Friday, September 2, 2011

Draft Process: Exhaustion Induced Poem

79º ~ one more day of upper 90s with heat indexes near or over 100º and then, and then, I can't quite believe my eyes, the forecast calls for highs in the 80s and on Tuesday I see a 77º, oh sweet relief from the heat, please be true

I offer only a brief draft process today for two reason.  1) This week did me in, so it's just a miracle that I was here at the desk today and I drafted what looks like a poem.  2) I'm using the same process I've been using for two weeks, so very little new to report.

Today's draft resulted from the same word gathering & title finding that I've describe for the past two weeks.  Today, I used Matthew Nienow's wonderful chapbook The End of the Folded Map, which I've read three times now.  The gift of the chapbook, so short a read, so easy to re-read and re-read and zero in on the poems.  I suppose I should approach full-length collections the same way, but I'm more easily daunted there.

I liked gathering the words from poems I've read a few times recently.  I didn't get caught up in Nienow's voice or in the intricacies of the poems.  I zoomed in and grabbed the strong nouns and verb.  Looking for a title, I went back and looked at the lines I'd underlined on previous reads.  I came up with two possibilities: "the rough question of her tongue" from "Lupa" and "the wine shows a blood's sheen." 


I went with the latter and now have "The Wine Shows a Bloody Sheen" drafted out.  I'm still stuck on this speaker who is hospitalized for some illness that could be both a mental illness and a physical one.  In any case, she sees the world through an unusual lens.  The poem begins:

Above this metal bed, there is a window.
I crane my neck for a view of the boxed sky.

It's is written in couplets, of which there are twelve, all with lines about this long.  I was definitely feeling the influence of Charlotte Perkins Gilman's "The Yellow Wallpaper" and the Rest Cure as I wrote today, although I tried to not be too literal about the reference.  I haven't taught the story in several years, but I've taught it so many semesters, that I have it nearly memorized. 

Oh, there are geese and wolves in the poem.

In re-reading the "sick bed" poems I've been writing, I've noticed something interesting.  There's very little weather or Midwest landscape in them.  Hmmmmmmmmm.  Has that obsession gone to ground?  Time will tell.


Kathleen said...

Thanks for the process account and the glass of wine, bloody or not.

Kathleen said...

As in, bloody or not, here I come.

It's Friday, right?

Sandy Longhorn said...

You're welcome.

It IS Friday and a long weekend Friday at that. Praise be!