Friends who Journal: Turning Their Rant into Poetry
I good friend of mine, Delilah, keeps a diary in the traditional sense. She writes in it (nightly, I think) to record anything in her day that affected her and any thoughts she needs to work through. Sometimes, Delilah exchanges her jumble of thoughts for a well-organized rant. One day, she seemed like she needed to talk about something; she appeared agitated. She gave me the gist of the situation, then allowed me to read her angst-ridden prose.
A friend of Delilah's from private school, of the same age, was engaged to be married. Delilah couldn't understand how she could be so ready commit to one person for the rest of her life when their adult life had only just begun.
I knew how Delilah felt; already, a handful of my schoolmates from high school were similarly engaged. We discussed our inability to comprehend the thoughts of our engaged friends. We blamed their immaturity and naivety; expressed contempt for their mental simplicity. How could they have already weighed the consequences of such an important decision?
Delilah wove beautiful and interesting images through her paragraphs that I could not help but marvel at. I likened her prose to the grade of poetry I resolved to achieve. We came to an agreement. There, sitting on Delilah's twin bed in her dorm room, we would transform her diary entry into a dark ode to her friend.
We sat on the edge of her bed, my computer on my lap, and went to work. My fingers flew across the keyboard, the violent typing of keys the only sound we dared allow for the creation. We moved back and forth from Delilah's writing to mine. Every once in awhile, we stopped to examine our work; I asked Delilah to explain why she used a certain image.
Then, the keyboard stopped clicking and before us, Rhonda looked back; black text on a white screen, the cursor blinking after the final period. The product positively surprised us; it was dark and almost surreal. It was our little monster, the spirit of consequence.
Rhonda by Denise and Delilah
If you have a friend who writes either prose or poetry and you write in the other form, try this out. There really are no rules; you can take the transformation as far as you please. It may even bring you two closer together as friends as it did for Delilah and me. You can also try going from poetry to prose or prose to prose/poetry to poetry. It adds a degree of separation from the original idea and the potential for unintended metaphor.She left the kitchen,
stuffed eggs with cream cheese centers
and chicken bone shards-
they stuck across the throat of her dog.
The cerebral feeling, the choking,
the air prickling up and down
the piercing bone.
My hair cracked, is cracked,
frozen in the post-shower desire:
I want to walk outside.
Split and cracked pieces of ice and flaking hair.
The airplane feeling in my ears;
my head is filled with sand,
my skull soaked in blood.
My disoriented nerve-organ tricks itself.
Tricks itself into an idea of sand immersion.
Try to hold myself upright.
Try to straighten out my curling spine
entwined in onion rings of nerves.
They snap into place; magnets and metal
They feed the twinge in my left eye:
five coursing signals around my jaw.
The twinge in my eye is relocated pain.
To place the palm presentably
on a fine four feet of fabric-
curtains: indented, white, silent.
Gather generously the wool inside my fist
with a wild twist
as if gathering my fingers together in a fist
wanting to twist
her flowing hair into the safety of my grip.
And oh! to blow my nose!
To shed the impounded masses
into that expanse of tapestry!
I would do it, almost, I would.
But I hold my ear lobes out instead
until some sound would drift in-
all sound, any sound.
I wait, like a puppet in the corner,
like in the recess of a mug’s handle.
I wait, my spine curled,
curled around the handle.
I wait: ears open, eye twitching;
my brow sliced as if in an industrial accident.
To expose the wound, to expose the world
all the way into the cavity.
Two eggs left in her hand.
Two eggs wrapped around her finger
like a wedding band.
Eggs filled with cream cheese.
Eggs filled with ice
and a ticking I can only hear
when I hold out my ear lobes.
This is all too much for me to understand.
This is all too much for me to understand.
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