Friday, April 01, 2011

The only way it can be said

Sometimes poetry is the only way something can be expressed.  At least I have found that true in my own life.  There is something about the indirectness of poetic imagery, the way it mines elements from the subconscious that normally wouldn't be let out of its cell that makes what emerges extraordinarily powerful.  

I have missed poetry in my life, these past few months.  My poetry books are waiting in a warehouse along with all our other belonging, for the reconstruction on our fire-damaged home to be completed.  But that is not the only reason I have lost my connection to poetry.

I have been afraid of what would emerge if I let myself write. 

So I have cut myself off from reading, writing, or responding to poetry.  In the process, I have both let down a community I care deeply about and have lost a part of myself that I have desperately needed.

It's April.  National Poetry Month.  It's time to take a deep breath and let what needs air and sunshine bubble to the surface.

I am hoping to share the drafts of new poems written this month here with you. It is a way to re-commit to the act of writing poetry. It is also a way to step back from the perfectionist practices in my life. This is raw, first draft writing. It doesn't have to be perfect. It doesn't even have to be very good. It just needs to be written. And perhaps something I write will resonate with you, the reader, and you will write something in turn.


Fresh sheets always in the dryer, always
waiting for the door to open, waiting
to spill out on the floor of the laundry room.
White sheets on a dirt floor, indistinguishable
from the car wash towels, the dog
blanket, the once-white tube socks,
all uniformly gray. I try to bleach
my sorrow the color of boiled bone,
render it in the colander
of this grief. I lift the twisted mess
dripping grimy water
with the handle of a broom, snap
the wrinkles out of sheets
oblivion white. When I bury
my face to the folded stack
something still smolders.
--LJCohen, 4/1/11


  1. Yea! Lisa! I've missed your poetry as well! It's like not painting for me! Other things take priority. We have to get back the inspiration!

  2. I am not a poet, but you always inspire me. Please forgive how clumsy the attempt is and understand, this is my offering to you.

    The Pit

    In my head, recollecting remembered losses.
    Giving in to the seduction of beautiful sadness and
    The intensity of the pain, renewed, leads to
    Rage at incompetence and mistakes,
    Mine and others’.

    Find a wall, here, under my reaching hand.
    My fingertips glide on my keyboard and my feet feel the floor.
    My eyes look at the monitor, ever changing, instant to instant.
    Here! In present time, glorious and wonderful.
    This is the only place you and I can meet, and communicate.

    Memories are born here, and stored here,
    Too varied and too numerous to allow looking back.
    Survival, joy, love – all created here, in present time.
    The future is created. Here!
    Looking back, recalling past pain and anger
    Only inserts unnecessary angst
    Into the glory of present time.

    Thank you, wall, floor, keyboard, monitor.
    I will reach for you always to find my way.
    Out of the past and firmly in now.

  3. "Here! In present time, glorious and wonderful."

    So important to be reminded that the now is what we have, is what we need to treasure.

    Thank you for this, Sue. A lovely gift, much appreciated.