Lit mag poetry: Hudson River at Inwood by Ernest Lawson

File:Ernest Lawson - The Hudson at Inwood (c. 1917).jpg
The Hudson at Inwood (c.1917), Ernest Lawson (public domain)

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Published in Confiscated, 2006.

This piece was written for a class on poetry writing, and it’s the only thing I wrote for that class that I actually like.  As an exercise in ekphrastic poetry, we were given postcards with works of art on them to inspire us; I can’t find the exact one I had, but mine looked very similar to the top image.  Artist Ernest Lawson did many paintings of the area around Inwood.

I wrote this piece almost all at once very quickly, while sitting in the music building on campus.  I might have been waiting for a flute lesson or rehearsal.  It’s actually a song, which is true of many of my poems.  I had been struggling in the poetry class for a while (I found the prof pretentious, and all the other students were lit majors), but once I started writing it as a song, this one just seemed to click for me.

When I met with the prof to revise this poem (which was the only thing I wrote that he remotely liked, either), he made some suggestions and I dutifully made corrections and handed it in.  Then I published the original in the literary magazine, because the corrections ruined the rhythm of the song.

I ended up with a B in the class, which hurt my GPA.  It’s the only college course I regret taking.  I honestly haven’t written much poetry since.

If I were to publish this again today, I’d rearrange some of the stanzas, swapping the 2nd halves of the choruses so it ends with “You wonder why you’re lonely here…” instead of “They tell you…” and also swapping the second verse stanzas so “Let me see those bright eyes” comes first.

Lit mag poetry: She only likes me at midnight

Published in Perception, 03-04 Issue Two

So this one time, my friend Ashley for some reason said the phrase “she only likes me at midnight,” and I thought it was so cool for some reason I wrote a poem around it.

I’m not entirely sure what it’s about.  In my head I pictured a scene like a masked ball. With Cinderella showing up at midnight, instead of leaving then.  The narrator might be caught in an untenable situation, but unwilling to walk away because the highs seem worth the lows.

I still like this one a lot.

Lit mag poetry: Believe

Published in Perception, 03-04 Issue Two

This poem was one of several of its kind in this issue of the magazine; I wrote it in response to the death of a beloved teacher at our school.

I never actually had her in class, but everyone knew her anyway.  She was one of the most upbeat, positive people I can think of.

Poetry, and writing in general, has a way of letting you process things.  Even better than ice cream.  Sometimes.

On a side note, the punctuation here is kinda weird in places.  I think I might change it if I published it again.

Lit mag poetry: In My Room (Llueve)

Published in Perception, 03-04 Issue One

I wrote this on my bed listening to the rain in high school.  “Llueve” in the title means “it rains” in Spanish, a language I studied throughout my entire school career.

It’s a pretty simple poem, more feeling than words.  I don’t think it will surprise anyone that my high school poetry was heavily inspired by favorite poets are e.e. cummings and William Carlos Williams.