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Static crackling, a radio tuning itself,
the squeal or echo of feedback
before the broadcast of secrets, thoughts no one knows –
In the wall today, a colony of immigrant
Japanese have taken up residence.
They speak a dialect I completely understand.
One voice commands the household, tells me
the right and wrong way to do everything.
My local pastor finds transcripts of his advice “spiritually moving.”
An enthusiastic friend tells me I am channeling, undoubtedly
an ancient spirit I met in a former life. I tell it to go away.
I do not want even benevolent disembodied voices.
Some days there is only repeated music,
singing like it has gone to my head
and broken there, a record on a spindle turning, returning.
Here’s what you start with and work with:
She notices little things like the way light falls on trees on a late August afternoon. She makes clothes out of chickenwire, old scraps of cloth, and colorful beads. She wears a black skirt with strings of bright beads and buttons sewn along the rim and a blue cabled hat knitted for her by her psychiatrist. She made a pair of sandals knitted with blue yarn, chickenwire, and ribbons and wore them to the bookstore she works in. She was paranoid people would stare, but they only smiled and complimented her on her courageous shoes. Her mother says she hates those “art” projects because they make a mess. Her outlandish clothing, the first sign of an oncoming mania for some, so in early autumn, at 34, they took her away to the hospital again, boxed her stuff, sublet her flat, and sent her to the crazy place where only old folks go. Before she left, we shared stories of her internal hauntings on the old, black futon in her flat. As I walked to her tea pot for more hot water, I tripped over a piece of jagged chickenwire, which scarred my bare right foot.
Not bad for a beginning poem, now break it into poem form, and don’t forget all the pointers I gave you earlier...all will add to its success.