Mondays Are For Editing

I am working on a poem that I wrote this weekend, and I workshopped in class today.

I wanted to write a poem grounded in a date. I wanted some certainty. I wanted a milestone feel. I wanted something tangible. Instead, all I could write were lines that felt floaty and light. In this poem I work with yearning for some grounding while also basking in uncertainties.

I first wrote it with long lines, as a first draft… here it is.

 

Birthday Poem

 

It is not easy to weave between the real and unseen.
Today is temperate and breathing keeps begging at bay.
Throwing open the window to air out the place always helps.
The street below is last night’s litter manifesto.
Shards of glass are the tulip of Easton Avenue.
Watching the city creep by from the trap door
I am vapor,
passing through the window.
We met the neighbors yesterday, they stole our recycling bin.
We threw a party on the deck and things got rowdy.
Nick angered the activists with his British flag shirt.
A Russian girl kissed me while I tried to clean.

I see the month as an indigo blur.
My legs wander in imprecise strokes.
My friends are mere impressions.
Days like these are ideal for making mistakes.
The lease is almost up.
I could carve myself into these rented walls
If only to make up for the permanence that I cannot offer or find.

 

 

So a few students and poets who I admire recommended that I be more deliberate in my line breaks, to end and begin with stronger language. So I took their advice into consideration and here are my edits. Here’s another draft. I also changed and added a few lines, I didn’t just rearrange.

 

 

 

Birthday Poem

 

It is not easy to weave
between the real and unseen.
Today is temperate.
Breathing keeps begging at bay.
Throwing open the window to
air out the place always helps.
The street below is last night’s
litter manifesto.
Shards of glass are the
tulip of Easton Avenue.
Watching the city glide by
from the trap door,
I am vapor,
passing through the window
sieving through the screen.

 

We met the neighbors yesterday
they stole our recycling bin.
We threw a party on the deck
and things got rowdy.
Nick angered the activists
with his British flag shirt.
A Russian girl kissed me
while I was trying to clean.

 

Today is for painting visions,
and watercolor images
of something to believe in.
I see the month as an indigo blur.
Legs wander in imprecise strokes.
Friends are mere impressions.
Days like these are ideal for mistakes.
The lease is almost up.
I could carve myself
Into these rented walls
If only to make up for
the permanence
I cannot offer or find.

 

I think the short lines are stronger. I want my language to punctuate the image I’m attempting to conjure. Word placement is a big deal. I might want to take out “And things got rowdy” after the party but I want to replace it with something else and I am not quite sure what it could be. Or maybe the line is good where it is. Or maybe it is unnecessary and silly. I intended for it to be “dialect-y” to describe a haphazard  college party. I don’t know if it’s effective. Any comments on edits are always appreciated.

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