Thursday, July 17, 2008

By the Light of the... Budweiser Beer Sign?

El Roco Revelations... Poetry Posting Take Two.

This week I attended a Creative Writing Workshop and because of that, oddly enough, I've been writing less on this blog. The first two days were devoted to poetry and revision. I was really getting in the groove. Days three and four we explored fiction and creative nonfiction and publication. This is not my strength as evidenced by the extensive retooling we did on my writing in class. At a sentence level my writing became "what not to do." Oh well. I feel like I learned new things and though my confidence may be at a new low in regard to my prose, I am more excited to write in verse. One of our last efforts was a jump back to poetry mode and we all wrote sonnets. My first ever. Mine (very much still in a first draft stage) was about kidney stones. Nice, eh?

In addition to writing, this workshop exposed me to some new authors. Tony Hoagland, for example. We read a poem by him on day one that I loved and then Nancy suggested we read Lucky (the poem I posted on Tuesday) and I did. When I read it I was overcome by tears. It really hit me hard. Now, after hearing the reactions of others, I'm doubting my first impression.

Maybe it was just the fragility of the older woman that did it. Maybe it was the fast forwarded image of my own mother dying that shot through my mind. Maybe it was the images of people I've known who have died from diseases that have wasted their bodies and robbed them of who they once were for good or for bad. In "Lucky" I sensed a man who didn't have a good relationship with his mother and yet at this late stage of the game he was getting something he could not have any other way for whatever reasons, the least of which might have been that when his mother had more fight she might not have let him or wanted him to be the one to care for her. But she was stuck with him and he was stuck with her and sometimes in the quiet there was a kind of joy. And I saw the last few lines as particularly expressing that there was a sweetness there that they both could still enjoy despite his struggles with the power he managed to inherit whether desired or not.. the idea of the caretaker becoming the cared for.

Nevertheless, last night at trivia I discovered not only that people do read this blog, but that "Lucky" was not a favorite poem and for that I apologize. I will post "Jet" by Tony Hoagland --the poem I loved in class. A poem I think is close to perfect in many ways. I love the imagery. It hints at the choices we make, the sacrifices, how we feel about how things have turned out. And any poem with space references in it, is just great.



Jet
by Tony Hoagland

Sometimes I wish I were still out
on the back porch, drinking jet fuel
with the boys, getting louder and louder
as the empty cans drop out of our paws
like booster rockets falling back to Earth

and we soar up into the summer stars.
Summer. The big sky river rushes overhead,
bearing asteroids and mist, blind fish
and old space suits with skeletons inside.
On Earth, men celebrate their hairiness,

and it is good, a way of letting life
out of the box, uncapping the bottle
to let the effervescence gush
through the narrow, usually constricted neck.

And now the crickets plug in their appliances
in unison, and then the fireflies flash
dots and dashes in the grass, like punctuation
for the labyrinthine, untrue tales of sex
someone is telling in the dark, though

no one really hears. We gaze into the night
as if remembering the bright unbroken planet
we once came from,
to which we will never
be permitted to return.
We are amazed how hurt we are.
We would give anything for what we have.

2 comments:

rachelzana said...

I don't know, I liked "Lucky," although the middle part, admittedly was a little disturbing for me. I thought the visual pictures were excellent, and isn't the point of literature to stretch your mind around people that you ordinarily wouldn't understand? I think I like it, and understand it, better than "Jet."

I'm VERY jealous of your writing workshop. Very, very jealous. I really miss RRVWP. Was the workshop affiliated with that?

Carm said...

I'm glad you enjoyed "Lucky" and yes the writing workshop was a four day RRVWP advanced institute. Wish you could have joined us!

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