There’s nothing “prompt” about my response to #713; that’s how it’s been with me and poetry for about the past year. I’m like a kid who wants to jump off the diving board–not the tall, intimidating one, just the “easy” board barely above the water. I inch forward, look over the edge, scuttle back; stride forward, then my knees go weak, and I return in a crawl. And on and on. Don’t know when or why this happened, but this week I did finally jump off the end of the board. Now if I could just prod myself back to my own writing.
I did find it impossible to write this about myself, whether in first or third person. Every attempt just came out too whiny, or too self-critical to inflict on a reader. So I chose a woman I saw walking and tried to imagine what it was like to be that perfect, and what kind of toll it might take. Again, I haven’t let this poem sit and “cure,” so I’d probably revise it if I took it up again later.
GRANDE DAME OF PHEASANT HILLS
That woman you see walking her Black Lab each day,
the one with the designer sweats and silver earrings,
her gray hair artfully tinted the color of wheat,
her body trim and her spine straight, the woman who
controls that big dog with a twitch of the lead–
she’s tired of being like that.
Her iron grip holds her whole world on a tether,
although her slender hand has a deceptive grace.
It’s not worth doing if it doesn’t look easy,
so in public and in private: the clamped jaw,
those gritted teeth behind that demure, practiced smile.
God, she’s tired of being like that.
She’d love to slouch in a thread-bare t-shirt,
turn the Lab loose, or better yet
use her graceful hands to throttle the beast
as well as her philandering husband, howl
into the stunned faces of friends who never dreamed
she was tired of being “like that.”
Go here for more prompts (and a couple of responses).