Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Turn, Turn, Turn

I loved that apartment
with its tiny kitchen, your
bike resting along the wall under the clock
like it was waiting for the seasons to change

the ice-slick front steps and
the back door that we always hoped
was open. The two small rooms were
just enough and the bathroom was
my favorite yellow. 

We'd stay up late and listen
to the foreign neighbors, dancing
or fighting, and we'd wake late 
too. Make the short walk to
the corner because you didn't 
have a coffee pot and tea never 
did the trick for me. 

It was cold then. Colder than 
I remember it ever being. The 
walk was not so bad though, 
because the pocket of your pea coat
had a silky lining and I was always
allowed to put my mitten there.

But that was winter love. A cold
and factual kind. And it went away before
spring. It felt right. The same way that
fall creeps up. Leaves turn and fall a 
few at a time. Branches grow out of
them and don't throw fits or beg them
to stay. 

The kind of change that lets you look
back fondly. And say:
that was right, in its season.


nckhrkman said...

i like the heart of this, but i think it needs focusing. the first two stanzas are well described scene-setting, but almost entirely static. the action and 'we' doesn't come in soon enough for me. my predictable recommendation would be to pick one of the stronger actions undertaken (the walk to panera, the eavesdropping on the neighbors) and use that as the backbone for the rest of the narrative. it feels too amorphous to structure the poem loosely around an entire season without a central support mechanism, something to weave throughout and enforce some form of chronology.

the title for me had me searching desperately for poetic 'turns,' which i'm not sure was intentional. it sounds as though the sentiment expressed throughout the poem is relatively uniform and determined, so i didn't really see any 'turns' aside from the figurative seasonal turns. if there is some way to bend the poem around three distinct poetic turns, then the title would've rocked my world. i think that would be tricky since that feels like an inaccurate contortion of what is currently being expressed.

i loved the lines about the pocket of his pea coat and your mitten placed inside it. that's all kinds of tingly, texturally awesome.

i also like the accepting, passive tone that is well-represented in both the romantic and natural worlds. the leaves part from the trees without fuss just as the speaker does with the addressee. my only complaint would be the catalyst for which the poem was written: why is the speaker suddenly feeling this way? how and why is this apartment/relationship creeping into memory? i would be tickled if the sensory catalyst is the speaker's hand touching an old mitten, but i don't want to force anything as indelibly hallmark as that.

i don't like using corporations' names in poems, but that's just me. unless panera was an absolutely crucial detail, i would call it a patisserie or something more universal. it's not really lying, it's just sparing the poem from becoming free advertising. i digress.

this is a really cool, seasonal poem. i want some context. i want some small structure device. i want more mittens in silky pockets.

Ambition Bird said...

agreed, the first stanzas are kind of blah
and to be fair I wrote this before I went to bed at 2 a.m. the other night. So it needs work

Turn, Turn, Turn is inspired by the Byrds song/ Biblical passage: "To everything, turn, turn, turn. There is a season, turn turn turn, and a time to every purpose, under heaven"

Panera went. At the reading I ditched it in lieu of "the corner." It definitely had no ring to it.

I will work on it