Blank Verse

My first two years of high school were as turbulent as a washing machine on spin cycle.  Family dysfunction, the death of my grandfather, and a surge of hormones sent me spiraling out of control.  I skipped out of school, ran with a tough crowd, got into mischief, and challenged anyone in authority.

In my junior year, I took a creative writing class.  Mr. Schriener, my teacher, urged me to release my teenage angst through blank verse poetry.  Finding it terribly cathartic, I filled spiral notebooks with poems about the girl I had been and the woman I hoped to become.  I wrote about the pressing issues in my tiny world:  The vapidity of the popular clique, my first love, my unrequited desire for expensive designer jeans, my stepfather's frequent forays into adultery, battles with my mother, the uncertainty of my future.

Mr. Schriener read some of my poems and suggested I submit them to magazines.  With a belly full of nerves and doubt, I sent three emotion-filled, blank verse poems to Seventeen magazine.  A few weeks later, I received a letter from an editor requesting permission to purchase and publish all three of my poems for a whopping sum of...wait for it...forty-five dollars. Forty-five whole, lovely dollars.  I was ecstatic.  Hello Literary World, I have arrived! 
Here is one of my poems published in Seventeen:
A Mid-Western Summer
By Leah Marie Brown

I pour the ice cubes from
Grandma’s tangy lemonade
Onto the steaming cement,
Watching as they melt away
Clouds in a summer sky,
Leaving a puddle of water that soon evaporates.

The street lights flicker on,
Bizarre shadows on the buildings.

The melodic tune of the ice-cream truck
Into the night
Fireflies in the grass.

Somewhere between first love and my second marriage, I stopped scribbling poems in spiral notebooks.  I've recently renewed my hobby.  I have started filling notebooks with blank verse poetry.  Here are some of my latest attempts. 

By Leah Marie Brown

Should I bid you Adieu, my love?
Should I see you only in my dreams,
feel you only in Spring's sweet breath,
hear your promises only in the tolling of bells?
Adieu, then.

And Yet You Live
By Leah Marie Brown

I see you,
hovering on the edges of my dreams.
You have become an amorphous creature
confined to a nocturnal netherworld,
banished by dawn's first light,
an exile of my lucidity.

You are my beloved chimera,
the flesh and bone monster
who laid waste to my fragile existence,
who devoured my heart,
who has enslaved my soul.

The poet doesn't always tap her own personal well to create her poems; sometimes she sees things that stir her soul.  The following poem was inspired after I saw a photograph of Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis watching a basketball game.  There is something so timeless, so tender about the way Mila rests her head on Ashton's shoulder.  It is clear she feels at ease and cherished.  Ashton has his arm around his lover in an easy, protective way.  These are two people who are comfortable with each other, kindred spirits enjoying each other's company.  And we were allowed a look at that fleeting moment.
by Leah Marie Brown

I long to feel protected,
To rest my head on the shoulder of my lover
To feel his warmth,
To inhale his sweet breath,
To hear the deep timbre of his voice as he speaks my name.

I long to crash upon his shores
To know the safety of existing
in the harbor of his love.

I long to be tossed about
on a sea of passion,
To ride on waves of ecstasy,
To drown in the depths of his all consuming desire.

I long to feel cherished,
To rest my head on the shoulder of my lover,
To hear his heartbeat and
to know that it beats its tattoo
For me, only me.

Longing Revisited
By Leah Marie Brown

You are the cure
for my relentless suffering,
this palpable loneliness,
This excruciating longing.

You, my other half,
My kindred spirit,
My lost soul mate.

And yet you remain elusive,
Shimmering on the edges of
My most golden dreams,
Fading with dawn's diaphanous light.

How long will you allow me to suffer,
to brave this cruel world
like a ship tossed about on an angry sea?

The following poems were inspired by a myriad of things - a love story about Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin and Percy Bysshe Shelley, a friend's Facebook update, an upsetting email...

My Bed
By Leah Marie Brown

In those lonely, small hours,
just before dawn,
I lay,
folded in darkness,
and thinking of you.

The Minutiae
By Leah Marie Brown

You've shared with me
the large parts of your life,
your secret pains and longings.

But I often wonder
about the million small parts.
The inconsequential.
Pieces that seem too insignificant
to share.

I want to gather them all,
those tiny pieces.
Open my arms and sweep them
into my lap,
study them
one by one.
Until I know all of you.

Once I Could Fly
By Leah Marie Brown

When I was a child,
I often dreamt I could fly.
Magical, childish dreams.
I would soar through the air,
my arms outstretched,
my laughter leaving
great, shimmery contrails.

As I grew,
as Life's looming shadow encroached,
I forgot what it felt like to fly.
To feel the weightlessness of childish laughter.
To move through contrails of my making.

Sometimes, when I cast my thoughts
over the ocean of time and space
that separates us,
When I remember those golden moments,
when the sunshine of our love and youth
was in its dawn,
I begin to remember what it is to fly.

I hear the wind rushing,
feel the weightlessness
of an unburdened heart,
see the Heavens
shimmering all around me.

It is in those moments,
I think,
"Once, I could fly."

Of Reality
By Leah Marie Brown

I move deeper into myself
Away from the world
And Closer to you.
I dwell in an obscure place
Of Memories and dreams,
Where we are both impervious
to the pains of Reality.

You Don't Know Me
By Leah Marie Brown

You look at my radiant smile,
see the trappings of my fabulous life,
The flowing blonde locks, impeccable style,
And think, "She lives without strife."

I say, "You don't know me."

You hear my easily uttered quips,
My foibles, the stories I share,
And the laughter from my lips,
And think, "She lives without care."

I say, "You don't know me."

Keep your shallow assessment to yourself,
Without judgement about what you see,
Put recriminations high upon the shelf,
My Friend, You don;'t know me!

You do not comprehend my silent pain,
the invisible hounds nipping my heart,
the tears i shed like acid rain,
the furious fangs tearing me apart.

Dear Friend, "You don't know me."


Jack Trunnell said...

Your poems speak to the hearts of many, some in ways you might realize. You speak for those who struggle often to find the right words. You speak both to and for an audience.

ParisMaddy said...

Beautiful poems and posting, Leah Marie. May love follow you wherever you travel.

¸.•°♡♡彡Joyeuses Fêtes de Pâques.

Happy Easter from one of your dysfunctional family members.