Friday, October 05, 2007


Here's a poem I brought in to workshop yesterday. It's still a rough draft, and the title is strictly provisional. I'd like to especially know whether you think the transitions between sections work okay. Enjoy.

*edit* I just wanted to mention, for those of you managed to escape high-school French, that the epigraph is from a book called "The Little Prince" and translates, roughly, to this: "If you love a flower that is in a star, it is sweet, at night, to look at the sky."


Si tu aimes une fleur qui se trouve dans une étoile,
C’est doux, la nuit, de regarder le ciel
--Le Petit Prince, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry


It was a happy, happy evening
The time you took me to the beach at dusk.
We ate vanilla-and-chocolate swirled soft-serve
as the sky turned pink.

You swam out to the big waves,
Your golden arms flying like seagull wings,
And I tried to keep up.
And the swish of the water and the thud of my heart
Sounded just perfect with your happy, happy laugh.


But, later, you sat me down on the sand,
As I looked for seashells in the dark,
And told me you were going far away.

Where, I asked, as my heartbeat stopped.
You pointed to the stars.

And then you left.
I guess I always sort of knew
That gold-and-silver people like you
Are just too bright to last too long in places like this.

It’s just—I wonder if they have oceans in interstellar space?
I hope they do.
I’d like to think of you backstroking though the nebulae,
Your chest glittering with a thousand tiny exploded stars.

(Click on "Post Page" below to see the rest)


I took an astronomy class so I could look for you in the sky
But it just made me sad
Because, I realized, I’d been doing everything wrong so far—
How can I be expected to locate you when
The pole star isn’t even actually above us?
And that big star which you’d pointed at, which I thought would be near you?
Yeah, that’s just Venus.

My professor told us, laughing,
That if you were to look at the solar system from another star,
You’d see the sun, probably Jupiter, and maybe Saturn
The earth wouldn’t even look like a speck of dust.

I dropped that class.


You’re fading, you’re fading!
When I wake up in the middle of the night now
I have to try to see your face in the dark of my eyelids
And it’s not gold any more, just sort of mustard.
And when I go outside with my astronomy book to look in the sky,
I can’t even find the little dipper to trace the pole star—
The constellations have all dissolved since you left,
And there are new patterns now.

Tell me, do you lie back and float peacefully, up in velvety space?
You’re lucky then, because down here on earth,
It’s cold, and the silence is deafening.

So I just come back to bed
And put my fingers in my ears
And listen to the ocean, and think of ice cream, and seashells,
And the feel of sand in the middle of my toes,
And you, and warm sunny days.

(But somehow, I can never imagine the last two together any more).


I’m taking anatomy now,
They said I couldn’t just keep avoiding science classes.
And I guess it’s kind of neat
How all the veins connect like subway lines
And the brain is one big marshmallow-noodle.

But it takes some of the magic away,
You know,
To find out that stars are just made of the same stuff as human beings,
And that all that time I wasn’t listening to the ocean;
It was just the blood running in my arteries.


AlexB said...

I really like the first two sections. I think they go together well, uniting the beach imagery with the space imagery. I also like the idea (and maybe I'm wrong) that you felt more connected with the stars because of anatomy than you did through astronomy. I think playing on this idea would create an interesting dynamic in the poem.

fizah said...

I love this poem!!

i think the transitions are working well especially between the sections III and IV. the fact that you stopped at the line " i dropped that class" and then continued with "You're fading! You're fading!" is great. there is that pause before panic kinda thing.

overall i really like this poem. isnt it great that we are all basically just stardusts?