Karin Mitchell's books on Goodreads
Between Families Between Families
reviews: 5
ratings: 8 (avg rating 4.75)

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Team Poetry

So I wrote this poem and emailed a version of it to Gina, Judith, and Lora
to play Team Poetry. The deal is:
One person sends out an offering of a poem. Everyone gets to love it, snip a piece here, take a tangental line there, edit away and post their own version. We all link up and post same day and time. I can't wait to check out everyone else's. I call mine


Mother used to worry my sister's yellow satin ribbon between her thumb and forefinger
the pretty ribbons we'd worn that day
I always imagine the accident
its as real as a memory
as if I hadn't gotten in trouble
as if I hadn't been in time-out crying over lost ice cream
as if I were there with her
hovering above
the blue-gray paint and glass shards
met in such haste
and her yellow ribbon butterflies from the window
lingering in the air
for ages in the wake of
screeching steel
it floats down like a feather
in silence
she IS me
she makes all the right choices where mine were wrong
she works hard and becomes a dancer
or a scientist
as if she'd lived through the train

Years later
when I'd think about her
I had this absent minded habit
of picking up stray scissors
and matching them with scraps of paper
snip, snip, snip
and there'd be triangles of junk mail and bills scattered beneath me
geometrical shapes like the bits of safety glass
in her hair
the habbit died
or so I thought
my ex husband used to get so angry
when ancient thoughts surfaced
then were sliced away
But dead things are funny
reminders come when you least expect
and you look down between knobby knees and gym shorts
to see old habbits returned
now I'm the one scattered.
scattered me
pictures, movie stubs, birth certificates
mine and hers
mixed into the orange shag carpet
scraps on the counters
and even the bathroom sink
I should be mad
How long was my mind missing?
but I'm just enjoying
my bare feet walking on memories
squishing my toes through a 4th of July in 85
when the carpet was just as ugly
but all lit up
like his mom on her 50th birthday
bitch of a lush- that woman
Wouldn't it be grand
to just walk away?
take the snippets from between my toes
like thongs you leave behind on a beach


Gina said...

I just love your mouth words! (Heart words?)

I think it's fantastic that we both changed 'him' to a mother. That means we're kindred spirits or something. (But I hate that term, so could we decide on something else?)

Can you talk a little about the inspiration behind the poem/changes?

Silly Swedish Skier Says So said...

We're "homies of the heart"? Jesus that sounds like a bad drama. Any other terms?

I went for a long walk in the woods and was thinking of a client whose son died being hit by a train. Oh and I really used to cut up papers while I talked on the phone in high school. Before I discovered I don't really like to talk on the phone. I got to thinking how the little shapes of safety glass were like the corners I'd cut off papers and it was fun to fit the poem together.
Next time I might try Lora's approach of just going for the first raw version I think of. No editing.

Silly Swedish Skier Says So said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Judith said...

Wow! Love the direction you went with your poem: the glass shards reflected in the jagged paper cuttings and the yellow ribbons cum butterflies added a completely different perspective to it.

Judith said...

ps I swear I made the glass-paper connections before you explained it. The change in habit to habbit is interesting and must mean something.

Lora said...

I love this. I love the way you added to the beginning, I'm really big on wanting more of the poem, a background, a next step, a kind of fleshing it out. That's kind of what I was going for in doing this. I couldn't bring myself to edit your poem, which I'm obsessed with- especially the paper parts.

I used to have that "habit" too, after reading about it in a psych text somewhere. It's a really common defense mechanism and lots of times therapists will try to transfer addictions like cutting and hair pulling and arson and other bad bad things to paper shredding. Apparently it can release the same feel good feelings in your brain.

Interesting, no?

Anyway. Love, love, love it and being a part of it.

Hillbilly Duhn said...

Came via Lora.

I enjoyed the poem and that you took peices and formed your own.