Wednesday, January 03, 2007

gumball poetry and sex, though not at the same time {poetry thursday}

I chuckled out loud when I read Dana’s prompt for Poetry Thursday. I love easing into the new year with thoughts of gumballs and poetry. Yes, yes, yes!

One of my favorite moments as a reader of poetry is when I reach a line in a poem that invites a reaction of some sort. Sometimes visceral, in the form of a smile or tears pecking at the back of my eyeballs, and sometimes it is an audible reaction, a laugh or a sound like, “hmmm.”

When I went to the gumball poetry site to poke around, I found myself saying “hmmm” when I read the last lines of Kelly Madigan Erlandson’s poem, “After the Test Said Yes.” She reminded me of the way poets take two seemingly unrelated experiences and bring them together as one powerful moment.

And when I read Lisa McBride’s poem “The Art of Calling Them Back Again,” a memory came to me about a day spent with my father a few weeks before he and my mother separated. The joy and pain combined in this memory led me to jot down some thoughts and lines for my own poem.

As I clicked around this site, a thought came, “Poetry gives you the gift of awareness.”

But it was the poem “Instead of an Epitaph” by Matt Sandbank that made me stop. It stopped everything: the mind chatter, the way time pulls on me to tell me what I should be doing, the sounds around me. I read it again. This poem yells the reminder that a poem can be just a few lines and still say everything. This phrase, “but lived because,” this is the phrase that caused me to put down the laptop. This is the phrase that shook my body. This is the phrase that will stay with me. [updated: link now takes you to the correct Sandbank poem. hee, hee]

Who would have thought that a little poem could do that?

I love poetry.

I am also going to share a poem I started when the PT (completely and totally optional) idea was sex. At the time, I was too embarrassed to share it. But I feel differently about it now, so even though I might tweak it a bit more, here it is:

don’t tell mom

little did she know when she asked me if I had seen
some comedian tell Jay Leno
he was having sex on the morning of 9/11
that her daughter,
her wait “until you really fall in love” to have sex daughter,
was also experiencing waves of pleasure
when the first plane hit.

she thinks he started spending the night that night,
and he did because I started having nightmares
while awake
about flight attendant’s wrists tied to arm rests
and a voice on the end of a phone saying good-bye,
but the truth is,
he had been staying over for weeks.