salvador Dali
The perpetuity of interim the e n d l e s s brevity of life traced in paint by jerk- ing hands breath to stale air dawn to night.
6 p.m. to 8:03 a quarter until 5 transpiring simultaneously same time zone disparate times.
Same Catalonian summer heat and siesta sunset, hours m e l t i n g into seconds into dampened grains of sand to be carried off by clustered insects
which pry e-l-o-n-g-a-t-e-d minute marks and the dozen reified numbers from a liquefying face of time strict ticking motion un en cumbered.
Asleep I lay,
eyelashes nose and brow beneath a bough outstretched an arm extended into an earth empty of sound
but for the waves, like sulci and gyri, sweeping across the bay a corrosive force of nature ero- jag- ding ged bluffs of clay.
Awake is myopic thinking tone deaf contemplation.
to paint occipital hallucinations to live days in seconds, seconds in hours to view trees sprout from mahogany tables, wood
dowered from their splintered trunks to see our fourth dimension fold in upon itself to psychoanalyze my mind to bid the fragile form of time farewell.
La perpetuidad de ínterin la brevedad i n f i n i t a de la vida trazado por la pintura con manecillas tarta- mudas respiración al aire viciado, alba a la noche.