the dark, it quivers

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the dark, it quivers             
I loved your skin
lit me through
you see
until we
in between
the bully
the nails
we suffer
and then
cat-lit
the distance
that 90’s kitsch      
in that corporate way              
its glow-in-the-dark frame
dark alleys
we are all body
are no longer body
we suffer
the mannequin
teeth-plucked
till suffering blooms
the alleys turn
laugh-lit knife-lit
of payphone booths
our girlhoods died in
         

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

[spacer height=”20px”] Click here to read Claudia Cortese on the origin of the poem. Photo: by Photo by Michael McCauslin ; licensed under CC BY 2.0

Claudia Cortese: To be honest, I don’t remember writing this poem. I usually spend days, weeks, even years revising my work, though occasionally I find a poem in a file or scrawled in my journal and have no idea from where it came, and sometimes these fragments are better than the poems I re-write/re-order/re-think repeatedly. I am sure that many great poems by famous poets took years to write, but I have a hunch that just as many were written quickly. I also suspect that many brilliant poems dust the back pages of forgotten diaries, never to be read or seen. I am not arguing that a spirit moves through us when we write; I don’t romanticize the creative process. I compose my poems: they are born of my creativity and craft, my story and self. As a woman, my body is often considered public property; my intelligence under-estimated; my writing labeled “domestic,” “sentimental,” “confessional” (which has become a pejorative term). So, it’s important for me to take ownership of my work. I wonder, however, if I sometimes write kick-ass poems about which I forget not because I wrote them in some kind of spiritual trance but rather–in my mind–I simply hadn’t written a Poem (with a capital “P”). I was just playing with music and image; just rambling about what happened to me on the drive home from work; just stitching seemingly random phrases and memories together. In other words, I was just shooting the shit on the page and that turned out to be more interesting than when I tried to write Poetry.