Poetry Friday: 'Ode to the Graffitied Tiles at Two Guns'

Jul 6, 2018

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.

Two Guns, Arizona
Credit Ali Ghozlan

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 gillian.ferris@nau.edu.