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Bird's Blog

Poetry, musings, observations, commentary, rants, confessions...and who knows what else!

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Location: San Francisco Bay Area

Teacher, writer, poet, grandmother, lover, wine-drinker, chocolate eater, beach comber, hiker, traveler, Giants fan, San Franciscan. All work on this blog is copyrighted material.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

In The Poet's Tent at The Book Faire

Now that you’ve mounted the platform,
adjusted the mic,
sipped from the bottle of water
and told me all about the poem you are about to read
which you wrote while living in Madrid
riding the Metro
looking over your shoulder
jumping at the sound of a backfired car -
Now that you’ve told me all this
and how important it all is
how this poem took on new meaning after 9/11
how at the end of the day you wrote this poem
you went home to lay your head in your lover’s lap
- a lap of safety
in uncertain times
a lap of precision and respite.
Yes, now that you have told me all that
as a preface to your poem
I have no need to hear your poem
which I was interested in when I heard the title,
the simple title “Madrid”
as I am a sucker for poems titled after foriegn cities.

When I do hear your poem
(for I am a polite member of the audience and even though
I am bored now
and my stomach is imagining what the sugar-fried doughnuts on-a-stick
might taste like - I did see a doughnut stand at the far end of the book stalls -
and the sun beckons me from outside the poet's tent at the book fair)
I am a polite member of the audience
sitting in the front row and will not interrupt your moment to leave.

No longer interested in your words
(which several moments ago I am compelled to remind you
I thought most assuredly I would be interested in)
I stare at the huge redwood tree outside the tent
in the center of the square
noticing the Christmas lights still nestled in its limbs even though it is September.

I hear the low murmur of the crowd out in the square
as it peruses the book stalls
sounding almost like a cocktail party
except for the notes of ice clinking in glasses
which are absent with nothing to stand in their stead
and lead me to wish I had a drink in my hand.

And as you read
the heavily weighted, meaningful, ponderous
words in your poem





I scribble all these thoughts down
across the names of featured authors in the program
and in the small white spaces between lines
for I forgot to bring a pad of paper
and none of the booksellers had a blank book to sell.

The above is a rough draft poem in need of workshopping - I am most unpleased with the line breaks and worried there is too much clutter in the poem. I wonder too if it needs to be reshaped into a prose poem. Constructive criticism welcome.


Blogger Pete Bogs said...

"I am a polite member of the audience
sitting in the front row and will not interrupt your moment to leave."

that's good - we wouldn't want you to be Tasered...

I wish I had a gift for poetry...

September 19, 2007 7:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


the quality
of a given work will be
inversely proportional to the artist's need to try to talk it up...

i once went to an art exhibition opening at a 'prestigious' museum/gallery where three artists were on hand to introduce their work -- the first two were really interesting and informative, and modestly brief, but the third guy went on for like 45 minutes until it all turned into a kind of hypnotic drone that caused some in the audience to fall asleep (or maybe into a coma) -- anyway, when we finally got to see the art works, well, as you might guess, nimrod number 3 couldn't cover with 10,000 words the fact his work was a dud -- actually more boring than him...

oh, this looks like it's almost 10,000 words here, and not too constructive... sorry

(enjoyed your poem!)


September 19, 2007 4:09 PM  
Blogger boneman said...

Sort'a like that, only from a different perspective.
If you feel it right, send it on, but
if it needs more work, we can hardly tell you how to improve on it if it is to stay yours.

Ah, the critic's muse...what a bitch.

Since turning fifty (plus a few, now) I've found it quite useful to always carry a small notebook around with me.
(now, if only I could remember where I put it...)
No, really. It's right here in my back pocket.

But, anyway. a critic's comments should be aimed at bringing the right people to the right things (readings, music, or art) and not as a course to follow. Look at it from a teacher's point of view. You don't want to say to the children, "write this down....'It was the best of times, it was the worst of times...'" because you'de just be telling them the words to write.
And, since you ARE a teacher, I don't think it's particularly wise of me to go on with this path of words, and so, wish you the best at yer poem (finished or not) and look forward to the great novel (or at the very least, great group of poems by BIRD)

September 19, 2007 4:19 PM  
Blogger Aunty Belle said...

Yeah, why does some artists do that? What happened ter the ole rule ter let the work speak fer itself??

I lieks your poem...however ya refine it yoreself will be the best, mosst expressive of WHAT YOU done percieved.

How's the muse bidness goin'?

September 19, 2007 6:28 PM  
Blogger Bird said...

/t.: hahahahaa - it's the same no matter the genre or medium - artists who forget that they cannot follow their work about and explain it to viewers or readers - so the work has to stand on its own. it can wobble - but it shouldn't fall down - and lord knows - it shouldn't need propping up by extra words and explanations.

boney my dear: i disagree with you completely. writers need criticism - and if we choose (and note - it is our choice - we have the control and the authorial discretion) to take a reader's criticism to heart (or a fellow writer's), it doesn't make the piece any less our own. i want feedback - i need feedback - i want to know what works and what doesn't work for a reader. it's important information for me. i ask for advise - but not consent. thus i maintain my authorial power. (she says with a puffed up chest and a swagger to her walk).

ab: i am failing, apparently, in the muse business, as the writer in question has yet to apply buttocks to chair, fingers to keyboard and write. the writer has a million in one excuses - all of which i understand and sympathize with but which i also know are ridiculous.

but i am a jealous muse - the writer in question has time to write (which i feel i do not) and is squandering the gift. i shall make him pay dearly for his crime!

September 19, 2007 10:40 PM  
Blogger Aunty Belle said...

HA! Make him pay : ) ...if what he pays ain't punitive enough, Beautiful Birdy, he might never write a syllable !

September 20, 2007 5:11 AM  

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