Poetry Restriction = Clamming

1 10 2012

Hey peoples, so as some of you may know and probably most of you do not, I’m in an advanced poetry class this semester. My professor gives us a lot of severe restrictions (syllable count per line, enjambment, topic specific, etc.) for each poem. After you get past wrapping your mind around such limitation you’ll discover it’s actually pretty liberating. I’ve written about some things I never would have attempted before… such as clamming. The research for the poem actually took longer than writing the darn thing. I googled my heart out and even reverted to calling up my momma (yes a shout out to the lady that birthed me! hi mom *waves*) who is a Florida native. This is just the first draft of the poem I created today so it’s by no means finished. But I was decently pleased with the results (minus the last couplet which was a little rushed) and figured I’d share it with you. If you have any suggestions for the next draft just leave them in the comment box. Well here it is peoples, cheers!

Clamming

The moon is like a fat man’s fingernail tonight.
And the barnacles under the dock are as rocks

Closed up tight like morning glories before the sun’s first light
Breaks over the horizon. My grandfather once told me,
“You can eat the tubers, the Indians did, ‘tater style.”
But I prefer to sink my toes into the brackish silt,

Tread out the quahogs and reach down to mitt my
Hands into live ground. Thick soles don’t weal
Unlike the baby skin of the snow birds who
Rent shinicocks instead. But the rake is faster

And faster is what I need as the water threatens to lap
The hem of my rolled denim. And when the bucket’s filled
I’ll sit on the shore, wet skin prickling in the breeze
And inspect the bivalves who’s sides cleave to one another

With the adductor muscle; “One of the strongest in the
World,” my mother says popping them open with a sharp twist.
Tomorrow there will be chowder but tonight I watch
As my scrounging marks are erased

And that which was stale is refreshed and submerged,
Like the Nile’s inundation, restitution to the land.

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2 responses

2 10 2012
MarinaSofia

You’re so right – having to force yourself into structure can be really good practice and very liberating! Well done – clamming? Well, I never!

2 10 2012
eclecticnomad

I know right?! This week my assignment is to write whatever I want with no restrictions… it’s gonna be a toughie!

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