Monday 6 February 2012

The pen

I am red violet grapes staked on a vine,      
Deathly still as a frozen lake in winter,
Wrapped in my tight bindings, when all at once

A hand snatches my torso and shoulders
In one fluid movement, I bend to scrape and tear
The parched skin spread out on the table top

But I can't sink my teeth and lave the tender flesh
Hollowed words, stale emotions, clips my tongue  
Impotent like a eunuch, a useless sword 

Hands strangle my neck in desperation
Pressing veins and muscles, I coil and uncoil
Until musky wood crackles my tongue,

Slowly a drop of ice wine, a phrase leaps into air
Roaring to the thundering sound, I split open and fly

Into the freeway, faster and faster the speedometer
Sprints across the boulders, over the mountain lines
Under the river stones, racing the wind, racing

Until all the detours and side roads are dotted
Until all the intersections and bridges are crossed

Slowly, slowly, lips warm and thoughtful
Tap my back, kneading it gently after the furious pace
I close my eyes in exhaustion, sweaty with inkblots

A hand sets me down on my side, smoothing away
Ruffled lines and blunt edges, words on the page ignite 
Fire in my belly, uncapped, I listen to tip-tapping-clicks          

Posted for:   Imaginary Garden with Real Toads - OpenLinkNight - Monday
and D'verse Poets Pub- Open Link Night, every Tuesday at 3 pm.  

This writing exercise was inspired by The object is Poetics - hosted by Mark Kerstetter.
"I would like to say: our aim is to make the object speak, but we know that is impossible. In the end it is we who speak. Language is always ours, and is of primary importance in our relationships to the world and to each other. And while poetic language is surely one of the most beautiful justifications of human utterance, our version of birdsong, our object is not to be enamored of our own beauty, but to find the truest, most respectful words for that thing. That is the object of our poetics today."  Still a challenge I am working on.

picture credit:   here


  1. I have dreams like this... quite a wild ride of the cerebral cortex!

  2. nice exploration...and some really nice textures through out this...the musky wood cackled tongue...into the ice wine...really nice heaven...glad mark inspired you...smiles.

  3. Lots of images here; that ride on the freeway with the speedometer sprinting chilled me! One of my worst nightmares is an out of control car!

  4. I would say this is a poem about the movement of the pen, and you do a good job of evoking that speed that can (thankfully!) overcome a writer when they are taken away by their subject. In your movement you also provide a lot of texture, so we really feel the movement, and even a bit of sound, with the scraping, testing and tapping. A real visceral poem for an ostensibly boring subject! Thanks for bringing it on. I'm glad yo liked the prompt.

  5. "testing" should read as "tearing". Curse this auto-correct feature!

  6. Yes Mark, it is about the movement of the pen. I was describing my frenzied writing as well when I read your prompt.

    Thanks for the visit ~

  7. Wow you really took us on a tale today, as weaving and streaming of the lines and words was at play. Very nicely done, as some speeding came to mind, but the cat likes to run.

  8. A lot of very powerful and strong images, they overflow the poem.

    In the end it is we who speak. Language is always ours, and is of primary importance in our relationships to the world and to each other.

    Both these words and your poem for some reason left me thinking of Ezra Pound's poem the "Shop Girl":

    For a moment she rested against me
    Like a swallow half blown to the wall,
    And they talk of Swinburne's women,
    And the shepherds meeting with Guido.
    And the harlots of Baudelaire.

  9. Matt, thanks for the lovely E. Pound's poem and comments.

    Yes, I must admit my recent wine tasting tour, and freeway everyday driving creeped into my words.

  10. Somehow a keyboard couldn't do the same job... :)

  11. Really inspiring! I see I need go back to the drawing board now and speak from the voice of my camera. I was a bit slow in the understanding department of this, but I think you really did well with this!

    The three last stanzas are breathtaking!

  12. very vivid and well textured take on the process of writing..of inspiration...when the muse kisses and it goes just all by itself..smiles

  13. What I enjoyed hear even more than the sound signature of the piece, is the tempo of it....from slow to whiplash then slow again....really enjoyed it.

  14. I love where our minds take us when we allow them to wander freely and uninhibited.
    Very lovely.

  15. woooooooooooooooooow!


    "Slowly a drop of ice wine, a phrase leaps into air"

    "Slowly, slowly, lips warm and thoughtful
    Taps my back, kneading it gently after the furious pace
    I close my eyes in exhaustion, sweaty with inkblots"


  16. Heaven, love the fluidity of movement in this piece, it really is wonderfully paced. Also, some awesome images here, from ice wine, to useless sword of a eunuch to parched skin. excellent job. Thanks

  17. I agree with all that's been said- great texture, speed and intensity.

  18. keyboarding messes things up... interesting interpretation

  19. So sensual! I love the texture and pacing of this piece. Were you to blindfold your readers and ask them to tell you what the piece was about, you might get some great responses! Love it.

  20. ... and you make it sound so sexy! :-D

  21. Flare created, textured diction explodes within
    very creative content,
    exciting, hold on tight

  22. Wonderful play on the prompt!

  23. You took me with you into that altered state.

  24. Enjoyed this a lot.

    Nice imagery. Intense to a nice point.

    Siggi in Downeast Maine

  25. Overall this is really, really good - a fine capture of the process of writing from the pen's point of view.

    There are a couple of minor points though - I'm training as a proofreader and can't help myself:

    In the third stanza you have "clipped my tongue" - the only past tense verb in the whole piece. Was there a reason for that? "Clip" works just as well for the rhythm.

    In the eighth stanza you have
    "lips warm and thoughtful
    taps my back,"
    a plural noun with a singular verb.

    Be encouraged - if I'm being that pernickety it means that, for me, the piece is so close to being perfect that it is a shame to let small things spoil the effect you have conjured with your writing.

    Thanks for dropping by my place and commenting too.

  26. Fabulous description on a dying art ...all hail the pen ! thank you for sharing !

  27. I appreciate the critical eye Tony.

    Thanks for the visit ~

  28. What I liked is that on first read, I was lost because the punchline was the poem's title and I didn't snap right away. But when I absorbed that, it was like all the blocks falling into place to create a palace of movement, sensual feeling, taking the abstract and making it oh, so concrete. Nice!

  29. "Until all the detours and side roads are dotted
    Until all the intersections and bridges are crossed"


  30. I thought it was about writing, but I verified with a peek at other comments. The way the rhythm picks up at the end is pretty harrowing, accompanied by a wild sequence of events that mybreading of the poem very fantastic. I like the idea of juxtaposing contrasting images, since it creates in the reader a desire to piece together the puzzle. That is an important technique to learn, since I think poetry that reads as puzzle is often quite rewarding to work at getting.

  31. Hi Heaven. You took us on a trip here. I love the images you use. It all comes together at the end.


  32. very imaginative way to utilize the prompt, its intensity built perfectly in the read ~ Rose

  33. A movie written in verse about what it is to write...the times my pen stumbles...stops and then the words come faster than I can write...until I feel it is time to put on the brakes because it is finished

  34. You manage to infuse the inanimate with life in this brilliantly imagined and executed poem. Love the imagery and intensity expressed here.

  35. Ditto what everyone else said! This has to be my favorite of all your poems that I've read so far. I know I will definitely view my pen in a much different way the next time I pick it up!

  36. what a ride - love the climatic build and its subsequent descent.

  37. Thanks for the wonderful comments ~


Thanks for your visit and comments ~ I appreciate them ~