I was nervous about poetry workshop, as I’m pretty inexperienced with verse, but to my pleasant surprise critiques were very positive!
Previously we’d discussed not getting too caught up in plot, but my professor noted in my packet that I did a lot better when I worked with my tendency to write fiction, instead of against it. Positive notes for density of detail, metaphor, and language. So yay!
I can pinpoint a specific reason for every single detail in this poem, but since for workshop purposes it was mostly a success, I’m not going to add too many notes. So here it is, my first critiqued poem. Enjoy!
“A Young Lady On the Brink of Exorcism”
In some countries, snakes are drowned in ethanol, their fluids infused in rice wine.
But in this chiaroscuro castration of a town, they’re dressed in black vestments
With license to roam, like Cain, outside my bedroom door.
I can hear them approaching, the celibate gangsters;
That prior pretties have had ribs cracked, lungs punctured, girlhood smothered
From such rites, I do not know. But I hate their coming all the same.
Bound by garters to the site of sin,
In white sheets like a vestal virgin before immurement,
For a moment, I am an unfurled moonflower,
And paladins in white coats deliver me from these black knights.
But my modern-day Galahad electrifies me, drives his lance into my frontal lobe;
Should I be grateful? At least these rapists are ostensibly immaculate.
Sweat tightens, like a noose of fish’s skin.
Despite the hour, my thoughts are as holy as a rose-gold riding crop:
I was as dark, Spanish, and grotesque as a Churriguera summer,
With doughy breasts and dollar store panties.
But he was proud as a cathedral, his kiss communion wine.
Footsteps louder in the frigid air. A nuclear bomb. A wedding march.