• 10 minute writing assignment: revised twice

    Date: 2015.06.11 | Category: Assignments | Tags: ,,,,,,

    I enjoy re-visioning (not editing). It’s fascinating to see where a poem will lead you, if you let it. It helps to play with words, with sounds, with punctuation: change happens. The following poem changed meaning from the draft to the second revision: suddenly the grandmother was no longer thinking about kisses from former lovers, but from her mother-did her mother kiss her, did she kiss her mother-these thoughts triggered by the way her grandson, who has autism, kisses her by not physically kissing her, but by her kissing him.

    This poem is far from completion.

    Any comments about your process of revision welcomed.

    Give Grandma a Kiss
    for Ethan

    I always wear mauve lipstick, give
    Grandma a kiss

    he leans in, all 2 1/2 years of him,
    knowing more than I know
    after 67 years not knowing
    if my mother kissed me.

    He leans in without hesitation,
    silent, vulnerable.
    I mark his tender forehead with a temporary
    tattoo: my kiss his kiss. Like no kiss
    I can remember.

    give grandma a kiss

    His heart organic, knowing what it is
    to hold breath a millisecond; a mime
    needing to be understood.

    give grandma a kiss

    Grandma wants to see underneath
    his innocence, to reach what she lost;
    she was a girl afraid to speak.

    give grandma a kiss

    Later, my daughter-in-law, the nurse,
    questions what she thinks is a scratch
    on his forehead;
    how has he hurt himself this time?

    The hurt is mine. The gift: unwrapped,
    visible, transparent.

    ©Sherry Lee
    June 11, 2015
    Second revision

    Give Grandma a Kiss
    for Ethan

    I always wear mauve lipstick, give
    Grandma a kiss—

    He leans in, all seven years of him, knowing
    more than I know
    after 67 years, and thousands of kisses.

    He leans in, without hesitation, vulnerable.
    I mark his tender forehead with a temporary
    tattoo. My kiss his kiss. Like no kiss
    a man has given me. Words
    not necessary language. His way
    of love, spontaneous, silent

    give grandma a kiss

    a heart organic, knowing what it is
    to hold breath a millisecond; a mime
    needing to be understood.

    give grandma a kiss

    Grandma wants to see underneath
    the innocence, to reach what she lost
    or never experienced.

    give grandma a kiss

    Later, my daughter-in-law, the nurse,
    questions what she thinks is a scratch;
    how has he hurt himself this time?

    The hurt is mine; the gift unwrapped,
    visible, transparent.

    ©Sherry Lee
    May 25, 2015
    First revision

    The Kiss, More Than a Kiss

    I always wear mauve lipstick, give
    Grandma a kiss
    He leans in, all seven years of him, knowing
    more than I know after
    67 years of thousands of kisses.
    He leans in, without hesitation. I
    mark his brown forehead with a temporary
    tattoo. My kiss his kiss. Like no kiss
    a man has given me. Words not
    necessary language. His way
    of love, spontaneous, silent

    a heart organic, knowing what it is
    to hold breath a millisecond; a mime
    not needing to be understood.

    But Grandma wants to see underneath
    the innocence, to reach what she lost
    or never experienced.

    Later, my daughter-in-law, the nurse,
    questions what she thinks is a scratch;
    how has he hurt himself this time?

    The hurt is mine; the gift unwrapped,
    visible, transparent.

    ©Sherry Lee
    May 19, 2015
    Draft