NaPoWriMo: Day 8

So far, I’ve been successful in writing one poem a day for the first week of April (although not all have been successful poems). Here are a few of my first drafts.

Poem #5: Dinosaur Teeth

That summer we were twelve
I didn’t know
that only bubble-gum string
held your family together.

We crossed that hot parking lot
you told me
how you cried, curled up
in a theater seat.

So for twenty years
I feared your dinosaurs
sure that their teeth
had gnashed and
torn you apart.

– April 5, 2013

I wrote the pantoum below after taking the Project Implicit test on skin tone, which revealed that I have a “slight bias” toward people with light skin. I examined that in conjunction with my work in a downtown library, which has a large Native American, immigrant, and transient population. Despite this, there is no one one staff who is not white, which seems alienating to our patrons. Also, I’m troubled by this “slight bias” in light of the fact that my best friend is of Indian descent. All of this soul searching has been undertaken on behalf of my Know Thyself course, and particularly Dr. Timothy Wilson’s work positing that we have an “adaptive unconscious” (a vast reservoir of unknowable mental processes), which is often where unacknowledged prejudice resides.

Poem #7: Implicit

From which pool of primordial sludge does this come?
Only white faces this side of the desk
I love the smell of curry in her hair
but I guess I love white skin slightly more.

Only white faces this side of the desk
with our computers and records and judgments
but I guess I love white skin slightly more
as I picture the face of my best friend.

With our computers and records and judgments,
we glance at prison release cards with impassive faces.
As I picture the face of my best friend
I wonder how any test could be more true than her.

We glance at prison release cards with impassive faces
“I don’t judge you,” “I don’t judge you,” runs through my mind.
I wonder how any test could be more true than her
and all those nights of her voice through my wall.

“I don’t judge you,” “I don’t judge you,” runs through my mind.
I love the smell of curry in her hair
and all those nights of her voice through my wall.
From which pool of primordial sludge does this come?

– April 7, 2013

Something a little cozier:

Poem #8: Storage

“Fog is gone,” you say,
and, “I should have went.”
Your bike waits in the garage,
her bag all packed,
your disregarded lover.

Forecast is for snow,
a week of soup and
hiding in bed,
winter sweaters begging
to be used
one more time
before summer storage.

I do not regret
the six a.m. caution
that allowed us
to sneak back into storage
tucked away in spring sheets
your skin
warmer than any sweater.

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