Dear Reader, it seems I have become the sickly speaker of my recent poems. As many of you know, since the beginning of August, all of my drafts have featured the same speaker, a woman who is hospitalized for some strange and unknown illness. No, I'm not in the hospital or even close to it. My nagging sinus infection has been confounded by a head cold. I'm whiny.
Still, after a knock down week of launching the reading series, I told myself last night to be prepared to write a draft today. I made a note to myself, "Draft a Poem" and left it on my keyboard so I would see it first thing.
It worked again.
At the reading, we talked about B-I-C (butt-in-chair), and you know what? It's rarely failed me. Not never failed me, but rarely.
It worked again.
I sat down at the desk with cold medicine taken, a cup of coffee, and an aching arm. On the night of the reading, I fell up the stairs. Yes, 'up' the stairs. My right arm bore the brunt of the fall and I have a wicked purple bruise in the rectangular shape of a stair edge. The bruise is almost exactly half way between my elbow and my shoulder. My arm hurts! I'm sort of surprised by how much it hurts as I didn't feel like I fell that hard.
Back to the draft: I began by reading some of the poems in Sarah J. Sloat's new chapbook Excuse me while I wring this long swim out of my hair (dancing girl press, 2011) and collecting some nouns and verbs. While I love Sloat's poems, nothing was jumping up for a title. So, when I had a page full of words, I went back to Lucie Brock-Broido's The Master Letters in search of a title. I found one in the poem "Housekeeping," which includes this line, "You have been outside / The body now."
Today's draft is "Having Been Outside the Body" and is another epistolary poem to the speaker's female mentor. It begins:
The progress of August is past.
The chart reads relapse.
In terms of form, the poem contains both couplets and single-line stanzas. The bruise makes an appearance in stanza two. I first searched for images of bruises, but they were too ugly to share. Instead, here's an image of a the rhinovirus, cause of the common cold, damn it!
|from Science Photo Library, click for link|