21 April 2022

My first thruzzin

I wrote my first poem in ages this morning. I knew it would happen any day now, as I was inspired by an online reading by the great New York poet Charles North on Tuesday night. Then, this morning Laurie read me a line by Virginia Woolf, and I knew I was on my way. A poem was going to happen before I got out of bed.

My poem is 36 lines long, free verse, divided into 12-line stanzas. It's a new form I call a "thruzzin." My poem is narrated by a dead person, who I guess is me. Death is on my mind, as it is so often. The Kingston poet, essayist, and fiction writer Steven Heighton died two days ago. He was only 60 years old. If you knew him, you might that if anyone was going to be immortal, it would be Steven. I met him about 25 years ago, at a house party in Ottawa. I was very, very drunk, and I remember going through the host's linen closet, commenting on towels and sheets, admiring a vintage iron. Steven appeared beside me, perhaps put a hand on my shoulder and led me back into the living room. He took me under his wing so I wouldn't walk off the balcony or make a fool of myself.

After I wrote the last line of my first thruzzin this morning, about 20 minutes ago actually, I added the date of composition and realized it's 27 years to the day since my mother died. It's 27 years and one week since we had our last conversation.

I hear the car tires outside now, rolling down Division Street. I can hear that it's raining. It was raining on the morning of April 21, 1995. Sometime after my mom's last breath, my dad and I walked out of the hospital. The sun was parting the clouds.

SHIRLEY ROSS, February 7, 1929 – April 21, 1995

Over and out.


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