I got the idea for the poem from the movie I Am Legend which frightened me the first time I watched it, perhaps because one of my greatest fears is being abandoned. The movie just brought the fear of abandonment to an extreme, and I think it helped me sympathize with Smith's character that much more. The original version of the poem which I submitted to my undergrad poetry workshop did not include the reference to the movie, and interestingly enough only one person from my workshop got the connection even though the majority of my classmates had seen the movie.
In the original I included a line "...writing poetry convoluted with too many languages?" which has nothing to do with the movie. It was only caught by one person. It made me wonder what would happen if I pulled in more obscure details not taken from the movie. I suppose the poem wouldn't need the movie reference anymore, and furthermore would no longer be a poetic ekphrastic.
I would like to try and revise this poem but I no longer have the individual comments from my workshop. I do though remember one thing my classmates said about this poem. Who are the demons, and why are they stalking the speaker? Viable questions, I have not figured how to give this information without losing the fearfulness the reader feels for the speaker. I suppose I'll open up the Poet's Companion and try to find an exercise to open up the poem a little more. In the meantime, "Paranoia" as of present.
--From I Am Legend
What if my demons are not gone but waiting
for light to lift and let darkness? Foraging
pass dilapidated cars, abandoned streets,
crouching behind dull red brick buildings beside
a lone dumpster in a narrow alleyway -- waiting
for me to look back one before I enter
and bolt my door. What if all night they labor
making booby traps because they know I'm still
here? What if they know that I'm insane for my
psyche's sake: talking to mannequins, watching
reruns of events 7 years past, living in a ghost town?
What if they know I'm the reason they hunger for more human
flesh, gnash their heads against glass, roar like beasts?
What if they catch me, will they rip my lithe flesh
mercifully as I do a Sunburst tangerine? Or if they
hear me whisper a prayer, will they burst into doves?
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