Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Paranoia

I wrote the poem below a long time ago. I lost it and now have it again thanks to my friend. The port which gives charge to my first laptop broke somehow, so it's been sitting dormant for two years now. I've been putting off getting the information taken off until recently. Since applying to graduate schools, I realized it would beneficial if I had the entire arsenal of my academic work: essays, poems, homeworks, and whatever else I can tweak to supplement my applications.



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.







Paranoia



--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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