It’s been a week! Now would be a good time for a check-in. Do I think I can do this? Do you? For fun, I have a poll at the end of this post.
This has been hard, because I am supremely lazy (see: https://annaboshka.wordpress.com/2014/01/02/the-art-in-my-mouth/). I know many people write every day, but this is new for me and I’m pretty proud. If I can’t find time to write a poem and post it during the day, that only leaves me the late night to do it, and by that time I am so exhausted I speak in drool like a zombie. But, I do feel awake and energized in a way that I did not before I decided on the 365 days, 365 poem challenge. I find myself more awake to the strange images and fragments that slip through my brainspace during the day, in the hopes that they might become something good. I’ve found myself hesitating less when it comes to writing what is true, even when it is scary. I’ve learned some little tricks like “the Garrison” and “behind the curtain”, and I expect the lessons will keep coming.
I am wondering about the rules, though. Many of the poems I wrote this week are about the same length, because of the amount of time I have to write them. So, rule #3, whole poems only, may be holding me back.
What do you think?
Thank you, followers, for reading this week. Everyone needs acknowledgement. Even if it’s just cooking dinner or picking out an outfit, recognition is a key component of kindness. I am motivated to keep it up because of your support.
So, today, for some reason I can’t identify, I’ve been thinking about Kafka’s “The Hunger Artist”. It’s a beautiful story, and the panther at the end always gets me. Today’s poem comes from that, and from my own insomnia.
The Sleep Artist
In the cage, a restless ocean puzzling her head,
the Sleep Artist rests on her straw bed.
The bruised meat under her eyes the color of a corpse,
her hair dry has lost all color, even white,
and her lips and skin are the same.
The all-important striking clock is the only furniture in her room, and in her prime its face was a camera, and her cage went viral.
Children gazed before their screens at her light lids so long unblinking,
falling themselves before they could catch her sleeping. Passers-by stopped at her cage to poke and to point, and her cheeks were full with their offerings of figs.
“How can you last so long without dreaming?”
“I do”, she would whisper, her hair the color of sand then. “I almost dreamt of you, when you were at home in your bed.”
During her prime she dreamt with eyes wide open, whole lives sometimes,
sometimes just golden moments, picnic minutes in a prism of lives,
a thousand births and a thousand deaths,
an abundant harvest of memory.
Now she rises from the bed with the sun and begins to pace the cage, clockwise with the hands of the striking clock.
Her gazers have embraced other distractions,
and the beclouded crowd passes and glance back.
How thin she’s grow without that raveled sleeve of care,
and when she dies they think she’s surrendered at last.
The panther inherits her cage, and his yellow eyes droop to the earth,
each day after his lunch.