She's an enigma. her head, a stadium drowning with applause. yet its seats are empty like the notebooks where armies of words should be marching. instead she dismantles clocks thinking she can play with time. behind the mountains lurks a darker reasoning a twisted labyrinth of rationalizations hidden from the suns brilliance.
Years alone beneath the bleached fluorescent reading those already dancing in the moonlight. she is living a literary half-life through them hiding from the symmetry of the writer. licking salty rocks of excuses. saving her secrets for posthumous excavation. decades of productivity left for moths to chew. you're throwing coffins into the sea with each day that passes wordless. denying us the sweet whistles from inside your skull. meaningful, impacting stories only you could pen.
Stop climbing broken staircases towards the pale summer stars of obscurity. these are still fruitful years of beauty. remove your armor. claw beyond your fears. allow us into your wonderland.
============================ COPYRIGHT 2014, William Barker
All my work has copyrights with the Library of Congress. No usage without my permission regardless of circumstance.
I think somewhere in heaven, Suzanne Staples is smiling.
This is just... let me get my breath back. There is a great deal of emotion within this poem. This is my interpretation of your words:
You introduce your character to us as a mystery, or an "enigma". In a way, you're already letting the reader open up his or her mind to create their own thoughts of the rest of the poem. People are always anxious to solve mysteries, and you introduce your character as one which the readers want to solve. You provide the readers with clues, in the form of metaphors, from "a twisted labyrinth of rationalizations" to "a twisted labyrinth of rationalizations". With each passing line you provide more insight on the inspiration you, as not only a poet but a person, had for this friend. You present yourself as one of us, the readers. Your words open to us what type of person she was- she never feared her thought or words. She never let a notebook go dry; there was always ink on the paper. Her passing signifies an end to the great works she had written and you, along with the readers, long for a return of the inspiration she so often presented. Your poem is rather morbid throughout, but you end on a high not of hope. You ask of the character to "allow us into your wonderland", as if, to give either inspiration one more time or to tell us how she so often provided such inspiration. No read cannot finish this poem with being overwhelmed with many emotions. The poem itself inspires, myself, to look at my poetry in a different light and not just as words, but as little emotions which can impact my readers. This is my feeling from the poem.
This is fantast, Mr. Barker, and I truly enjoyed reading it.
Incredible, my friend! Thank you for this thorough and detailed comment, it is wonderful and greatly appreciated.
It is funny how you write something and then release it to the world and though it is still yours, partly, it becomes something much larger and can inspire other people, invoke imagery and feelings. That is one of the most amazing things about writing. That connection with other human beings.
I wrote this poem when, Suzanne, was still alive; after I'd grown frustrated with her stubbornness to not pursue publication or even continue writing. Towards the end of her life she spent most of her time reading other people's work instead of finishing her own. She allowed fear and the opinion of others around her (parents, etc.) to convince her she wasn't good enough to become a professional writer. I read her work and felt like I'd discovered a lost treasure. I encouraged her to finish things, to pay someone to type up her novels (she wrote only in notebooks). I must have made some kind of impact because she did compile her poetry into a "best of" journal which she gave to me for safe keeping. I treasure it now that she is gone. This poem was my desperation to see her follow through with her dreams before it was too late. You're right, there is a morbid feel to it overall, for she was allowing her fruit to rot on the vine and as her good friend I saw her pushing me, helping me to grow, forever changing my confidence and guiding me towards the writer I am now. I wanted her to do that for herself.
I'm glad this moved you and inspired you to look at your own work in a new light. That would make Suzanne happy.
I have two more poems to Suzanne in my next book of poems. Both are final goodbyes, but are very different. One tells the story of our very last times together and when I visited her in the hospital at the end. The other tells the story of how we met, what she meant to me, how preconceived judgments almost kept her from ever coming into my life and how I felt after she died. I'm very proud of them and look forward to sharing them on here.
I'm so happy it brought a smile to your face. The followup to this, honoring my mentor's life and memory, is about five pages at this point (2nd draft). It is a tough one to write, for sure. I should be uploading it soon!!
I really appreciate you taking the time to pass your thoughts on to me, means the world!
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