Posted by: John Adams | March 14, 2009

Workshop Poems

I’ve been attending a poetry workshop on Monday nights. We’re learning pretty rudimentary stuff right now, but I’ve written a couple of 10-minute poems in class already. The first one was on the subject of “Famine.” The goal was to approach the subject sideways and frame it in a surprising way.


Frail and gaunt and paper-thin
Like strings of wire that tug a kite
At oceanside where bathers swim
Where sea-breezes blow on moonlit nights
I gave my love to you, O child
I fed you best as I knew how
On words of hope, but all the while
I see the sadness in your brow
The earth has ceased to yield its fruit
And as your fragile frame withers,
My words have ceased giving life to you.

The second one was about “something that caused you physical pain as a child.”

Kick! and the ball went sailing
Up above the pitcher’s head
Past the ash tree that served as second base,
Into the leafy no-man’s land behind the kickball field
I didn’t want to get it–there were snakes
And shards of broken glass, and my four-foot frame
Felt engulfed by the sea of underbrush–
It’s rumored that a boy waded in once and got lost
Beneath waves and breakers of unknown.

But I saw the smug on Alex’s face,
As he took his foot off second base, heading for third

I knew I wanted to wipe it off
With a good, solid thud to the back of the head.

So I dug my way to where the ball lay hid,
Brambles tearing at my flesh, the vague scent
Of lime an omen of things to come.
And then the sound of something like cardboard
Caught in the spokes of a motorcycle wheel
And the piercing sting of an angry hornet
Tearing at the tender inside of my upper arm.

There was the initial shriek of pain and the mad dash for home,
Hot tears on my cheeks and the cold sensation of ice cubes on my fresh welt,
And the acid taste of a lime the maid had just sliced open.
But all I could think about was the look on Alex’s face
And how badly I still wanted to wipe it off.



  1. You have a real gift.

  2. you are one talented 24 year old. i think i liked the first one better- it was deeper- but the second was very creative! 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: