writing poetry

Rewriting Poetry

As an angsty teen, I wrote a lot of dark, broken-heart poetry. As I flip through pages of old journals, review old Word documents that are buried years deep in my hard drive, and even peek at that blog I started years ago when I thought my poetry was great; I realize that poetry is a reflection of the times.

I spent some time last year rewriting some of my poetry from when I was younger. I changed words, lengthened stanzas, reorganized structure: but I never got rid of the original. Instead, I put them side by side: a child’s love poem vs the adult version of that very same poem. I’ve decided to share one here in the hopes that it encourages some of you to reflect on some of the poetry you wrote back in the the day, you know naive ones that makes you cringe.

 

Choices (1st Edition)

We waken, only to remember the faded wisps of the evening’s dreams.
By the time our feet touch floor and hair drips from the shower and the sun
intrudes into our bedroom we are charging towards the black, blankness
of midnight where we may fall in love with freedom; only to reawaken into
the nightmare our union has become.

We have romanticized our ability to trick, cheat and be ourselves
into proper love; a word where we mask our resentment of time
in the simple duties of marriage:

-Dishes
-Laundry
-Mowing the lawn
-Sweeping the stairs

Eventually, the dishes pile up because the meeting went late.
The laundry remains in your basket because I can’t stand the smell of her perfume.
We hire a landscaper because business trips call us away on the weekends.
And when we don’t return home to climb the stairs, who really cares if we don’t sweep them?

 

Choices (2nd edition)

I waken to harsh
white light
forcing its ways into the bedroom.
You blink
to the sound of birds
screaming from your post on the couch.
For a moment,
we ignore the sun,
hanging on to the faded wisps of the evening’s dreams.
By the time our feet touch floor and hair drips from the shower
we are charging towards the black, blankness of midnight
where we may fall in love with freedom;
only to reawaken into the nightmare our union has become.

We have romanticized our ability to fake proper love.
Our world has become a place
where we mask our resentment of these new selves
in the simple duties of marriage:

-Dishes
-Laundry
-Cleaning the bathroom
-Mowing the lawn
-Sweeping the stairs

Eventually, the dishes pile up because the meeting went late.
The laundry remains in your basket because I can’t stand the smell of her perfume.
Your sink is dusted with chin hairs because I’ve escaped to the spare bathroom.
We hire a landscaper because business trips call us away on the weekends.
And when we don’t return home to climb the stairs, who really cares if we don’t sweep them?

 

Reflection

This was oddly challenging, emotional, and fun. I encourage anyone who has written poetry to try this. Dig down and find that angst filled Tuesday in high school, when your crush decided to date someone else; unfurl that crumpled piece of paper with your tear stained words on it, and try again. It’s a very real way to see how far you have come as a writer, and as a person.

I have discovered two things: my vocabulary was severely limited when I was younger and I had the very cliched emotional range of a teaspoon. Our skill in writing grabs the reader, but first our experiences must grab us.

 

Assignment!

Share you re-writes with us! Send us your original and re-worked version to EditorInkSmithPublishing@gmail.com.

 

 

About Corinne

CA Bio ImageCorinne has her MFA in Writing from Lindenwood University and her MPS in Publishing from George Washington University. She has been an editor at Ink Smith Publishing and Native Ink Press since 2013, taking over the company in 2019. Since her first trip to the library when she was a toddler, Corinne has been collecting books, recommending her favorites, and providing commentary on the less-than-stellar. Her belief is that if you have a problem, it’s nothing that a good book can’t solve.

 

Searching by Melissa Myers

The tribe has lost their emperor.
They wander in darkness
calling to the shadows of ghosts.
They cry to the cold moon for solace,
but rest is always outside their reach.
Their tears carve canyons
and flood riverbanks.
Devil’s claw and chaparral wither under foot.
They fall to their knees
below an empty sky.

 

About Melissa Myers

My name is Melissa Myers. I’m from Tennessee, and I live in New England. I love exploring the rich history of this region, and I jump at every opportunity to do so. Poetry holds a special place in my heart because of its ability to connect people on an emotional level. I often find inspiration in life, love, and nature. You can find me on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn.

Untitled by Jeremy Weeks Joyner

In a tall jeweled tower I ask questions of the stars
Late grows the hour
As Jupiter passes mars.
The heavens whisper secrets
My hourglass is flowing
Another night spent sleepless
The window of time unknowing
Hunt for hidden magic
Prayer for fading lights
Truth is always tragic
With failing absent might
Spells like lightning fly
Across stone cobbled floor
Goblins shrieking begin to pry
Upon immaterial door
High the price of sorcery
A trap long set has sprung
Demons made clever forgery
Now the final song is sung.

