Prompt No. 7 for Thursday 11/21/13

(I’m a day late, apologies!)

Think about high school – ah, the emotional time. Are you currently a student? Was it years ago? What is your favorite memory? What was your most horrible memory? If you could tell your high-school self something, what would it be?

This whole prompt was triggered when I started thinking about my son’s senior photo and his feelings about it — thinking about my senior photo – what was that hairdo? that goofy smile?

If you want to write to this prompt, get out a year book and look carefully at the photos — let the emotions from those years fill you up. Then write something using all five of your senses — what did your locker smell like, remember the voice of you secret crush sound like? Even if those images don’t make it into the final poem, they will ground your imagination in details.

A. E. Stallings’s poem, “Written on the eve of my 20th high school reunion, which I was not able to attend,” does this wonderfully, evoking both the terror of high school dreams and the shame that still haunts us years later. Especially these lines:

We wince at what we used to wear,
Fashion has made ridiculous the high hubris of our hair.
Heartbreak, looked at through the wrong end of distance’s glasses,
Is trivial, and quickly passes,
Its purity embarrasses us, its lust,
The way we wept because it was unjust.
Look for my poem on Tumblr (later this weekend).

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