Thursday, April 9, 2009

I Ain't Keats

This being National Poetry Month, I'm revisiting my scant folio of poems. Fiction might be "plant your butt in the chair, and get it done" kind of writing, but poetry has to strike me before I write it. (Except when I was a kid, and it was a school assignment. Oh, the agony.)

Here are a couple of angst-y pieces, inspired by two different people, years apart, and both poems have won awards. (I can't recall the years or the contests. I did pocket the money, though!) Call the first poem an act of tough love, and the second a manifesto.


She is a choking vine,
twining my limbs,
wrapping my throat,
squeezing my strength
as if I am the soil that succors her roots.

I was, at first,
a sympathetic, willing trellis,
thinking my role temporary,
like a stake to guide a sapling,
but she will not let go.

Sun and shade equally strike,
yet she claims the lesser share,
complaining her weakness, her lack,
her compromise—
shadowing me as she seeks more light.

I am dying,
throttled by her need.
Freeing my hand, I tear at her tendrils;
broken stems bleed on my skin.
Remnants of her cling to my clothes.

She cries her shock and anger,
pleas the length of friendship,
but I reck not her arguments,
turn from her tilting form,
and say, “Stand.”


The Flood

You left
a high-water mark
on the walls of my heart--
a crusted undulating line
that marks the end
of the rising filthy tide
of pollution I once called

of receding emotion
lap against my reality boots
and cover the toes,
but I feel nothing,
wading through the muck and
debris like Peter walked on

If I
look down, I might sink
into that miserable morass
of self-pity and doubt,
mourning the lost years
and cursing you for taking them,
for making the dreams

of memory bleach
saturate the walls and wash away
disease, letting the clean things shine through,
leaving behind the bones of a house
in which laughter will ring

poems c. Keanan Brand


Eaglewing said...

I'm no good at poetry (a limerick is about the best I can do), but I'll have to tell my Mom this is National Poetry Month. She likes to write poems, but I can't convince here to start a blog :)

Alexander Field said...

Keanan, great poems man. I especially like the visual you create in 'Weedkiller' which evokes a very firm image in my head of a vine leeching up your legs, on your body, all over your arms...very nice. This would have stood out in my college poetry classes...of which I had several! : )

The Texican said...

Yeah Man. Why don't you feature your poems more often? Heard the weather was really knarly in Mena yesterday. Hope your Easter is wonderful. Pappy

Keanan Brand said...

Eagle - Your mom kinda reminds me of my brother: he can write, but doesn't feel like it's any good, so he doesn't do much of it. Several years ago, he came up with an idea while in Germany, then showed it to me and said I should do something with it. Problem is, it's not my story; it's his.

Alex - Thanks! Both of these poems came very quickly, probably because whatever I needed to say had been building up for a long time, the words damming up in my mind until they breached the dikes. I missed any poetry classes; there was world lit, and a few other literature and writing classes, but no poetry. However, my father used to buy me old textbooks from used-book stores when I was young, and that's where I first read large and varied quantities of poetry.

Tex - Ah, ahem, well. Not many of my poems should see the light of day, to tell the truth.

Yeah, the weather in Arkansas was nasty, and in Oklahoma, too. My windows rattled during the night.

Thanks for the Easter wishes, and the same to you, my friend.

Anonymous said...

Happy Easter!
I finally blogged again.
I'm currently working on art contest stuff, and if it doesn't win, I'll post it on my blog. But you've got a couple of winners there: I remember you shared the first poem with me but not the second one. I think both are great!
I have some old free verse stuff sitting around somewhere, but mine'll probably show up in my stories(your poetry in the Dragon tales is always very evocative).

beth♥ said...

I merely meandered over from a comment you left on Alex's blog, not knowing what to expect and then ... "If I look down, I might sink into that miserable morass of self-pity and doubt, mourning the lost years and cursing you for taking them, for making the dreams
die." That is so strong and poignant. Good stuff. I haven't composed a poem in over a year. Perhaps it is time.

PS ~ I'm in The Natural State too!

Keanan Brand said...

Jade - The Flood has been sitting around for years; crazy that you never read it. But it's not like we swap poetry all that often.

The stuff I write for the fantasy novels sometimes seems a little easier to write, maybe because I know the background, maybe because some of it is like old Norse or Anglo-Saxon poetry, which I read a lot when I was a teenager. (shrug) But some of it rhymes, too, and most of the rhymes came REALLY fast. I cannot account for it.

Beth - Welcome! And thanks. I'm a transplanted Natural State-r, being from the West Coast until my teen years. Took a while for me to acclimate to the culture!

beth♥ said...

Yes, well, I'm a transplant myself and don't ever intend to acclimate to the culture. Nobody knows. I fake it well enough. I'm now off to peek at more of your scribblings.