Monthly Archives: October 2005

A Five-Mile Morning, San Diego

A long low sun hangs at the line of earth and sky
scrub on the crests of ravines and gullies and canyons
and tile- and shingle- topped roofs
slide past the red-orange ball, flick shadows on and off:
the dark: cool, dewy; the light: warming.

the sand, the hard pack, the clay
the left the right the breathe
the sand, hardpack, clay
the left the right left breathe
scrub sand asphalt breathe
road sidewalk sand
train tracks.

breathe left right left
breathe parking lot cars
breathe ice rink doors
breathe conditioned air
breathe breathe breathe

Well, this has been through several variations already. It was an exercise on line breaks, and this is the version I took in to workshop. Maybe I’ll post some of the others later… Right now I want to tighten up the first and second stanzas a little. There was some confusion in the first because of the lack of punctuation in the first part. I’m a little iffy on how I want to change it. Must think… (assumes time honored Pooh-thinking stance)

Keep On, Rev. 2

Removed while under consideration by The Atlantic Monthly.


Revision 1

Well, you can tell there’s been some changes. I tried to do a little tightening as far as words like ‘the’ and ‘and.’ I hope this helped strengthen the poem. I have a habit of ending lines with words like that, and it just weakens a poem. Makes it less forceful, causes less impact. I also tidied up spelling and grammar problems, and tried to seperate the use of ‘man’ a little further. Also, I broke up the poem into stanzas. Not based on the ‘Rhythm’ lines, which one might expect, but given the topic of jazz, I tried to emulate the feeling of a jazz show, when the musicians are just up there jammin’. They come back to refrains, but not when you’d always expect. So that was part of the reasoning. Also, I tried to keep each stanza in context with itself. So, you have the audience perspective, the horn perspective, and the rhythm guys’ perspectives, and they all kind of flow into each other. It’s not a deliberate, delineated, definite seperation… but something gradual and natural. I like where it’s headed.

Let me know what you think.