Sunday, 11 April 2010

National Poetry Writing Month, Day Eleven

RWP member Angie Werren invites us to write about the choice we didn’t make:
Everyday we make choices. Some are small: English breakfast or Lipton? the highway or back roads? Some are more significant: convertible or mini-van? farmhouse or condo?
Some choices lead us straight into the life we’re living, but for this poem, think about one of the things in your life you didn’t choose.
Be concrete. Pick an object — something tangible* — and write your poem directly to it, as if you were writing it a personal letter. Explain why you didn’t choose it. What could things have been like if you had? Talk about what your life has become without it. See where the “confession” takes you.

That is today's prompt and you will see I have followed it to the letter, each verse covers each one of the guidelines/instructions. Someone once told me I was very good at doing as I am told, and even though I hate being told what to do, most of the time, I have to agree they were right. I think this could well be because at times I'm too lazy to reinterpret.

The Bar

I still remember your stories:
Union Carbide, Human Rights Act,
and who was that ship-yard lady who fought
for equal pay and pooh poohed pink toilet
paper? I’m glad I know about her.

But you know I couldn’t stay:
my family needed me,
and I could hardly justify
my Rumpole fantasy in the face
of a tangible wage increase
and our very own house.

We could have been good together
though, I know. You with your
impeccable establishment
connections, me in proper
tailoring and heels. Wielding
the weight of Goodfellow v
Stevens in hands with painted nails.

However, on the face of it
I can’t say I have regrets. I
may not have a corner office
or a smart Mercedes Benz. But
I get to mooch around in jeans
and call myself a poet.


Greg O'Connell said...

Verdict: GUILTY...of being warm, wry, witty, and wonderful! Sentenced to 19 days. =)

steven said...

eryl i was inside that writing from beginning to almost end. wickegood!!! steven

Pat said...

Not our Eryl - not in proper tailoring and heels.
Thereby hangs a tale to get my nose twitching.

Eryl Shields said...

Greg ~ I wonder if I can manage another 19 days!

Steven ~ thanks, was it 'painted nails' that ejected you?

Pat ~ it does seem hard to imagine it now, but there was a time when proper tailoring and heels was my uniform. I'd still love a Chanel suit, though I'd have to invent reasons to wear it.

How I travelled from urbane smarty pants to country scruff I'm still not sure.

Titus said...

I'm with steven, this is a class act. There's a tangible spirit to the poem, captured within the mixture of intimacy and casualness in the voice that is immensely appealing. Really liked it.

Wayne Pitchko said...

nicely done

Gadjo Dilo said...

Being able to call oneself a poet does indeed erase all other appellations!

Alesa Warcan said...

Haha! You keep raising the bar don't you?
The punchline is a doozy! "Mooch around in jeans and call myself a poet!" Awesome.
If I try mooching around in jeans too, do I get to call myself a poet as well?
On second thought, I'd rather not... Jeans are too restrictive. Oh well, I'll have to try another way.

Kass said...

Oh Eryl - I'm dead in the water. How do you keep doing this? I'm going to have to post-date my next poem. It's already tomorrow. Good thing I'm doing this informally and not through RWP. You're a marvel. This poem is brilliant. It sparkles. Go ahead and call away. You are a poet.

angryparsnip said...

Fabulous ! you follow directions quite well.
I can't believe I wore heels too ! but because I wanted too... wahahahah

Pat said...

'I'd still love a Chanel suit, though I'd have to invent reasons to wear it.'

Me too. How about a dual book launch party? We could always dress down after the interviews;)

Eryl Shields said...

Titus ~ this is a good example of writing about something once all the anger has dissipated. It's only taken 14 years!

I'm very glad you like it, and 'intimacy and casualness in the voice' is a very useful comment to have, thanks.

Wayne ~ thank you.

Gadjo ~ it does! It seems to explain everything to everyone and cheer them up no end.

Alesa ~ how about caftans? If it were warm here and I was tall and skinny I'd definitely wear a caftan.

Kass ~ I take this as very high praise indeed, coming, as it does, from you who seems to be a natural at the kind of musical poetry I'd love to be able to write.

Parsnip ~ I wanted to as well, and sometimes I still do, but I think working in an office and being made to wear them every day dulled their shine for me.

Pat ~ it's a date!

Alesa Warcan said...

What has being tall and skinny got to do with it? Unless you're thinking of the russian variety...
Boubous fit all sizes and shapes.

That said... I think I'll stick to my all purpose red silk pants, zebra colored velvet jackets, velour shirts, and... Why am I describing Liberace? Because his sense of style is extraordinary... joking set aside, I think true moochers can mooch whatever they're wearing! I still need more training...

Scarlet Blue said...

Sometimes I get a yen for my court shoes and pencil skirt... but not that much of a yen!

Crafty Green Poet said...

excellent, very good voice in this and the ending really made me smile

Eryl Shields said...

Alesa ~ being tall and skinny would mean I would in no way resemble Demis Roussos (I don't think I've spelt his name right, sorry Demis) and, therefore, give myself a shock as I pass a plate glass window.

Mooching is, of course, an art and requires practise.

Scarlet ~ I like the idea of court shoes and pencil skirts, but luckily I remember how uncomfortable they are before I can find my purse.

Crafty ~ thank you. A number of people (well, two) have mentioned the voice which gives me something to think about. I think the voice in this is very close to my prose voice and is one I didn't think would work in poems.