Monday, July 30, 2007

Poetry Train Monday - 12 - Playground Politics Grade 1

This is the first part of a two-poem piece recounting significant events that happened to me in elementary school.

Playground Politics Grade 1

Even to my Third Eye
Turned me into a bad kid
In the space of a hundred yards

Upon waking that morning
My cells had replaced themselves
I remained the same girl whom
My daddy had kissed goodnight
My body fit my clothes
As Mommy helped me with the
Zipper at the back
My friends recognized me
And walked with me to school

On the playground
I crawled with the others
Through tunnels we carved
Through the bushes
Leaving the others to swing and slide
Preferring life at the edge of the concrete
Past which
Lay unknown terrain
The teacher on duty
Would have to send search parties
Decked out in space suits
To poke among the craters

The mutating gene
I looked down the path
Hearing the cries leaking through
From the other dimension
I checked for Mrs. Sturman
The wind screamed past my ears
The sound of my steps on the packed earth
Reverberating in my chest
I felt two others behind me
All it took was one step
And my rebels bolted
On the coattails of their liberator

We reached the edge of the trees
To my horror
We stood at the foot
Of a manicured lawn
Intruders in some backyard
The others fled
Frightened by the skull-socket windows
I dawdled
Turning my back
Hoping that the presence of
My comrades had played the trick
And the voices
Might yet beckon through the green

I emerged from the solace of my sylvan interlude
An angry hand gripped my arm -
Stand against the wall
Until the bell rings!
The universe as I had come to know it
Suddenly splintered

Slowing my vital signs

All I could do
Was stand there
As if I were a
Bad Kid

And suddenly
The ones playing hopscotch
Seemed like long lost sisters
Instead of the
Whining dullards
I had always known them to be

Copyright 1987 Julia Smith

Monday, July 23, 2007

Poetry Train Monday - 11 - Spatiotemporal Limits

This poem came from a creative cycle while I was in university.

Spatiotemporal Limits

Antigone only guessed at the voices
Which whispered their laws
Though Kubrick's apes
Swayed to the music of the spheres
Gazing upon the implacable
Face of the monolith

Were these the same angels
Who mixed the paints
For Kandinsky to dip his brushes
His planetary musings
Were they actually cells dividing
Could these forms
These colors
Be molecules
Or solar roundabouts
Or untabulated laws
Did Sophocles feel them too
On that Meditteranean morning
So many rotations ago?

1993 Copyright Julia Smith

Monday, July 16, 2007

Poetry Train Monday - 10 - For So Long

This was written about a week after my husband and I found ourselves in a major relationship transformation. We met while we both worked at a Famous Players movie theatre, became best friends and were very close for two years. All of a sudden things began to change between us. Once we figured out that our friendship couldn't contain our true feelings, it seemed very shocking. We started telling everyone, "You'll never guess who I'm going out with." But absolutely everyone guessed it was us.

For So Long

I saw you and
Recoiled in horror
I knew who you were
Even as we were introduced

You patrolled
On the outskirts
Sensing the danger
Sending yourself out on reconnaissance

Your affable grin
All made it easy
Your barbed humor
Your penetrating stare
Gave rise to whispers
And I heard them
Each time we parted

What was it that told you
To step to the right
As I moved to pass you
One step
One kiss
I dropped my purse
Waved the white flag
How could I resist
When I knew who you were

One touch of your hand on my body
I feel the terror, the serenity
How I long for the sting of
Your palm against my skin
I could draw back, then
Keeping my sword
Already offered up
My fingers wary of the cutting blade
Your fingers outstretched
The pommel a perfect fit

My rage was easy
But when you kissed me
I cried
It was so hard
Your soft lips
Ripped the clothes from my body
I moved to deflect
What was merely the glass of champagne
You poured for me

Two scorpions facing off
Stingers arched above our backs
The poison dropped instead
Upon our shelled spines
Blinking away the sweat
To find it's only
You and me
Entering the lion's den
Martyring the known
For the unknown

It's hard to beat back the Destroyer
When he's your Lover

Copyright 1989 Julia Smith

Monday, July 2, 2007

Poetry Train Monday - 8 - Polly Cove

With yesterday being Canada Day, I was drawn to this poem about my favorite spot on earth. Polly Cove is just a little ways along the coast from Peggy's Cove in Nova Scotia. My dad and uncle used to go scuba diving on a wreck there, and my mom and aunt would hang out at the picnic blankets having chick time while my cousins, my sister and I would run around on the rocks. The coastline there is nothing but giant boulders and endless stretches of rock.

It's quite a trek from the road to the cove. Everyone had to carry supplies for the day, and the path wound down a very steep cliff. It's not merely a childhood-only place. It's a 45-minute drive from where I live, and I return every summer if I can. But my best memories are from those days when I could still run and leap over that incredible landscape.

Polly Cove

The slow dip
A seagull skims
The clouds slide

We leap from the crag
And the lichen springs

Below yawns the whispering seethe of the salt
The drop looks enticing

The lazy coil of the seaweed
A maid's demure flirtations

Behind us
Scraggling pines huddle
The cliff face

Far beyond
The frightening power
Of swelling froth

While here
The air skids to a stop
Your eyes look at me

And the sun snags in the tangly growth

Copyright Julia Smith 1985