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The work in progress

July 6, 2010

When pent-up emotion ruptures head and heart, some people release it into the ear of a friend. Others pour it over ice cream. And some sweat it out on a run or ride. I knead it and punch it like bread dough, turning the emotion over and over until I can let it rest and rise on its own. Then I punch it down again for a second rise. And as its fragrance captures my senses, distracting me from daily responsibilities, I realize it has transformed from raw dough to bread, from raw emotion to poem, and is almost ready to share.

This is how I write poetry. This is how I deal with emotional nightmares. So when my marriage turned into a soap opera and ended in the emotional death of divorce, I found my long silent pen calling to me again. And as the pages began to fill, I discovered how much of “me” had been set aside for “us” and that what had seemed like an ending was really a reawakening.

That is tentatively the title for my next chapbook. As I now envision it, “Reawakening” will be in three parts related to the dark times, the transition period, and the light that has followed. The JulieBooks are filling with potential poems, and I’m at one of the most difficult stages of the process: editing and fine-tuning the pieces, or to drag out the analogy, taste-testing and modifying the recipe. Here’s where you come in. Posts titled “work in progress” will be just that, and they need outside input. So take out that red pen and let me have it: what’s good, what’s bad, what’s just plain ugly; where you get lost and where you find a word or phrase that hits home.

This is a new experiment for me in poetry creation, but if you’re willing to participate I’ll post a new work in progress every week or so. This won’t be a blog with day-to-day ramblings about my life, so if you subscribe to it you won’t be overwhelmed with post notices in your inbox. And this blog is, like a JulieBook, open to the curious, so feel free to share it with interested friends. Here’s your first assignment:

I was left staring
At a handful of Band-Aids
A tube of antiseptic
A wad of white gauze
Left staring and wondering
How to staunch the flow of blood
How to prevent a harsh tear
How to numb the pain
From a wound that has no end
No cut and no bruise
No visible sign
Except for a few gray hairs
A few missing pounds
A set of new lines
Permanently etched
On what should be still young skin.

I felt like Humpty Dumpty
Shoved off a high wall
But his horses and his men
Did not even try
To put me back together.
He stood motionless
A blank look in his blue eyes
Before turning to walk out
Leaving each question
Posed in a soft, broken voice
Answered by silence
Leaving me to pick up the
Pieces of myself
To clean my own wounds
And let them close so slowly
Joining on their own.

But the sharp red scar
Finally begins to fade
It smoothes under your light touch
A caress that eases the pain
A kiss to make it better
A smile that reaches your eyes
As they watch me peel away
The pointless Band-Aids
A smile that softens as I
Teach myself to trust again
Reach a hand toward yours
To run my finger along
Your short, soothing thumb
And curl into your arm to
Listen to the blue girl sing,
“Oh, let the healing begin.”

—Julie Laing

7 Comments leave one →
  1. September 14, 2010 1:19 am

    Hello, friend, how are you?

    I invite you to our Monday Poetry Potluck Party,
    We have other features such as poem of the week, poetry blog of the week, and poet of the week, plus Sunday poetry news dispatch, if you attend our Monday Party, there is a chance that you poetry or you as a promising poet are represented by one of our officials, and your talent will be highlighted or exposed to wider audience,

    No specific rules, simply linking in 1 to 3 poems, it could be an old poem, let us read and comment for you. Feel free tasting other poetry treats, all enjoyable experience…

    Click on the link, you will see a blue button, click on the blue button, you will see three boxes, your specific poem link to be placed in first, then your name or blog name, then your email connected to your blog….

    Happy Tuesday!
    Let the fun begin!


  2. July 25, 2010 1:26 pm

    three poetry awards,
    plus two general awards,
    thanks for the contribution!


  3. July 25, 2010 7:06 am

    visit 18 poets from my list if you are free,
    let me know after you are done so that I mark you down as done..


    • July 26, 2010 12:27 pm

      I have had as lovely morning reading so many fabulous poets! I’ve hit my 18; thanks so much!


  4. July 21, 2010 8:10 pm

    keep working on it.


  5. July 6, 2010 12:56 pm

    I rather liked what you wrote and look forward to reading additional post…thanks for sharing your work in progress.



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