Poetry For Our Time

Poetry heals the wounds inflicted by reason. -Novalis

What happened on karaoke night

with 8 comments

This poem got eaten once… Let’s hope it makes it onto the site this time. I don’t think it’s real great, but I’m having a lot of trouble finding creative inspiration (aka a topic on which to write and a fitting way in which to write it) lately. This is what I could come up with.

You told me I seemed like the type of person
who takes everything in,
who soaks up the world the way a sponge does water.

I don’t know how you,
you tall and lanky in that red t-shirt,
looking at me in my blue v-neck
and jeans I’ve worked years to fit into again,
you of just a few conversations
on singing and our little bits of history,
how you could know this of me.

I can’t understand how you,
you with that long coat
and black hair
and James Taylor voice,
as you nonchalantly slip your long arm around my tiny shoulder,
how you can know this of me,
me with my big plans and no time,
me with my short body,
me with my closed-up heart,
how you can know something
that some people I’ve lived with my whole life
haven’t even begun to know.

I don’t get how I,
I who knows this-is-oh-so-wrong,
but I who finds your eyes
magnetically
across the room–
I don’t get how I can let myself go here.

But I do.

And I know that this is not
what I need or want right now,
that there are corners packed with dark and light inaccessible,
that I told myself I wouldn’t.

Yet I can’t help but think,
you, you with that black hair
and piercing eyes
and red shirt long coat lanky frame,
you with your James Taylor voice
singing husky and shy compliments to me,
you’re right. I am a sponge.
I take everything in,
I let in all the words and thoughts and feelings I can absorb.

And all I want to soak in
right now
is the sensation
so wrong, or maybe not wrong,
all I want right now is the sensation
of your smoky mouth
against mine.

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Written by Molly M M

April 12, 2009 at 5:58 am

Posted in Poem

8 Responses

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  1. I think this is great. I might play around with making it a little less literal, but I really like the tone and the language of the piece. Well done.

    Ashley

    April 13, 2009 at 4:32 pm

  2. This poem has a fantastic momentum that driven by the unlikeliest of fuels: the pronouns. The you, you, I, I, me, me…the speaker is so stunned by the fact of these entities that she is momentarily taken out of her normal sponge state to just exist. And that fantastic turning point, “But I do.” When the pronoun finds action (heh). And the lovely combination of that motion and the stumbling of the pronouns…it’s great.

    And now that I’ve written a love letter to your poem…I think my suggestion would be to play up that rhythm, that repetition, and remove some of the more self-conscious parts of the piece. (For example, the line, “so wrong, or maybe not wrong.” And maybe even the entire stanza after “But I do” and the first line of the following.)

    Nicely done, though. 🙂

    cd40

    April 16, 2009 at 3:55 am

  3. I had a previously written version of this poem, but my iPhone ate it. (poems written on the iPhone? now that’s sad.) So when I wrote it the second time, I really found struggle with the ending. I was really unsure about how to lead into the last stanza from the “But I do” line, I found myself reworking that part many times. And this is how the poem was originally going to end:

    And all I want to soak in
    right now
    is the sensation
    of your smoky mouth
    against mine.

    So, all the self-conscious/cerebral stuff was not present (although, a little of the repetition is gone here too). I just felt this ending was so abrupt… but maybe I was just scared of ending the poem so boldly after the narrator seemed so taken aback throughout the rest of it. I guess if “I do” is the volta, perhaps a shift in the narrator’s perspective? confidence? whatever it is? makes sense.

    What do you think? I definitely will tinker with the other stanzas between “I do” and the ending stanza, but this ending is something I actually was going to do but then chickened out. Is it better? Is there a happy medium between the two versions?

    I’d love to hear thoughts on this.

    (P.S. I wasn’t sure the pronoun thing was going to work, but I’m glad it did. :))

    Molly M M

    April 17, 2009 at 1:27 am

  4. I like the ending you posted in the comments, but that’s personal. I think it’s the editorial comments that are pulling the poem out of its own time and space (ie, “Yet I can’t help but think,” or “so wrong, or maybe not wrong, / all I want right now is the sensation.”

