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The Art of Poetry

Suzannah Tarkington


In honor of Alice and Rick Tarkington, with many thanks to Amy Story, Mark May-Beaver and Michael Halad

The Memoir If only this poem could affect you like it does me. Word by word like a puzzle your body starting to transform. Stanzas assembling into limbs. Knobby verses clicking into place like the sharp pop of joints. Letters as pieces interlocking to construct your skin. Feet crafted from titles and text, forming your final image.

The puzzle solved, the final picture shows an apercu of your life, An image commented on by others but not one that will last forever. Like all good things which linger, In which you hold onto a picturesque scene of what you think you have, There comes a time when commas can no longer be the glue that holds the pieces together. When the puzzle is shattered what is left scattered are the pieces children will pick up and place back in the box. These are the scraps of your story, your memoir.


The Night  Bugs  

  Here  under  the  silky  moonlight   Two  young  lovers  sit,  worlds  bathed  in  sparkling  bliss   Reflections  of  their  hopeful  dreams  bouncing  off  the  concrete  and  rearview  mirrors     Hands  holding  limply  to  one  another,  until  they  pull  away     They  sit  in  wait  to  see  what’s  next   After  an  evening  burdened  by  nauseating  silence  and  averted  glances,     Now  they  slowly  start  to  drift  away  from  the  cracked  leather  seats  heated  by  the   Warmth  of  their  bodies  into  those  specks  of  light.     Like  night  bugs  engulfed  in  the  satin  blue  of  evening   They  fly  towards  the  source  of  light  which   Leads  their  paths.        Seeing  no  warnings  signs  until  it  might  be  too  late   How  beautiful  it  seems,  to  be   One  with  the  light  and  filled  to  the  brim   With  passing  moments  spent  together,  looking  out  the  closed  windows  into  the  black   abyss.       They  sit   Sustained  by  the  breath  of  the  other   While  suffocated  simultaneously  by  their  poisonous  exhalations.     Not  till  the  light  fades  and  the  concrete  dims  to  the  shade  of  shadows  past   Will  they  see  the  rock  beneath  their  ‘everything’  crumble   Feet  falling  away  at  the  hands  of  another.                        

The Art of Poetry Part One  
The Art of Poetry Part One