Monday, September 22, 2008


People often ask me what the hardest part of writing a poem is. My poems almost always stem from a memory. An image, a sound, a fleeting thought even, provokes a sort of inspiration that ties past to present. A sensation familiar to something else, of someone else also inspires me. I then try to make sense of the blurred boundary of what was and what is. I manipulate my memories to rework it into something else, wondering what really happened. This attempt at manipulation allows me to compose the memory I wish I'd had, although that is sometimes simply unattainable. The hardest part of writing, for me, is the conception of a title. I know some writers that start poems with their title, unable to continue with the actual poem unless a title is chosen. I know others that write out the poem first and then choose a title. I also know some writers who write out the entire poem first and always select a significant line in the poem as their title. The title is the first impression made upon the reader. It sets the tone, alludes to its context, and begins the story about to be told. A title must be chosen carefully, so as not to discredit the poem. My titles are usually synonymous with the meaning of the poem in my eyes. It is rare that I write a poem and leave it untitled. In today's instance however, several titles came to mind when writing this poem, but nothing proved sufficient. I wrote this poem on the train today, heading home from class. I began writing as the train pulled out of Union Station and finished just before my Lake Forest stop, about 55 minutes altogether. It's also very rare that I share the very first draft of any poem, especially only hours after it's written. I know that a train ride might seem like a short amount of time to write a poem, but on occasions like these--when my need to write is urgent and spontaneous, I can produce work almost immediately. I'm leaving this poem untitled for the reasons already stated above. I suppose I'll leave it up to the readers to take it upon themselves to title it as they see fit, to take the poem as their own, to make sense of their own blurred boundaries.

I woke a remembered montage
of days disrupted and recollected.
Disruptive more than

My memories enjamb
my present. Paus-
ing intentionally on
my mind's scratched
surface, the needle plays--

[sun stricken water
fights watched by
curious eyes through
green sheathed curtains.]

[your footfalls in
the hall, you crawl
into bed beside me; seventeen
missed calls.]

the superimposition of
marred befores invade
my unhappened afters

the once soothing strokes
of the piano slow post
climax. the lyrics go
unheard. the omission of velvet
notes strain.

chapped lips purse
subversively, hushing the
rivulets of sweat
and sound.

the crescendo falls.
the needle searches.
the record spins. silent static.

No comments:

Post a Comment