This is another sample of free-verse. Having had very little real experience with poetry before, I never used to care much for free-verse. It seemed like cheating, to me – like someone took a paragraph of prose and broke it into pieces and called it poetry, without putting the words through any sort of refining process, without making use of artistry or good old hard work. I have become much more comfortable with it now, though – it does still feel a bit too easy to me, initially, but I’ve come to realize that putting the words down on paper is not the last step, the finished end product – it’s the beginning, the outline, the preparation. Once the words are written down, the work, the art, begins. Attention to detail that many people may never pick up – minute changes to punctuation and line-breaks – hours searching for one single word to do justice to a mountain of ideas – the seeking out and slaying of abstractions – experiments with spelling and verb endings and prefixes – hovering emotionally around a place that stings, wounds, or even flat-out drains away emotional life-blood. It’s exciting – and a process that has no end. There is always more that could be done. Like dance.
As I’ve said before, these poems I present now were all composed with another soul in mind. But they do not claim, and indeed do not even try, to represent that other soul in any accuracy, save the accuracy of my own emotion towards them in that moment. Emotion that is true to myself, but perhaps not to any other. These words come from my own breast. And perhaps sometimes, they do not even represent the soul of me in all truth either. There is a place for poetic license – and where I, as author, cannot put into exact words what I may be waist deep in, or, in Gregory Orr’s words, on the threshold of, I can draw from other places, other moments, other thoughts, and gather them together to support what cannot yet be said. Find yourself within my poetry, and make it yours. I hope you do.
As an aside, I have only one more poem after this one written for my class this past semester. I’m not certain if I’ll post it. I am not happy with it, and know it needs much work still. This may be the last you see of poetry for a bit, as that final work needs to be edited, and though I have other poems in the making right now, they too need a lot of work. I’m not very good at editing on my own yet – so perhaps it will be a while before you get more poetry. Count your lucky stars. =)
I, Keeper of Your Secrets
But pleather thrones are no place
for you to spill your heart
into my open palms. Not at midnight.
You wipe your thumb
along the empty edge of how we tried
to find some hope for you. A foolish hope.
Your embrace vibrates with the smell of your
first real drink, hard-cider breath, sober-eyed stare.
I cannot recoil.
Why reject these open arms in favor of laying
your cheek against the retreating floor?
Your eyes have gone too bright,
and I am tired.
For midnight, like I said,
is really not so true—it’s past that, late
and dark and empty as the paper box
of ice cream, its final cup
melting into the rough and somber rug,
sweetness now crumbed, curdled,
melding with the gritted remains
of last week’s dinners, and all my failing words.