Saturday, November 26, 2005


Here is a poem of mine posted earlier that I worked on at the North Carolina Writer's Network fall conference. Novelist Sean Murphy suggested taking a scene, in my case a poem, and trying to cut away half. I only could only cut away a third, which was difficult, but I think it worked. If you're a glass half full kind of person and have trouble making such severe cuts, you can highlight the half you want to keep instead. Either way, the idea is to get you to the heart of your work and tighten it up.

Getting Lost in My Own Neighborhood
J.B. Rowell

We set out on a mother-daughter walk.
At the end of my hand a full smile,
I smile back. Down the trail
in our still-new-neighborhood,
to the lake with strategically-placed boulders.
We sit on the one with a cradle
for our conversation, listening
to each other, to the ebb and flow
of bug sounds, not-so-distant highway.
Geese flying, we name colors
as the sun sinks beyond the static
of the lake surface.

Suddenly darker than expected,
sooner than expected,
the conversation changes
to reassurances
about the woods at night.
No there are no bears here, no lions,
definitely not monsters,
not the kind you’re thinking of anyway,
besides, here comes the streetlights.
We’ll turn right, I’m sure it’s a shortcut,
now left, left again,
I had no idea the neighborhood
went on and on like this.

We end up outside
of it walking down a road
toward the entrance I hope
is just ahead, six-year-old daughter
in my aching arms, heavy head
on my shoulders, asleep but talking.
Currents of speeding cars
pulling us under.

I become the mother I need
to be, hold her tight, whisper
I know just where we are,
we’re having an adventure,
we’re almost home,
it’s okay, it’s okay, it’s okay.


Blogger Rae Pater said...

hello, would you send me your 'More About Blackberries' poem?

I left a comment on it.


7:08 PM, November 26, 2005  
Blogger J.B. Rowell said...

Absolutely - I already sent it to the e-mail address in your profile, and just had sent a submission to you at VLQ yesterday! So glad you like it . . .

12:12 AM, November 27, 2005  

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