Happy February! A friend of a friend of mine is doing a creative challenge thing for the month called 28K/28D, that is, 28000 words in 28 days. I’m going to spin it a bit: I want to try to meet a creative goal every day, because I have an assortment of them this month. (A poem will obviously count as one, but I have a couple prose projects that have been lying in the dust since December, and some crafty things to take care of.) As I’ve said before, new resolutions are a slow, accumulative process for me: I’ve been reasonably revising my lifestyle through January, and now it’s time to take it to the second level in February. I’m hoping additional electric shocks to the creativity will effect that.
Samuel Peralta has a prompt at dVerse to combine the ghazal and sonnet. I often end up doing iambic pentameter in ghazals anyway, but this time I have also made efforts to get a sonnet-fashion thematic turn, some internal rhymes and strong pre-refrain ghazal rhymes going (though I snuck in that extra syllable for kicks). Patricia Smith, with her Hip-Hop Ghazal (still one of my favorites!) is my spirit guide. The poem has a pretty simple narrative — I could call it “the time I went to a rave with the deaf pill-popper guy I had a huge crush on” — that doesn’t really betray any depth of emotion. In the workshop, I was accused (well, maybe “labeled” is a less fiery word) of being a virtuoso for bringing a carefully-crafted, lyrical poem that didn’t have enough dimension to it. I’m trying to fix that, but not on this one: the form is hard enough to do interestingly without giving it veins.
Ghazal at a Rave
Got spattered boots tied low to kiss the downbeat,
got phosphorescence strung to wrists. The downbeat–
all anabolic glow, you’re rhapsody
in blue, all star-shot when you miss the downbeat–
I love imperfect flow. I love to see
such un-restraint. Your debut. Hiss the downbeat–
hold high those fingers, throw mirage on me.
I’ll sidle up and watch you twist the downbeat–
you sign for pills? and no more ecstasy.
I fumble, sorry, shrug through this. The downbeat–
our grinding hips, your crowing wordless glee
before you move to find new bliss, the downbeat–
transcending speech. Say Joe by hand when we
part ways. Then pause and lift two fists. The downbeat–