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Seer of ghosts & weaver of stories

(You are very much not forgotten)

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Found while trawling my blog archives for broken links:
Glad to see you
I started this journal on 20 January 2002; that means I've been posting here more or less consistently for just a month shy of thirteen years. This week, I've managed to comb through all posts from 2002 and 2003, and, in the process, I discovered a number of locked poem-drafts that I had completely forgot even existed. I don't think that these pieces are viable in their present state, but what's interesting to me about all of them is that they date from about March through December 2003. I've been sending them to a friend who I'm mentoring, as they've begun to write poetry only just recently. They've been asking questions like How often do you have to scrap a draft because it's unsalvageable? and What was your early work like?

My earliest work would technically be from about 1994 or 1995, but I'd hardly call my juvenalia material to be taken seriously outside a junior-high English class context. When it comes to discovering old drafts, it's stuff from about 2000 onward that interests me. I was deeply unhappy in music school, and writing was one of my coping mechanisms. 2003 was the transition year in which I left my music program and entered an English program, so it fascinates me that the drafts I've found all seem to have clustered in that window. As a point of reference, the earliest poems in my first collection, Lost Books (2010), date to 2004.


You're nowhere in these recesses. I looked
for half an hour or more, and I could not
find you here. Lucky for you. How is it
your eyes are silvered with everything
bright and bitter in this world that you
have ever been? Do you know what I see?
Photographs. Reflections. Pieces of paper
that I kick delicately from underfoot;
otherwise, I would crush them with my heel
and blind you. Your gifts aren't mine to take,
but I would have you ask yourself why
you cannot burn these things: delicate face
and poisonous eyes. If I am something
entirely rich and strange, then why
should my heel even have to hesitate?

Hyde Park, 1999
for M. Depasse

In that place where roses bloomed white and
shades of petal-blue that I'd never seen, you
told me that days like this came scarcely once
in an entire dozen. I wanted to know if crossing
the Channel was hard for you, if being subjected
to voices in the same key as mine with different
accidentals made you feel just as lost as I felt
when my feet touched the heart of your shore.

Into the Cold

Take me, take me back far
enough to remember
how falling through water
as sharp and cold as glass
and losing my breath to words
spoken in sparks of sunlight
because death was not proud

felt on my fingertips
as velvet-hot as tears:

I am glad, so very glad
that you are here.

Minor Collisions

They called you ice maiden for a reason, palled
in veils of mourning before​ you​'​​d begun to bloom
as humankind. You are pale fire from birth, starred
by fierce Orion's arrow (Rigel the blue of your eyes,
grey and ​cutting ​and ​true). This winter is harsh beyond
your whitewashed dreams of sand on shore, hand on sore
heart for love of something much greater than country.

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By my present standards, these aren't quite publishable - but then, if I were to take them and do some hardcore revision on them, who knows, they might spruce up? I was just shocked to find them floating around back there in years past as private-locked posts. I don't even remember writing one of them.

Edited at 2014-12-11 12:46 am (UTC)

Earlier you mentioned about people being scared off of poetry nowadays - that it's presented as something inscrutable and hard. That's sort of how I feel - I have no way of understanding what makes a "good" poem vs a "bad" one. What makes a poem?

In tumblr!speak: HOW POETRY? HOW DO YOU POEM?

I can sort of recognise when one bit of my doggerel is better than another, but I assume it's all various levels of crap, because I have no objective measurements. Or something like that. Maybe I've adopted the notion that poetry is inscrutable and hard because I've never been educated out of it.

Perhaps sometime you could address this in a post? If you want? I dunno if December is full, or if you would want to think on it for another time.

In a startling turn of coincidence, this evening's December Blogging Meme post is going to be on that very subject! Somebody else had claimed today and asked for exactly that, only worded differently.

These are fascinating - I can see something of your current style being born in them. I especially like "Into the Cold".

It's always so interesting to read early stuff by writers I love! Thanks for sharing these.

I had a bit of a transitional phase in 2008-2009. Would be interesting to look back at those poems sometime. I still recall crystal-clear the one poem in early 2009 that signals the start of a new voice for me.

I'm tempted to say that "Into the Cold" and "Minor Collisions" are the strongest of this set; your liking of the former corroborates this theory, so yay <3

I started my LJ 4 months after you--drawn in at the height of post-FotR movie Tolkien fandom when this form of social network was new and shiny. It's still the shiniest form to me, here on LJ and DW.

I think that's when most of our cohort, as it were, were drawn in! My friend Esther gave me a code, and the rest is most assuredly history.

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