Poem offerings #5 and #6 – “The train gang” and “InSleeping”

When my family and I lived in the Chicago suburb, the school I attended had a creative writing curriculum. It was the first school I’d ever attended, ever, that actually had a creative writing curriculum!

But it was only for juniors and seniors.

So I had to wait through the whole of my sophomore year before I could get into the class.

And it was well worth the wait. In the school year that I was in that class (because, remember, we moved here to Iowa my senior year), I learned more about writing than I think I ever would have elsewhere.

One of the first creative writing exercises we did at the start of the year was to take old newspapers, and cut out words and phrases in the headlines or ads that stood out to us or meant something to us, and then we had to form what we cut out into a poem.

This is what I came up with for that class period, and I wish I had it in its original newspaper ransom-note-looking format, but I don’t, so you’re just getting it typed. I called it “The train gang.”



A journey beyond everything great
Last hero’s back and on right track
Open missing gift that just might keep us safe
Wandering into black madness with blindfolds on
Today welcome together unhappy hopefuls
Beyond Nowhere and tomorrow bid farewell
Journey into Inside ‘too big a step’
Freedom has a feeling, wouldn’t recognize glory these days
Any way you look at it faded futures challenge time
Uncertain words leave dream behind in common sense
to what end?

(C) by me, Mouse, in September of my junior year of high school




Also in a corner of the classroom blackboard that year, the teacher had a little cluster of magnets with tiny words on them. She encouraged her students to play around with the word cluster and make up their own little poems. It was because of that, and because of that earlier newspaper exercise, which led to my current addiction to magnetic poetry. I have several kits, among them the Original edition, the Genius edition, the Artist edition, and even the Shakespearean edition (despite not liking Shakespeare), and I’ve mixed and matched all the words so much, I can’t remember what words go with what edition anymore (except said Shakespeare edition). I have also bought several magnetic boards just so I could create poems on them; I was using baking pans before I got the magnetic boards.

This short poem below is, I think, one of my better magnetic poetry creations. And, yes, I even made the title out of words in the magnetic poetry kit.



Black always investigates
after my empty dreaming,
& I, a happy girl, must discover sleep
only to know why.

(C) by me, Mouse, some years ago



I actually had an instructor tell me both these poems were “too nebulous” for his taste.

Well, okay, they were made with newspaper cut-outs and magnetic words. So, okay, perhaps some ideas or thoughts might seem to be missing. But I think they make sense, and I quite like them both, even after all these years.

What do you think?


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