Yesterday, I read two chapbooks during my reading time, Emma Bolden's Sad Epistles and Yosano Akiko's On the Scented Breeze, as translated by Dennis Maloney & Hide Oshiro. The first is a series of epistolary poems, the second a series of tanka, both dealing with a similar topic, the speaker's separation from the lover. I recommend them both. After I finished each one, I did my sloppy wordbank in the journal, circling words and drawing arrows as interesting combinations jumped out at me. I wondered how it would work to take words from two sources and mash them together. Then, I had a movie date and so left the wordbank until this morning.
It was interesting coming to the wordbank this morning instead of jumping right into the poem while I built the bank. The words still worked and perhaps even better as I had more distance on the tone of the poems from which I stole. Today's draft returns to one of the key figures in the narrative and begins:
The woman I called mother by mistake
sends me secrets, envelopes addressed
by some other modest hand, letters arranged
in code ...
|from Science Photo Library, click for link|
There is an earlier poem, one that will come out in Crazyhorse soon, that references the sickly speaker receiving letters from the woman she called mother by mistake, the woman who brought her to the hospital/institution. That was a fever poem, so I figured I could balance it with a healing poem. It came out as seven tercets, but I'm not sure if it will remain as such.
The title is actually inspired by one of the chains I created within the wordbank with my circles and arrows. I thought for sure that I would use it in the poem but it didn't work out that way, which was actually a blessing as I didn't have to struggle for the title: "To Taste the Sooty Tangle of her Signature."
I am feeling like I need to do a day of big revisions and a day of submissions but I'm loathe to drive the drafts away. Luckily, this week is fairly free and clear in the afternoons, so hopefully, hopefully, hopefully.