My writing

I don’t think of your hands anymore, but my dreams are plagued with the feeling of being held.

I tried doing something new and wrote a somewhat structured poem – a sestina (a simplified version). So that’s why some lines are much longer than others. Oops. I’ll explain what a sestina is at the end of this post.

I spent yesterday morning thinking of what to write.
I typed out a text and imagined you reading it on your phone,
And I realized it would pass through your mind as yet another minor inconvenience eating up your time.
You’d send a quick reply with a furrow of annoyance on your forehead (saying, I have things to do more important than this). No, I can’t have you read it. I need you to listen

And watch my lips form the words my hands cannot bear to write
Because my eyes cannot stand seeing them illuminated back at me on my phone.
Your ears will have to suffer the weight of the truth and listen
As my mind learns that it can both speed up and slow down time.

I need you to give me something more valuable than those gifts that sit untouched in my mother’s jewelry box under my bed. Like say, your time.
If only you took the time to really see and to really listen
To the things I did not show or say, I might’ve sat down in my kitchen to write
You a love letter inspired by our favorite foods, rather than have been frozen in a catatonic state, my hand clutching my phone.

I slowly lost track of time
Until my roommate came home and pulled me out of my stupor with fleeting concern, “What’s so important that you spent all morning staring at your phone?”  

I didn’t know how to tell her that you took over my mind again when I heard your laughter on the bus last week and so here I am, sitting and thinking of what to write
Or if i should even write anything or if I should just forget about what used to be or if I should beg you to listen.

By 2 p.m. yesterday my phone was at two percent and just before it died, I knew what to write:
“Meet me by our oak tree at 5 tomorrow. Please,” so that you can finally listen as I tell you that I don’t love you anymore, but I still miss you after all this time.

 

Mkay so a sestina is a poem with six stanzas of six lines and a final triplet. All stanzas have the same six words at the end of the lines, but in a different order in each stanza. The triplet also contains the six words, but two per line. This is the pattern (each letter represents a different end word):

  1. ABCDEF
  2. FAEBDC
  3. CFDABE
  4. ECBFAD
  5. DEACFB
  6. BDFECA
  7. ACE or ECA (You can mix the order of the B, D, and F as long as you put one of them on each line so you have 2 of your 6 words on each line.)

My simplified version used 4 words (write, phone, time, and listen) instead of 6. This was super bumpin to write, so you should try it too!

Here’s some more examples: Warscape with Lovers, Clue, and Operation Memory.

Not my writing

One Art by Elizabeth Bishop

This is the one poem I’ve completely memorized – I love everything about it. (Source!)
The art of losing isn’t hard to master;
so many things seem filled with the intent
to be lost that their loss is no disaster.

Lose something every day. Accept the fluster
of lost door keys, the hour badly spent.
The art of losing isn’t hard to master.

Then practice losing farther, losing faster:
places, and names, and where it was you meant
to travel. None of these will bring disaster.

I lost my mother’s watch. And look! my last, or
next-to-last, of three loved houses went.
The art of losing isn’t hard to master.

I lost two cities, lovely ones. And, vaster,
some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent.
I miss them, but it wasn’t a disaster.

—Even losing you (the joking voice, a gesture
I love) I shan’t have lied. It’s evident
the art of losing’s not too hard to master
though it may look like (Write it!) like disaster.

 

I hope you all enjoyed that as much as I did! We had to analyze this in class and I don’t think I’ve ever had more fun in my life, so there’s that. It’s just such a simple yet completely genius piece of writing. Maybe it’s because I relate to the speaker. Maybe it’s because I, too, am trying to convince myself that losing things (people) is fine. Maybe it’s how the poem gets more tragic as it progresses. Maybe it’s because I’m a sucker for love and heartache. Probably all of the above and then some. Okay, I’ll stop fawning over this masterpiece now (oops).

My writing

Maybe I Should Write The Poem

I want a poem about girls like me / I’ve read poetry about girls like wolves with tongues that throw daggers and eyes that smolder / I’ve read poetry about girls with flowers in their brains who leave butterflies in their wake / but none about girls like me.

The girls who speak a little too loudly but not loud enough to be heard / feel just a little lonely but not enough to find solace within themselves / who can’t stand what the see in the mirror but won’t do anything about it / who love to dance but don’t know how to carry themselves / the girls whose bodies exude neither fiery confidence nor dainty grace.

Where are the poems about average girls / the ones who aren’t enough of anything to be / muses.

Not my writing

This Be The Verse by Philip Larkin

Let’s get a little personal. I love this poem because it reflects my current thoughts on having children as well as my personal experiences with, well, being born, alive, and raised by two fucked up people. This is straightforward, painfully honest, and views parenthood in a way that most poetry does not. Without further adieu, here’s the poem as well as the source:

They fuck you up, your mum and dad.
They may not mean to, but they do.
They fill you with the faults they had
And add some extra, just for you.

But they were fucked up in their turn
By fools in old-style hats and coats,
Who half the time were soppy-stern
And half at one another’s throats.

Man hands on misery to man.
It deepens like a coastal shelf.
Get out as early as you can,
And don’t have any kids yourself.