Getting to Know Her

I haven’t been able to keep up with a poem-a-day pace, but this April has been extremely, surprisingly (given all of the other things going on–AWP, Conversations & Connections, semester end) productive and prolific for me. As of this morning, I’ve got 33 drafts toward a new project, about a fictional-ish character called “Round Baby.” So I’m not going to make it to my initial goal of 50 by the end of the month, but still I’m pretty pleased.

I’m really enjoying learning about this character a little bit each day. I look forward to 5:30 AM (I know. What the hell?) when I wake us both up and we get going. It’s turning out that we have some things in common, but she deals with the world much differently than I did while growing up. I like her so far.

At the outset, I didn’t know how old I’d let her grow in the poems, but it’s become clear to me that she peaks around age 15, which is about as awful and awesome an age as any I can remember. For me it was very much a fulcrum year. Lots of tension and anticipation right before so much changed.

I also don’t know yet if this will end up being a chapbook or if I’ll push it to full-length. I’m going to keep writing and not worry about that for now. I’ve started sending out some of the poems, and we’ll see if they land. For now, some titles to tempt you:

“Round Baby Imagines Ships Made of Steel and Stars”
“Round Baby Watches the Sky for Falling Debris”
“Round Baby Believes in Ghosts”

And this, from the poem, “Round Baby Runs Away,” should place you in a particular age and era:

Stuff your bag
with provisions,
Baby: Matchbox cars,
Shaun Cassidy,
Funyuns.Take
the busted umbrella cuz
Mother’s always calling
for rain.

For those of you who have no idea who I’m talking about: click to swoon with me.

(note to self: new draft called “Round Baby Reads Tiger Beat.”)

Incidentally, Shaun’s album Under Wraps includes the track, “Taxi Dance,” which begins with the lyric, “Sheila was a girl, misunderstood…”

Oh, Shaun. How do you know me so well?

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