Sunday, April 5, 2009

Critique Needed

Today's entry for NaPoWriMo. I want to write structured poems, but this one has been bouncing around my head.

Warning: this includes four-letter words I don't say around students. (Though milder than what I hear on a daily basis.)


April 5
Not metaphorical, though it could be


There’s a pile of shit in my backyard.
Crap.
Poop.
Excrement.
Waste.
Call it whatever you like,
It’s there.

Buried, for the first time, by eighteen inches of--white--snow,
I am still bothered by the thought
Of the pile three months wide.

They didn’t even dig a hole when they “fixed” the plumbing.

Other stuff is back there too.
Whatever goes down the drain, I guess.
Can’t clean inside without increasing mess.
It makes you think differently about the chemicals.
Dishwater.
Shower suds.
Spilt milk.
Listerine, twice a day.

Is this even legal?

I started collecting vegetable peels, fruit rinds, bread
Crumbs that ease my mind--
even a little--
To compost.
Way I see it my landlord, the schoolboard, can’t complain.
This is the material that is listed on the “Do” list.
Pet feces are on the “Don’t” list.
Human? Not even mentioned.
When I take my good stuff back there,
onion skins fly away.
Sure, it looks like they are blown by the wind,
but I know they’re just as repelled as I am.

3 comments:

Kate Nowak said...

I'm not remotely qualified to critique poetry, but I like it. It sounds like something you'd hear by a spoken word artist. I like how each stanza has a note of finality. And I like the ending. Is life that different on the res? That plumbing = pile of raw sewage? That's depressing.

Sarah Cannon said...

Thanks, Kate!

To answer your question. Yes. Not always, but sometimes. My trailer and the vice principal's trailer are the only ones in teacher housing spewing raw sewage. But there are people on the reservation without indoor plumbing.

I don't think it's unusual for high-poverty areas to be that different. But here there is so little to counteract the poverty. Teacher housing is fancy by my students' standards. It's not this bad all the time--until you stop and think about it. I think that may be why I chose to share this poem. Because I get so wrapped up in life here that I forget what isn't normal.

I think I wrote the poem to be spoken. I read it out loud to myself as I wrote it, more than I have with the other poems so far. I don't think I'll record it for the blog though. I hate hearing my voice on tape.

Kate Nowak said...

Ugh, hate my voice too. I think everyone does.

Thanks for sharing a bit of your experience, in a very creative way.