27 April 2010

April Poem A Day Challenge Day 27

Poetic Asides: Wow! After today, we'll be a mere three days from the end of this challenge. Today is a two for Tuesday prompt, so you've got two options:
1. Write a hopeful poem.
2. Write a hopeless poem.
Hey, it's opposites day again, where the prompts are diametrically opposed to one another. At least in theory. I see hopeful and hopeless not as flip sides of a coin, but angles to each other. The change from hopeful to hopeless can hinge on margins as thin as Prozac.

I meant to write one of each poem, but the poem had other ideas. It is a hopeful poem with undertones of hopelessness. Kind of like one of those puppies you kick that keeps coming back to be petted, tail wagging. Hey, I've never been able to properly channel Sylvia Plath.

Somehow my poem came out titled "Hopefulless". That's not where it will stay (I don't think) But we'll see. Three hopeful/hopeless poems to take in, two by my unchanneled Sylvia and one by Kim Addonizio, who I'm starting to like more and more.

by Sylvia Plath

The telegram says you have gone away
And left our bankrupt circus on its town;
There is nothing more for me to say.

The maestro gives the singing birds their pay
And they buy tickets for the tropic zone;
The telegram says you have gone away.

The clever wolly dogs have had their day
They shoot the dice for one remaining bone;
There is nothing more for me to say.

The lion and the tigers turn to clay
And Jumbo sadly trumpets into stone;
The telegram says you have gone away.

The morbid cobra's wits have run astray;
He rents his poisons out by telegram;
There is nothing more for me to say.

The colored tenst all topple in the bay;
The magic sawdust writes: address unknown.
The telegram says you have gone away;
There is nothing more for me to say.

What Do Women Want?
by Kim Addonizio

I want a red dress.
I want it flimsy and cheap,
I want it too tight, I want to wear it
until someone tears it off me.
I want it sleeveless and backless,
this dress, so no one has to guess
what’s underneath. I want to walk down
the street past Thrifty’s and the hardware store
with all those keys glittering in the window,
past Mr. and Mrs. Wong selling day-old
donuts in their café, past the Guerra brothers
slinging pigs from the truck and onto the dolly,
hoisting the slick snouts over their shoulders.
I want to walk like I’m the only
woman on earth and I can have my pick.
I want that red dress bad.
I want it to confirm
your worst fears about me,
to show you how little I care about you
or anything except what
I want. When I find it, I’ll pull that garment
from its hanger like I’m choosing a body
to carry me into this world, through
the birth-cries and the love-cries too,
and I’ll wear it like bones, like skin,
it’ll be the goddamned
dress they bury me in.

by Sylvia Plath

The night is only a sort of carbon paper,
Blueblack, with the much-poked periods of stars
Letting in the light, peephole after peephole ---
A bonewhite light, like death, behind all things.
Under the eyes of the stars and the moon's rictus
He suffers his desert pillow, sleeplessness
Stretching its fine, irritating sand in all directions.

Over and over the old, granular movie
Exposes embarrassments--the mizzling days
Of childhood and adolescence, sticky with dreams,
Parental faces on tall stalks, alternately stern and tearful,
A garden of buggy rose that made him cry.
His forehead is bumpy as a sack of rocks.
Memories jostle each other for face-room like obsolete film stars.

He is immune to pills: red, purple, blue ---
How they lit the tedium of the protracted evening!
Those sugary planets whose influence won for him
A life baptized in no-life for a while,
And the sweet, drugged waking of a forgetful baby.
Now the pills are worn-out and silly, like classical gods.
Their poppy-sleepy colors do him no good.

His head is a little interior of grey mirrors.
Each gesture flees immediately down an alley
Of diminishing perspectives, and its significance
Drains like water out the hole at the far end.
He lives without privacy in a lidless room,
The bald slots of his eyes stiffened wide-open
On the incessant heat-lightning flicker of situations.

Nightlong, in the granite yard, invisible cats
Have been howling like women, or damaged instruments.
Already he can feel daylight, his white disease,
Creeping up with her hatful of trivial repetitions.
The city is a map of cheerful twitters now,
And everywhere people, eyes mica-silver and blank,
Are riding to work in rows, as if recently brainwashed.


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