Week 46: An Empty Doorway

Strange and stranger, a knock at the door
a mad dash to an empty doorway
a tall and dark someone, back turned
cooly walking off into the weather

and you call out and they slow
and you see their head turn ever slightly
but they are gone sooner than seen
disappearing into the cracking storm

and you’re left standing there
no closer to the center
no closer to a beginning or an end
going in circles, quickly and more quickly
things being hard and never easy

Author’s Notes:

Often when I work I listen to some type of instrumental music, and this week I was struck by this impossibly sweet, melancholy Japanese folk song called “Takeda Lullaby.” So when I was working on the poem for this week, I put the song on repeat and let it set the tone.

I’m really not a music theory person and can’t really explain how the melody of Takenda Lullaby works, but it’s this beautiful, minor-key melody, flecked with glimmering moments of optimism that always resolve into a bittersweet kind of peace.

I don’t know if this poem contains all that, but that’s where it’s from. If you’d like to listen to the song, you can find it here.

Favorite Line:
“things being hard and never easy”

Favorite Use of an Adjective:
“disappearing into the cracking storm”

Week 45: As We Wait

The clock forgets, one day, to tick

the sun begins to rise, but stops and waits
just below the horizon, glowing dimly
like a fire burning in the next valley

an otter dives from her bank into the stream
and the water swallows her like honey,
without a splash or ripple

the laughter of a distant coyote is caught
in the liquid air and muffled to a whimper

the future is stuck
rain drops hover
the clouds stand still

we walk along with our hands in our pockets
and we find a spot under a tree whose leafs
are suspended delicately like ornaments
around us, shaken loose by a gust of wind,
and we lean back and sit in the silence
and talk about all the things we could be
as we wait for the world to start again.

Author’s Notes:

It’s very tricky for me to write notes on this, because I don’t think I have a good handle on what exactly this poem is doing quite yet. But I really like the combination of gentleness and uncanniness.

One thing I’ve noticed is that the ‘Favorite Line’ section of my notes has gotten harder and harder, because it’s becoming more common that I split things across lines more often now.

Favorite Line(s):

“and we find a spot under a tree whose leafs
are suspended delicately like ornaments
around us, shaken loose by a gust of wind”

Most Delicious Line:

“and the water swallows her like honey”

Week 44: Fields Shorn

Fields shorn, the grey stubble stands
November mist wanders through the draws
eyes closed, the frost delivers its fatal kiss
at last the hills surrender their weary colors

I am out here on the front step shivering
enduring a cataclysm of bare wind and dagger ice
just waiting for the first flake of pretty snow to fall

Author’s Notes:

I’m afraid I’ve taken liberties with reality here—this year we got snowed on in October. November is a nicer sounding month name though, and the month when the first snow should happen, so I’ve taken poetic license.

Favorite Line:
“enduring a cataclysm of bare wind and dagger ice”

Line with the Best Alliteration:
“just waiting for the first flake of pretty snow to fall”

Week 43: The Virtues of Efficiency

Standing in line, shifting
back and forth, uneasy on my feet

looking out the window at the grey sky
just wanting to get out of here

glaring up at the cashier as she
methodically dispatching customers
like cats dispatch mice—very slowly

performing an internal monologue
to the sympathetic audience of myself
about the virtues of efficiency
and the upsetting lack thereof
in this gas station

and then realizing I have only
been standing in this line for
about 75 seconds—which is less time
than I will spend on my phone
picking out what I will listen to next
when I get back into the car.

Author’s Notes:

I’m traveling today, so we have a travel themed poem. I’ll spare myself from doing a very extensive write-up this week, but I will say that I definitely think it’s funny how it’s easy for me to get annoyed by what I perceive as other people wasting my time, but am perfectly happy wasting it on my own.

Favorite Line(s):
“methodically dispatching customers
like cats dispatch mice—very slowly”

The best possible description of my internal life:
“performing an internal monologue
to the sympathetic audience of myself”

Week 42: White Oblivion

Reluctantly I put
these words to the page

no deep purpose or

just a sequence of letters
black enough to destroy
the white oblivion
that sits before me.

Author’s Notes:

This might be the most failuriest failure of the project so far, because writing about not being able to write in a meta sort of way is not something I endorse.

Nonetheless, this is what I’ve got this week.

Favorite Line:
“the white oblivion”

Most Rewritten Lines:

“Reluctantly I put
these words to the page”

Week 41: Humming the Tune

I don’t know the words
but I’ve been humming the tune
of the song that was playing
that night
when we got stuck
at the railroad tracks
and watched the train
roll slowly through.

Author’s Notes:

The thing I like most about this week’s poem is that the first three stanzas have a catchy kind of rhythm that feels like it could almost be in a pop song, which of course mimics the content. I like doing these little gumdrop poems.

Favorite Line:
“roll slowly through”

Most Catchy Line:
“but I’ve been humming the tune”