Thursday, November 3, 2011
Last week I did something that I hadn't done in probably over a year. I submitted some of my poetry to a literary magazine.
I love photography. It really is my primary passion. But at times, I get this incredible desire to be a writer. I had several professors in college tell me I should have been an English major, one even tell me I was great and if I was serious about writing I should definitely consider going to grad school to build connections. Although, I love how my life has turned out, to say I don't wish I would have studied to be a writer instead of a photojournalist is a lie.
I think in the back of my mind, though, I know that it's not too late. I'm only 23 years old after all, still a long life ahead of me. That's how I've felt the past two weeks. So, I opened my poetry folder on my hard drive and set to work writing a collection to enter to the Reed Literary Magazine Markham Poetry contest. I'm anxious to see how it all pans out, and excited about my collection, which I plan to include in my next project, a poetry and photography self-published book.
Although, I usually step into the shoes of another persona when writing, I wrote a poem in the set I submitted to Reed that is truly me, so I thought I'd share it with any reader willing to read it.
He keeps on bringing them to me, my sweet husband,
though, they just keep withering, these flowers
uprooted from soil overrun with weeds,
plucked and wrapped in cellophane to then be displayed
and chosen solely based on how flawlessly they looked
that day. This time he brought them home to me
for no real reason other than he wanted to surprise me.
I took them happily and smiled as I took them
to our kitchen, and reached out to grab
the sleek black handle belonging to one of our cutting knives.
With a flick of the wrist, their wrapping comes apart
and the flowers seem to relax across the countertop,
as if they’re breathing in the kind of relief one feels in freedom.
In another steady motion, I cut three inches off their stems,
mutilating them so they might last me longer,
then put them inside a new enclosure, a mason jar,
half-filled with vitamin infested water,
and showcase them on top our dining table.
A week later, my meticulous notions hardly matter,
as their thick stems, rough, stay green but soften
and their petals, once soft like velvet
and yellow like summer rays, have started pruning
and closing in as if to shield their core from
the chill of winter. Something I can’t protect them from, not here.
For days I haven’t the heart to trash them, and they begin
to give off a fragrance, not spoiled, but a sweet cascading perfume
that smells of warmth, as if exhaling their last ounce of beauty.
In synesthesia, I smell them and see them as they once were,
alive and vibrant, growing. I think of my husband’s hometown, Lemoore,
where there is not much of anything, though during summer
you can find hundreds of sunflowers growing along the highways
near the town. I think of how I love that sight, how beautiful they look
swaying in the breeze; how happier they look outside of captivity.
I take my dead flowers from their vase and have the heart to let them go.
(© Sandra Proudman 2011)