14 October, 2010

Scrapbook of my Summer

I've decided to start posting some of my writing on here. As a nice segue from my travels to my writing is some writing about my Eurotrip. This poem was an assignment for my creative writing class. We aren't allowed to rhyme in any of our poems, which is frustrating for me, because I love rhyming and rhythm. But it's a nice way to practice descriptive writing. Anyway, let me know what you think.

Scrapbook of my Summer 

London England – cloudy, foggy grey, some half finished buildings surround Heathrow Airport. Ugly as hell, but the cool, clipped accent of the woman on the loudspeaker makes me feel almost as giddy as The Clash, conveniently blasting through my headphones. London is calling. 
Athens, Greece – modern, ugly buildings rise high, the graffiti no less ugly for being in symbols I don't understand, and suddenly before me, rising above the spray- painted concrete, is a cliff, and on top, the Acropolis, lit gold by lights against the blue-grey dusk. A stray dog scampers across Monastiraki Square. He uses the crosswalk.
On a train through Wales – a massive forest green lump of earth stretches into the low- slung blanket of clouds. Sheep dot the grass and the scraggly trees look fluid as we race by. The towns have names too long for us to pronounce, and we don't try.
Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp, Berlin, Germany – the empty gas chambers were nothing compared to this building, a squat concrete cube which still houses the sad stench of death even after decades. The ghosts of the bodies once piled in the cellar squeeze my throat, and I all but run outside to the sunlight and barbed wire.
Manarola, Cinque Terre, Italia – climbing the steep hill and rounding the sharp corner, the rainbow of houses are a pile of colorful pebbles, lacquered to the side of the mountain, rising ever higher as though growing from solid rock. A padlock attached to the fence reads Amore Eterno.
Oxford, England – the canal extends before us like a long, muddy ribbon, edges lined with weeds, reeds, and houseboats. Painstakingly painted in now-tired yellows and blues, the gypsy vessels bob lazily, idly stretching against their bonds. We pass the sign of a pub serving green beer, the pub where Middle Earth and Narnia were born.
Buffalo, NY, USA - the plane touches down, six hours behind schedule. Half dead feet, still trapped in the red satin wedges that were much cuter at the beginning of the day, drag my exhausted body into the terminal, where I find parents, friends, a sister, waiting with open arms. On the way to the car, I walk headlong into the cold, hard glass of the revolving door. They laugh at me most of the ride home.


  1. "A stray dog scampers across Monastiraki Square. He uses the crosswalk."
    "The ghosts of the bodies once piled in the cellar squeeze my throat"
    "the rainbow of houses are a pile of colorful pebbles, lacquered to the side of the mountain"
    "like a long, muddy ribbon"

    I think this exercise in free verse is healthy for both of us, Emily. What lovely imagery here. I am finding that this push into free verse is a push....into new ways of speaking and seeing. Are you finding the same? xo, a.

  2. I've definitely had similar findings, Amy. When I write poetry that rhymes, I tend to focus more on the rhythm and overall feel of the poem. But when I write in free verse, I've found that I focus more on the images I want to convey in my writing. It's actually helped me a lot when I write prose and fiction -- I've noticed how much more descriptive my writing has become.

    Thank you for the shout out on your blog, by the way. It means a lot to me that you thought my work worth it.

    Love you,