Well, Dear Readers, I expected to be blogging a very different blog today. I have much to report on the Big Rock Reading Series and on the Arkansas Literary Festival, but I've been interrupted. If you follow me on Facebook, you know that I've come down with a mean cold at the worst possible time. In the midst of fitful sleeping due to painful chest coughs, the sickly speaker woke up and started singing. About four a.m. on Friday morning she gave me the beginning of a new draft. I scratched it out in my journal and turned back to sleep. Friday and Saturday, she remained quiet as I fought the cold enough to attend some ALF events. Then, in the wee hours this morning, she returned with more lines.
So here I am with an unexpected draft, ever grateful. Here is evidence that the voice remains and still has things to say.
The opening lines:
Slept hard. Sweated some.
Woke with a tongue dry and swollen.
When the speaker returned this morning, she was going on about the "fever toxins" getting into her dreams. I loved that idea and ran with what she started; however, I also realized/remembered that she is now in the healing stages. So, the twist is that her body has been cured of the fevers of unknown origin (via the blood transfusion), but her dreams continue to be more hallucinogenic, closer to her dreams during the high fevers than during her years of health.
I know that dreams are incredibly hard to pull off. I caution my students of such things all the time. Still, this is what I had to work with, so off I went. The poem does describe the speaker's dream, which features "the woman [she] called mother by mistake" and ends with an image that I hope describes her newly unbalanced state as her body heals but her isolation from the world continues. What will her re-entry into the world be like?
When I had the draft in shape (nine couplets), I opened up Emily Rosko's book again, Prop Rockery. I found my title in "Ballad of the Face in the Rock" but I've tweaked the lines much more than normal. In Rosko's poem, the lines read, "We harbor such things: / weight and many etceteras." I reshaped that to "Harboring the Remains and the Many Etceteras."