Poem: What Keeps Me Awake

 his bones resurface from the ashpit
    whenever I think I've crushed
 his final nib & forklifted
more lush flames onto his grounds

 last week it was a hand
passed itself up through char
& cupped compacted crater lip
clunk   clunk  thud

like a catfish that won't die
for several hammer swings to head
it flopped & flipped its way past roots
                         which w(oul)d've recoiled
if they c(oul)d

 long ago—cedars don't believe
in vengeance
                       don't understand
how remembered fires
are passed by force of skin
to skin & spread
                               if not contained
by lighting them again

Written in response to Big Tent Poetry’s Monday Prompt for 22 November 2010.
Big Tent Poetry

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10 comments for “Poem: What Keeps Me Awake

  1. November 27, 2010 at 12:55 am

    Elizabeth,
    I like what you did with the words.
    Pamela

  2. November 27, 2010 at 1:11 am

    Sometimes one just has to keep re-doing it. I love the push/pull of force in this piece.

  3. November 27, 2010 at 3:02 am

    This brings to mind the writing of Steven King. Really well done.

    http://liv2write2day.wordpress.com/2010/11/26/big-tent-poetry-the-gospel-according-to-st-john/

  4. November 27, 2010 at 4:34 am

    I wish I had the energy and time to participate.

    Don’t Forget I Love You

    It curls in me like
    thin gray leaders of old smoke.
    It has the quiet
    stench of the ash trays
    of that drug house we lived in,
    of the dusty floors.

    I fear the way you
    sometimes look at me. I know
    you are recalling
    my deflated shape
    and I cannot hide from it
    so I shiver, shake.

  5. November 27, 2010 at 8:28 am

    I think that would keep me awake too!

  6. November 27, 2010 at 11:04 am

    With every poem, you out do yourself…

    marked

  7. November 27, 2010 at 4:51 pm

    Whoa. That was good. Uncomfortable, stark, well-imagined and cleanly executed.

  8. November 29, 2010 at 12:16 am

    WOW! This was spooky, clever, and terrific. You used the Wordle like a smorgasbord and it didn’t feel at all forced. Congrats on a great poem!

    I posted late, so here is my link:
    http://sharplittlepencil.wordpress.com/2010/11/27/first-time-wordle/

  9. Deb
    November 29, 2010 at 12:19 am

    I like how “last week …” puts me on edge for what will come next.

    The image of “long-ago cedars” is mysterious, and followed by “force of skin/ to skin & spread” both sensual and frightening.

  10. December 3, 2010 at 2:05 pm

    I really like the way you used the language in this to personify a force of nature. Well done.

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