Big Sister’s Clothes

in the inner city
like we call it
we think a lot about uptown
and the silent nights
and the houses straight as
dead men
and the pastel lights
and we hang onto our no place
happy to be alive
and in the inner city
like we call it

— Lucille Clifton


And here’s a little more Sonia:

How happy am I that I figured out how to upload that?  I have another one, one of her reading a haiku series.  For some reason, it’s being fussy about uploading.  Maybe tomorrow.

And speaking of tomorrow, maybe that’s when I’ll get a better idea of what to do about this rhyme royal.  What is it about rhyming that’s throwing me so off kilter, that feels so forced?

here I am always
visible and invisible, seen and unseen
what is true, who I am, stays
inside me, clean
and hidden behind an obscene
grimace, a mask, this face
this touch of, “Don’t look!” of commonplace

Still not in love.  I don’t know.  With the tanka, I felt like I’d come home.  Even when I wasn’t quite getting them right, they were right … if that makes any sense.  The rhyme royal really feels like trying on someone else’s clothes.  Awkward.

Sanchez talked a lot about poetic forms, said that we should try them out, really try them out.  I think she would have liked my tanka-a-day exercise from last year.  It’s very similar to what she did when she discovered haiku.  So, given my experience last year and her comments last week, I want to try to stick with this form for a while, as uncomfortable as it feels today.  Who knows?  May it’ll turn out that big sister’s clothes fit me after all.

And just as I was about to hit ‘publish,’ I remembered:


2 thoughts on “Big Sister’s Clothes

  1. I think all word artists are hardest on their own work. I’m verbose, short poetic forms such as Haikus, Tankas and Nove Ottos drive me insane. The plus side is, like your wonderful Rhyme Royal, you say so much with so little, I as the reader am forced to read between the lines, and therein lies it’s beauty.

    What face do we wear when no one is looking? You wear this “grimace”; it’s not that you want to be invisible, but because you do not want people looking at you. You’re protecting the lovely soul you are inside, at the get go. That you’re aware of the grimace and that you feel it has become commonplace is very telling. Yet even with the security of the grimace, your inner nature shines through…

    “here I am always
    visible and invisible, seen and unseen”

    Personally, I think Big Sister’s Rhyme Royal Clothes are fitting you just fine.


    1. Thanks so much, Raivenne! I’m still feeling my way along with this one … and now you’ve thrown the Nove Otto at me. I’d never heard of that, so I looked it up. More to try, more to try …


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