Sunday, August 19, 2007

Monday Poetry Train #2

This is a poem that was dropped from my book her red book because I never got it edited to my satisfaction. It's still a work in progress.

NOTE: This is not the poems proper spacing... it won't let me put in spaces or tabs - the best I could do was put in dashes --- does anyone know how to solve this issue?

On the Morning After the Rough Train Ride

She doesn’t like that she listens
for feet behind her - gunshots and strangers
in the alleyway when will she stop noticing
the moons point
and shoot

last night the toaster caught on fire and she blew it out
birthday candle of a rough day
what if it all did go up in smoke?
her housemate left his candle burning
all night on his desk
how quickly
they could ignite - how brittle in sleep
to dream the longest dream
she is obsessed
with this now - the steps toward
it makes her reckless
in a schoolgirl kind of way

last night they watched a staged play:
a boy spun a tale of a man being swallowed by a whale
a girl watched in the mirror while he
entered her from behind
the girl had lost a friend
and wanted to hear the breath
of someone alive

she turned to her own friend in the audience
I want them to live happily ever after
I want them to be in love

her friend said
This is theater

we don’t have happy endings


Anonymous said...

"....a girl watched in the mirror while he
entered her from behind
the girl had lost a friend...."

This is so unfortunate sometimes isn't it? And it works both ways.

gautami tripathy said...

No happy endings in real life either...

Lisa Andel said...

For some, but happiness is all around us. So many times it's wanting more that makes us unhappy. Sometimes we need to take a step outside of our lives so that we can see what we already have.

Joy Renee said...

'This is theater
we don’t have happy endings'

the person who says this seems to be holding happiness itself in contempt.

i wonder if it is the very belief--the yearning--for endings which makes happiness so elusive.

i would rather stop believing in endings than stop believing in the possibility of happiness--of joy.

but how to be a story teller who doesn't believe in endings....

Sparky Duck said...

yea what guatami said

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

That's lovely, Danika. I can't imagine why this didn't make your cut.

Me, I got hooked on that first stanza. Been there, listening and waiting for everything to explode.

Ann said...

It's a lovely poem. Thank you for sharing it with us.

Rhian / Crowwoman said...

damn woman! that's a powerful poem! and it hit the cutting room floor. Putting "checkout your book" high on my list of must do's.

this is one of those poems you can peel apart and look at in all sorts of ways - my very favorite kind!! Thanks so much for posting it on the train!

OpenChannel said...

Thanks for all your insights everyone. I was on set all day yesterday and am just now reading your comments.

Rhet - I barely remember the play now, but I do remember the female character explaining how after she had lost her best friend (suicide, I think)all she had wanted to do was have sex and feel alive and hear people breathing.

At the time, I had never had anyone close to me die, but last year my Father passed away and I get it. I get that need.

OpenChannel said...

Gautami, I agree with Lisa. I find that there is much happiness, joy, love in the world and, in general, my work reflects that.

I'd say most of my work (screenwriting and poetry) explores very dark spaces from which the characters (myself included) eventually emerge... or from which there is hope of emerging.

OpenChannel said...

Joy -

Thanks for commenting. The friend watching the play with me said that tongue-in-cheek, but happiness has definitely eluded him over the years.

In novels and films, I always like open endings leading towards hope and joy, because that's more like life. We don't get things handed to us neatly packed and tied with ribbons.

OpenChannel said...

Susan - I just couldn't get it edited properly at the time. I actually ripped out 3 stanzas to present it here. Perhaps at the time I was too close to it to chop it up that way.

I used to live in a crime-ridden area of Seattle and I started to resent how paranoid it made me.

OpenChannel said...

Rhian - You can actually have a copy of this book if you want. On the last printing, they got the size of the book wrong at first, so I ended up with a small stack of give-aways. The margins are off, but the poems are all intact. It's a small chapbook the publisher and I put together by hand. It's my favourite of my books.

Anonymous said...

OP - I assumed that the girl had allowed an heretofore friend to engage in sexual intercourse with her. This act betraying the friendship, pushing the friendship into areas for which it is not designed to cope.
Often friendships are ruined by sex.

julia said...

"she blew it out
birthday candle of a rough day"

Love that! So glad you joined the Poetry Train. This is fantastic.

OpenChannel said...


That's a great interpretation and very true. I love when people find things in my poems I hadn't seen myself.

Julia - Thanks a bunch. Funny because all I keep seeing are the parts of it that aren't working yet. Guess I'm my own worst critic.

Jill said...

This poem can be interpret in so many ways...
I really like the part about the candle and all the what if that it brings!!

OpenChannel said...

Thanks, Jill. Candles are usually seen as positive light... but in this case, two dangerous candles... the one that was left to burn all night was such an innocent thing that could have been deadly...