 

About Jeremy Weeks Joyner

Jeremy Weeks Joyner is a poet, philosopher and ordained minister. He lives in central North Carolina.

Plowshare by Jeremy Weeks Joyner

 

The war was over long ago.
Discarded, engine rusted.
There are flowers now, Where men fought.
Watered by the blood of brave men and fools.
My aim is true, no longer.
Barrel fallen and powerless.
I, forgotten sentry,
From a world that was once burning.
There are flowers now,
Where once was only mud.
Armor, melted by fire and steel
Hotter than the flight of Icarus.
The ridge ahead, marred, now green.
Grass covered and silent,
The cannons evaporated.
No tanks should tread among these flowers.
Silent Behemoth,
The world quaked at my roar.
But that was long ago.
There has been too much pain.
My final task,
To guard the flowers
That men may war no more.

 

About Jeremy Weeks Joyner
Jeremy Weeks Joyner is a poet, philosopher and ordained minister. He lives in central North Carolina.

Untitled by Jeremy Weeks Joyner

Through a glass, darkly
The necromancers stare
Seeking forbidden wisdom
Spells float on the air.
In this wretched palace
No kings upon the throne
Abandoned pestilent kingdom
Horror haunted halls of stone.
Dead crawl from their graves dancing to an unseen tune
Unaware of their thralldom
Preparing the timber hewn.
The evil sorcerers incantations
Summoning an undead gathering
Corpses pondering lost freedom
Whose call is it they’re answering?

 

About Jeremy Weeks Joyner

Jeremy Weeks Joyner is a poet, philosopher and ordained minister. He lives in central North Carolina.

Velvet by Will Collins

At work
The phone rings.
I have an ache in my head,
18 patients asking for pain pills
and solutions.
I’m only 25
What do you want?

“How’s William?”
she asks on the other end.
I’m fine,
But she doesn’t mean me.
It’s William down the
Hall room 124,
His heart is weakening, fingers and toes
Cold,
Breaths choppy and sometimes don’t come at all
With a gurgle in his chest
Of what end of life
Sounds like.

I tell her in fewer words
“No change in condition,”
I say,
“We are managing his pain,
His anxiety.”

The voice on the phone thanks me,
“He’s a very distinguished man,”
she says.

I pause,
What to say,
How to respond,
What does a textbook say about it?
Just comfort her?
But I want to know
What he did,
What he made with his life.

“I don’t know why I said that,”
she cuts in.
“Just wanted you to know”
We end the conversation.

Later,
I walk into 124.
He’s pale, lifeless.
You can tell he’s gone
“It’s expected they say,
It’s hospice.”

The supervisor
calls it at 1:38PM.
I put a glove on to close his eyes to sleep,
Use a stethoscope to hear what nothing sounds like
On the other side,
Remove the catheter,
Open his mouth to check for dentures to make note of.

He’s so cold.
Gums like ice.
No dentures,
Teeth straight, white, well kept,
No jagged edges or chips,
All his own.
“He was a distinguished man,”
I mutter to myself.

I wish I could have asked
The voice on the phone about him.
A stretcher takes William away
Under a red velvet blanket.

 

About Will Collins

Will Collins is currently a nurse in Toms River, NJ, living with his three dogs who are a handful.  He graduated Richard Stockton University of NJ before becoming a nurse with a major in Spanish language and culture and writing.  When not at work, he can be found writing, skateboarding, and hiking or bird watching. His poetry is currently not published, so he says this is an exclusive treat!

Water by Will Collins

As a nurse
I learned that amongst the bone scaffolding
And water balloon organ mechanics
We are mostly water

I have been so fluid in my life.
A chameleon drowning who’s
His own worst enemy

Writer turned estimator turned mailman,
Turned nurse turned cubicle dweller,
Riding a bank account too weak for
More student loans
And a resume too broad to
Fit the next mold
While searching for greener pastures

I’ve always been the stream
That flows effortlessly through
A keyhole to grass greener
Only to be the same shade of
Jaded when I step foot on
The dew soaked lawn of another
Early morning prospect

I am made of water,
But even so,
there may never be a day’s work
I find that doesn’t feel like work
And quenches the thirst of this
Dripping mess body

 

 

About Will Collins

Will Collins is currently a nurse in Toms River, NJ, living with his three dogs who are a handful.  He graduated Richard Stockton University of NJ before becoming a nurse with a major in Spanish language and culture and writing.  When not at work, he can be found writing, skateboarding, and hiking or bird watching. His poetry is currently not published, so he says this is an exclusive treat!