Well, even if it’s poor I have to write a draft that I can take to the meeting tonight. This revision process has been different from the norm, in that I’ve been struggling to even write something close to the finished product. I’ve mostly been writing the ideas, the themes, and that’s not what makes powerful poetry. A pretty good maxim is “show, don’t tell.” So, I’ll start from what I wrote yesterday and get involved in the scene, show the details, be precise and honest. Being honest in poetry means describing things exactly. Not “black as tar” but “black as burnt corn,” or “black as my grandfather’s favorite soup spoon.”


She Tells Me At Lunch

It’s the little lies, she says, the daily paltering like when said he spent my last paycheck on brakes but instead got his bowling ball re-drilled. He claims I’m still sexy in my old dresses. He insists my steak is as good as any fancy restaurant’s.

Last Sunday his eyes were somber as a bear’s when he asserted to the pastor that infidelity was a rotten sin. He reminds me of a bear more and more, lumbering around in my life, getting fat on my trust, hibernating in the cave where I keep my dreams. He seems harmless until I feel the weight of him, the fur and meat breath, each day suffocating me a little more.

These days, I watch TV with headphones on when he’s home, the portable set in the bedroom. I pray to my drink that he’ll sleep on the couch. I slip off my wedding ring that he said was an heirloom, but that he bought from a buddy. That he resized with pliers. I turn it around and around, and finally drop it in my glass where it seems so much bigger. Magnified, almost magnificent.

There’s his shout: a touchdown. His team, the one with the the G, is winning. He’ll claim to win the work betting pool, and buy me new gloves as proof. But I know they come from Goodwill. Mrs. Stanton tells me, when we meet at the grocery store. She tells me while picking through beef cuts. She likes to remind me that she buried her own husband two years ago, and how peaceful he looked in the casket.


OK, so it’s finally taking off a little. Now I can work with what I’ve written, remove stuff, move sentences around, get rid of lines that are awful and write more where it’s needed. The first stanza may go away. I don’t know if I need to even keep “palter”. The title’s a problem, because the last stanza doesn’t fit the scene of lunch. Keep telling the truth, that’s what I say.


She Tells Me

Last Sunday his eyes were somber as a bear’s when he asserted to the pastor that infidelity is a rotten sin. The women around nodded, and his buddies fiddled with their programs.

He reminds me of a bear more and more, getting fat on my trust, hibernating through my middle-aged winter. I hate the weight of him, the fur and meat breath, each day another suffocation.

He said he spent my last paycheck on brakes, but instead got his bowling ball re-drilled. He insists his mother would rather eat my steak than a restaurant’s. He claims I’m still sexy in my old dresses.

Sunday I watched TV with headphones on the portable set in the bedroom, I prayed to my drink that he’d sleep on the couch. I slipped off my wedding ring that he said was an heirloom, that he resized with pliers. I dropped it in into my glass, and it seemed so much bigger. Magnified, almost magnificent.

Mrs. Stanton told me it came from Goodwill. She told me at the grocery store while picking through beef cuts. She likes to remind me that she buried her own husband two years ago, and how peaceful he looked in the casket.


Almost ready. I have about ten minutes to polish it as well as I can. Try some different line breaks. Read it aloud, checking for musical problems.


She Tells Me

Last Sunday his eyes were somber as a bear’s when he asserted to the pastor that infidelity is a rotten sin. The women around nodded, and his buddies fiddled with their programs.

He reminds me of a bear more and more, getting fat on my trust, hibernating through my middle-aged winter. I hate the weight of him, the fur and meat breath, each day another suffocation.

He said he spent my last paycheck on brakes, but instead got his bowling ball re-drilled. He insists his mother would rather eat my steak than a restaurant’s.

He claims I’m still sexy in my old dresses.

That Sunday I watched TV with headphones on the portable set in the bedroom. I prayed to my drink that he’d sleep on the couch. I slipped off my wedding ring that he pretended was an heirloom, that he resized with pliers. I dropped it in into my glass, and it seemed so much bigger. Magnified, almost magnificent.

Mrs. Stanton told me it came from Goodwill. She told me at the grocery store while picking through beef cuts. She likes to remind me how she buried her own husband two years ago, how peaceful he looked in the casket.