Okay. So … I am still about a week behind, and while I may not be catching up per se, I am at least not falling further behind. I feel good about that. And I feel better about my poems this year than last year, when I really felt at a total loss much more often than I do this year. All in all, I’m happy for this experience.
The prompt for Day 15 of the November Poem a Day was to write a poem about a trade-off, or an exchange, or forfeit/swap. I had intended for this poem to be about memory, and how people remember different aspects of an event – some are very detail oriented, but they don’t pick up on what’s actually happening or how people feel, and so on. It ended up just being a little story, and not what I expected, but I greatly enjoyed writing it because I didn’t know what this narrator was going to say next.
It’s really nice when you feel like a character has taken possession of you for a little bit. It’s not something that happens every day (for me, at least), but you kind of live for it, even if it’s not what you set out to have happen. The voice of this character I think was inspired by Nick Carraway of The Great Gatsby. Kind of an older period, pseudo-masculine, ruminating guy – which is typically the sound of my contented inner voice. In fact, when I imagine myself it’s never how I actually look, but usually I picture a man in a gray shirt and dark pants …. I don’t know if that’s normal or not, but I’ve learned to live with it. I should probably just get to the poem now. I’ll save that line of thought for another day; it probably deserves its own writing. There is not really anything in this post beyond the first paragraph that I anticipated posting, LOL.
Within the Hall
I don’t remember well
the things you said.
The past follows me, a haphazard eraser
swiping at the details of all my interactions.
I remember you from the neck up
perhaps the smudge of a blue shirt remains but
your legs are definitely gone.
And the background – not much left there
but a few faces
not looking at us anyway, and none familiar enough
to go on for context.
Strange bits still come to mind
the thoughts I held before
during and after we saw each other.
A general sense of wanting to be somewhere
or having been shortly before. Maybe I was in a hurry?
Or late. That always puts me off,
it takes a while to get my equilibrium.
I was anxious, but very possibly it was nothing
to do with you.
Your mouth was big that day, that much
I do remember thinking about
while you talked
about whatever it was you were talking about.
At some point the clouds shifted and a ray of sunlight
passed through a high window
of the room we were in -
Ah! It was the lobby of a hotel or bank …
someplace old. I remember now
the round echoes of footsteps
the murmuring character of noise -
and the glint that flashed on a tooth
somewhere on the right side of your mouth.
I left it all, whatever I was thinking
and whatever you were saying
I wanted to smile inside it was so unusual,
had I ever seen this before in life?
I think only in the movies
to mark the grin of a two-faced villain
but here it had happened, and I was still
reflecting over it when it happened again.
Imagine that! My luck.
I don’t know what my face must have looked like
to you but I shook my head
without actually shaking my head
It was the strangest thing
and really, if I’m honest,
all that I can remember
about the last time we talked.