I like poetry deep or witty, a slice of life or a contemplation, but I’ve noticed a bite in the poems I write, a tendency for incising rather than rhapsodizing.
In honor of poetry month, here’s the first stanza of an unfinished piece begun a few days ago after a meeting with a writer just starting the journey toward becoming a novelist. She complained she couldn’t write a character because that person was too unlike her. (I would argue she cannot write the character because she is very much the same.) She wants my help then resists it. I’ve been in her place — new, uncertain, proud — but I’ve had to slog my way to where I am. Though there have been mentors along the way, there have been no easy paths. She’ll learn, but she’ll need to be honest with herself to do it.
— unfinished —
Laughing and loud,
you disguise insecurity
behind a brash mask of blithe sincerity.
you seem an apt pupil,
but you’re taking my measure:
How much do I know?
How will you benefit?
How much of me can you suck away,
your vampire teeth
biting deep in my brain,
feasting on knowledge you did nothing to earn?