Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Snow Day (Personally Observed)

What does it mean that I spent the focussed part of my snow day writing poems? Is it the equivalent of flopping down to make snow angels, of slowly building a snow fort, of creating once again my misshapen man of snow? (I strongly suspect that snow men only worked right when my mother took a hand.) Am I making my impression on you? marshalling my defenses? recreating the world out of the materials at hand--some snow, a carrot, two pieces of coal (and where would I get those nowadays)?

Maybe it's the pleasure of working on something that is only rarely possible. Snugged up in my office this morning when it was still minus 9, I wrote a poem called "On the Way to the Bookstore," but now called "Undergrowth." Really I had very many notes from last spring semester sprung from the fourteener line exercise I like to use in class. It is about a very specific place in Cleveland, in University Circle, so that when I had finished pinching it and cutting it, it occurred to me I should write about the Brick, which was the closest thing I had to a regularly attended college bar. It's no longer there, but I have many fond memories of that place and that time. Thus, "Bottom Shelf Special" was born, although at first I was only writing little notes on the bottom of my typed draft of "Undergrowth."

I love it when that's how it works--me tipping accidentally into the poem and having lost my balance whooshing away down the hill with it. But also I've been thinking about writing poems about very specific places in Cleveland (past or present).

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