Poetry: Am I Cool Enough to Play in the Poet’s Sandbox?

Poetry has wriggled itself inside me, leaving me pondering words and feelings for hours. I wish I’d not stopped writing so I’d be further along and far more skilled at expressing myself and seeing metaphors and abstractions. My poetry class has been a rough back and forth. Sometimes I feel excited and joyful, and other times I’m filled with crippling self-doubt.

I have a lot of work to do.

This week we did our own version of two poems, which play off of each other.

The first is “We Real Cool” by Gwendolyn Brooks. We were to write a version of this poem as a writer at Comic-Con. I’m fairly certain I’m the only person in my class who has never been, but I imagined myself there. The first thing that came to mind was feeling like I don’t belong—a sense I’m not creative or real enough. I followed the exact format of the poem and found when others shared their interpretations they were far less rigid in their thinking—something for me to ponder moving forward.

For our second poem, we looked at “The Golden Shovel” by Terrance Hayes. He uses all the words of “We Real Cool” to create two more poems with different meanings. I found this exercise the most fun I’ve had so far. I loved breaking the words up and playing with how they sounded reading them out loud. This was also the most personal for me, exploring my feelings of being not worthy of being part of the creative world.

I hope you enjoy this third week of poetry. As always, any and all feedback is greatly appreciated.


Wordy Ones
Lost at Comic-Con

Too much I see
This bunch. See

The fake. See
Me take. See

Words real. See
Me feel. See

It all. See
Me fall.


Lost in Wordy World

Part I

Audaciously ungraciously stumbling too
drunk with unresolved dreams much
too much to be with, play with, cool kids. I
pretend, extend, and reach with all to see

if real me is enough. Naive and candied, honeyed this
world of wordy geniuses, the authentic bunch
eludes timeworn plain-Jane me, blinking un see

n. Hidden within shadows, turning, twisting off the
path traveled, into deep waters where fabulous fake
ery lives within the pulsing, pushing. Arms paddle to see/

sea creatures within writhing, writing to unearth a me.
Screeching too late, too late, haunted—take
deeper voyage under, over, pen on paper to see

k truths with excavated shoveled sand. Words uncover wily words
writhing words, piled upward and upright toward some real
ness. Will I, won’t I, the dance of solitary solidarity see

ing where words take, two pigeon-toed left feet, lead/lean on me.
Bounded, tethered by urgent hoping, desperation—finally feel
and reel and real, to uncover the sea and seethe and see.

Kindness, ambition married with martyr me, it
wars, bloodied knives out, within my curving all-rounded
frame. It’s mothering outward me versus internal me see

ing vast emptiness hidden in wordy distant worlds. The me
to be, to stumble, slipping on words with care, for I may fatally fall.

Part II

Writers write words too
big inside to ignore, much
ruckus, boisterous blabbering. But I
hear the calling whippoorwills, see

the creaking willows in this
hollow by the sea. I fond a bunch
of cryptic messages, bottles see

n bobbing up and down the
waves to me, for me. Not fake
pain, no, far too real. See

the version, vision of me
you see, isn’t to take,
no, it isn’t for you to see

at all. With my words/
weapons I become more real
ly me. Each breath, see

words flow, float from me
—pen on paper, the feel
of all or nothing, see

me give and give, it
feels like not enough. All
I am and all I see—

collections of words in me.
Don’t look away or I’ll fall.

42 thoughts on “Poetry: Am I Cool Enough to Play in the Poet’s Sandbox?

  1. Bridgette, I am enjoying your poetry class exploration, beginning with your discussion about your relationship with poetry to your poetic creations. Your poem, “Lost in Wordy World” was an immersive experience. 👏🏻

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is brilliant.

    I know I’ve read We Real Cool somewhere… probably an English class decades ago. The Golden Shovel is brilliant the way it hides all those words in there… that’s like the kind of thing I do when I hide secret messages in poems (see DLTDGB #119).

    I like yours too. And I’ve never been to one of those conventions either… I dated someone who was into that stuff, and the aftermath of that experience made me never want to be a part of it.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Brigette I would like to play in your sand-box! Great poems. Although my background is journalism I hadn’t done any poetry for a while. I joined a local bush poets group over two years ago. There are those who create and others who enjoy sharing the works of others. Like you, I didn’t think my poetry was worth sharing but I have started doing more and sharing it via my blog. Interesting to see that I get more likes for poetry posts than other ones!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! My background is also journalism and I’ve experienced the same thing. My personal essays and poetry get far more interest than my short stories. I think it has to do with length more than anything, but poetry does speak far more clearly about a feeling or experience. I’ve enjoyed writing it more and think I will probably continue to incorporate it into all my writing.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you for taking the time to respond. I really miss journalism and do despair what passes as media these days! Problem is no one seems to want to pay for quality content and they are the poorer for it. I still do write articles for our local newspaper where I worked 30 years ago! That is when I started getting into photography as well. Look forward to whatever you choose to write about Bridgette. Lynn

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Well now, if this ain’t relatable as all get out. I’ve been writing since second grade. At this point in my life, it’s basically a compulsion, or an automatic function. All the same, my struggle with Imposter Syndrome is intense. I doubt I’m ever going to believe my writing is good enough, but I just keep on writing anyway because Life would be joyless without it. Let’s both keep on keeping on, if only for ourselves!

