KATHRYN HAYES CONTEST!

KATHRYN HAYES CONTEST!
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Friday, April 2, 2010

HOW TO WRITE A POEM

By Rosalie Brinn



Have a very lonely childhood. Be placed in an out of district school. Be more religious than the people in your public school, but not desirable to the people who go to a Hebrew Day School (Yeshiva). Be taller than everyone else. Be awkward in childhood games and never get picked. Get selected to an intellectually gifted class. Be confused by math, but way ahead in reading and writing skills. Have parents who are nonplussed by the swan in their midst, and an older sibling who won't let you read the books brought home from the library because you read them faster and understand them better.

Have this continue through high school. Never go into the cafeteria because you are afraid of the other kids. Have your mother cut your hair. Wear ugly clothing because that is all you have. Never date, have few friends. Want to go to law school, know your parents will never help. Decide instead to go to Business College.

Start to date, but your parents want you to get married after three dates or stop the relationship. Don't pay attention.

Someone wants to marry you but you don't. You don't want an apartment in Brooklyn, children and neighbors as a lifestyle. You don't want to drag a shopping cart to and from the supermarket all your life either. You study for the MBA from a book. You get in, your boyfriend doesn't. You break up, your parents and sibling are livid.

You write off and on. You get published in newspapers in high school and college, but don't see a future in writing.

You meet your future husband. Your parents tell you not to continue with the MBA. It will ruin your marriage, they say. You laugh and continue.

You get married. Your husband works all the time. You have a child, he works. You have another child, he continues to work. You are alone because you don't drive. You take lessons on your own. You pass the test.

You start managing consultations for your husband. You start to write again. You keep a journal, you write poetry. You make stabs at writing a novel. You continue with the MBA. Your husband is away working all the time. He works 13 days straight.

You don't like sisterhood meetings or organizations. You try to fit in but you don't. You do needlework and write.

A friend gives you an app for an Ivy League invitational. You get in. Everyone is entranced with your writing and wants to know what happens next.

You start stealing time to go to workshops. You get into every invitational you apply for.

Your daughter gets married. She gets pregnant. She miscarries. Your heart is broken so many times, it shatters.

You are there waiting outside. You cry briefly when she emerges but no one comforts you. There is no name that you can call and they come to you.

You start to write a poem. It isn't right. You rewrite it over and over. The last missing word comes from a thesaurus.

You are picked to read for your class at the 92nd Street Y. You cannot believe that it happened to you. You pick the poem about the miscarriage for their online literary magazine. It is the culmination of all the hurt and loneliness of your life.

That is how you write a poem. ♥



Rosalie Brinn lives in Long Island. She has been in invitationals at Bennington, Barnard, the 92nd Street Y (twice for poetry) and New York University (twice for poetry tutorial). She likes writing poetry because it sharpens her writing skills. Rosalie has been a social worker at a day care center and a management consultant to her husband's practice; she’s played the stock and commodity markets, and has been a principle in commercial real estate deals. Rosalie is a wife, mother of adult children, grandmother and former caretaker of all elderly relatives. She started writing as a child and now considers it her passion and true vocation.

2 comments:

  1. Persistence has been key in your life. I imagine you must have years of journals and poems on your shelves. Life's lessons are hard but you have survived and flourished. Congratulations.---Maria

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  2. What a powerful piece. I am just sitting here thinking about it. So spare, and yet it says it all. Elizabeth Palladino

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