Saturday, September 19, 2009

From the mouth of a babe

I don't remember learning that Santa wasn't real, or finding out where babies come from. But I read my first book (Max the Cat) sitting at our dining room table in Tamarac, Florida when I was four or five. I remember reading my first poem to my mom and that it rhymed dove and love. We were in our old blue and white conversion van, driving from our home in Ft. Lauderdale to Tampa to visit the grandparents. My mom told me she loved it, and I was so proud of myself.

I dug through a box of my old diaries and yearbooks yesterday. I found the poem I read to my first boyfriend when he stopped calling, entitled 'Mimes Suck'. What sophisticated imagery!

I'm glad I hadn't thrown away the diaries because, though painfully adolescent and confusing, they're a great resource if I ever want to write from a teenage girl's perspective. *wink*

I also found the lit magazine from my senior year in high school. Before I found it again, all I remembered about this poem was that I'd used the word rape, and I'd wondered if people interpreted that to be an event in my life. (It actually referred to the forceful nature of love, changing us without consent.) A lot was going on at this time- hormones, with my parents' divorce, death in the family, hormones, and the fact that my first love didn't last. No kidding, huh? Here it is, warts and all:

A candle sits there aflame

The wax melts into the form that it came

The fire burns the candle's thread,

A puddle grows by her whose strength has fled.

This flame too hot to let live,

This type flame has never a thing to give.

Curse the match who struck this spark

By the candle who ever bears this mark

Of cold wax which has no shape,

This gray pool is the one sign of rape.

This fire once long wished for

Was late seen not as an escape door.

It should not be wanted so,

For this love flame burns with a hurting blow.

None is in love always

And smoky storms cover love's bright gold rays.

So, new candle, fresh in mind,

Avoid the hot flame which melts all your kind.

In a Zen-writing book "Writing Down the Bones" Natalie Goldberg purports(that's the first time I've used that word) that everybody has to write their quota of junk before they can get to the 'good' stuff. Here's a review that matches my opinion.

What did you do with your old journals and bad poetry? (everybody has some, right?)Was writing a chore, a joy, therapy, a friend, a burden in your formative years?

Check back tomorrow for Osama's weekly book picks.

Hubby had Isaac, our 8 year old laughing over this.
What does a duck army yell when they're fired upon?
What does a squirrel army yell when they're fired upon?


  1. "This gray pool is one sign of rape"? Whoah girl. Okay, I totally have a poetry tablet from high school. Most of it non-rhyming prose. Here's some cheese for you:

    Over the mountain, through the skies
    around the city, the eagle flies.
    Past the parade and happy bride,
    and all her many joyful cries
    the eagle flies.

    Above the soldiers and their valiant tries
    through hope-filled hearts, the eagle flies.
    Around the girl who cried and cried,
    when her older sister left her side...
    the eagle flies.

    Across the mountain and past the tide
    of washed-up tires and insecticides
    past the boy who stole and lied,
    and hit little girls to see them cry
    over the school of kids who tried
    to leave this mortal life and die
    the eagle cries
    and then he dies.

    Keep in mind I had a totally normal, forthright, happy childhood. :)

  2. Oh, Kelly! I think I remember that one from back in the day. It's Amy but I had to sign in with my husband's account. In addition to our 3 way notebook that we shared, I still have my personal collection of awfully agonizing angst. There was one poem about the sad moon who orbits around a "heavenly body", that guy who never notices her. My best poem from those teen years was (not surprisingly) the only one NOT about love, which compared trees in a storm to dancers in a disco club. But here is the first poem I ever wrote:

    The Sun

    The sun is hot,
    The sun is nice,
    It looks like cheese, a very big slice.
    The sunbeams fall and bounce off a wall,
    And keep on shining until nightfall.

    Second grade, a much simpler time. I pine to be young again. Keep up the good work! I love wrapping my mind around the things you write!

  3. Amy- I totally remember that poem, the tarot cards you made, our mystery notebooks (those were amazing), and other writing projects that are too embarrassing to name in this public forum and for which I have fully repented:), ;),LOL, etc,

    And Amber- in retrospect, didn't all of us have 'normal' childhoods? Fifteen can be very hard:) Interesting that you mention pesticides- were you already a 'granola'? (affectionate term)

    Thanks for the inspirational poetry and the comments!