The Sestina Project: Part Two

January 24, 2010 § Leave a comment

The Sestina has 39 lines in six stanzas of six lines each, it is then followed by a final stanza of three lines. The lines are unrhymed. The same six end-words must occur in every stanza, but in a changing pattern called lexical repetition. The last three lines use the six end-words in any order.

This is not the final draft. This is crap with bits of potential. I wanted to see if I could squeeze the words of the scribbled diatribe of my first freewrite into the sestina format. At this point I have the format, granted sentences are spilling over on to the following lines and the context is all over the place but the idea is there. I think. Two companions of writing, one moves on to prestige and academia while the other remains as a rough and uneducated poet. I think I will make the genders the same to exclude the ideas of a romantic relationship between the two former friends. The idea is that they were lovers of language and one believed they were kindred spirits while the other, more privileged and formally educated, writer was what some refer to as “slumming”. There is a lot of work that needs to be done to bring this idea out into the poem. I’m not certain I can make it work, but now that I have the form I will play around with it more.

Do you ever think of me friend?
When you look from your ivory tower of writing,
West beyond the purple badlands, the sequoia’s quiet poetry
The redwoods? The Rockies? The Cascades. Old love,
Do you ever think of me? Does your heartbreak
In memory when you walk the marble steps of the literati?

Do you drink tea in a lounge and sip whiskey with the literati,
purging words of devotion and criticism over the classics; our friends,
Dissecting the flesh, peeling the skin from the limbs of Dante’s writing?
Do you think of me in your company? Oh, but I was never much of a poet.
A low vocabulary, I lack syntax, my language is an ignorant love.
Word placements are post-humorous and butchered: It was heartbreaking.

I neglected Dante and Ulysses, I was slow, my heart, my mind broke
Mrs. Dalloway was not enough to appease the group the literati.
I tore your inscription in a rage and cried that you were not a friend.
Sometimes, I imagine you, rarely, but enough, writing,
with your wife, your son, Septimus, the scene is poetic
candles light the room. The scent; jasmine and myrrh, and literary love…

Like all intellectual Americans, you have British accents and love
to hear your own voices, even the dog barks the Queen’s language, my heartbreak
You so far away, beyond distance, heartbreak to be so jealous of a literati
memory, but you were better than me and I am a disgraced mistress of friendship.
You were the bright star and I was the dark water, the proof was in the writing
Envy is not green but yellow like teeth stained from coffee and cheap poetry

We wrote for hours, differently, I wrote to please you wrote to achieve poetics
We sat in swings reading stories, secretly you disdained, publicly I loved
Ever your faithful experiment in the lower classes I trudged in the heartbreak
till I gagged on the mud and remembered my place beneath the literati
blinded with feigned sincerity, snickered giggles and blinded by your friendship
which was only a pretext to your story about the female Quasimodo for your writing

This is not writing
this is ranting. It is not poetry
It is crying about platonic love
it is wailing over heartbreak
it is a closed door to the ivory tower of literature
It is a false friendship

There is never a poetic word in the writings of a heartbroken girl
it is dribble or dizzel and shizzle as you would joke when speaking of love
suck it up literati you are on the dirt path kicking up dust you don’t need friends.

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