jillypoet: mom trying to write

Each day I wish I had invented waterproof sticky notes (for shower inspiration) or pen-friendly diapers to get down all my quirky thoughts that I am sure are relevant and publishable. And so God (actually another writer-mommy) sent me The Blog.

Monday, October 22, 2007

With friends like these

By way of explanation, as this is a poem not like my usual, a "Pre-poem."

There are women.
There are friends.
This was one woman.
Quiet as a church mouse.
She saw fit to call a spade a spade.
We weren't even playing cards.
Conspiratorial whispers
are really just dull daggers
in disguise.
WWYD
What would you do
if a friend
said
sotto voice
When you walk into a room, there is no life.
You're just dead.


And now, the poem. Comments & critique welcome!


A Well-Meaning Church-Goer Lets The Wife in On a Secret: or, Husband, I Can See Your Heart Beating Through Your Shirt

There is no further need for disguise.
Husband we have been found out,
revealed for the frauds we are,
stripped naked, bones hung out
like a shop-keep’s hopeful shingle.
We are the undead.
When we walk into a room,
nothing.
Sinners and cross-wielders alike,
strangers, even,
have stared
have prayed
have seen into our sorest beating hearts,
exposed the muscle,
the raw truth. Together we are a dead man
and his mortician. One ceases to breathe.
One paints a waxy face the color of stale breath.
No beat. No pulse. No life.
And with this truth, freedom.
Free of flesh, of bloody muscle
husband, we may drop pieces
of ourselves where we walk now.
We are free. Free.
To hell with the trail we leave.
We are stepping out
of our graves, tripping
the half-light fantastic.
Almost like a first date.
I don’t know wheteher to run
hand in moldy hand
in front of a car
or send the worms
of my lips down your throat.

17 Comments:

Blogger Kimberley McGill said...

Death and the freedom to "be" - this unlikely combination is at home in poetry! The last lines were especially good:

To hell with the trail we leave.
We are stepping out
of our graves, tripping
the half-light fantastic.
Almost like a first date.
I don’t know whether to run
hand in moldy hand
in front of a car
or send the worms
of my lips down your throat

There are a few words or phrases that I think might be a bit of over-explaining.

For example:

No beat. No pulse. No life.
And with this truth, freedom.

I think that without these lines the poem already portrays these things without stating them outright. You're imagery is strong!

11:53 PM  
Blogger jillypoet said...

Thanks Kimberley! I like repetition, but sometimes I get carried up in the words. It's good to know what works and what doesn't for other people's ears.

9:36 AM  
Blogger Mariacristina said...

Since the narrator has a comrade, her husband, this poem feels hopeful to me. Sometimes a person who supports our being different than the ones who whisper can make us take heart.

10:27 AM  
Blogger polka dot witch said...

you know i'm a big fan. BIG fan. can you hear my gasp across the river for the power of these two pieces? i would buy a book filled with these just as they are. stand in line for aforementioned book.

i see some possible tightening up if you want:

"revealed for the frauds we are" becomes "revealed as frauds"

"and with this truth" becomes "with this truth"

instead of "have stared, have prayed, have seen" ...
"stare at us, pray for us, see into our ..." OK, that suggestion isn't tightening, but i like the verbs without "have" ... and brings the tense with the rest.

same thing in a couple other places if you want: we may drop = we drop. we are stepping = we step

i'm jumping around, first line: there is no further need = no further need for disguise, husband

hope this helps.

p.s. don't dismiss the pre-poem either. i think it could work as a really short piece. maybe cut it in half/condense it and end with the same two lines?

11:41 AM  
Blogger polka dot witch said...

my comment just crossed with mariacristina's ... i don't know if i get hopeful ... i'm bordering on thinking the last lines feeling erotic. worm of my lips = tongue? a deep kiss or a death kiss? both? it's powerful without explanation and it's good to keep the reader thinking about that possibility, i think

11:43 AM  
Blogger Jo said...

I've got to say this is VERY fine writing indeed. You have a wondrous talent. I love the rhythm, like the clacking of bones, and the images, so ghastly, so good. Well done!

11:49 AM  
Blogger Jo said...

you know it's so interesting......I just went back to reread with the others' comments in mind and I honestly wouldn't change a word. To me the rhythm is so good that taking anything out would ruin it (though there's a typo near the end).

11:53 AM  
Blogger Rambler said...

actually I liked the pre poem more than the poem, please dont take me wrong. I am not trying to say the poem was not good.


When you walk into a room, there is no life.
You're just dead.

lovely words

12:33 PM  
Blogger jillypoet said...

Thanks everyone for your wise comments! I will try a couple versions w/ the edits and see what I think. Witchy--don't jump the river, I'll give you a book for free! Jo- ack! a typo! Rambler--very interesting! I will have to tell my well meaning friend she is a poet who doesn't know it--those were her words, with some poetic license.

1:52 PM  
Blogger Dave said...

Delightfully macabre! ('Tis the season, I guess.) I'll be linking.

--Dave from Via Negativa (Blogger won't let me edit or unlock my profile)

3:18 PM  
Blogger pepektheassassin said...

Ha! This one made me think of Tim Rice's Nightmare Before Christmas, tripping the half-light fantastic!

You are great!

4:31 PM  
Blogger Karina said...

This one reached me on a personal level. Very nice.

4:51 PM  
Blogger wendy said...

She saw fit to call a spade a spade.
We weren't even playing cards.

this is just priceless.

Iloved the prepoem best..

But loved the title of the second poem!

9:29 PM  
Blogger tumblewords said...

I don't want to choose. There's meat in both of these and some fine, fine lines and imagery...short is good but sometimes I like a little more, a little more.

10:41 PM  
Blogger ...deb said...

I love them together. They enrich each other. Which is kind of like adding whipped cream to creme brulee, they are both so good on their own. But still.

(Tiny typo with whether, but you'd have caught that.)

1:03 AM  
Blogger dick jones said...

Actually, it works for me too. I'm with Jo. This piece reads so well out loud & much of its effect depends on the accumulation of images & the sense of a voice activating them. I think it's a terrific poem.

2:19 AM  
Blogger jillypoet said...

Thank you. I think I will try writing "out of the box" for a while, seems to be "freeing" for me.

8:58 AM  

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