Shadow Box

It’s the detritus I’m after
the quiet accumulation of time
along the back walls
of the closet
in the underused drawers
of the night stand.
I purge them
only to regret my harsh
judgement of ticket stubs
and tidbits of parcels
it’s a life after all, my every
everyday, and I’ve kept them
for one reason or another,
because I am afraid of forgetting
or that I may never be happy like this
again. But they collect,
the casual evidence of suburbia:
receipts, wrapping paper,
whimsical notes,
until I gather them up
and feast of their sadness…
sad that I kept them
sad that I will
never change.
–ECW

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Thanks for Reading

Hello Readers,

My stance on poetry has always been an emphasis on words rather than works. The words drive the motion of human empathy, not the poet and certainly not the poetic persona. It was with that in mind that I sign all my poems ECW, rather than my full name. In a sense the initials represented a version of anonymous that I could use to separate the words, my poems, from the works, my ego. In doing so I felt I granted them a sense of freedom from myself, an otherwise fatally young unpublished novice of the trade.

It has been almost a year since I granted this site its own domain name, a stray burst of ego I felt the poems deserved. I retired the original “ACallToVerse” blog in favor of a more extemporaneous name, a name that would be effortless and rooted in value. The change paid off.  I went from 13 followers (many of them duplicate emails and ex-boyfriends) to over 100 friends and strangers, many of you poets and artists yourselves. The great joy of your company has both inspired me to write with more gusto and attend to the website with more care. Without you I would be simply a quiet light in a bright city.

I told myself I would need to write an ‘About the Author’ page on the once I got 100 followers. I now have over 100 and I have procrastinated and waited to find the right words. So while I endeavor to craft some kind of personal statement, I first wanted to say thanks for reading. Your participation in this site has given me hope for the present and future of poetry, and for that I am eternally, digitally grateful.

About the Author Page coming soon.

Until then, here’s a picture of me in a teacup. (My fiancé and I just had a whirlwind day-trip to Disneyland)

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(I’m all squinty, it was rather sunny)

Poem 5 Editing

This is a question I hear all the time: You write poetry, huh, like song lyrics?

No, nothing like song lyrics. My best friend writes and performs her music and in the most basic fundamental elementary down-to-the-atoms way poetry is the opposite of song lyrics…
Poetry must stand on its own, it must bring a melody that carries through words rather than sound, it must be memorable without a rhythm to solidify its uniqueness, and finally (and most importantly) it survives on details rather than generalities.
My friend must make her experiences as general as possible to allow others to try them on and acclimate them to their own life. A song you hear is your song, about that time in college or when you took that trip. This is a skill separate from poetry, though it is just as difficult.
My poems must be specific, a reader should feel, smell, taste, touch and ache just as I did in the moment. A poem must be a tangible overwhelming truth, it also must be beautiful, memorable and realatible.
This poem has been edited before… the issues are in those details that no one will understand… The question becomes whether they add to the overall piece or if they alienate the reader too much. There is no perfect formula for this, you will just have to try over and over until you get it right…
That said this is also a personal poem, about a dear friend who shares many inside jokes and secret words with me… taking that out of the poem would deflate the meaning, but leaving it in ma alienate the reader… So the key is to make the message of friendship universal through our personal details.
Whenever I edit this poem I always worry about words like fish-hook and if burnt cupcakes are the items I really want to highlight… they are limiting in their relatability and yet contain exactly what I want to say about the friendship… There is also an underlying level of tension that reflects negatively on the comroderie that I always try to add to or clip out… I could edit this 1,000 more times and it will never be right… which sometimes means its done.
THE TAKEAWAY
Your poem must be about your life… When you struggle to write about something deeply personal, remember to balance those needed details with generalities that are universal. In this case, friendship is a universal commodity. While there is only one friendship like this one, the notion of secrets, a language all our own and details that are singular in their nature, there are millions of friendships that grow apart and millions of nostalgic readers who could relate to the ending of this poem… In this case it goes from small to big. As long as the universal and the singular exist in harmony, the poem is a success.