April 9, 2009

NaPoWriMo Day 9

Inspired by the Totally Optional Prompt for "A Letter."

Shedding the excess weight of the past
I'm emptying all the high school boxes
and find letters from a Mormon ex-boyfriend
who wrote while on his mission in California.
I wonder what to do with all of them -
to toss them in the trash, or keep them safe?

Remembering when he made me feel safe
from the trauma of a present now the past.
The high school friends - I have abandoned them
now I'm bleeding memories from boxes
dreaming of a trip to California
with a man who will become an ex-boyfriend.

I only care to remember one ex-boyfriend
I make arrangements to keep each letter safe.
Now he does not live in California
now I have stopped living in the past
the present is being placed in empty boxes
hope the new place has room for them.

The new friends - what will become of them?
How many more men will be an ex-boyfriend?
How often will I pack and empty boxes?
When will I want to settle and be safe?
Why am I so willing to drop the past?
What is there for us in California?

Maybe we won't go to California
maybe I will give up all of them
and make this present a new recent past
maybe he will be my last ex-boyfriend
only on my own can I be safe
keeping history stored away in boxes.

Soon I'll be unpacking all these boxes
still dreaming of a trip to California
not any closer to keeping myself safe.
Grateful for my friends - I hope to keep them
I'll enjoy us before he becomes an ex-boyfriend
I'll give more attention to the past.

I'll teach myself to feel safe with them
California will signify another ex-boyfriend
though in boxes, I will not forget the past.


Tumblewords: said...

Interesting spin. Life is a series of empty boxes, full spots and questions... I like this confusion of thought.

Linda Jacobs said...

I'm a big sestina fan and yours does not disappoint! Very well done!

anthonynorth said...

There's a great deal of deep thought in this about life.

You can now find news of all the prompt sites on my blog.

SweetTalkingGuy said...

Nicely written, I wonder how you chose your key words? California and boyfriend make a good thread and I love the idea of keeping the past in boxes!

gautami tripathy said...

Boxing the past, I like that thought!

Dorla Moorehouse said...

SweetTalkingGuy -

I made my word choices based on words that I felt were especially important either to the backstory of the poem, or to some of the larger themes I wanted to convey. For example, I felt it was particularly important to mention that these letters had originally been written while my ex was living California. And I wanted to discuss relationships throughout the poem, so I chose "ex-boyfriend" as one of the end words to keep myself consistent.

Dorla Moorehouse said...

guatami -


I'm in the process of moving, so the idea of packing/unpacking is definitely on my mind. I'm both loading stuff up and trying to unload a lot of junk that I don't use/look at anymore that I don't want to take with me.

The GeeK said...

Interesting one.... Nicely knitted your thoughts..!!

LadyGarfield said...

oh! the dilemma over to keep or not. the pain, and the 'bleeding memories from boxes' and ending on a positive note had me totally entranced. lovely work!

Dorla Moorehouse said...

LadyGarfield -


I knew from the outset that I wanted to end this poem on a positive note. I wanted it to have that mix of nostalgia, anxiety, and also happiness and hope. I'm going through a lot of changes in my life right now (new career, move), so there are a lot of positive and negative emotions, and it was important that those all came through in the poem.

SweetTalkingGuy said...

Hi Dorla, thanks for that! And I enjoyed a second and third read of this piece - well written!