Friday, April 3, 2009

Poetry: We Are Not Wallendas

And here is poem #3 for the poetry pledge drive. It started out as a very different poem, written many many years ago and then abandoned. At the time, it served as a a sort of personal therapy toward the end of a relationship (one of those pathetic relationships that just won't die and ends up having several ends). I revisited the poem and did a lot of reworking; it is so very different now but, I think, still true to the situation and emotions of that time. Revising it was definitely a worthwhile exercise, and one I probably never would have gotten around to doing if not for this poem-a-day challenge.

Because some may be interested in seeing the evolution of the poem, I am including both the new (top) and original (bottom) versions. It's a little painful to print the original version because I think it's so bad ("defibrillator for this heart attacked"?! "sweet elixir of life"?! "mad maestro's last concerto"?! Not to mention the poorly chosen line breaks. Oy.), but I did promise bad poetry and I'd hate to disappoint.

Oh, and one last note - for anyone who might not know, Wallenda is the family name of a famous group of circus performers, many of whom met tragic outcomes because they performed without nets.

We Are Not Wallendas

You ask me if I can

Wait for you, and I

Say I have the patience

Of a locust pupa that has

Years to wait for flight,

The fortitude of a modern

Graphic novel heroine; picture

A prima ballerina side-stepping

Landmines – grace and bravery.

I want to believe

Your word means something. Spare

And carefully weighed

Words – the perfect folds in a parachute,

The correctly calculated length

Of bungee rope, a strong roll

Cage for the Indy – you offer.

And so I have

The trust of a trapeze

Artist letting go

Above the flaming pit,

Knowing your hands

Will grasp mine

Just in time, for we

Are not Wallendas.


Because We Are Not Wallendas

You ask me if I an wait for you and I

Say I have

The patience of a locust pupa that has

Years to wait for flight.

The fortitude of a modern-day fairytale heroine;

Picture a prima ballerina side-stepping

Land mines - grace and bravery.

And I believe your word

Is the open parachute,

The securely anchored and correctly calculated

Length of bungee rope,

The roll cage in this locomotive,

The defibrillator for this heart attacked,

Our love - the sweet elixir of life, the passion

Of a mad maestro's last concerto.

And so I have the trust

Of a trapeze artist - or any artist - letting go

Above the flaming pit, knowing your hands

Will grasp mine in time,

In time to save this.

Because we are not Wallendas.

To read other poems or poetry-related posts on this blog, click here.

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