Friday, May 9, 2008

Workshop Poems

grandma’s teeth

grandma’s teeth were in a glass by the sink
the kids had never seen them out of her mouth
she always looked so together
perfect hair and makeup
up-to-date clothing, always in style
not the like the rest of the desert rats
wind-blown and sandy

she wouldn’t clean the corrals
or ride a horse
while watching out for rattlesnakes
but she wasn’t so perfect after all
her city manners told one story
but her teeth in the glass told another

(Instructions: tell a brief story – to do with an action; include enough detail so we know what character’s life is like, no pronouns)


shadows lie under
the trees in the corral
horses stand quietly
in the heat of day
flies buzz around
their heads

shadows under
the picnic bench
shelter panting dogs
creating a dark cave
cooler than shadows
in the corral

crows squawk quietly
from Joshua trees nearby
the two fillies stand together
swishing their tails
a door slams and they
look expectantly towards
the house for someone
bringing hay or carrots

shadows hide peeling paint
on the old house
barely more than a trailer
obscuring the poverty within
children in ragged indigo jeans
do their chores lethargically
while waiting for nightfall

Instructions: write about a thing (not an animal). Focus on an object. More evocative. Let the object speak for you. No first person. There were lots of instructions for this. Had to keep re-writing. Had to leave out a paragraph about the animals (the focus was on shadows/not animals) I put it back in for the blog.

evocation – showing, calling forth an act/drawing it out (yes)
exposition – telling, action setting forth, explaining (no)

Since we had returned from vacation shortly before the workshops, the images in my head were of the horses, grandchildren, desert etc. As a grandma, I still have most of my own teeth. Artistic/poetic license, I guess. Also, the house the grandchildren live in is fine and they are not ragged! Had to come up with some images that went with “shadows”.

copyright 2008 Linda H. Feinberg

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