Getting Sick?

“Devise a system for arranging the words of your poem on the page. You might place abstract words five spaces in. Or put the word “I” in the middle of the page every time it appears. Words you want to emphasize could be in a column down the right-hand side of the page or oppositional words on opposite sides. See if you can dream up ways to make the arrangement of your language engage with its subject matter.”

-Kim Addonizio, “Ordinary Genius”

Are you getting sick of this poem yet? I am. Although, each rewriting has let me see a different possibility for how to present the words. My original was just about the words, but now I’m creating the art.

 

New World Symphony

Let the goosebumps

rise on the back of your neck.

Terror shiver down your spine.

The crash of cymbals.

Tremolo of strings.

Listen to the sound of fear.

 

Trumpets Wailing

at the death of babes

caught sleeping in the storm.

Timpani pounds

the marching feet

People’s Liberation Army

hunting

People

 

The whisper of unwanted children

To unwanted mothers

Soft melody hiding in their voices

The beat kept

                       by swaying hips

                                                Of prostitutes

           strippers

                                             and children

 

The fermata over rest

of Americans in bed:

unafraid

unscarred

opinionated

Directors of the symphony

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