Untethered or Not – Writing Poetry in Class

In one of the poetry workshops I attended at the Geneva Writers Conference, we were encouraged to allow our minds to amble aimlessly like a camel, to allow words to come to us. Here is my result (on a topic which is obviously becoming a bit of an obsession with me). I am linking it to dVerse Poets’ much-loved and always interesting Open Link Night, which should be starting this evening (European time).

The straitjackets of corporates I seek to embellish

with jewel-coloured scarves.

The coffin-planks of business jargon I scrape on emery boards

to soften with a smile.

Within the gnarl of strategic progression I untangle

a few words that buzz

– raw and angry – Swiss army knives shredding my pocket

they clamour for rebirth

shimmering Morganas, outside and beside their utilitarian desert.

I undress them

watch them shiver

hear them groan and misbehave.

Done with coaxing I am cruel.

Beseech no more I point the way.

Take no prisoners, gloves are off.

Photo credit: Newsjournal/Kelly Jordan
Photo credit: Newsjournal/Kelly Jordan

Yet their world of cloned rabbits have leeched me out of colour.

Discipline is my undoing.

My words jump through endless monochrome hoops

how they conform

how they confirm

docility is taking over the circus.

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33 thoughts on “Untethered or Not – Writing Poetry in Class”

  1. Marina Sofia – What an eloquent and powerful way to show how ‘corporate think’ and ‘buzzwords’ can stifle individual thought and creativity if one lets them. I understand exactly what you mean here.

    1. I started this poem off all optimistic about being able to vanquish the corporate jargon, but in the end the poem surprised me by allowing the words to vanquish me…

  2. As an escapee from corporate hell, you made me shiver from the memory of the sheer mind-numbingness of it all. Love the idea of your embellished straitjacket…

      1. I know. I retreated back into the public sector eventually, but I’m afraid corporate mentality and doublethink has nearly as big a hold in that now too.

  3. the corporate world can be a tough place…ugh… i’m trying to balance both…i have the illusion probably i manage…ha.. interesting on the workshop..to allow our minds to amble aimlessly like a camel, to allow words to come to us….. ha i like…i have to try..

    1. It all started from a poem by Rumi ‘Drink the wine that moves you/ as a camel moves when it’s been untied/ and is just ambling about’. Funnily enough, a prescriptive poem about lack of restraints…

  4. Yes, despite the apparent wandering of the word selection and the open structure, this forms a highly coherent whole with a clear message – an interesting use of words – far from random in the end!

    1. The poem surprised me with the way it was heading at the end, to be honest. But I guess if we knew right away what we thought and wanted to say, we wouldn’t write poetry.

  5. ah i would rather my words have wild freedom you know….i like where you went with this…the personification of the words is cool…the undressing, them shivering…i am glad i escaped corporate life…i would not want to condemn my words to it…smiles.

    1. Thank you, Polly. I suppose if you allow your mind to wander, it will come up with the things you care most passionately about. So this ambling thing is wiser than it sounds!

  6. I enjoyed reading this unique and well-penned reflection on capturing words, on writing–especially the phrase below:

    “they clamour for rebirth

    shimmering Morganas, outside and beside their utilitarian desert.”

    Great choice of words in this. So often this type of subject pulls up cliches; this did not. Nicely done.

  7. This is excellent writing!True,how many of us get enmeshed in this illusory world of corporate jargon,losing our ability to think freely and as you rightly said,too much discipline only reinforces that and people end up conforming and confirming :-)

  8. A bit of a workshop poem but also it shows how the prose and poetry writers are always conversing–arguing, haranguing, haruspicating, weaving back and forth between the procession of a thought and the elegance of an image. At the end it isn’t clear if the dessication of the them is due to corporate or literary or some other ghastly command–maybe it’s just the superego, or we’re maybe just getting older–and by not answering that the poem remains fertile. Maybe modernity leaves us with no other choices.

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