Ever wanted to see a poem go through revisions? Always figured those words just came out in their final form? Or pretty close?

Writing software is, for me, a lot like writing poetry or fiction or music. Which is why, though I agree with and appreciate techniques like test-driven development, I don’t often use them because they are against my lifelong way of creating. I like drafting and fixing after the fact. But that’s another topic.

Here’s an early draft of a poem I wrote for my poetry group. It was a “challenge” assignment, the challenge in this case being inspired by an odd, overheard phrase we were given. Mine was “Does it look a little browner and thicker now?” Below is the draft I presented. Tomorrow I’ll revise it, and include comments the other poets made.

Before You Slept

On Mondays, we always ate baked gravy rolls, which are brown gravy ladled over day-old rolls, with pepper, baked at 350 for fifteen minutes.

It was our only fasting, after weekends of excess, of wild turtle soup, and sweet potatoes stuffed with cinnamon-fried turkey, and sauteed rosemary shrimp, and garlic wheat buns, and Spanish reds, and Spanish whites, and…afterward…Spanish aperitifs,

which we would sip while spooning mint sorbet, staring out the window at the sun becoming a low pomegranate, when you’d say, “I loved the first dark chocolate you gave me,” and I’d say, “It had half melted,” and you’d say, “I loved the other half.”

We’d finish our sherry and kiss while our lips were still wet and numb. You would always say, “I love you more than strawberries, more than a perfect London broil, more than juniper custard.” And I’d say, “I always look forward to tomorrow, to remembering you like this.”

And then we’d let the glasses rest, and find the bed. You’d be my furnace, while you slept, your breath making waves in the pillow.