I’ve been writing since I was eight, despite being told that I shouldn’t. Writing revealed too much. This is why I tell my students they should never be afraid to put the truth on the page. I’m a community college English professor, who alternately loves and despairs of her students. I’ve written lots of different things—newspaper columns, academic stuff, poems (including two chapbooks and a forthcoming full-length collection) and a couple of mystery novels, one of which will be published this spring by Barking Rain Press. I have the very great pleasure of serving the town of Norwalk, Connecticut, as its poet laureate. At this very moment, my dog is sniffing through my trash for a draft of something to chew on. My website: www.laurelpeterson.com
Writing Poems about Jazz
The music trickles past me
a note at a time, blue and green and yellow,
as if each note is strung on a silver wire:
jewelry in the air.
Sometimes the notes are stones
that clack against each other,
a bumping avalanche of gravel, boulders
and old tin cans punctuated by drums.
Mostly, it’s about whether the jewels twinkle or glare,
whether the rocks are broken or worn round from tumbling,
and about what the silences look like.
Because silence always looks like something—
a bowl of apples, a face after a slap,
a snowy night from a car’s interior,
the place the notes never touch.
Excessive Heat Warning
This afternoon, every jet grumbling across the sky
sounds like thunder, portentous storm rustling leaves
into anxious flapping, as if thieves hid among them.
Wavelets across the surface of the birdbath ripple silently,
while cicadas shiver their heated bodies into rustle and whisk.
Nothing should move in this heat
except the heat itself, its shimmer a curtain
against relief, sheltering like wicked insulation,
like a mother who loves too much her child
who wants only to leave home.
© 2017 Laurel Peterson
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