I never thought I was very good at writing poetry. I still don’t. But Anna Jackson has convinced me I should do it anyway. The NZ poet and academic has recently published a wonderful book called Actions and Travels, about the joys of poetry. And the greatest joy, perhaps, is that anyone can write it: “…for someone you love, for an occasion, to express your own feelings, to capture the resonance of a dream, just to make a little artwork you love and want to reread yourself…”
You don’t have to be “good” at it. That’s not the point.
So today I wrote a poem.
“Children show scars like medals. Lovers use them as secrets to reveal. A scar is what happens when the word is made flesh.”
I consider this quote by Leonard Cohen after my lover is gone
leaving only her scent and
a weakness in my knees, an urge to sniff roses.
A month’s worth of scar climbs the rise of her still-swollen belly,
like lips ready to kiss
and kiss it I do, to tell her I’m here for it
raised and unfamiliar
under my mouth, just like my lover was
weeks ago, arching and shining and brave.
I try to pucker my lips to
meet with adequate affection
This other-pucker, this usurper
of the narrative.
It was never a secret, although her sadness was,
until today –
line break, this
uncalled-for punctuation in our paragraph,
of how dismantlable we are.
I would like to tell her
That the dashes and ink-flicks interrupting
are a story seamstress’s delight;
the basting that holds the word-fabric in place
the stitching of flesh different only in terms of fragility of parchment:
It all comes together, you know.
And your lover reads you,
and the only stitch that unravels
is the one the story never needed anyway.