Tag Archives: young love

Adolescence: Another Taste

In honor of National Poetry Month, I’m committing poetry.

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Click HERE to see other work by Paulina Wierzgacz.

While other girls, afraid

of their own soft hands hid

behind masks, under rocks, dreamed

of  boys in tight Levi’s

we met under a rotting pavilion

after roller-skating:  Neither of us knew how

to start so he stretched out, nervously

into my lap, settled

into thighs, exposed earlier

only to the hands of the sun.

His chest was jasmine

and we pressed together

silent, holding

our breath, in my hands

a slender purple flower.

Later, the girls squealed, begged

to hear about a single snake

pressing against the temple door

but I had learned to hold hands

with the night, listen

to the lunatic song of crossing winds,

to admire purple flowers

without words.

What do you remember about your first time? Or how do you wish it went?

tweet me @rasjacobson

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Childhood: Learning The Game

Photo from colodio’s photostream via Flickr

Sitting circle,

waiting for his hand

to duck-duck-goose-me

knowing that he might

but there are

soooo many heads between us

soooo many heads to tap

soooo many heads to

tap lightly with fingertips

and he rounds the circle

DUCK                        DUCK

and he rounds the circle

DUCK                        DUCK

and I see rainbows in his hair

and water in his eyes

flexing my calves

with anticipation

DUCK

ready to jump

DUCK

ready to jump

DUCK

read to jump

because his palm is on my hair

warm and lingering

l     i     n     g      e       r       i            n          g

and it is almost off

and I am almost disappointed

gOoSe!

all elbows and knees, i stumble to start

but he is sure-footed and fast

our friends are a noisy blur, shouting

RUN                        RUN

and I want to run

my arms are open

like my smile

like my eyes are open

so I see when he looks back

slightly slowing, waiting

wanting me to catch him

wanting me

to catch him

and i want to keep panting

want to keep panting

want to

ruffle his sweet soft feathers.

What are your earliest memories of young love?

How I Fell in Love with Words

photo by Matthijs Rouw @ flickr.com

For a period of years, I exchanged letters with a boy. He was smart, and I felt flattered by his long-distance attention. I loved the way his words looked on the page, and after devouring the content of his letters, I would stare at his penmanship. His handwriting was distinctive; long, thin strokes in the “T’s” and “L’s”; his vowels undersized, tiny and tight. Very controlled. My “P’s” and “L’s” wanted to loop. My vowels were large and open, like my heart.

During this period, I focused on composing the best letters I could. I explained – dissected – deconstructed and reconstructed the world for him in an attempt to get him to see things through my eyes. I showed him the beauty of the cigarette butt left on the filthy street corner, and wondered about the woman with the orange-red lipstick who had held it in her mouth. I addressed my envelopes, licked my stamps, sent my poetry and prose. And since there was neither instant messaging nor Skype nor Facebook nor email in the 1980s, I had to wait  . . . and wait. . . and wait for the postal carrier to (finally) bring me a long anticipated envelope. And always his responses were wonderful: filled with answers and more questions, more observations which led to more thinking, reflecting, writing.

Through our correspondence, I fell in love. With words. I learned how, in English, multi-syllabic words have a way of softening the impact of language, how they can show compassion, tenderness and tranquility. Conversely, I learned that single-syllable words could show rigidity, honesty, toughness, relentlessness. I saw how words could invoke anger, sadness, lust, and joy. As an adult, when speaking, I sometimes feel like I did not say quite the right thing. But when writing, I have time to be careful, to ponder, to find a new way to say something old. I can craft something magical.

I have always said that the best writing is born in obsession, rooted in a specific place.

My favorite word is “apricot” because it invokes a specific sense of smell, of taste and touch – but for me, it also reminds me of a particular morning in a particular place when the sun rose and made the world glow. It is a juicy word. A sweet word. A golden word scented with summer. I use the word “apricot” to show my students how one image can hold a lot of weight.

Some day I will thank that boy who made me want to revise, who made me want to give him only my best, most delicious words, my most ferocious images. Wherever he is, I hope he is still writing, too.

If you are so inclined, I would love to know if you have a favorite/least favorite word, what it is, and what it evokes for you.