NaPoWriMo 2015 Day 9

From Chris:

“Let’s write a Threnody! A what? A threnody, (from the Greek) is a song, hymn or poem of mourning (like an elegy or lament) composed or performed as a memorial to a dead person. You can write your poem about a person… or to something that you miss, or you believe is fading away and will soon be obsolete. (you know, like common sense). ‘I miss . . . ‘ may work as nudge for you….”

A little more political than I intended, but I’ve been watching the news and feeling cynical. I have trouble with political pieces because I’m always wanting to clarify and make my opinions really specific, and that sort of sucks the poetry out of the pieces. But its NaPoWriMo, and a first draft is the name of the game, so here is my threnody.

I miss thinking there were good cops…
I might get shot in the back for saying that,
but I miss the old delusion
that oaths meant something

I miss thinking that despite the different paths
politicians were working for the same goal

I miss equal treatment under the law
although I’m pretty sure now it never existed

I miss believing that checks and balances
were all that was needed to protect
from the ravenous and the power hungry

I miss believing in an ideal greater than myself
I miss thinking that I wasn’t alone in that belief
but watching behavior has taught me otherwise
and no matter how puerile or idiotic
old mistakes never die

From me:

We carry our places with us, write a poem which describes yourself by referring to all of the places you have been.

I’ve always had an irrational aversion to including names in my poetry. There is balance between specificity and universality that makes the inclusion of names hard for me, I don’t do it unless I have good reason to do it. Place names are no exception, which may explain why I struggled with the river names prompt… Anyway, true to form, for this prompt I’ve left out names and stuck with descriptions of areas. In this case I like it because of the vaguery it creates and the sense of deeper connection it implies. Although, that’s just my opinion, and it is of course for poetry month, a first draft.

I am a collection
of forest smells
exhaust fumes
copper smelt
and frog song

there were ravens too
and snow
occasionally
hills with trees
and always the river
numerous plot lines
places between waking and sleep
and the river

there was a landscape of clouds
and more forest than I thought possible
growing alien blue trees
then the palm trees came
cactus
a flatness were crickets
screamed
then all paved over
and slowly back
to the river

there was air
there was red dust
altitude
a dryness
that wouldn’t leave
then a cage
of dollars
someone swallowed the key
but somewhere
there is still
the river

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