30/30: Day Nine

Today's poem comes from a prompt from Kundiman's Fireside: A Poetry Blog, written by dear friend and damn fine poet, Jane Wong:

 ...write a poem that includes the following, in order: 

  • A snail under a leaf
  • An overturned cabinet
  • Rush hour
  • Forgiveness is not an option
  • Wrecking ball
  • Cooling down


As you might notice from my response to this prompt, I'm a big fan of catalog; it's sort of a crutch. One of the aims of the 30/30 project is to try new things, to stretch, to let the crutches fall; however, I'm finding the daily grind to be new and stretching enough at the moment.

But, back to catalog, and more specifically, objects. Not too long ago, I had the pleasure of listening to Major Jackson talk about metaphor at Seattle's Hugo House. He had us do an exercise, creating a personal symbology of sorts: 


If you were to catalog the concrete landscape that comprises you; if someone were to paint a portrait of you--what would they include in the picture? Write down objects, images, concrete things.  Then, go back and write down the emotion or attachment you would assign to each thing. 


It was interesting to hear people's objects and associations (of course, the only I can remember now is "a sand pail = alienation" because that is such a different association than the one I have with a "sand pail," which is "joy" or "innocence").  Some of associations from that day:


koi pond = loss / love

a dancefloor flooded with discoball petals = exhilaration / sex

a cul de sac of equidistant houses = safety / frustration

I find exercises like this and prompts like Jane's generative and illustrative: the play, the interest happens within the spaces between our associative leaps from object to concept to object.