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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.

Friday, June 06, 2008

A Summer Kiss on Your Smooth Neck

a summer sestina

You sit in Dolores Park, tongue slowly licking
honey-mint lavender ice cream on a plain cone.
You watch the lovers kiss, the babies cry, the mamas laugh,
waiting for the warm breeze to find you
and leave a summer kiss on your smooth neck.

Small dews of beaded sweat glisten on your neck as
the summer sun beats on the freshly mowed lawn,
smooth except for the small mounds of emerald
waiting for the kiss of a dog’s butt, of a bum’s worn shoe,
of your bare feet ready to run across the grass
in search of a lover on this fresh summer’s day.

On days like these, when babies cry in the park
shedding their tears on their mamas’ necks,
your lips long for the taste of salt,
the taste of summer grass and hay lingering
on full lips, long for his kiss
smooth as a warm beer on a hot day.

Smooth as the blue sky, he slides alongside you
on the green bench with Luisa & Ramon carved into
its old back, names framed with a kiss.
His hand caresses your swan’s neck
warm and lovely from the summer sun.
Your lover bends his lips to pale skin.

Your hands cup his face and
gently smooth the stubble that cloaks
sweet skin toasted by the summer sun.
On this sun-drenched afternoon
you yield willingly to one kiss after another,
your creamy neck bends slightly at such a soft touch.

He waits for your lips, your kiss
for your tongue to
move to his neck
to feel your rough tongue drift lazily across the smooth skin
on the damp nape of his neck,
joining this summer day to a lover’s heat.

A white neck teases one kiss after another and
your lover demands a summer full of kisses
as smooth as the honey-mint lavender ice cream melting on the grass.

© Birdstory Publications, 2008

A sestina is composed of 7 stanzas. The first 6 stanzas have 6 lines each; the last stanza is a tercet - 3 lines. Stanzas 2-6 must take the last 6 words of the last line of the first stanza and repeat them, using one of each of those 6 words in a particular order in each line of each stanza. The sestina is an exacting form, and though I think the language a little cliche, I like this first effort of mine. The challenge is to follow the form without sacrificing content to form. A poet's puzzle.

For those interested, here is the pattern:

2nd stanza: 6, 1, 5, 2, 4 3
3rd stanza: 3, 6, 4, 1, 2, 5
4th stanza: 5, 3, 2, 6, 1, 4
5th stanza: 4, 5, 1, 3, 2, 6
6th stanza: 2, 4, 6, 5, 3, 1
7th stanza: 6 &2, 1 & 4, 5 & 3


Blogger ThursdayNext said...

I used to teach the sestina.

My dear, you need to please make sure that your work is copyrighted. This work is amazing, and I know I will see this in print one day - so start submitting.

June 06, 2008 4:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

TN: I do so appreciate your encouragement. And note - you see I've changed my profile to include a copyright notice.

I am researching small presses to submit to.

June 06, 2008 5:38 PM  
Blogger she said...

this one is beautiful. at first -i thought i was all going to be a love letter to the park! what would be fun is to take a line or two from some of your works and incorporate it into design and print it on letter press. like this sestina (never heard of it til now) would be the entire book.

i love the sweetness of this poem - its quiet celebration of life and love and really drinking in a moment. bravo.

June 07, 2008 5:42 AM  
Blogger Bird said...

thanks she.

this sestina actually started off not as a love poem to the park, but to san francisco. as i crafted the last line of the first stanza - the whole direction changed. i had to toss out the original first stanza and start over (saved the original first stanza - it may well show up in a different poem).

i'm working on the language on this one now. some of it is too ... cliche and standard. i'm playing with word associations and fussing about. to see what might happen. i might not end up posting new work over the next few days - i want to play with this poem some more.

i've thought of selecting a few poems and creating broadsheets - which is sort of what you're talking about - but not quite. a broadsheet is an artistically done sheet of a poem - larger size than a normal piece of paper - and of course, done with some artistry.

i've also thought of taking a bookmaking class and putting my work into a small, hand-crafted book. that would just be for fun.

June 07, 2008 8:05 AM  
Blogger lilo said...

this is a beautiful poem. i've never heard of a sestina before, but I really really like this.

April 02, 2009 9:35 AM  

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