Saturday, March 29, 2008

Things that Give a Queasy Feeling


    ants on the shoulders of coats

men walking closely behind me

    the wet spot

        tangled hair on strangers

cherubim on postcards

    women laughing as I enter the room

        the smell of
            public bathrooms

videos of white children at parties

    waking up with a dry mouth

        bumping into pregnant women

climbing four flights of stairs in a narrow stairwell

        algae stuck between my toes when swimming in a lake

    frozen strawberry drinks

    the taste of vodka on someone else’s tongue

accidentally squashing a roach as I slip on my shoe

    the smell of the monkey house at the zoo

            the color yellow

a sink full of wet silverware

    a pile of old mattresses on the curb

                day old sushi

the crash of one car hitting another

    too many antihistamines

        the sound of
        a bottle breaking outside my window

sucking someone's fingers and getting a distinct and salty taste

        the sound of my cat retching

    a nurse
        missing my vein twice

a CD stuck on the same three notes, over and over again

an old woman smiling with gummy teeth


Christopher said...

I enjoyed the images and how they flowed. I think the poem is more profound than the title. I think a new title could really make the poem hit harder.

jillypoet said...

I have never given much thought to list poems, but this one makes me think I should. So descriptive, visual, olfactory (?) I can smell the bathroom, the monkey house, even the mattresses. Would it be ok if I tried this on my blog--I'll say the idea came from you.

Will you now use any of the images from this poem for another poem?

Christine said...

Hi Chris and Jilly --

The idea for the title and poem are not actually my own. It was an exercise we did in Todd Colby's poetry class, based on a series of poems by a female writer of the pillow book (written sometime in China about 4 centuries ago.) She has a whole bunch of list poems just about things that caused her to feel certain things.

jillypoet said...

In some journal buried somewhere in my mess, I have notes from a book that uses the pillow book as its main theme. It was fiction by a young Japanese writer...out in 2001...anyway, I wrote down some of her list ideas. Thanks for reminding me.

Kimiko Hahn uses this, too, in her most recent book, Narrow Road to the Interior.

Michaela said...

I know I commented on your first poem about this, but I can recognize excellent poetry when all your senses are totally immersed in the words. Seriously, when I read your poetry I am captivated. Every part of me is sunk into your words. Beautiful, absolutely beautiful.

Todd said...

I enjoy all images. I like the image of the coin in the fountain that is actually a wrapper from a peppermint pattie folded to look like a coin. Thanks for that trick you played on me at the fountain.