Sunday, February 13, 2011


- (based on suggestions from @greenspace01, Erin and @quadelle)

Forever ago, I met you beneath that difficult press

Under my skin, and he oddly called you ‘junior’.

Careful enough with your filigree bones, your high

Kicks arched on the monitor. Our secret gang

Edited into a public screening. It had already been a day

Dictated by broken rules, snapping them off at their spike.

I’ve never been one for dramatics. But hearing your heart spike

Towards birth curated my plans, still wet from the press.

Obviously you were in there all along, twisting in the day

Resting your tadpole legs, and always my junior

Sporting a jaunty cord. You were restless in this gang

For two. I aimed to finish you, I have never aimed so high.

Underneath that gel, you swam to bump the high

Corner of our vision. I saw it on the outside, but a spike

Kicked out in pleasure when feeling met and formed a gang.

Eternal to that moment, he called you ‘boy’ instead of ‘junior’.

Deleted it from my thoughts, I focused on the press

Internal to my nerves. How could I hear it, ‘boy’, that day?

Take your ears: one, two. We had made them that day

Out of oysters. Kept the pearls to hang up high

Reach up to the tip of the Christmas tree, ‘junior’.

String them up like a cord of reasons, flip them over the spike

Full of pine needles. Take your limbs. We helped press

Underarm hollows with a fingertip. My favourite gang.

Carefully, take your eyes: one, two. A sort of gang

Kept secret even from yourself. Until that day

Expecting darkness, they would thrill against the press,

Delight against the newborn blue. What sort of spike

Into light would that be? I am ahead of myself on this high

Terrible strangeness. Let’s keep your presence junior.

Of course, I heard him call you ‘junior’.

Reach down through my layers to expose our gang.

Strip back my insides to hear that spike

Float up your spine like I’d made it that day.

Understand this, my new and brilliant high

Creature: we’ll see you, hot off the press.

Kiss the spike of hair from your junior face.

Everyone will join our gang, press their lips to you.

Daywards, I will bring you to them on high.


Today's poem is a sestina. Sestinas are LONG (I thought it was never going to end!) and really really restrictive, but it's fun to have restrictions sometimes. Makes you work hard and experiment.

When I asked Twitter and Facebook what sort of poem I should write today, @greenspace01 asked for a sestina, so I wrote a sestina. Erin asked for it to be based on an 11 letter acrostic, so I also did that (well, a repeating acrostic. I don't actually hate editors, btw, it's a Gwen Harwood thing that you can read about briefly here, if you're interested).

And given the Boxcutters Press Gang and Degrassi Junior High event coming up (squee!), @quadelle asked for the poem to be about those shows. My poem isn't actually about those shows, obviously, but the words I chose to repeat according to the Rules Of Sestina Writing were (immaturely enough):

1) Press
2) Junior
3) High
4) Gang
5) Day
6) Spike

I don't think I have to explain the theme there.


Penni said...

Oh you are clever!!

Anna said...

Oh thanks Penni!
Turns out Luka didn't wake up til 9am, so my getting up at 5:30am to write it wasn't so necessary. Still, it was nice to write in the quiet dark.

Colleen Boyle said...

Keep up the good work. I know shit about poems so consider this my educatin'. Now I know what a sestina is!

Anna said...

I had to look up the mechanics myself. I knew about the 6 repeating words, and six stanzas plus tercet, but had to look up the rest. Had to practically plot the rest on a graph.