Flight of the Paper Birds

tell me the entire face is mine
even the subtle interior
like a toy silver bell

tell me the riddle 
at the end of the nose is also mine 
a red letter "r" or an ember of hair 
	a wing
where innocent elbows used to be

as if to say, we are each standing
at the foot of an impossible triumph

while our souls labor under the weight 
of the human questions like a bunch of 
mad boys flying at the sun
	one at a time
	two at a time
	three & four & five 
		at a time

blind pigs 
mud angels 
broken halos

I have decided that Flight of the Paper Birds will be the title poem and concept behind my forthcoming chapbook. I spent a great deal of time yesterday going through my poetry from the past two years. If I had a nickel for every time I thought, “My God, I can’t believe I wrote THAT!” Indeed, if I’m going to be honest, it was a cringeworthy exercise–one that made me sense I’ve evolved as a poet in the past year, especially, and that radically changed my perspective on this whole project. I realized there are lots of good ideas, images, and lines that I can and should salvage from my earlier work. Revise, repurpose, and revivify. That is what this chapbook will be. Lots of new poetry. Made mostly from old poetry, much like “Flight of the Paper Birds,” a poem I first published here on the blog about two years ago. All that remains now is the title.

The collage above will be the front cover. (The feathers on the birds are actually pieces of a hawk feather I found about a month ago and which I’ve been hoping to put to good use.) Anyway, now that I’ve got a concept for the chapbook, I’m really excited about it. It’s going to be very different from the first one, I hope, in a good way. Thank you, as always, for reading. And I hope you all have a great weekend.

11 thoughts on “Flight of the Paper Birds

  1. Yes, I can relate! I feel like as we go through life, we may get the sense that we must write poems a certain way, and dismiss the poems we wrote when we were more innocent and less knowledgeable about poetic devices and conventions. But you’re right. Even if we find our older poems cringeworthy, there can still be some beautiful lines and images that we can take, and craft into something that feels more satisfying to us now. Your poem is lovely too; it makes me think about the instability of truth, do we really know ourselves, what lies are we telling ourselves, etc. (As you can see, I’m projecting my own current preoccupations as I read your poem. XD)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you very much for commenting. And I agree with everything you’ve said: it’s important not to dismiss our earlier work as inadequate. Sometimes we need to go through those cringeworthy exercises, even though they’re uncomfortable. They can lead to better things. I appreciate that you’ve shared a similar experience. Perhaps we’re better writers for it. Take care!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m excited for the new chapbook. I share your uneasiness going over old poems. I’ve had plenty of I can’t believe I wrote this moments too. This is a wonderful poems, and I love the collage.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, Bob. It’s good to know you have those uneasy moments, too. I tell myself they’re part of the process…but that doesn’t make them any more pleasant or comfortable to deal with. I am happy you commented on the collage. While I wanted to make my own cover art this time around, I wasn’t certain, skill-wise, that I was up to the challenge. But I really like this one. And I’m glad you like it, too. Have a great Sunday!

      Liked by 2 people

  3. “while our souls labor under the weight of the human questions”…yes, so so true…the weight often too much.

    And I can’t wait for the chapbook! I too feel the “cringe” of things I’ve written but so often those very lines give way to another devine creation…I am looking forward to the art you create for all of us, my friend.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much! I’m happy you’re looking forward to the chapbook. There’s something about the ethos of the project now—about giving new life to old work—that I find really satisfying and motivating. I hope you have a happy Sunday, my friend! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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