    I, for one, really enjoy the sounds I’m reading in your poetry so far. In my humble opinion, your work is obviously meant to be read aloud. Thanks again for being so kind as to comment on one of my posts. I’d not have come across your site otherwise. ^^

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for your kind words and for reading my stuff. I appreciate it so much.

      The imposter syndrome, yes! I struggle with it every single day. There’s so much I want to accomplish with my writing, but it can’t happen if I allow the negative self talk to get so loud it stops me for days…months…years…again. So, I hit publish 3 times a week right now to simply push myself to grow in vulnerability and also in my comfort level with my own words. I’m happy you are allowing yourself the joy of writing and that I found your blog! Happy writing.

      Liked by 1 person

      • That’s fantastic, Bridgette! I’ll be cheering you on, then. ^^ I’m actually going to take a leaf out of your book, and have regular posting days. Of course, now I have to decide which pieces to post first. Ugh. Too hard.

        I’m apparently a masochist because the only thing that really helps me push through being discouraged in my writing is… writing. Heeeeeh. I guess I’m the definition of a vent writer.

        Also, I still need to go give it a proper read, but I may have had a geek out moment over The Midnight Grater because: a) I write from my nightmares a lot too b) I have my own version of the Sandman that was born out of writing for Inktober 2020. I’ve got commissioned art of him and everything.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Wow! I’m super intrigued and want to hear A LOT more about your Sandman.

        Without the structure of my blog, my creativity is all over the place. I may take up a craft for a season or two, deep dive down some random hole or another, and surface feeling dazed and discouraged. This year challenge I’ve given myself is the only thing, besides NaNoWriMo, I’ve found that keeps me focused.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Heh, now I feel bad for having deleted my “Knox Creates” category yesterday. I had all of Sandman’s content in there. My site’s looking more proper now, though. It was the right call. I can always put his shorts back up anyhow. :3

        Wow, so how long have you been doing NaNoWriMo? Or is this going to be your first year? Either way, huzzah! That’s really admirable. I’m most definitely /not/ there yet. If ever. I’m happy being a short story writer, though. I’ve always been more that than a novelist. I started doing Writer’s Inktober in 2020, though, and that’s been really fun [but stressful, lol]. I plan to keep doing it as long as someone keeps hosting it. Keep up with your challenge this year. you can do it!

        Liked by 1 person

      • I’m excited to keep reading your stuff. You have a very unique and interesting style of writing I really like.

        I’ve done NaNo 3 times, but only finished it twice. I currently have 3 novels written but all are still far too rough to be published or submitted anywhere. My kids are teens and I’m trying to position myself to not have terrible empty nest when they move on to whatever they decide to do.

        My daughter did Inktober last year but didn’t finish. It seems quite fun, but stressful as well!

        Thank you for your support. It means a lot.

        Like

      • OMG, that’s so awesome though. Three whole novels written is amazing, rough or not. I can’t even get a proper collection of short stories put together because I’m too all over the place, thematically. 🤣 I’m also so MUCH more insecure about sharing my short stories than poetry.

        I look forward to getting to know you through your blog! Thanks for your support as well. Seeing comments on my posts makes me want to share more.

        Did your daughter do traditional Inktober, with art, or is she also a writer? My sister is the visual artist of the two of us. I can’t draw to save my life.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I’m doing a 52 week short story challenge and I no longer want to puke when I hit publish each week. It’s been exhausting having to create a new world each week, but also transformative.

        My daughter is a visual artist at 15, mainly sticking to her favorite form which is ink. I’m excited for her to start high school next year and expand her artistic mediums. I can’t draw either! Sure wish I could.

        Like

      • I used to run [read: had club dumped in lap after founding president ditched out] a text-based roleplay club. We hosted bi-monthly public rps and needed to create new OCs/scenarios for each one. So, I know that exhaustion for sure!

        At 15, I was analyzing Pink Floyd for fun and, penning shockingly jaded daily journal entries and working on my one and only novel idea. I guess I’ve got a one- track artistic mind. 🤣 Photography is the only other medium I ever bothered with. Best of luck to your kiddo in HS!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Welp, our adult selves can just befriend each other instead- even better. :3

        I miss developing my own prints. And colouring in details here and there by hand- buying the concentrated water colours was always fun. I still enjoy taking pictures, but having to switch to digital kind of dampened my enthusiasm by a lot. I guess I’m just a crotchety old man at heart, yelling at kids to get off my lawn. xD

        Liked by 1 person

      • That sounds so cool! I developed photos in the dark room in my college newspaper days, but that was a lifetime ago. Now I am learning to fidget with digital photos and I agree it’s decidedly less fun. One of my retirement plans is to have a dark room.

        Like

      • High School is when I had access to a darkroom. I took Intro To Photography my junior year, and my teacher let me continue to use her dark room during Senior year, when her current students didn’t need it. I wasn’t able to keep up with it in college because I was taking too many foreign language courses- those eat up course credits like nothing else. That sounds like an epic retirement plan.

        Like

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