Sorry for the delay today, you guys; it was kind of a hectic Thursday. I’m a little bit paranoid about saying why on the blog, but if the near future goes well, perhaps I will be able to eventually. How delightfully cryptic of me, n’est-ce pas?
Anyway, here is today’s prompt:
1. “Beyond the carrots and blind white worms…” (Rachel McKibbens, “deeper than dirt”)
2. “Bloody hell, the world’s turned / upside down.” (Cally Conan-Davies, “Ace”)
3. “One of these houses cannot be found on maps.” (me, “Moving Day”)
4. a long, broken zipper
5. Describe as best you can the palpable feeling of nostalgia in a particular place.
BONUS. Make the poem a series of grammatically complete sentences, each of which is no shorter than four lines.
ALTERNATE (5). Describe the palpable opposite of nostalgia: the anxiety at confronting something from your recent past that you haven’t had to deal with lately.
And here’s what I came up with, which kind of keys off a discussion I had a friend the other day about going back to the first house you lived in and doing the whole “excuse me, I used to live here…” thing. I imagine this doesn’t happen in situations where people grow up in apartments, but I could be wrong. And what do people feel if their building is just gone? My mother and I were talking about nostalgia last night; that informed part of this too.
When the city children return with children
of their own years later, to spell their own prologue
over a sagged thing of brick and wire and
a butternut-colored jalopy, what must they think
to see the old corner lot wrapped in yellow
plastic tape and COMING SOON signs.
The porches have all been ripped off like scabs
and replaced with people flashing by
going from this place to that, and the doormen
will not let these children with children in.
What blood must rush to their head after coming
all this way to draw a line in the dirt with a sword
and upturn a wriggling narrative with the point
as if to explain, no matter how far you go, you leave
the littlest hairs of your roots behind– only to be
turned away from a place that is not theirs,
nor their children’s. The front matter is blanked
from their biography, hanging wide
like a mouth with puzzle teeth that, having
opened too far, finds it cannot shut.
I have a free and clear evening tonight. Perhaps I will cruise around the poetry blogs a bit, catch up on some more writing, practice some headstands… you know, the usual Thursday rubbish. We’ll see.