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this poems feels funny

February 27, 2011

And that’s a good thing. I am not referring to the poem as “good.” I am referring to that uncomfortable feeling you get when you try new things. This is a first draft from last week. I have been avoiding calling it a poem because I am stubborn that way.




One of the new-to-me things in it is the absence of the “I.” Sure I’ve written poems that use “she” instead, but in most of those the “she” was a disguised, coming-at-it-sideways “I.” I have been reading a lot lately — and talking to people a lot lately — about stepping outside our comfort zones in writing. Hence the “she” that has no echo of me. Hence the dabbling in a social issue. Hence the “&” in that middle section. I am trying to draw attention to pairs of things in the poem, and so that’s what I tried.

I resisted calling it a poem because I can’t seem to get a good handle on the stories (maybe they need other details) and I was struggling with that distance this far-off “she” provides. But one of the things I’ve read (Louise Glück’s remarks in Poetry in Person) says that you hate writing with new tools because you’re not as skilled with them as you are with your old tools.

The poem contains pieces of a free-write from a few weeks ago with Jill, and I put it together in this particular way while visiting Portland, Oregon (where the homeless women really stood out to me this time; in the past, it’s been the men that I noticed most) and after watching the film “I Am,” which is full of lots of good, good stuff about how we are all connected.


Go see what others posted under the Big Tent this weekend!


Editing note: There are two “opens.” Get rid of one.

  1. February 27, 2011 12:17 am

    There’s a reason for the 2 “opens,” you need to find it before getting rid of either (or any).

  2. February 27, 2011 12:48 am

    nicely done carolee

  3. February 27, 2011 9:06 am

    Very powerful poem, and I was fascinated reading about the process of getting to it, and your current concerns. As a reader, it does make me feel fragile and connected to others, and spurs in me the impulse to care for, tend, and respect the person in front of me, and to acknowledge the need to be cared for in myself, or the future need. The content of the poem, I mean, reminds me of our common humanity, and I very much respect the content of a poem, as well as its form!

  4. February 27, 2011 12:37 pm

    Like the structure of this, which seemed fluid — the pairs, the couplets, the odd couplings. I like the line breaks, too.

  5. February 27, 2011 12:50 pm

    Luck & money run out / like feral husbands & insatiable cats.

    Wonderful imagery and couplings. The world becomes smaller until it knocks at each door. I can appreciate this poem…and your process notes.

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