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  • July 22nd, 2011 | 2:46 PM
Poetry Friday!

A few months agao, laurasalas and I read and worked our way through Sage Cohen's book, Writing the Life Poetic with a little blog-to-blog book club we called, Write After Reading. The idea was that we read a lot of craft books but we don't often to the exercises. This way we read together shared the exercises that we did.

One of the chapters had an exercise about using someone else's title as the jumping off point for a poem of your own. The title I chose to write to was "How to Listen".

Here's my version.


How to Listen

Put down that stinky cigarette,
the one you promised to stop smoking.
Quit fiddling with the piano
and no, you don't need another drink.
You never need another drink.

Pretend if you have to ---
you're at work,
inspection time,
uniform neatly pressed,
just like all those lies you told me.

Eyes straight ahead.
Must. Not. Move.

Look at me, no, really look at me
in the eyes, those windows to my soul
you tried to crush.
I know I'm angry.
I want you to know it too.
I want you to hear what I'm saying
with my entire body.

I may not get this brave again.

Don't look down
or away with that
"you just kicked a puppy" expression on your face.
It doesn't work any more.

Focus on me,
the way you used to focus on me,
before vodka became your lover.

That pause between words
isn't an invitation for you to interrupt and tell me
how the world is against you.
I don't care.
Not anymore.

You don't have to listen long.
Just long enough
for me to say goodbye.


© 2011 Susan Taylor Brown.
All rights reserved.


The Poetry Friday Roundup is with Tabatha at The Opposite of Indifference.

There are so many stories only you can tell.Tell them, please.



Comments

( 4 comments — Leave comment )
GatheringBooks
July 23rd, 2011 01:04 am (UTC)
What a powerful poem. Thank you for sharing this. One of the lovely things about Poetry Friday is that it leads us to other authors/writers such as yourself who post original poems that would move us. Thanks again.
(Anonymous)
July 23rd, 2011 04:15 am (UTC)
I love this poem!
I could really feel the hurt, the pain. the frustration and the raw emotion it would have taken to write it.

- Anne McKenna
mlyearofreading
July 23rd, 2011 11:06 am (UTC)
Whoa.
I liked/didn't like how you made me into the vodka-drinking jerk. You made me look at you and HEAR you.
Powerful.
writerjenn
July 24th, 2011 01:02 am (UTC)
Oh, wow. This really packs a punch. My favorite lines:

no, you don't need another drink.
You never need another drink.

I know I'm angry.
I want you to know it too.

I may not get this brave again.

That pause between words
isn't an invitation for you to interrupt and tell me
how the world is against you.
( 4 comments — Leave comment )
WHO AM I?



Who am I?I was born on the Cancer/Leo cusp and share a birthday with Ernest Hemingway and Robin Williams. The similarities don't stop there as I can go from depressed to ecstatic without ever passing go. I feel scared most of the time though my friends call me brave and I find it easier to believe in my friends than to believe in my own abilities to make what I want out of my life.

Who am I? A wife, a mother, a daughter, and even, gulp, a grandmother.

Who am I? A writer who never gets tired of playing with words, even when the words are hard to find. A writer of books for children and articles for grown-ups and many things in-between.

Who am I? A motivational speaker, writing instructor, workshop leader and full-time follower of dreams.

Who am I? Read and find out.






Susan Taylor Brown

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