While writing the last entry on the revision process, I was reminded of a poem I wrote in undergrad. It is a mediocre poem, however at the time, tainted with undergraduate brio, I thought it was brilliant, and I thought I was on my way to becoming the next Rilke, Neruda, Ferlinghetti.
The one aspect of the poem that retained a good idea was the fact that I kept every revision of it, including the original long-hand version, and every cross-off and each line that I X'ed out with my typewriter. (Yes, I used a typewriter in undergrad. I'm not dating myself; I'm just indicting my inability to embrace technology in a timely manner.)

I have included all those versions below as a means to show how, even in a mediocre poem, a piece evolves over many version. The last version of the poem, I revised in the process of this entry, almost fifteen years since the last revision.

All testimony to the fact that a piece of writing will never fully be completed by its author. We just choose to stop working on it:

Sunflower (version 1)

a sunflower
painted with meticulous strokes
on a coffee cup
(evoking memories of Ginsburg and of Blake and
and of Blake and Kerouac from him)
memories
of running through a field
blowing
with pursed lips
from the depths of my lungs
the spokes and feathers and petals and leaves
off
each and every
dandelion
geranium
pussy-willow  &%$@*-willow
sunflower
that crosses my path
into the air
decapitating the flowering
with each swipe of my arms
 

Sunflower (version 2)

A sunflower
Painted with delicate meticulous strokes
on a hand-crafted ceramic cup
evoking memories of Ginsburg
(and of Blake and Kerouac from him)
evoking memories of
childhood
of running carelessly through an open field
blowing
with pursed lips
with breathes mustered from the depths of my lungs
pulmonary sacks filling like a blowfish
like Dizzy Gillespie’s cheeks
the spokes and feathers and and petals and leaves
off
each and every
dandelion
geranium
brambleweed
sunflower
that crosses my wayward path
into the stanch fragile air
blowing
with unmitigated ferocity
each leaf from its burgeoning stem
decapitating the poor harmless vegetation
with each pendulous swipe
of my arms
mouth sustained in an oblate grin
laughing and laughing and laughing and laughing
and running aimlessly after
each dandelion puff floating pathlessly in the air
each sunflower
running and laughing the whole way through
my golden field
my harbinger of spright
sits atop my paper-strewn
desk
sturdy base
slowly seeping its imprint
into the grain


Sunflower (version 3)
 
A sunflower
painted with meticulous strokes
evoking memories of Ginsburg
(and of Blake and Kerouac from him)
of childhood
running through an open field
blowing
with pursed lips
from the depths of my lungs
the spokes and feathers and petals and leaves
off
each and every
dandelion geranium pussy-willow sunflower
that crosses my path
decapitating them flowering
with each swipe
of my arms
mouth in an orbicular roundish grin
laughing and laughing and laughing and laughing
and running after
each dandelion puff
floating in the air
each sunflower
running and laughing the whole way through
my golden field
sits atop my
paper-strewn desk
seeping
its imprint
Into the grain
 

Sunflower (version 4)

a sunflower
painted with meticulous strokes
on a coffee cup
evoking memories (of Ginsberg
and of Blake and Kerouac from him)
of childhood
of running
through an open field
blowing
with pursed lips
from the depths of my lungs
the spokes and feathers and petals and leaves
off
each and every
dandelion            geranium             pussy-willow      sunflower
that crosses my path
decapitating them
with each swipe
of my arms
mouth in a roundish grin
laughing and laughing and laughing and laughing
and running after
each dandelion puff
Each sunflower
running and laughing the whole way through
my golden field
sits atop
my paper-strewn
desk
seeping its imprint
imprint
into the
grain.


Sunflower (version 5)

a sunflower
painted with meticulous strokes
on a coffee cup
evoking memories (of Ginsberg
and of Blake and Kerouac from him)
of childhood
of running
through an open field
blowing
with pursed lips
from the depths of my lungs
the spokes and feathers and petals and leaves
off
each and every
dandelion            geranium             pussy-willow      sunflower
that crosses my path
decapitating them
with each swipe
of my arms
mouth in a roundish grin
laughing and laughing and laughing and laughing
and running after
each dandelion puff
floating in the air
each sunflower
running and laughing the whole way through
my golden field
sits atop
my paper-strewn
desk
seeping
its imprint
into the
grain.

 
Sunflower (Version 6 – edited in the process of this entry)

a sunflower
painted with meticulous strokes
on a coffee cup
evoking memories (of Ginsberg
and of Blake and Kerouac from him)
of running
through an open field
blowing
the spokes and feathers and petals and leaves
off each and every
dandelion            geranium             pussy-willow      sunflower
that crosses my path
each swipe of my arms
mouth in a roundish grin
laughing and laughing and laughing and laughing
and running after
each dandelion puff
floating in the air
through my golden field
sits atop
my paper-strewn
desk
seeping
its imprint
into the
grain.


Picture
 


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