This Weekend's Workout is the beginning of a six week series I am dedicating to Puget Sound Community School in Seattle. I used to work for them about 10 years ago and it was a blast. It's a small private school where kids focus on self-selected pursuits in a positive and collaborative environment.
The School's Director Andrew Smallman is leading a class on poetry called Wishes, Lies, and Dreams based on Kenneth Koch's book of the same name.
Since I cannot be there in person to hang out with them, I'm going to post 6 weekend writing workouts focused on poetry, in the spirit of wishes, lies, and dreams. Join on in if you'd like.
This week: The Dream Deferred
What is something you've always wanted to do, but haven't done due to fear or embarrassment or some silly excuse like you don't have time or you don't know how? Have you wanted to go sky diving? Have you wanted to take singing lessons? Have you wanted to write a novel? Have you wanted to learn to knit?
Write a poem based upon your dream deferred.
When you write the first draft, write it spontaneously. Write from your gut. Don't stop writing, don't edit as you write, just write.
Begin the poem by stating that you are doing this thing you want to do.
"I dance the tango..."
You do this thing to... (finish line)
"I dance the tango to..."
You do this thing because... (finish line)
"I dance the tango because..."
You do this thing and...
"I dance the tango and..."
This time, let the line take you away (remember to keep writing). Keep running with the thought.
When your ideas run out, simply start the next line with "I --do--this--thing--" (I dance the tango...)
I play the drums
I play the drums to hide the pain
I play the drums because someone
has to hear my heartbeat other than me
I play the drums and the rhythm fits into the palm of my hand
a palm is the size of a heart they said in biology 9th grade
young and thinking I knew something about love
I hold the rhythm, hold grace, hold the place
where other hearts beat like footsteps like rain
I play the drums to soothe to hide to forget names
and places and dates but rhythms I'll keep I'll keep the rhythms...
I usually time these exercises, but on this one, I just want you to write until it feels done.
Remember, go with your gut and keep writing. You can edit all you want when it's done.