New work workshop — in progress, slow slow progress

Hey all—this morning was my first new work workshop. We wrote to prompts, twenty minutes per topic, then hauled everything to our rooms. Tomorrow we are to appear with a somewhat finished project. I’m working on the first prompt, a 12 line poem, with four lines in meter of some kind, that combines a dream image we discussed (for me, flying) with one real but dream-like experience (for me, snorkeling along when a bull sea lion came swimming up along me). I’ll be rewriting this thing all night. If you want to see how this does or doesn’t happen, tune in. And chime in, as I’d love your thoughts.

The Sea Lion Bull draft 2

Flying is only a matter of matter
released from gravity’s predisposition.
Who was that creature, single common ancestor
of condor and whale? How did its astounding bulk
float? Was gravity less in Earth’s youth, all levity
and play before the weight of battleships
and bombers conquered conviction?

At 44, a balanced age, a huge pale sausage
in neoprene casing, flying through warm wet teal
when all lithe ton of him shadowed me, neither
food nor threat. Peering, appeasing curiosity
then diving to where I could not follow.

______________________________________________

The Sea Lion Bull
draft 3

Flying is only a matter of matter
released from gravity’s predisposition.
I dream a common ancestor of condor
and whale, its astounding bulk floating
grace. Gravity was less in Earth’s
youth, all levity before the weight
of battleships and bombers conquered conviction.

At 44, a balanced age, a huge pale sausage
in neoprene casing, flying through warm wet teal
when all lithe ton of him shadowed me, neither
food nor threat. Peering, appeasing curiosity
then diving to where I could not follow.

_____________________________________

The Sea Lion Bull
draft 4

Flying is only a matter of matter
set free from gravity’s predisposition
Dreaming a common ancestor of condor
human, and whale, astounding bulk, floating grace
Gravity in Earth’s youth was less
all levity and play before the weight
of battleships and bombers civilized conviction

No longer young, a huge pale sausage in neoprene casing,
soaring via warm wet aqua, his lithe ton shadows me, muscles
frozen rubber—how prey feels—yet I want him to embrace me, dare
the bulk of that body against mine I roll an awkward turn to him
He dives to where I cannot follow

________________________________________

The Sea Lion Bull
draft 5

Flying is only a matter of matter
set free from gravity’s predisposition
dreaming a common ancestor of condor
human, and whale, such astounding bulk, floating
grace in gravity was less in Earth’s youth
levity the law before the weight of
battleships and bombers civilized conviction.

Not close to young, an immense pale sausage in neoprene casing,
soaring in warm aqua, his lithe ton shadows me, muscles frozen
rubber—how prey feels—still I want him to embrace me, feel the mass
of that body against this mammal flesh. I reach my unwebbed fingers to him.
He dives to where I cannot follow.

___________________________________

damn, here it is, 12:50 a.m., me desperate for sleep, when another rewrite forced me back to the page and keyboard.

The Sea Lion Bull
draft 6

Flying is only a matter of matter
set free from gravity’s predisposition
a dream of a common ancestor of condor
human, and whale, astounding bulk, floating
grace—gravity was less in Earth’s youth
levity the law before the weight of
battleships and bombers slaughtered supposition.

Not close to young, an immense pale sausage in neoprene casing,
soaring in warm aqua, shadowed by a black, lithe ton, muscles frozen
rubber—how prey feels—yet this mammal flesh considers the mass of his body,
yearns for some ancestral embrace. I reach my unwebbed fingers to him.
He dives to where I cannot follow.

______________________________

The Bull Sea Lion
draft 8

Flying is only a matter of matter
set free from gravity’s predisposition
a dream of a common ancestor of condor,
human, and whale, astounding bulk, floating
grace—gravity was less in Earth’s youth
levity the law before the weight of
battleships and bombers slaughtered presumption

Not close to young, a selchie in her neoprene skin, soaring
in warm aqua, shadowed by a black, lithe ton,
muscles frozen rubber—how prey feels—
yet this mammal flesh considers the mass of his body,
yearns for some ancestral embrace

I reach my unwebbed fingers to him

He dives to where I cannot follow

The Pale Sausage in Neoprene Casing

The Pale Sausage in Neoprene Casing

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5 thoughts on “New work workshop — in progress, slow slow progress

  1. i like this poem a lot. i like the point about gravity first, your sentences get revised to be these simple statement that i like better than the questions in the first draft, interesting, thanks for sharing that process. i always wonder what would happen if the sentences exploded or should they in a poem scattering a thought through the surface of a dream, into a poem. the common ancestor of poetry and rhetoric is a type of condor. the poem itself is so balanced, like the age. i like the poem. the imagery is astounding.

  2. nice.
    but, uh oh, I really like number 2….
    a bit better than number 3…
    is that bad?
    should I have kept that to myself??
    oh, maybe, if so, it’s too late…

  3. Susan — fine to like any and all drafts. I’ll never know until it pronounces itself done what of each draft will be in the final.

    Laura — oh, wow, sentences exploding across the poem. Once I’m done with this residency, let’s each try to write that and see what it looks like. Wow. Loving that idea, but not ready to explode this poem yet. Sea lion guts everywhere…

  4. Pingback: The Bull Sea Lion – revised « This Frenzy

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