Wednesday, April 13, 2005

I'm trying to avoid writing about "rape murder and sex, sex, sex" as someone recently summarized my poetry. Comments? Please.
As the Crow Flies

on days when wind lifted the house
creaking like a boat my mother was afraid
wouldn’t let me drive the sedan
wouldn’t give me the keys wind would send
the pines down on me she said
I watched our neighbor spread the blue
speckled wings of the parakeets over her hand
a sharp instrument like the front teeth
of an angry dog she clipped
the important feathers so the birds stayed caged
if I was quiet leg over windowsill keys in my shorts’
pocket wind shoving me into the roses then I
I hung my head out the red car’s window loved
my hair tugged back by speed my t-shirt rippling
shell flowers at my throat steered with one finger
no brakes
no brakes I was heading for something big fast
leaves through the front door blown open
my mother was afraid maple leaves skittered
spiders down the hall over the Persian carpet
my mother was afraid perhaps I was not really
related my voice too loud
my eyes too dark and small hard to read
I ran too fast from the things she walked towards
she was concerned about my breasts too naked
I was always too naked she said no matter
how I dressed
and in the desert sometimes the mothers are afraid
they spread the legs of their daughters with a broken
bottle they slash they take away the keys
the freeway long the hills moved like cats stretching
I was heading for something big the wind rocked
the car and my mother was afraid

Maybe too much repetition? Does it hit you over the head with a message?


Jesse said...

the repetition makes the poem (because the imagery is so good, especially the stretching hills). except for the persian carpet, on having read the poem only once, the house seems abandoned but for natural beauty.

i'm taking composition II for the second time. we just read a poem in class by Louise Gluck about schoolchildren and their mothers. i'm relating the speaker of your poem to one of the schoolchildren. there is contrast from that poem to yours; it's in another mode, too, but then, "...apples...[not enough] ammunition" does parallel, i think.

also i'm reading Ring of Fire by Lisa Jarnot, so i am primed for the kind of repetition in your poem. repetition when done well is always very impressive.

Christine said...

Thanks for tips. I'm going to check out those writers. I've read Gluck, but not the piece you talk about.

Ivy said...

Hi Christine,

I like this poem. About the repetition of 'my mother was afraid': it sort of what the quality of a sestina about it in this poem. I'd suggest, for the very last line, changing it just a hair, say,

'and my mother she was afraid'

I don't know. What do you think?

By the way, what was the context for the "rape murder and sex, sex, sex" comment? Seems a bit off to me. ;-)

Ivy said...

Sorry, I'd meant to type 'it sort of has the quality of a sestina'.


'and my mother     she was afraid'


Christine said...

thanks, Ivy! good points. The quote about my poetry -- ah, I might have actually misunderstood that, because I read it back to the person who said it, and he said, I said what!