Sunday, September 5, 2010

Poetry Train Monday - 168 - Son of Whispers

Well - I did it.

Starting on the night of July 31st/Aug. 1st until the night of Aug. 31st/Sept. 1st, I wrote a total of 31 poems for the 3:15 Experiment.

"Founded in 1993 by poets Danika Dinsmore and Bernadette Mayer, the 3:15 Experiment is an annual 'collective consciousness' writing experiment.

Each year a menagerie of poets scattered across the globe wake EVERY August morning at 3:15 am and write. An epic conversation, this exercise explores hypnogogic and hypnopompic states (between sleeping and waking), challenges writers and provides insight into the collective sleeping/dreaming mind."

- Gwendolyn Lawrence Alley / Danika Dinsmore / Tod McCoy

Technically, the idea is to set your alarm for 3:15, wake up and write a poem, but I had already decided that the alarm thing wouldn't be necessary, as I generally get up at least once a night. The poets who run this event also insisted that the exact time wasn't important, as many people who would participate in this event are naturally awake at 3:15 am.

The important part was to write in that sleepy, half-awake state. And to be honest, I feel that I've never written poetry so easily or so vividly.

I've definitely been learning over the years to ignore my inner editor and just write. It's never been easy for me. But I've kept at it. In fact, writing this blog has been an instrumental part of learning to let go and just post it, already.

For the month of August I posted five of my 3:15 poems - in their raw state, as scribbled in the hazy dream state:

At Least

I Love Your Desire

Expecting Someone Altogether Different

You Reached Out

Defining Moment #3

I'll be posting all of my 2010 3:15 poems on the Poetry Train, as they appeared in my bedside notebook. If I work on any of them in the future, I'll state the transformation status.

This is a backstory poem for the adult Scorpius, whose childhood I'm exploring for my serialized Saturday fiction. I did a series of poems exploring this period in Scorpius' life, and it brought on an actual nightmare for me - an unusual and jarring experience.

Son of Whispers

Dragged to the room of torment
He expected to see
The man whose unlimited creativity
Drew the sounds he most despised
From the darkest parts of himself
He expected to see
One lord or another
Who stood in the gloom
To question him
He did not expect to see
The fellow captive

This man
Was definitely
Of the blood
Though just as pale
Just as frightened

Yet it wasn't the noble prisoner
Who howled
When the lord
Would not answer their questions
Dragged to this room whenever
Their captors needed privileged information
He watched the
Tears collect and fall
In the eyes of the nobles
Who fought to keep their secrets
At his expense

Over time
There were things he
Expected to see
But when his fellow captives
Were freed by ransom
He did not expect
To hear the voices raised
Beyond his cell door
The negotiating
The keys jingling
The door creaking open
Yet no guards to drag him
To the rendezvous with agony

He did not expect
To see the face of the noble
He did not expect
To see the lord's hand
Reach out to beckon
To coax him forward
Who could expect
That their freedom
Would demand his own?
The shock stole the strength
From his legs
Which refused to work
His head swam
His heart beat too fast
But freedom would not be
His undoing

He dug past the point
Deep inside himself
The point which always
Slammed hard into resolve
The point his jailers knew
So many routes to uncover
He grabbed fast to that part of himself
He made his legs move forward
He ignored the tipping
Of the walls and ceiling
He crossed the threshold
Into the corridor
Not dragged

He knelt before the noble
Who had wept at his torment
Who'd never given up his secrets
Who'd come for him now
When his own freedom
Would have made it easy
To leave the son of whispers
To perish on the damp stone floor

© Julia Smith, Aug. 11, 2010

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