2016 Writing Resolution Week #3

OK, it’s week three of my resolution to write a poem a week and so far so good! This might be the longest I’ve ever kept a resolution. While keeping my resolution hasn’t been too difficult so far, I’m not exactly writing stellar poems so far.

Since these are first drafts (what I think of as proto-drafts) they sort of tell a story and don’t necessarily evoke any sort of emotion. They’re serviceable, but they need work. The word choice isn’t necessarily great and the imagery is virtually non-existent.

The poems I published in Electric Velocipede always evoked something for me. I think of Shira Lipkin’s “Wool and Silk and Wood” from issue #15/16. That’s probably the perfect example of what I liked in a poem. The poem is no longer online, but you can find in The Best of Electric Velocipede that was published by Fairwood Press a year or so ago.

It’s More Difficult Than People Might Think

Poem writing is hard, very hard. Anyone can string words together, but to write a poem that means something? You’re going to have to put some effort into it. I’ve thought about this a lot. It’s somewhat of a risk to put out super-rough not-very-great poems on my website but I’m hoping to be able to show a sort of process of editing and revision over the course of the year.

Quick reminder if you missed the first week’s post:

  1. I’m using the Storymatic for writing prompts
  2. Posting new words on Mondays for people playing at home
  3. Previous week’s poem also posted on Monday
  4. At the end of the month we’ll take a vote on which poem to revise for a small collection at the end of the year

My Prompt for Next Week

Got it? Good. Here are this week’s words:

  • Scholar
  • Person who is bullied
  • Long walk with an old friend
  • Knock on the door at two in the morning

I really am choosing these at random. This one feels like a set up, but it’s not.

The Poem from Last Week

Here’s last week’s poem:

Normally he was the last person we’d invite to the taxidermist’s guild
Years of requests signed ‘The Guest’ had gone unanswered
A new member taken in by the strength of ‘The Guest’s’ resume
Replied that ‘The Guest’ could be a guest at the next banquet

The new member was a legacy showing promise
Many of the guild’s awards and grants are named after his mother
So we assumed that he knew about ‘The Guest’
Or at least would be able to see through the deceptive façade ‘The Guest’ built over the years

But, the legacy’s mother had passed on and so we’ll never know
What was learned and was is a mystery
Still, even an untrained eye should see the shoddy work
So much glue instead of the true art of taxidermy

And so the banquet’s night comes
Everyone waits on tenterhooks for ‘The Guest’ to arrive
The legacy now regrets his choice but there is nothing to be done about it
Perhaps it’s for the best

There is the hope that ‘The Guest’ once inside
Will decide it wasn’t worth the effort
To sit and listen to old arguments over where the bodies come from
Or what the best filler material is

I’m certain that ‘The Guest’ will find everything ever so entertaining
And long for a second visit and an eventual membership
Once you are a guest at the guild
Becoming a member gets easier and easier

Imagine the delight of the crowd when ‘The Guest’ arrives
Fresh taxidermy in hand like a bottle of wine
No one brings gifts to the banquets
Least of all a mounted trophy

But the horror of it; the enormity of it all
Is the necklace of the legacy’s mother
Glued to the neck of the preening swan ‘The Guest’ struggles to carry
So large in life and so very awkward in death

A family heirloom thought lost for decades
The legacy remembers ‘The Guest’ visiting the home
Trying to woo his widowed mother
Hoping to gain access to guild through marriage

The taxidermy is ugly
There is nothing sleek or beautiful about the swan
It looks roughed up; beaten and worn
Like an old chew toy left out in the rain

Before ‘The Guest’ could present the swan to the crowd
He was ushered outside
The legacy tore his mother’s necklace from the swan
And banished ‘The Guest’ from ever sitting foot in the guild

‘The Guest’ lived out his days yearning to be accepted
But not understanding how to belong