A few words about the poem I scratched out at the Fish House, Calvin College’s coffee house. This was the last event of the Festival of Faith and Writing last week. I attended the Poetry Slam as a spectator because I knew little about it. Got caught up in the energy and started writing. The moderator – Patricia Johnson, past winner of National Poetry Slam competitions -- kept looking at me and saying, ‘You’re gonna finish that, you’re gonna finish that, you’re gonna be in this…”
As written poetry, it needs work. But here is the rough draft, as written and performed that night at the Fish House. I pointed to a round analog clock on the wall next to the stage, and started in an angry chopped tone:
I don’t want to see a clock.
Cover that damn white face and hands,
shut up that tick, tick, tic,
it penetrates my tapping foot
tapping to a metronome I refuse to meet
When I really want to run these feet
where my 2AM terrors don’t last till dawn.
Cover that damn white face and hands.
I can still run this five decade carcass
up any mountain peak I want
on the rocky range of my life.
Cover this damn white face and hands and hair.