Sunday, December 13, 2009


I've been writing a lot of poetry lately and I haven't the foggiest idea why. My best guess is that November saw me writing (just a little) over 50,000 words. So, now I want to be able to work, but finish something shorter.

When I was a nurse (I'm still a nurse technically, but I supervise - so in effect I just watch others nurse), the type of nursing I was attracted to was the kind where I could complete tasks and then go on to something else. At first, kicking and screaming, I was made to work in an intensive care unit for a year. It was too intense. And I never got done with anything. I did a task over and over and over. Ahhhhh! It is kind of like the rationalization of making the bed in the morning. I'm just going to mess it up again tonight - why bother?

Then, when "they" deemed my skills acceptable, "they" let me work in the ER. Yes. This suited me. It still does, except for the fact that I'm kind of done with the ER. But, what I mean by this is that I like, and my personality excels at, task oriented / completion oriented work.

I am finding this to remain true now with my writing. I think poetry, in its structured forms, requires thought and work to get it right. It isn't my favorite thing to read, but in thinking about fitting words and what I want to say into a certain structure, it works for me in sorting out the bigger story. I don't think I am particularly good at it either, but my reason for doing it isn't poetry as an end result. I wonder how many other writers use a different form to hone their skills in their preferred form?

If you have read all the way to the bottom and are the least bit curious about what I've written recently, I submit this sample. This is blank verse which is unrhymed iambic pentameter. It is the hardest form I've tried to write, but I'm pretty happy with this. I did it to help flesh out how I want to approach this story in its longer form. This is the little book I talked about finding a few posts ago. I'm fascinated by this old book of someones tiny details of life. I know there is a story in there somewhere.

Time Book

The record lay among archaic notes,
a 'Time Book' from your days of railroad work. 
Your name, address, and occupation there
in faded, penciled script upon the page.

The writing started January one.
The year you wrote was nineteen twenty-nine.
A movie cost you fifty cents back then,
and 'sweets' a nickel, taken from you hoard.

A cook for Southern, paid in twenty bills,
the engine logged was G-R-O one-two.
Twelve, fourteen, twenty, ten: the hours hard.
The column added up to fifty-six,
just thirty-five one-hundredths by the hour.

A Memorandum page tells why you must
have felt the need to write minutia down.
"I married her in nineteen twenty-three"
was followed by a separation date
mere days before you first put words on here.
It breaks my heart, your lonely, wistful hand.


Jo Taylor

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