    One thing I really like is that you want to soak in the sensation of the kiss…not the kiss…very true to the speaker. Also, this line is perfect: “me with my big plans and no time.” I love that.

    To be honest, when I read it, each stanza feels pretty lovely and complete in itself…maybe it’s a matter of shifting them around that turning point in order to achieve a fuller effect (i’m thinking that the stanza after “but I do” might actually work pretty well before that line…just a thought). Overall, a fantastic little piece that could evolve as much or as little as I think you want it to. Sometimes you just love a poem the way it is, and if that’s the case, I don’t think anyone would argue.

    cd40

    April 17, 2009 at 3:07 am

  5. I don’t know if I’d end it with “But I do.” I think that is a very bold ending after the speaker of the poem seems very unsure. I like the ending as it is, but I agree with Chels that you could play with the order of the stanzas and see how you feel about it, but the poem does have a nice momentum as is.

    I, personally, would like to see you play with this, just because I’m curious. I particularly think the stanza beginning with “Yet I can’t help but think …” should be the last stanza. That seems to be the turn at the end that you’d want there, and would help to keep the momentum going at the end. Then you’d have the “But I do” line, the two stanzas beginning with “And” followed by the “Yet” stanza… I think that might work nicely.

    Ashley

    April 17, 2009 at 3:33 am

  6. Oh, I don’t think I’d end it with “But I do.” I think that’s the turn that’s needed, at that place in the poem. I might move a little of the content of the later stanzas up earlier, before the “I do.” We’ll see. I have some ideas… thanks guys!!!

    And now Ashley has given me a new poem idea, since apparently I am a twitter flirt… awesomeness!

    Molly M M

    April 17, 2009 at 3:40 am

  7. Okay, I’m going to post a revision.

    Ash, if we are going to post revisions, do you think we should do it as separate poems or keep them within the original? On one hand, it can keep the conversation going to have it all on one page, but the revisions are pieces of writing too, and they won’t be found as easily if you click on the author names and they’re just buried in the comments. Hmm…

    Anyway, posting it here, if it works:

    What happened on karaoke night

    You told me I seemed like the type of person
    who takes everything in,
    who soaks up the world, the way a sponge does water.

    I don’t know how you,
    you tall and lanky in that red t-shirt,
    you looking at me in my blue v-neck
    and jeans I’ve worked years to fit into again,
    you of just a few conversations
    on your and my singing and our little bits of history—
    how you could know this of me.

    I can’t understand how you,
    you with that long coat
    and black hair
    and James Taylor voice,
    you as you nonchalantly slip your long arm around my tiny shoulder,
    how you can know this of me,
    me with my big plans and no time,
    me with my short body, you with your tall frame,
    how you can know something
    that some people I’ve lived with my whole life,
    my whole life,
    haven’t even begun to know.

    I don’t get how I,
    I who knows this-is-oh-so-wrong,
    I who told myself I wouldn’t,
    but I who finds your eyes
    magnetically
    across the room–
    I don’t get how I can let myself
    go here.

    But I do.

    You, you with that black hair
    and piercing eyes
    and red shirt
    you with the long coat and lanky frame,
    you with your James Taylor voice
    singing husky and shy compliments to me,
    you’re right. I am a sponge.
    I take everything in,
    I let in all the words, I let in all the thoughts and feelings
    I can absorb.

    And right now, I,
    all I want
    to soak in
    is the sensation—
    yes. All I want right now
    is the sensation
    of your smoky mouth
    against mine.

    Molly M M

    April 18, 2009 at 8:02 am

  8. Ohh, posting revisions… well I know I don’t necessarily look back at comments, and I bet most people on here don’t, either, so here’s what I think: Put your revision in a brand new post, and add a link back to the original. That way, people can see comments on the original and leave separate comments on the revision.

    Ashley

    April 18, 2009 at 2:17 pm


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