Lilac Memory

Lilacs smell like falling in love.
Didn’t you know?
That day,
full, scented sweet,
your breath
light on my neck,
my heart

Listening to Prince tonight (yes, again!) on my way back to New York from my Easter with Fox and my mom.  When Doves Cry shuffles up to the top of the playlist and I am instantly thrown back in time to an ampitheater, a cool spring evening, technicians blasting that song for a sound check and me: seated high in the stands, not quite leaning against Damir, a friend of a friend, a man I had just met who was showing me the city.  I had known him twelve hours.  It was too early to know how completely I would fall for him, but already there was something. We sat, nearly touching, my foot tapping along with Prince, the air thick with newly-bloomed lilacs, that huge stone theatre our private space for those moments.  There was something.  The strengthening pull of the attraction I’d felt the moment I’d seen him that morning, static electricity sparking warmth between our not-touching hands, our not-touching thighs, between my senses and his freshly-showered skin, his aftershave, and all those lilacs, lilacs and lilacs.


Clearly I’m not going to manage a poem or post a day for April.  In part, this is due to my utter exhaustion after stepping up my game and posting every day for March’s slice of life challenge.  Sadly, I think it’s also due to my insistence on staying exclusively with the Zeno.  This form is kicking. my. butt.  Soundly.  Soundly.

But tonight I heard Prince and remembered the lilacs and suddenly there was a poem.

So, no daily posts.  And I’m determined not to beat myself up about it (thank you, Fox, for pointing out that such abuse is uncalled for).  I’ll do the best I can, and we’ll see where that gets us.

Oh. And, because a few people asked, here’s the set-up for a Zeno poem:

ten lines with the syllable count 8/4/2/1/4/2/1/4/2/1
and, to make it fun, there’s a rhyme scheme, too: a/b/c/d/e/f/d/g/h/d

Have fun!

10 thoughts on “Lilac Memory

  1. Koreen Williams

    Thank you for sharing that memory. Lilacs bring back strong memories for me too. You were brave to start another writing challenge!


    1. (Some people might say that I’m crazy to start another challenge on the heels of the last one!) I have so many memories associated with lilacs. All of them are positive, which is one reason I love being surprised by the scent when I’m out on the street.


  2. Mmm. I love this poem.

    Thanks for explaining the form for a Zeno. I don’t think I’ll be trying one, but I have the utmost respect for your desire to master it. I think poetry is often really hard. I couldn’t imagine trying to write and publish one a day. That would make it impossible to do my other work, cook, wash dishes, do laundry, shower — well you get the point. I know that’s just me, but I’m glad you decided to ease up on yourself.


    1. Thanks, Re! I think missing a day of my challenge got in my way. I kept telling myself I had to write a poem for each of the missed days, too … and that just led to me not being able to write anything. Happily, Prince broke the cycle! The rest of my life does tend to get in the way of my writing. I’m trying really hard to work on that, but it’s difficult.


    1. Thanks, Kuukua! Since releasing myself from my silly “poetry debt,” I’m feeling much better. The Zeno is still hard, but I’m not adding extra burdens to my brain now. It’s interesting to me how hard I push myself to write poetry. I’m not a poet, and yet I insist, year after year, that I turn out poem after poem. What is that, I wonder.


  3. The smell of lilacs, and there is a sweet memory.
    I would say that you are kicking the Zeno’s butt my dear. Strong powerful images, and it rhymes as well.
    I missed my daily writing yesterday, and woke up this morning and forgave myself. Hard to do.


    1. Thanks, Pamela. I’m still feeling a bit shaky on this form, but something definitely shifted in the few days I took away from writing … Of course, probably what happened was I calmed down about it and just let the writing go where it would. I need to remember that!


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