Saturday, June 7, 2014

The Devil's In the Details, #TeacherPoets Challenge 3 - Write About An Object

We were asked to write about one object, taking in all the details, then create poetry from it.

I actually started and re-started this challenge a number of times, not finding the right object.  I'm sure if I'd really worked at it, any object would do. Chris Lehman used a strawberry - something passionate and organic and beautiful in its own right.  He always makes it look so easy.  But any object SHOULD do, right?

Wrong. Poetry works from a wellspring of passion, like all writing.  Heck - like all learning - like all art.

No matter how many times I wanted to write odes to my Starbucks cup, the well was dry (well, except for the coffee - but that didn't last long.)

After much hemming and hawing and false starts, I started looking at what I was writing with and what I was writing on.  The fountain pens I use are a relatively new fixation for me.  I have only been using them consistently for the last two years.  However, I have long had an affinity for yellow lined notepads - standard sized, not legal.  I have always found them the most pleasing to write on.  I wrote my first play and a good portion of my first novel on those yellow pads.

So, here it is.  My poem about an object (Not a Red Wheelbarrow):
Yellow Writing Notepads

By Jessica Wisniewski

It is not a sunny yellow.
It is a serious, post-it note yellow,
business-like, but still welcoming.
The “best” ones have thick, slick pages,
like stationery for stodgy lawyers
but I prefer the cheap ones.
The pages are softer, more cloth-like
They drink in the ink of my fountain pen
their thirst blurs the edges of my marks
So that the letters of my words bleed slightly
Into the serious field of yellow
Just like the 28 inkpen blue lines
Marching down the page, left to right, in tight formation
Like rows of soldiers, waiting for their orders
They leave a window of open field at the top
For titles
For doodles
For notes
For names
The platoon of precision is interrupted, bisected
By dangerous double lines of red, a barrier
Set to the left margin; top to bottom, unbroken,
But breaking the page to protect that left space
What lives there to protect?
My afterthoughts?
My asides?
My corrections?
My additions?
There are no holes to mar this first, but secondary column
No expectation of attachment to other pages in a binder
My thoughts can flow together – or not – with the lifting
Of this finished, filled, fully realized page
Sliding against itself to reveal the ghosts
Of my previous thoughts through the translucent sunlight
Of the paper, revealing a new, clean field to sow
Awaiting the plow of my pen
The seeds of my thoughts
Growing together
Tangling and Tumbling across the page.

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