Today’s prompt was to write a concrete poem. I wanted to do all 30 prompts.
What I did instead was intended to be a black out poem in lieu of the prompt, I’ve done concretes before. Not today.
I decided that rather than black out unused text to create the poem, I would extract the lines from the first few paragraphs of a longer story. If I had more time, I might have attempted some art to overlay the blacked-out area.
If I included the entire narrative, it would have been too long with entire paragraphs blacked out. So, I extracted the parts/words/sections that made up the poem.
I selected the first few paragraphs from the titled section, “On the Rainy River” from the book, The Things They Carried, by Tim O’Brien © (published in 1990 by Houghton Mifflin).
one story I’ve never told,
it would only cause embarrassment,
makes me squirm,
I’ve had to live with it, feeling the shame,
it’s a hard story to tell.
if evil were evil enough, if good were good enough
I would simply tap a secret reservoir of courage…
Courage, comes in finite quantities,
it offered hope and grace to the repetitive coward.
I was drafted to fight a war I hated.
(You can’t fix your mistakes. Once people are dead, you can’t make them undead.)
…I assumed that the problems of killing and dying did not fall within my special province…
The draft notice arrived on June 17, 1968.
I was too good for this war.
Too smart, too compassionate, too everything.
I was above it. A mistake, maybe…I was no soldier.
Look both ways for reasons why and why not.
Mind the gaps. That’s where the booby traps hide.