Thursday, April 26, 2012

Draft Process: Bruised, My Darker Nature Enters Me

66º ~ a muggy weight to the air, stiff breezes shuffle the leaves, storms in the offing, rising to more "normal" temps, mid-80s

Dear Reader, have you forgotten me?  I hope you are still there.  Despite the onslaught of end-of-the-semester grading, reports, and miscellaneous whatnot, along with the Arkansas Literary Festival, and during the most brutal bronchitis I've suffered in years, the sickly speaker would not remain silent.  She kept pushing through between 3 and 4 a.m., and lucky me, that means when I finally had the time today to write, thank the stars, I already had drafts in the earliest stages waiting for me. (Scribbled in the dark, lines run amuck on the page and in atrocious handwriting, but there still the same.)

The first one began about 10 days ago, with lines about the forced sedation of the speaker.  We've seen her restrained before and we've see her eyes bandaged against the light.  This time she is being sedated to speed her healing after the transfusion.  I suppose this leaked in because of "medically induced comas" that one hears about either on TV or god-forbid when it happens to someone we know.  The speaker informed me that while the body may be at rest, the brain is not, and the poem grew from there.

It begins:

They say that they sedate me
to tap the mother lode of sleep.
They claim a smooth, mineral rest.

Little do they know, the brain refuses.

Veins of Copper, click for link
The poem ended up switching between tercets and couplets and weighs in at a healthy 20 lines total.  At one point, I was sure I'd run out of steam at line 10, but that was just the lack of steady practice and I powered through. There was definitely more that needed to be said.  The speaker taps into a subversive power throughout the poems and I needed to get more of that in there.  Also, she is still working on dealing with having the donor cells in her own body, which has not been an easy fit, mentally.  What weakness (she thinks) to have to rely on some other body to heal her own.

As for the title, I've been reading a back issue of Sugar House Review that I picked up at AWP (#5, Fall/Winter 2011) and I am going to see Traci Brimhall read in Fayetteville this weekend, so I opened it back to her poems.  In "You Said the Lions Disappeared," I found the lines "I don't know how my darker nature entered me // or when, but I am vain and bruised...."  This set off a storm in my mind b/c the speaker has always had a "darker nature" but she also has this new life that has "entered [her]."  A little tweaking and I settled on "Bruised, My Darker Nature Enters Me."

And guess what???  There's another draft waiting to be transcribed and fleshed out.  Wahooooooo!


Tara Mae Mulroy said...

Congrats! I haven't had such a deluge of stuff to do as you have, but I've been away from the page for too long myself. Looking forward to the end of this semester to pull myself back in!

Sandy Longhorn said...

Well, Tara Mae, you did have a pretty major medical issue to deal with. Hopefully, we'll both be in the swim of it come the middle of May!