Pulled draft notes from a journal page written in May 2019—I had tried to start a sort of apocalyptic sonnet—and worked it into a new poem,
Message Sent to Anywhere But Here. Sharing it in our Saturday Zoom group tonight.
Struck through the opening words of the title after we discussed the poem, and changed a potentially unclear pronoun, but otherwise the poem feels pretty set. V. is teaching a workshop this summer at Hugo House, The Political in Eco-Poetry, and asked could she use this poem? (This took me aback, because it’s so new, but I said, sure, okay, and thank you.)
I’m really happy to be writing a new poem about every week. It’s a pace I hope I can keep up, writing steadily forward into whatever’s next as the biz side of bringing BRT into the world starts to manifest.
Wrote a new draft today at my laptop, something I started around 9:00 and was still working through when T. got home around 10:30, and so I set it aside, and after he went to bed I took it up again. I had gone back to an early draft of the sonnet I’d struggled with, the one that starts with the image of the dimpled tooth, and had forgotten that I had worked out that poem. So I was messing with it (again), tearing apart the third stanza (it was a sonnet but I had set it as 5/5/4 to smudge the end rhyme a bit) and came up with the line Where/ does the soul reside? Which I was having trouble fitting into the poem when I remembered another line, He blew himself away, which made me realize there must be a newer version of the poem. Surprised to have forgotten this, but it speaks really to the bits of time I carve out once a week to write.
So I started something new, focusing on the setting of Mom in her house alone, and trying to evoke not only that isolation but also the slipping of memory, and suddenly an image of a stillborn baby being poured from a coffee can into the river—where did that come from?—and the poem found, I think, its ending, and even though the word maybe is in it three times, I think for now I want to keep all three, and that line from the other tinkering became, for this poem, its title. Not a bad couple hours of work.
Started a new document just to log poem drafts by title and date, which should help make them easier to track down. I forget that I’ve written things, like a poem called “Shadow” from 2019 about Mom yelling out “An eagle!” when a crow flew past the dining room window, a kind of shaped poem that I think might belong in The Boy Who Reads in the Trees. I’m going to add it to the manuscript while there’s time.