Tag Archives: Yusef Komunyakaa

Battle Bruises…

by Robin Byrd

I am not sure what kind of heavy artillery hit me but the bruises have left me sluggish, a little disoriented (darn freeway expansion, nothing looks the same, I never know where I am, blink and I’m lost) and then there is the constant checking of body parts after slamming toes and fingers in any place en route to anywhere not to mention being ticked off about always being caught off guard. I wish somebody had yelled “incoming”.

Every single thing I do to calm myself down, I have been unable to do lately. Being ticked off most of the time is really exhausting. I have got to find another sport that is active after basketball season is over. I promise yelling at games is a really good way to release stress. I am at the point where I want to wrap my ankles and start training for a marathon – that or find a gym so I can pump some iron. I am so on edge, my teeth hurt.

Why all the stress you ask?

Not able to keep writing past 3 am (what can I say, I like the night hours). I weary of having to shut down creative juices so I can go to bed, so I can beat the traffic in the morning (never happens), so I can think about building coordinators and personnel actions and what I am going to eat for lunch (it’s a really big chore) and why my paycheck never gives me a break. I long for change…, long for time to edit little lines of non-rhyming poetry.

I don’t like to rhyme.

Free verse is what I’d rather write.  I get allergic rhyming right.  I just adore the jagged view.  Words without meter, forgive me it’s my park avenue…

I get notes about trying different forms of poetry – the Pantoum and the Villanelle, for instance. I’m trying.  It’s not easy yet; it feels forced.  I figure it’s a good exercise for where I really want to take my poetry.  So, I have been seeking out the work of other poets.  Recently, I was listening to Yusef Komunyakaa on the internet reading some of his poetry, afterwards someone asked him why he didn’t rhyme more often – he said you can only rhyme with rain so many times. (He may have used another word.)  I laughed so hard I almost fell out of my chair which is why I can’t remember the exact word he used.  Apparently that’s about 495 times you can rhyme with rain. I’d be throwing up rhymes all over the floor by 100; none of them worth salvaging for the page.

All I want to do, right this minute is write a totally awesome poem that I don’t have to wonder if it is mediocre or not.


I loathe that word. Well, not the word but what it means.

Eventually, I want to write an epic poem, line upon line till “the end” so I guess I am training myself to take on another genre – hoping not to keep bruising so easily in the meantime.  Hoping that if I can write enough poems in succession, I’ll get the same adrenaline rush I get off writing plays…