A poem every day – week 3

It’s getting harder (That’s what she said! – Sorry, we’ve been watching The Office of late…).

On the one hand I’m doubting the merit of this project. I often feel like “having to” write a poem every day means I end up with work that is partially unfinished but I need to wrap it up anyway for the sake of the project. Though this is perhaps good for me, as part of the reason I started the project is because I have a tendency to have a lot of ideas and bursts of inspiration, and write down a line or two only to abandon the piece five minutes later. I always think I’ll come back to it, but I very rarely do. Completing a poem a day means that I have to sit with it and work on it until I feel as if I reach some kind of resolution. As I am someone who wants my creative work to be “what I do”, I think this is a useful practice.

Another problem is that I tend to make myself finish the daily poem before I allow myself to work on anything else, which leads to frustration. I may have to rethink this strategy going forward.

On the other hand, while I have my doubts and struggles, I do manage to write every day, and produce something I like every week. And I cannot say the same for last year.

Below you will find two of the poems I liked from the past week, including YouTube links. One is about how differently you can feel on different days, and how it’s at least somewhat beyond your control. The other is a reminiscence of another January, in Prague, many years ago, and the last days of a relationship.

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Poem #18: January in Prague

We spill out
like laughter
into the winter night
from smoky jazz clubs

Winding cobbled streets
Dramatic Art Nouveau
painted women with flowers in their hair
Their colourful vitality discomforting me

Apple pancakes and pilsner
under low ceilings and exposed beams
flickering light
seeking to animate our blank faces

Even then we knew
but didn’t admit
that we were chasing
something that had passed

But time remained unrelentingly linear

A stark room
bare walls
twin beds
a back turned
in sleep
or pretend
a person out of reach

And this is our holiday souvenir:
the uncomfortable certainty
that the river
is stronger than our will to resist
and sometime very soon
it will pull us apart

On YouTube: https://youtu.be/XJkABNEelfA


Poem #19: Some Days

You wake to brown strings
in your avocado
worming their way
into your body
and your mind

That twinge in your chest
is back again
heralding some
yet unspoken
calamity

You think of that argument
the one with your mother
Fifteen years ago
And feel certain
that she’s still upset

A neighbour’s car is idling
the sound vibrating all around you
making you think of
pollution
and how humanity is doomed

Some days

You wake up to brown strings
in your avocado
you pack it in a pita pocket
and eat it anyway — it tastes the same

That twinge in your chest
you realise
is probably a sore muscle
from yesterday’s exercise

That argument you had
fifteen years ago with your mother
reminds you of
how far you’ve come since then

Somewhere in the distance there’s
the sound of a car
quickly drowned out
by silence and birdsong

Some nights

You do everything right
Call your mother
Meditate
Exercise
Eat a balanced meal
and go to bed on time

And still you wake up
with worms crawling their way
into your skull
like a reverse Medusa

Some days

Are just like that

On YouTube: https://youtu.be/wwkPV0y87xQ

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