23 September 2013
I’m thinking about my poems this morning, my writing, my PhD, my personal correspondence, all the words that come out of my fingers. I’m thinking about the types of things I write about: questions, purpose, direction, movement, progression, migration, doubt, fear, frozenness. I’m thinking about how much I hate writing poems that have my own stories in them. Why? What do I have to hide? What small shames of my life are off-limits? I can’t think of anything that feels that vulnerable, and yet I’ve been adverse to writing about my life too closely.
This morning, I wrote about cutting roses. These roses, in fact.
First I learned
to taste the water in the bilge: fresh
meant a leak from above, salt
from below. It was all
bad news, but I relished
the knowing how, the squinting
and lip-licking, the distance
of diagnosis. Now we’re slipping
under the pass, the bow unzipping
the wake, and I can taste
salt everywhere––here, pooled
in the shallow of your clavicle, here
in the forked delta of your palm.
Once, I climbed down
into the skeleton of a hull, and through
its raw teak ribs I saw light scrolling
across the black screen of water like credits
at the end of a movie starring
the reflections of stars. The next morning
the hull was swarming
with builders, glassing skin
onto the bones, shaping
the empty belly, a scene
I’d seen before—wolves, carcass—but in
reverse. If our bodies
are vessels I cannot
take you inside me. If our bodies
are water we cannot
go swimming. But still there is something
whispering back to the insistent
secret of current, a kind
of transaction, the water corroding
and holding us up, the ship-to-shore crackling
and calling, our wet footprints on the gunwales all
of course, yes, dissolving, but first
being there, and shimmering.
I think I would definitely like to be a community TA for ModPo next year if they do it the same way.