Flagstaff poet Jill Divine is in an “ode phase.” She’s been musing about both the beauty and tragedy of life and believes odes are the perfect way to bring the two together in celebration. In today’s Poetry Friday segment, Jill Divine creates a poetic puzzle for us starting with the title.
Jill Divine: Odes really beg that you give them a good title. And for me, a title should always be a clue, or a hint, or a revelation about the poem that needs to be figured out. So, I like odes because I can do that. Because in the ode I might veer off from what I’m actually celebrating, and yet the title will keep that celebration somewhere in the reader’s mind. Or, they will need to figure out throughout the poem how that poem is going to get back to that title.
I’m going to read "Ode to the Graffitied Tiles at Two Guns"
You are sprinkled over the floor
of the old KOA like diamonds. 4x4 glossy
square diamonds, purple and teal,
orange and hideous pink. If I put you
back together you would be a mural
saying The Only Answer is Love, or
Your Friends Brought You Here to Kill You.
You are mostly the past,
and slightly the present, but your future
is crushed and ground into the dry dirt.
You are not alive, but I want to know
what you’ve seen. You are just fired clay
blasted with spray paint, lying beneath
the voices of ghosts, and the wind.
You remind me of the loose girl
in high school, so young and smooth
in the beginning, sheltered from the rain,
then covered with paint around the eyes,
and lipstick for no one to kiss. I stoop
to collect you, two, then six, then twelve tiles,
to take home. Relics of the past, beautiful bits
of words and crude pictures, puzzles
I’ll construct on the back fence
or the garden box, and I’ll listen hard
in the dark of night to hear your stories.
Poetry Friday is produced by KNAU’s Gillian Ferris. If you’d like to read a published poem or submit an original work for consideration, send Gillian an email at email@example.com.