RE-VISIONING: blog entry #2


RE-VISIONING:  blog entry #2

By now, everyone who read my first blog entry has said, I’ve heard it before or s/he has now written his/her first poem!  Nevertheless, to continue the discussion on how to make the poem better, let it be known, I enjoy revising.


However, a friend once said I have the habit of revising the life out of my writing.   Basically she said she would rather see my passion ignite, my story explode, than crafty line breaks or intellectual word choices spark the page.  Okay, both would be preferable, but I shouldn’t lose the one for the other.


I try not to obsess as I revise.  Mantra:  balance, moderation, know when to say no.


some amount of tweaking is commendable.  Tweaking should make the writing most engaging, most meaningful—and it will look good, too!


Here’s an interesting exercise which actually led to an unorthodox poem, or maybe a very orthodox one (who knows, once I was told my non/linear essay was not good—however I wasn’t writing or trying to write a non/linear essay-thus, my linear essay must have been truly meritless).


One of the love poems I’ve written, and a possible highlight of my Imagine Love manuscript, became an exercise in permanency versus my usual living and writing in the moment don’t save everything I write, trash drafts/no one is going to pay me or any living relative, if I happen to be dead, hundreds of thousands of dollars to have every scratch of my paper in their library demeanor (however my sister is saving much of what I write). 


This love poem wanted to be visible in all its fluidity (the more I write or say the word love, perhaps the better chance I will soon experience it).  This poem said: don’t eliminate parts of me you (me the author) don’t like.  This poem said: glorify my past, my present, and if you can figure a way to do it—my future.  Thus, nothing was discarded.


This is the poem:



she said, but how to mean know enough

enough to move redirect intention; live loneliness

majestically with/out the bumps and bruises

Hold on, hold out, hunger hunker low, reject desire the hunger.


 Wwait.  Seize memory.  Trust intuition

             he likes you okay you’re beautiful

            okay he’s reaching for you okay

            he’s afraid okay he’s being practical

            okay this is what comfort can

            look like okay


 How to know time exists beyond identity, that

love can wait and love can wait and love

             online dating

                        even white women want white women

                         or whores

                         white men want white women or

                         whores Asian generally

                        doesn’t matter

                         (never mattered who My Chinese daddy is)

                         Mama is black Negro and told me and told me

                        yes and no


How to recognize mistake from myth, assume guilt

until proven innocence, how many have loved and

lost her

                        you’re white, she said, you’re

                        a man, she said, Catholic, Republican, camper, kayaker,

                        beautiful   narcissistic  she said,

                        don’t want you she said

                         but, she said, Mr. Brown, quit messin’ with me!          

 She said, can I wait, I can wait, can I, why wait, who else has to wait, I’m tired of wanting

to wait


 It’s been awhile since I read this poem.  I hear a cry for further re-visioning.  And, maybe I should date each change to show the poem’s journey over a long period of time.  Ahhhhhhhhhh.  Much to consider.  (I see a page so dense in double strike-throughs, the poem disappears.  Maybe I should become a visual artist.)

 Try it.  Write a poem today. Watch it evolve over days, months, maybe even years.  But keep the poem in its entirety.  Let it live!


Sherry Quan Lee

August 19, 2009

About Sherry

Author. Poet. Teacher. Mentor. Chinese/Blackbird.


  1. Jay, thanks for the suggestion, I like your idea using “and/or” or maybe I should just write a succession of poems with slight variations as a running look at revisions. Lots of possibility. Now, I just have to sit down and write!


  2. Hi, I like all your words, even with lines thru them, it shows the thinking process, or maybe just use “and/or” and let the reader decide the best words for themselves based on their experiences. And then it needs to be as written for a while, like a song, and then sung by some one else in another key, it will be changed and yet still your poem.
    I probably am not making sense, but at the moment thats what i think, I love all your words. Jay Sandvik

  3. Well Sherry,

    I like the power and content in this poem.
    The strike thrus enhance it visually. It is like when you
    do not use a word and later regret it, but also allows us to know and see another perspective.

    I never tried to write a poem and go back to it months later.

    I did over the past couple of weeks write two poems and revised them which I think is totally different. But, I am going to take your advice and rework the poems and see what I come up with.

    I like your site. VERY nice!!

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