Poetry For Our Time

Poetry heals the wounds inflicted by reason. -Novalis

What happened on karaoke night (revision)

with 3 comments

Am I lame for re-posting the same poem? Maybe. But since I got such good comments, I kind of want to polish it. I sort of love it now.

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
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.


Written by Molly M M

April 20, 2009 at 12:14 am

Posted in Poem

3 Responses

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  1. YES! I think you’re definitely on to something here.


    April 25, 2009 at 3:35 pm

  2. Molly, nice revision. I like how this feels much more compact, tighter, even with just a few tweaks. Still, my instinct is to pull out some of the personal information that takes away from this narrative. For example, “and jeans I’ve worked years to fit into again” takes me away from the action of the moment and into this reality about the speaker that I don’t know is necessary. And I don’t feel like it’s a detail that adds any dimensions to the speaker that need to be explored here.

    I like the compare/contrast mode between the speaker and the male object, but the big vs. small comparisons get increasingly lackluster as they go on: “long arm/tiny shoulder”…ok…a nice visual; “short body/tall frame”…didn’t she just say that? It doesn’t invoke any picture, feels generic; “long coat/lanky frame”…more description of him, but nothing that really pops. I like this idea of size comparison, exploring it as if it is very important…I’m just not sure if it belongs in this poem. Inserting it once as a detail, OK…I can deal with that, but the consistent play isn’t having much of an effect as it is except to draw attention to some ineffectual adjectives.

    And the end…nice. I find myself wanting it to read:
    And right now, I,
    all I want
    to soak in
    is the sensation
    is the sensation
    of your smoky mouth
    against mine.

    Keep that motion. The yes is implicit.

    Really great revision, though.


    April 30, 2009 at 2:55 am

  3. Reading this again, I think it is the more physical details that don’t seem to work as well. Lines like “you as you nonchalantly slip your long arm around my tiny shoulder,” or “me with my short body, you with your tall frame” ground the poem in reality, and I sort of don’t want it there. This, to me, is that intellectual love affair that you have with a guy you’ve seen a few times at a bar or… karaoke… and the possibilities of the relationship are actually better than anything that could really happen. But as soon as he man physically touches the speaker, and as soon as the speaker describes the physical details, then the relationship becomes real, and disappointment is inevitable.

    I don’t know, does that make sense?


    May 2, 2009 at 4:07 pm

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