after reading Wm. Blake and some John Donne, both heavily symbolic poetry, i decided to think about important symbols in my life, but write about the events around them.







the tree


the largest oak in the backyard,

the one with a tire swing near the playhouse,

wanted climbing. it always did.

that led to a very bad bloody nose, when

toddy, my neighbor and friend, 

began pounding nails through a board.

he intended to make a ladder

of boards up the tree. a poorly struck

hammer blow sent the nail 

flying backward, and his nose bled and bled and bled.




the boots


my aunt had a pair of riding boots,

english style, tall and thin soled, and

for reasons i didn't know, and don't know,

they were in our attic, in the dark

and terrifying narrow space where dad

kept his suitcases, and mom kept

boxes of old clothes. occasionally, 

when i thought of it, i would steel my nerves,

turn on the forty watt bulb

and try on the boots, waiting for the day

they would fit. they never did. 

they were too big. then they were too small.




the print


an utrillo print, very ugly, hung

above the mantel of our fireplace. a dreary print.

it was, i suppose, my mother's attempt

to add sophistication to an otherwise

sad room. the house was happy enough,

the screen door opening and slamming shut

with friends coming and going, but 

the print cast a pall. maybe no one noticed

but me. i would have chosen something cheerier.




mr. anno


since my brother is so much younger than me

i was almost like a third parent to him.

now the age difference means less, and we 

are growing closer, a dependency is developing.

when my brother was very little

someone gave him a stuffed animal, a monkey,

for his birthday or christmas. it became 

a family tradition to give him a stuffed monkey,

not a real stuffed monkey, the plush things,

on his birthday and christmas until 

he had quite a collection. there was chester o'chimp

that talked when you pulled a string in his back,

and there was his favorite, a white monkey

he named mr. anno. mr. anno was a part of the family.

now he and the others reside in a closet.

my brother is getting the hang of girls.

things change. i hate to draw conclusions.






some symbols represent awakenings, some closings.

this one represents both. a friend

invited me to a party. it was in a part of town

that was unfamiliar to me. we walked up

a narrow flight of stairs, the doorway 

fronting the street betweens two businesses.

the apartment was above one of them.

it was evening, and summer. the room 

was almost empty but for a dozen people, our age,

lying on the floor, leaning against walls,

sprawled over the couch. the rug was filthy,

the windows were too. everyone was drunk

and stoned, no one was talking, or barely.

bottles of beer, wine, tequila, and more,

littered the floor, or were being passed around.

there was salt and lemon for the tequila.

it was the first time i heard the song layla.

when my friend drove me home

i was so drunk i didn't know . . . i didn't know anything. 

in my cozy bedroom and bed

the room swirled and i drifted in and out

of consciousness, getting up to be sick.

i've heard of girls named layla. i would not

do that, i'd rather not remember that night.




the fish


but we remember things we'd rather not.

a bass i caught, that my dad brought home for dinner.

i watched it gape and die. it took forever.






blake and donne used symbols

easily recognizable to english readers.

my symbols mean something only to me.

a blue satin hair ribbon. a ring

terri gave me. a piece of driftwood

from a trip to wisconsin. my grandfather's 

i.d. bracelet from wwii. such things

as that, as those. i don't know

what they mean, but they mean something.

in a way, they all make me sad.




the blue ribbon


except the blue ribbon. it is, i guess,

a symbol of my deflowering. that would be julie.

nothing sad about that.






these are not symbols, are they? 

they're reminders. i guess in my world

of poetry, in contemporary poetry,

we use analogies, metaphors, and similes

rather than classic symbolism. 

things change. i hate to draw conclusions,

but i think this poem is not what i meant it to be.




the future


classes start on the thirty-first. professor eliot 

agreed to lead another seminar.

that makes me really happy. marcy

is in first year med school, but said

she'll try to come when she can. antoinette,

i'm not sure. colin, yes. professor eliot

said there will be at least two new students.

i have to begin thinking of themes,

and i have to begin writing what i mean to write.




















Poetry by one trick pony The PoetBay support member heart!
Read 700 times
Written on 2015-08-24 at 02:48

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Kee Zealy The PoetBay support member heart!
Symbolism means different things to different people. I for one, don't care for symbolic poetry that is so obtuse it takes the writer to explain what he meant. Stories and memories such as this are bits and pieces of events that help compose who you are. For that these are a series of symbols that tell something about you. Very nice write.

Jamsbo Rockda The PoetBay support member heart!
All these memories are wonderful. Each piece meaningful in a special way. I know this is a very bad analogy but they kind of remind me of 2001 a Space Odyssey in that I am tempted to attempt to tie them all together with the conclusive last piece. The one you call Future. But it begins with a tree and kids and not moneys and a monolith :)

Ivan R
Bravissimo. What a fucking trip!
What a treat to the listeners, what a mind exploding in great verses! This poem, verse, what this is, is great writing,
sexy, sad, childlike, human, difficult, astonishing, fucked up, but yes! You know what you have done in this your poem, and so have no fear in the future at school, in lectures ... you have put the bar so high with this, that all that come after, have to reach this high to know how good writing can be. Amazing

Lawrence Beck The PoetBay support member heart!
I enjoyed the whole poem. The last line made me laugh. Yep, these things can be slippery. They'll get away from you before you're done with them.

Each symbol in this poem represents a special memory and a time in the life of the writer. I am captivated by each one and can picture the event or events that are symbolized by each item.
The one that sticks in my mind is the grandmother's boots and the line that they were too big to fill even when they were too small. That tells much. I enjoyed reading through all of them. :)

Arunesh dixit
This is the poem where various symbols are telling their stories with different moods and scenes. Almost all are good, but I'll go with mr. anno for sketching out delicate, innocent feelings of a younger bro through toys.. and then "I hate to draw conclusions".. :)