Poetic Asides: For today's prompt, write a "more than 5 times" poem. Of course, I'll let you decide what that means. Maybe you'll write a poem about something the narrator does more times than preferable; maybe you'll write a deja vu poem; or maybe you'll just write the same line and/or stanza more than 5 times. I just know that multiple poets recently said the "More than 5 times" subject line would make a great prompt, so I'm listening to the group. Have at it!
I wasn't sure how literally to take this prompt, and toyed with a repetition poem like Robert did. Interestingly, the minute I started writing the poem, it dictated how it wanted to be formed.
Five stanzas of five lines each for the technical, the subject matter is a bit more subtle. Although the poem's title is "Things I Never Told You" there isn't any reference to those things until the end. The majority of the poem is taken up with the things I did tell the anonymous 'you', roughly… five things if you dig through all the posturing and deflection.
As always, I wrote the poem, went back through it a few times to make sure it says what I want it to say, and then saved it for later editing. It's funny how later on when I pull it out and look, I'll find things I didn't realize I put in there, meanings, Freudian slips, all kinds of interesting word play. Some will stay, others will get toned down or built up.
Three poems by poets you may not know. Find the theme...
What the Angels Left
by Marie Howe
At first, the scissors seemed perfectly harmless.
They lay on the kitchen table in the blue light.
Then I began to notice them all over the house,
at night in the pantry, or filling up bowls in the cellar
where there should have been apples. They appeared under rugs,
lumpy places where one would usually settle before the fire,
or suddenly shining in the sink at the bottom of soupy water.
Once, I found a pair in the garden, stuck in turned dirt
among the new bulbs, and one night, under my pillow,
I felt something like a cool long tooth and pulled them out
to lie next to me in the dark. Soon after that I began
to collect them, filling boxes, old shopping bags,
every suitcase I owned. I grew slightly uncomfortable
when company came. What if someone noticed them
when looking for forks or replacing dried dishes? I longed
to throw them out, but how could I get rid of something
that felt oddly like grace? It occurred to me finally
that I was meant to use them, and I resisted a growing compulsion
to cut my hair, although in moments of great distraction,
I thought it was my eyes they wanted, or my soft belly
—exhausted, in winter, I laid them out on the lawn.
The snow fell quite as usual, without any apparent hesitation
or discomfort. In spring, as expected, they were gone.
In their place, a slight metallic smell, and the dear muddy earth.
The Kitchen Shears Speak
by Christianne Balk
This division must end.
Again I'm forced to amputate
the chicken's limb; slit the joint,
clip the heart, snip wing from back,
strip fat from flesh, separate
everything from itself. I'm used,
thrown down by unknown hands,
by cowards who can't bear to do
the constant severing. Open and close!
Open and close. I work and never tell.
Though mostly made of mouth, I have no voice,
no legs. My arms are bent, immobile
pinions gripped by strangers. I fear
the grudge things must hold.
I slice rose from bush, skin from muscle,
head from carrot, root from lettuce,
tail from fish. I break the bone.
What if they join against me,
uncouple me, throw away one-half,
or hide my slashed eye? Or worse,
what if I never die? What I fear
most is being caught, then rusted rigid,
punished like a prehistoric
bird, fossilized, and changed
into a winged lizard, trapped while clawing
air, stuck in stone with open beak.
by Ruth Stone
You have rented an apartment.
You come to this enclosure with physical relief,
your heavy body climbing the stairs in the dark,
the hall bulb burned out, the landlord
of Greek extraction and possibly a fatalist.
In the apartment leaning against one wall,
your daughter's painting of a large frilled cabbage
against a dark sky with pinpoints of stars.
The eager vegetable, opening itself
as if to eat the air, or speak in cabbage
language of the meanings within meanings;
while the points of stars hide their massive
violence in the dark upper half of the painting.
You can live with this.