What Poem Today, 17

Something of a breakthrough on the Richmond poem last night and this morning. This is it: I will deliver the poem with the ingredient of improvisation, as I do my Fights With Poems pieces or as I will teach my classes at Interplay and at the Writer's Forum. That is, I will memorize my talking points in order and the bright stones of language that must come into the poem and to leave the prepositions and transitions to the moment. They'll take care of themselves. The Richmond poem will flow that way, without paper. I am making it more positive — because I am genuinely grateful to live in Richmond and proud of my town — no matter what they say. I am coming to like it a lot, the poem, as it coalesces around the classic image: Rosie the Riveter's arm as she makes a muscle. Human strength and frailty. Striving.

This is an unfamiliar way for me to draft work, and I like it. I am rewriting the entire poem again and again from scratch. Then I'm rehearsing it out loud, from memory, then jotting down pieces to add or to keep. The technique reflects the chaos I talk about in the poem, which for me is part of the soul of Richmond, how it has formed over time to its state today which still seems so much in flux.

Thinking about Fights with Poems. Yes, it's a fight sometimes. Often. Frustration. Distraction. And all my internal critics, a whole council of voices of various personalities and timbres and tactics. On that subject, I drafted a poem, workingly titled "Sucks," on the way into work — literally walking through SF writing as legibly as I can in my notebook. I think it's a pretty funny poem, and I am quite pleased with the flow of it. Chaotic, internal, angry and tenacious.

Rattle continues to provide inspiration

Today I queried Cameron + Company. I feel confident and humble. Prayerful and passive. Dynamic and surrendered. Larry, Moe and Curly.

Submitted poems to Edwin E. Smith Quarterly Magazine.


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