Thursday, April 15, 2010

I'd like to point out that the tags for the last post make me sound like a passive-aggressive stripper.

I started this poem March 7 when there actually was an ambulance outside in the rain--wrote a first draft, abandoned it, looked back at it later, disliked it, abandoned it again--and then today I thought of it again, and decided to try a different, hopefully somewhat less emo (but who am I kidding? Emo is emo), approach. Here's the first rewrite.

Outside, an ambulance wails in the street,
its dizzying lights flashing bloodred
and bruise-blue. The visceral colors seep
through my gauze curtains
and glistening windowpanes,
throwing rainshadows against my
skin, splotched and sallow.
Inside my darkened room,
I am sitting quietly and looking out
the window like a mirror.

An E. E. Cummings/William Carlos Williams-esque line break experiment, with a couple of slightly different words:

an ambulance 
wails in the street,
dizzying lights flashing 
and bruise-blue. 
These visceral colors 
seep through my gauze 
and glistening windowpanes,
throwing rainshadows 
onto my skin, 
splotched and sallow.
Inside my darkened room,
I am sitting still and 
quietly looking 
out the window 
like a mirror.


  1. I really like the phrase 'passive aggressive stripper." it just has an awesome ring to it.

    I really like the poem, but it makes me sad - as it should I guess. I like the format of the first poem more. I do like poems written in the 2nd style, but in this case I think the format works better. I think it's just because I don't like the words "bloodred" and "curtains" being on their own line - with a slightly different configuration I'd like it more I guess. I like the "the visceral colors" better than the 2nd, and I like "onto my skin" better than the first. I also like the "I am sitting still and quietly looking...mirror" better in the 2nd than the first.

    The poem makes me look at your room/street/house differently. I always think of it as being summer, warm, breezy, calm and safe. I don't know, that's just the image I have so the kind of not scary, but dim, rainy, ambulance etc imagery is really striking.

    I also might say "splotched and sallow skin" as opposed to "skin, splotched and sallow" just because the 2nd way made me think for a second that the rainshadows were splotched and sallow, rather than your skin? I'm not sure though.

  2. I sort of liked "passive-aggressive stripper" too.

    And I wrote the poem the day after David and I broke up, so sad is appropriate. On that note, the ambiguity with "splotched and sallow" was intentional, but I guess if the ambiguity is clearly bad I should accept that. I mean, the extended metaphor here is me=description of environment (ish), but maybe it's not working well?

    I don't like bloodred on its own line either, really. I did a little more thinking/'editing' after I posted this--did a notepad doc (titled vs vs vs ambulance poem) with each wc or phrasal choice vs. other options. I think I do like "curtains" on its own line, but that could just be some lingering immaturity on my part. You know, "curtains" as in "the end." Also it sort of reminded me of "ribbons" as in "cut to ribbons." Sry to be depressing, haha.

    I agree w/you on visc. colors and onto my skin and the 2nd ending vs. the first.

    That's the image of my room I have too, really. I know this sounds terrible, but I feel like I am/my room is not really alive in the winter. Not that the winter is 100% bleak, but summer is so much more vibrant, you know? Anyway, glad you find the imagery striking.

    On another note, did you click the links/watch Chloe act in the prev. post? Because you should. One is us singing, and the second two songs are just to the songs, but the "One Voice" one is really great. Love love.

    Ok going to bed now (um, for 4 hours, kill me now) for real. After I note your other note.