I am Dramatic
When I was a girl
God willed the churches along the Elkhorn River
Stay pristine white
Coal dust never touching
The road as close
as Eve’s snake
Now the steeples keep themselves clean
Rising above their abandoned sanctuaries
And crumbling tipples
Even God won’t stop
The combat of mountains exploding
And coal trains lurking past
Escaping with all the potential
© 2016 Melissa Currence
Here is Akhmatova’s line I chose:
And the road to the churchyard
Is a hundred times longer
Than it was when I carelessly
Wandered along it
This poem’s setting is McDowell County, West Virginia, which I was excited to visit in 2013. My grandma was born in Gary, WV. I loved both the Rocket Boys and Glass Castle books. In doing some research on this poem, I came across these great websites, if you’re interested in learning more:
Let’s Stay in Touch!
With 14th anniversary of 9/11 having just passed, I’ve been working on my own poem about that time.
I first started by using the “found poem” technique and re-reading some emails I had kept from the day.
What strikes me now was the difficulty we had in referring to it. On that day, the event went untitled. We all know what we were talking about. Then we started to use phrases like “Our national tragedy” and “that horrible day” and even just “Ground Zero.”
Calling it “September 11” didn’t emerge until a few weeks later, at least how I remember it.
I decided to scrap my found poem, as it was a jumbled mess that didn’t mean much to me, and re-wrote it in a stronger point of view.
Before the Day Had a Name
I can only send you an email
to patch together some peace
after the phone call doesn’t go through,
so there wouldn’t just be hatred
to mask the sound of jet engines
and the 20th Century
360 million pounds
I never lived through war before
so I cry during the morning news
I am trapped in a city
where the traffic is ordered
but the trauma stills needs to be raked through.
© Melissa Currence, 2015
I have written a few September 11 poems, and I’ve never been very happy with them. Share links to your 9/11 writing. I’d love to see them.
- “Beyond Grief and Grievance: The poetry of 9/11 and its aftermath” (2011), an essay by Philip Metres
- “We Will Never Forget: 9/11 Writing Prompts” (2012) by Sylvia Ney
- “Ten Years of 9/11 Poems” (2011) by Robert Brewer
I love my diary.
I’m obsessed with journaling, because it connects me to how I really am. I allows me to cut through all the distractions and figure out my place in the world.
Writing in a journal is my way of coping. It is my survival writing. For 25 years, I’ve been writing these pages. No judgements. All love.
I’ve been journaling since I was ten, and they are most prized possessions. When I move into the nursing home, I plan to have all these babies beside me.
I wish I could love to tell you I have this amazing ritual of combing them every year, but I don’t. Let me know if you do!
Holla! Writing prompt time
- Open up a page in one of your journals/diaries.
- Absorb the feelings, the moment of that entry.
- Write a poem or piece from what you find there.
- If you don’t have any journals, check out GetMortified.com and listen to others read from their teenage diaries to get inspired.
I’ll work on the prompt and will share next week. Let me know how it works for you.