And Robert and Kyle and Stone and I, and Jess and I, have started up our own small workshop groups--poetry and poetry-fiction, respectively. And for both I am so excited, but for the first I also feel so utterly outshone. I wrote tonight for my weekly submission this little thing about, I suppose, love and trust and betrayal. That isn't meant to be pointed at anything, by the way. I was thinking of drowning, that one time, that day in June when I was seventeen.
Learning To Swim
I tell them that there is a secret about water--
that when it's calm, it can be trusted. No secrets.
That when you trust it, it will buoy you up.
I don't tell them about the rage and speed,
about the reckless rush which destroys
without pause or mercy,
without a thought for trust, or lack.
A bad drunk. I don't tell them. I only say,
lean back. Relax.
I won't let you sink.
Stone's is about love and is full of all of these beautiful, somewhat disorienting images and metaphors, and although I think it can still use some work, it leaves you dazzled and disoriented and full of the wonder of the world.
Robert's is wonderfully dark, dank, industrial, comparing the North to the South and industry to nature in fascinating and tangled and disturbing ways.
Kyle's is about shame, I think, in the progression of American patriotism--how far we've come from Western expansion to drinking beer and watching football on Thanksgiving. And I don't even know what to say about his use of language, colloquialisms and stunning imagery. I had utterly forgotten what an amazing writer he is. I knew all three were very, very good. But I had forgotten how quickly I can be floored by Kyle's poetry.
Dear college acquaintances, I know you are kind. I also know you are brilliant. Please be gentle, and if you must eviscerate me, please leave my bowels connected, so that I can stuff them back into place later.
Jess sent me a story which was very strange and very interesting, and which I think I could work with. I sent some comments which I hope are helpful. I sent her my 'Leaky Faucet' poem, to which she responded positively and with comments which I haven't tried to use yet, but which I think will be helpful. Working on writing, and reading the writing of my fellow UMW English majors again, feels so good.