Thursday, November 16, 2006

OK, so I took the CC group piece below as a starting point and using my contribution as the first line, wrote a new poem:

HOW I BECAME A POET

At the age of five I saw words
dancing like daffodils in a downpour,
turning my heart like a Lazy Susan.
I could feel that iambs were woolly but not white,
and saw that even inside nursery rhymes
there were waves of sheer darkness.
At thirteen I thought words mere vandals
scrawling slogans on the walls of the world,
even though some coiled inside me like cobras.
At eighteen I knew that
when the heart sang, the mouth closed,
since desire denied was my lone truth.
At twenty-five I wondered if words
could rise to greet us in the great beyond,
the holy ones swimming around the head like heat?
Was it true there was no notice in the mail to wait on,
no permission to give or get.
At thirty I wondered if it would be flagrant
to listen for the fluttering wings
of speech when silent walls surrounded.
If outside these closed windows, other open windows . . .
Then, one Sunday afternoon
while sitting at a chess table in Dupont Circle
locked into the logic of ‘If I do this, then he does that'
My opponent pointed westward down P Street
to rapidly advancing rain clouds.
He feared a dark menace moving in to drench,
and uttered a single word.
But in a sudden summer storm,
I saw black clouds billowing
like dust behind charging Knights,
heard in the call and response of flash and boom,
a Bishop blessing the communion
between White openings and Black endings.
Baptized in this rain of revelations,
cool against the skin as a quick wind
sending black rooks flying,
I tasted the Word's hidden tingle,
and my new tongue unleashed like lightning
across a blank page of startled sky.
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