Tuesday, October 14, 2014

To the Next Woman Who Wears This Pair of Heels [poem]

To the Next Woman Who Wears This Pair of Heels

Please, buy them on impulse.
Buy them because you need them
to go with your skirt, your nail polish,
the buttons on your blouse.
Buy them after you turn and squeeze
your foot into the tight crevice,
like a last person on the elevator,
like maybe five pounds and one quarter
inch past maximum capacity, even
though it's dangerous, you're unsure
the structure will hold, your heel
wavering on the stem like elephants
on tightropes, or tiny unicycles.
Do me a favor? Before the pain
makes you pass them off to a friend,
or a sister, or a thrift shop,
wear them one time some place
you shouldn't -- to traffic court
or a small bar down town
with the sign outside hung crooked,
with a bartender missing a tooth,
with the liquor-soaked clientele missing
their women, maybe women like me,
high-arched, spread-toed women
who walked off wearing flip-flops.
-----
I'm almost to the half-way point in this poeming marathon, and today I struggled. I put it off and put it off, considering one idea and then another only briefly. I wasn't really feeling inspired, I wasn't feeling that spark I need.

Before this project, I let that lack of spark, that particular sort of ennui that fuels procratination, keep me from writing.

Now, though, I know better. Now I know that if I push myself, the poems will come.

Neccessity is the mother of invention.....of poems.

So far, I have succeeded in writing a poem every day. I consider ideas, I look for ideas, I think for/about potential ideas until one catches my fancy and I sit and I write.

I put poeming at the forefront of my mind. I make it a priority.

Three cheers for external motivation!  Three cheers for the 30/30 Project!

This poem came when I selected a pair of beige, high-heeled shoes to give away to Goodwill.
They don't go with anything I've worn recently. They're not a great color for me. They probably aren't great for my feet.

Still, I didn't really want to let them go. They're really nice, classy, sexy shoes. I'd worn them burlesqueing. I was suddenly jealous of the woman I imagined selecting them from the shelf of tattered boots and clogs at Goodwill and wearing them on a date, or to the theater, or to work if she dared.

Then I decided to write this woman a letter as a send-off to my shoes. An homage.

Public Service Announcement for other poets and, really, anyone who writes: Read and re-read your work before you submit it. Read it backwards. Backwards helps you really see and check each word. Don't trust spellcheck. Spellcheck is often wrong and ridiculous. On the Tupelo Press blog, I realized that I had submitted "but" instead of "buy" on the second line. I believe I suffered that phenomenon where you read/see what you think is there/want to see.

Also, in a revision, I would changed the last line from walking off wearing flip-flops to:
who walked off wearing flip-flops.
Small change, but huge difference, I think.

I wrote this poem on October 14, 2014 as part of Tupelo Press's 30/30 Project.  You can find information about their project here: Tupelo Press 30/30 Project Page.

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