This week, my poetry assignment is to write using the first person, the "I" in a poem. The point of the exercise is this. When I write as myself, coming to the reader with a narrative of myself passed along to the reader, it makes it much harder for the reader to take my story as their own. The use of "I" creates a distance between the writer and the reader.
We examine other ways of using the "I" without excluding the reader, such as using a mask or persona. For now, I share a draft of the poem I wrote for the first person story.
Nightmare, News, No Sleep
I walk a dirt road. Shadows move
through the dusty trees. Something
snaps twigs, travels the woods beside me.
Now awake and shaking,
I turn on the radio,
get up to distract myself.
The news reports a smuggler:
“A man is caught at the border
with fifty-one live
turtles, stuffed down his pants.
Two hundred more
in his suitcase.”
Does he consider the possibilities?
Of cuts or genital damage,
from claws or strong jaws?
Does he know the red-eared
sliders desire his body heat?
My nightmare wanders
the back of my mind,
withdraws into its shell,
hitches a new ride.
The eastern box turtles
regenerate parts of themselves,
The photo is not mine but is used with permission from Creative Commons. Attribution follows:
photo credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/48503330@N08/5678631060">Rainbow Turtle</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/">(license)</a>