Week 7

§Brainard’s Memory: Write a poem all of whose lines start “I remember …” (Reading: Joe Brainard’s I Remember & audio)


§Write a poem about a single object. (Reading: Ponge’s Object)


I remember/One Object


I remember that blue spruce, once about my height.

I remember its soft shade of frosted, sea-foamy blue green.

I remember the sharp smell—earthy, spicy, fresh—and the waxy, smooth feel of the needles.

I remember the first time I saw a cone on it, knew my spruce and my neighbor’s monstrous pine must be like family.

I remember the way it spread up and outward: perfect, shrinking pinwheeled branches, stacked one on the other.

I remember the front yard ahead, the house at its flank—my grandfather’s, but also mine then—and the row of white peonies in line behind it.

I remember one summer trimming, electric hedge clippers screaming, thick gloves to protect my soft hands against fallen scraps.

I remember moving away, and how it looked a little bigger each time I came back, every few weeks for years, then less frequently for a few more.

I remember the nests, the birds, the baby rabbits one time, the plastic bags that got caught, the kickballs from next door, all sheltered by indestructible barbed boughs.

I remember the realtor’s promises, my grandfather’s new fear of living alone, and the only house I’ve ever really thought of as home.

I remember that tree, but I won’t see it again.




I remember (take 2)


I remember the dread of forgetting moments, those

I remember on purpose so I can return to them later, the ones

I remember when I forget what good feels like. Always losing minutes, I can’t help it, but

I remember to snatch the instants which confirm what I think

I remember, what I think I already know, and I let fall the others that tell me what

I remember might be wrong. So what is it really that

I remember? What happened, or not? And why can’t

I remember forever?




§Synchronicity: Write a poem in which all the events occur simultaneously.




As the slammed door’s shout retreats,

a mother’s steady hand wipes a tear trembling

down the bridge of her nose, one fluid motion

with her husband’s uneasy throat clearing,

his hand raised to block the rasp of his unsteady breath.

The clock strikes exactly 45 seconds past 3:33,

a slight tick muffled by the swish of a sheer curtain alongside

an open window letting a too-cool afternoon breeze inside.

A talk show host babbles, low and incoherent, from the next room,

that empty, piercing noise of a TV left on louder than her voice.

A sigh of relief, apprehension on the far side of the door,

steps off the worn wooden porch a bit harder to take

since they seem somehow more final this time.


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