Thursday, January 6, 2011

Why I write prose, not poetry

I took an intro to creative writing class as an undergrad and we were required to write a number of poems for the first half of the class. I typically do not write poetry when I write because the brevity and exactness of words intrinsic to poetry makes me restless. It doesn't feel very natural to me, as writing prose does. Regardless, I wrote a poem about my mother for that class that I will share with you. It's crowded with words and I'm warning you upfront that it is far from my best work, but I think it gives a good, general idea of my mother:

A Shred of Consolation

The diseased pink disaster of a robe,
probably bought for pennies
at the overstuffed Salvation Army
on the day its colored tag
offered an additional fifty percent off,
quickly became crumbling cotton candy,
matted down, worn away, tattered seams,
exposing the microscopic, polyester mesh
that held the whole blasted thing together
in one piece.

Nevermind the velour peach gown,
fresh with department store tags,
hanging abandoned on the bathroom hook,
adorning the seeping pipes and porcelain.
No, the one covered with short, wiry, root-exposed hairs,
each one shed as a martyr for her growing negligence,
would do until the inconvenience far outweighed the function.
Just as it willingly absorbed the breathless musk of mildew,
the overlooked bottom corner would soak up
the flood on the carpet while she dozed nightly on the couch.

I wonder if she ever made the switch to the newer robe or if she's still wearing cotton candy tatters. 

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