Thursday, April 10, 2008

Resorting to a prompt

With the day dwindling (gorgeous day, by the way--in the 70s) and next to nothing to inspire me (I feel like an old rag, and that's not a Scott Joplin reference), I decided to turn to fellow poem-a-day-er Robert Lee Brewer. Today, his blog suggests a poem about a location.

Now I'm debating whether to choose a place I've never been, or maybe even one I've invented.

I'm uneasy about this. With every mental step, I see pitfalls, I think "Manhattan" and think "Cliches" or "Too big a task." I think "Wales" or "Negril" and think "Ethnocentric assumptions." Or I could do one about a place called Point No Point, up in British Columbia, but my memories of, my feelings about, the place are, well, too personal for this blog.

Places I've written about: two side-by-side funeral homes in Takoma Park, a graveyard in rural Virginia, the lot in back of Savage's Market in Takoma Park, the planet Ceres, and the train platform at 30th Street Station in Philadelphia. There are probably more. Oh, right, I started a poem about the Sutro Baths in San Francisco, and one set on the Staten Island Ferry and in Irving Plaza in NYC.

OK. A few minutes later, here's a draft.

This poem warped me irreparably as a child. I didn't look back at it to write my poem, but it was in my mind, a bit, as I wrote it.


Favorite vacation spot, hospital, likely locus of my death.
Soft sheets the color of mint, cool when clean and smooth,
warm when dirty and bunched. Blanket upon blanket, for
I like the weight upon me. A pillow I gnarl and poke, wear
like an elbow glove, flip for the cool side. Generally,
sometimes unfortunately, a cat. The odd library receipt
or pen, or some bookmark cast up from the depths: airline stubs
from forgotten journeys, the four of diamonds. Once or twice,
the sharp wakeup of an earring. Dreams. Demons. Husband.

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