Two Left Feet

Slightly better life choices today, which is encouraging. And one excellent surprise gift that fell into the lap of one of the programs I oversee. It will require a crazy amount of work on the part of the tiniest part of our team, but it will definitely be worth it in the end. A nice way to close the work week.

The source text tonight is, once again, “further note to clark” by Lucille Clifton. I wouldn’t have guessed how fertile that poem would be for me. This is the third — or fourth? — Golden Shovel using that poem as the jump-off point.

Change Partners

I am a painful dancer ... what
to do with my awkwardness? I
move forward, left, right, back ... moves that can
never quite meet yours. We smile, silently promise
to forgive, to keep trying, to indulge, to
do better. But perhaps what I need you to be,
what I need you to do is --
at last -- release me. Let me slip through your hands like water.

National Poetry Month 2021: the Golden Shovel

As I’ve done for the last forever, I’ve chosen a poetic form, and I’m going to try to write a poem in that form every day for the month of April. I don’t always succeed, but I always give it my best shot. The “Golden Shovel” was created by Terrance Hayes in tribute to Gwendolyn Brooks. I learned about it from my friend Sonia (aka Red Emma). I’ll be using Lucille Clifton’s poems as my starting point this month. Here are the rules:

  • Take a line (or lines) from a poem you admire.
  • Use each word in the line (or lines) as the end word for each line in your poem.
  • Keep the end words in order.
  • Give credit to the poet who originally wrote the line (or lines).
  • The new poem does not have to be about the same subject as the poem that offers the end words.

If you pull a line with six words, your poem would be six lines long. If you pull a stanza with 24 words, your poem would be 24 lines long. And so on.

Should be interesting!

6 thoughts on “Two Left Feet

  1. Lainie Levin

    Love this poem, and I love how the poem itself dances in and out for us – but it does so beautifully. This awkward movement, the continual trying to be better, the hope for release. Guess that’s also life in lots of ways.

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    1. Lainie Levin

      Now that I think about it, there are threads of this that remind me of Dorothy Parker’s “The Waltz.” – ever read it?

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      1. I have read it, Lainie, and I utterly adore your mentioning it because I had the same feel. Parker’s inner diatribe in contrast to her outer actions was a revelation to me. The day I read “The Waltz” was the day I started calling my self the Black Dorothy Parker. Had my birth an her death not overlapped by a few years I would swear I was her in a past life.

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        1. Lainie Levin

          That. Is. AMAZING. And yes, this duality – the idea that on the surface we have this kind, ladylike female – who seethes on the inside with what she would REALLY like to say. So many of us have been culturally trained into that mindset. And who knows? Maybe there is a LITTLE bit of her spirit that found you and floated your way at some point early in life. Stranger things have happened…

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  2. Like Lainie above I felt a bit of Dorothy Parker’s The Waltz, while in her case I felt defiance. In this case I felt more of a defeat. That the protagonist is the unworthy partner in this tango. In both a sense of “No, just no.”

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