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Waiting Around (In response to Neruda’s “Walking Around”)
December 28, 2012
1:37 am
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It so happens, I am tired of being a woman.

And it happens while I wait for children to grow

into the burning licks of adulthood, the streaks

of summer sun gone, drained between gaps into gutters.

 

The ink-smell of report cards and recipe boxes

cringes me to corners.

I only want to salvage fragments from beneath my forehead.

I only want the space in time for thought, for inspection,

for memoirs, for affection.

 

Still I would be satisfied

if I could draw from language

the brutal banquet of poets,

the discharge of bullets that roams to the ear.

If I could only capture mentality and

sell it like a souvenir.

 

I can no longer be timid and silent,

breathless and withdrawn, tight skin

sealing lips like shriveled grapes to raisin,

and dry tongue, grit exposed.

 

I can’t salve the silence.

I can’t be this vineyard vessel

to be bottled, corked and tilted,

cellared and shelved.

 

That’s why the year-end gapes with pointed teeth,

growls at my crow’s feet, gravels into my throat

and claws its way through an age

I never planned to reach.

 

And it diffuses my life into dullness, into the edges of dawn,

into workout rooms and nail salons,

into nurseries that smell of youth and

bleach-white sheets on clothesline.

 

Pins clip treacherously photographs of younger me,

of barbecues and birthday parties,

and there are images of washboards and

lye soap in the trenches of knee high panty hose,

garters and corsets, the women before me, before this.

 

I wait. I wait in my form-fitting camouflage,

my war paint lipstick and my strong suit.

I gamble on what’s expected and what to become

and how to behave: mother, wife, brave.

Wine is bottled poetry. ~ Robert Louis Stevenson
February 8, 2013
9:27 pm
Moderator

Points: 11667
Thanked 228 times
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Reworked... what do you think? Do I need to put back anything I cut? Any suggestions to give the form a more "waiting around" type feel?

 

Waiting Around

after “Walking Around” by Pablo Neruda

 

It so happens, I am tired of being a woman.

And it happens while I wait for my children to grow

into the burning licks of adulthood. The streaks

of summer sun have gone,

 

drained between gaps into gutters,

and the ink-smell of report cards and recipe boxes

cringes me into corners. Still I would be satisfied

if I could draw from language

the banquet of poets.

 

If I could salvage the space in time

for thought and collect it

like a souvenir. I can no longer

be timid and quiet, breathless

 

and withdrawn.

I can’t salve the silence.

I can’t be this vineyard

to be bottled, corked,

cellared, and shelved.

 

That’s why the year-end gapes with pointed teeth,

growls at my crow’s feet, and gravels into my throat.

It claws its way through the edges of an age

I never planned to reach

 

and diffuses my life into dullness—

workout rooms and nail salons,

bleach-white sheets on clotheslines,

and treacherous photographs of younger me

at barbecues and birthday parties.

 

I wait. I hold still in my form-fitting camouflage.

I put on my strong suit and war paint lipstick

and I gamble on what’s expected.

And what to become. And how

to behave: mother, wife, brave.

Wine is bottled poetry. ~ Robert Louis Stevenson
April 4, 2013
9:22 pm
Moderator

Points: 11667
Thanked 228 times
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0

I just got news that this poem took second place in my university's literary journal for poetry... so not only will I have three printed this semester, I actually won an award! Cool! And, cooler still... the judges are from a reputable Utah literary journal, for which I subscribe, but have not yet submitted... oh yes, they will get a submission from me before year's end! I'm SUPER pleased!!! laughter

Wine is bottled poetry. ~ Robert Louis Stevenson

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