Tuesday, April 1, 2008

'Tis National Poetry Month--So Have a Poem

These days everything has a month, and without recognizing shoe polish and chickens, what kind of world would it be? (Are there months for shoe polish and chickens? Gosh, I hope it's the same month.) Have a poem I wrote that almost won a prize, but didn't.

Photograph, 1990

Before construction started my parents put
a blueprint on the kitchen table asking me
which room I’d like. Then my father fashioned
three sets of miniature ceilings out of cardboard—
using an x-acto knife to make the angles—
and with my back against a wall he placed
them one by one above my head like half
formed continental hats I’d made in grade school.
Beneath each one I saw what it’d be like
laying awake at night on my bed, mapping out
the contours of the house that would protect
and then cast me out to a world of 8 foot
ceilings flat and lacking this affection.
He said I had my choice since I was older
than my sister. It was the first time, twelve
years old and wanting to follow him, I saw
the architecture of my thoughts in form.
I felt the smooth lines above me as I reached
toward them, I felt the warmth of breath
and the heat of my face nuzzled in the safe
enclosure of that space. I felt the perfect shape
we made and see it now, again, through half
covered bones and missing doors, tall masts
of two by fours as scaffolding across
the sidewalk. I see the corner of that window,
set back and rising on the sill of one in front,
pushing light into the shadow of my home.

(copyright 2008)


Anonymous said...

Benjamin: That is a lovely group of images!

Frances, said...

Wonderful. I could feel the love and security offered by your familial home.

Benjamin Vogt said...

Thanks, Layanee and Frances. Care to buy a book now? Sponsor a year off of work? Perhaps a writing shack? "Research trip" to Europe?

Anonymous said...

Hey, there you are - trying to get someone to create and fund your own Fulbright. What a world we live in...

Thanks for the reminder that it is Nat'l Poetry Month. I had forgotten - and feel a bit of pressure now to write a poem myself, although it just doesn't work that way (and I'm by no means a poet).

Thanks for sharing your poem with us.

Benjamin Vogt said...

Pam--don't have to be a "poet" to write a "poem." You know what? We are all poets. We are all poetry. Everything is a poem.