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Poem Fragments. . . because I don’t know when I’ll bring them to fruition.

November 26, 2008

Maybe you all will get nothing from this, maybe some shred of inspiration. I haven’t had any time to write, or even conceptualize writing ideas lately. I’m working 60+ hours a week (which brings its own certain joys– and, thankfully, won’t last past january). For the time being, I am so strapped for both free time and free energy that I am contemplating suspending my 365 project. I really don’t want to, but I want to make it a creative effort worth indulging in, too. (Also, with all that work, I almost never get to take a shot using natural light, severely crippling my endeavors.)
Anyway, since things are hectic and my focus is elsewhere, I thought I would record some poem fragments (incredibly nonsensical at best), and in that way, log my process. Creativity is a discipline, so I try to pony-up whenever physically/emotionally/spiritually possible. Enjoy, or ignore, these as you see fit.

“Notes for a Tobacco Poem”

hogshead– 1000 pound barrel of tobacco, cask, unit of british measure

cold frame– the first box with a glassed ceiling, the tiny seedlings knowing nothing of wind, only sun, and the punctuation of rain
set out the seeds (use tobacco peg to make a hole)
fertilize– wood ash, animal manure (powdered horse manure)
cured– fire-cured, hung in barn (kin) for three days-10 weeks, burning hardwood constantly, exposed to smoke
air-cured– hung in well-ventilated barns, dries for four-eight weeks

white-burley blossoms

painting the leaves of garden-plants with tobacco water, to keep the bugs off (steeped like tea)

green tobacco sickness

leaves harvest progressively up the stem from the base, as they ripen (turn yellow-green) and dried until golden brown


At least three versions of the same unfinished poem
We are standing on the edge.
She puts her hands in my hair
to tell me it’s thinned.
Perhaps you have worried it out.
I have, I said.

barbed by combed cotton,
the Southern snow left by the combine
in fallow fields,
wet, darkened.

her hands in my hair,
she tells me it’s thinned
and i don’t disagree.
the fear, she says,
has stripped me of her
own woman’s crown–
blonde, and woven,
heavy and awe-inspiring.

my own, dark whisps
trail, like she has asked me:
grow it long, grow your
pre-motherhood coif
before the pie, and washing
takes it, turns it under,
lacing it around their young heads.

It’s thinned, she says,
her hands in my hair.
I offer that it may be the stunted
layers. But she tells me the worry
has done it, forgetting my umber threads
never curled into thick rope like hers.

Her hair was the broad crescendo
of the Grand Strand, sandy and ample.

I don’t want her to say that stress
robbed my head, because she’ll worry.
But I know that the sadness freed
the threads, slowly and permanently.

Sadness like the winter
when my mother’s amber strands
dropped like pine needles
all over the bathroom floor.



They say, you worked them to the bone,
but for you the bones splintered and spurred,
growing like crystals. Whom have you offended?
Medusa? Her sliding snake’s eyes glide over
your fingers and cast them in stone,
knobbed, and broken. The wringing of hands,
the thousand thousand place-settings,
polishing crystal, turning the oven’s knobs,
counting change, and brushing out
their long amber hair. The patterns repeat,
one on another, until the structure stands–
a hawken claw where once my own slender
fingers lay, decked with the cut stones
of his purchased forgiveness.


“The Sea”

the sea takes no prisoners, but bends the willing
into its folds like bedding. rusty knobs on the doors,
salty skin.

she followed her own sand-crusted feet
into the flatlands, the hot windlessness
where sirensong vanished into red clay dust.
her paintings became of wildflowers,
pinned into vases, where they posed prettily
for a day or two, and she left the tempura to thin
and crackle, like the roughness of their dying skins.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Garrett Macfalda permalink
    January 24, 2009 6:05 pm

    I wish my fragments were half this developed. When I worked in Virginia the past few years I always felt like I should write something about the tobacco fields and people who tend them. Never could find the words, though, but it looks like you did in “Tending”, which I assume is the fruition of “Notes” above. Poignant piece. It took me right back to the Virginia.

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