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there aren’t enough life boats

August 11, 2010

I don’t know where to begin. Fortunately, anything will do. A beginning is a beginning no matter how bad. Endings, too, I suppose. Bad endings are just as good as happy ones. They get the job done, anyway.

My mind is A Giant Mess (my life, too). And I haven’t a clue about which thread to work with to start the work of untangling it. It feels more like I’m on a sinking ship, and there aren’t enough life boats.

I know that’s a clichรฉd emotion, but I have those nightmares — lives at risk, too many people, too few boats. While most people fight and claw for space in the boats, I stand frozen wondering what makes me any more worth saving than anyone else, trying to justify why I should survive if others can’t. It’s an intellectual consideration, of course. In an actual emergency, I suspect instinct takes over. And there’s no way to know if I’d care if I “deserved” a seat or not.

But my metaphors are all mixed up. I don’t really feel as though I am on a sinking ship, but I do have that feeling of panic that comes when sorting and prioritizing causes you to believe some things are going to be lost forever. They just are.

I wrote only three poems in July, and except for a few lines here and there for the Poetry Postcards, I haven’t written in August at all. I can’t remember things about myself that I think I used to know. Like this: Am I the person who writes her way out of confusion? or when I write, is it an indication that the confusion has dissipated? (A more enlightened person, or a more practical person, would say it doesn’t really matter. At least I remember I am not THAT person.)

So whatever this is (the thick of confusion or its departure), I am going to attempt my first August poem. It uses some dream imagery from last night and today’s Wednesday prompt from Poetic Asides: “Use ‘as I was saying’ as a springboard into a poem.” (And because of the prompt, which hints at conversation, I try to use the voice of someone telling a story instead of using a more poetic narrator. I’m not sure it’s good for a poem to shun a poetic narrator. It’s been so long since I’ve done this!)



Something interesting about this is that this (my parents) isn’t what’s on my mind (I don’t think), but it’s what I was dreaming about.

I also dreamed that I was using my laptop in the middle of the lake and only realized after I’d done a bunch of work that water wasn’t good for computers and I made a frantic swim for shore trying to save it.

And I dreamed that Jill drove a giant red and white beat-up pick-up truck and was having trouble parking it. We were almost off a cliff once and another time we tumbled over some big rocks. She finally parked it, or more specifically she dangled it by a rope from a large tree, some 50 feet off the ground. Neither of us could figure out how to get it down, and we were afraid to ask any of the men we know for help.

  1. August 11, 2010 11:00 am

    if i do anything with this poem, i think i’ll end it after “you’re just bones.”

  2. August 11, 2010 11:48 am

    I like the idea of ending it where you said. Or ending it there and starting a series poem using the next scene and others. Some good stuff here. I am looking forward to the pickup truck poem.

    You dove.

    The water likes you.

    • August 11, 2010 1:01 pm

      thanks, deb. i wonder how many water poems i have. i remember swimming before walking. i was talking in sentences before either swimming or walking. that’s trouble for sure: a mermaid with a lot to say! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • August 16, 2010 11:53 am

      don’t you remember parking the pickup in a pine tree? i’m sure it was you i was with! love you, man!

      • August 16, 2010 11:55 am

        it WAS a pine tree. a big, big tall one. how did you know? ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. August 11, 2010 12:11 pm

    I don’t know, my very favorite moment of lots of favorite moments was the “as I was saying” turn. I think this coheres beautifully. Terrific poem.

    You may be writing fewer of them, but you’re writing wonderful ones. I wouldn’t worry about the poemer. I think it’s just fine.

    • August 11, 2010 1:03 pm

      but you never worry about the poemer, dale. ๐Ÿ™‚

      • August 11, 2010 4:51 pm

        Not about yours, anyway ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. August 11, 2010 1:51 pm

    That’s an intense dream. Lots of poetic material there, for sure! Not sure it’s worth a messy life to have vivid dreams, but it’s hard to grow good crops without some manure.

    • August 11, 2010 1:59 pm

      this made me laugh out loud b/c i am tempted to twist it and tease that “dave bonta says i write shit” (i know that’s not what you’re saying, though i agree this one is more source material than poem).

      and THEN i laughed out loud b/c i have it all! i have it all: messy life. vivid dreams. it’s hard for a poet to ask for more than that. ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. August 11, 2010 5:33 pm

    Perhaps it could be reordered a bit so the bones line makes it way to the end. Or maybe that line should be repeated somehow. Great stuff, anyway, whatever that Bonta guy says.


    (Just kidding, Dave!)

    • August 11, 2010 10:04 pm

      who knows what it needs! my brain is malfunctioning. but i prefer it to spit out poems as a malfunction instead of just convulsing inside itself or whatever it does. maybe someday i’ll have the energy to figure it out. you know, i used to be a girl with energy. lots and lots of it.

  6. August 12, 2010 1:13 am

    Halfway through the poem I realized this was a dream. When the seasons changed drastically I knew. I was there with you on this journey. As I was saying….

  7. August 13, 2010 1:30 am

    I like your poem. Lots. Lots to like. Bones is great. But I also agree with Dale about the whole of it.

    Ha! When I’m a mess I’m just a mess. You write well seems no matter what! And dreams, well they keep secrets enough, and they do their job without our help and just (forgive me) toss us a few bones from time to time. Else we’d be dreaming wide awake (but maybe you do!).

    • August 16, 2010 11:56 am

      thanks, neil! so good to hear from you.

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