Hi! My name is Spencer. This is my life story, by popular demand.
(My mother and I, approx. 1995)
I had my humble beginnings in the upper-Midewest of the United States of America, born to a certain Stephen and Sandra in the first half of the ’90s. My father is of English and Welsh heritage, and my mother’s family hails from Sicily, Norway, Ireland, and Germany.
At least you’re not one of those people who have three sets of teeth, and end up getting the third set in your thirties. Personally, I think it would be cool, but with such big roots, it would probably suck.
Whoa! That can actually… happen? I had no idea. That would be intense.
Regarding your poem:
I loved it! It was quite fantastically done, I must say.
I feel as if there is a sense of escape, but it's not one of leaving something bad. It's more one of finding something better, something more worthwhile, and taking the risk to go after it. The vulnerability, the curiosity, it gave me chills. I read this, and I thought, "I... I feel as if this is something that I need. I wish this- any part of this- could just happen to me."
There are just a lot of details that add up to it all, when you think of it. The description of the moonlight, only being in your underwear while on the roof and talking on the ship, taking the opportunity to just go, where ever it is that you'll go, with this mysterious, magical man. It's free, it's mystical, it just feels right. I can't really criticize any part of it.
Maybe it is a poem about your virginity. If it is, I'd say to take it more as a sign to say that you're at a comfortable place in your life to where you'd be ready for it. Which is good, and probably much more elegant than the way a lot of people end up losing their's, (be it through pressure, a drunken blur, or just plain uncertainty). If you're not ready, there's nothing to worry about, as there is plenty of time. I'm still not sure I'm ready. I feel like I am sometimes, but I end up feeling like I'd just get anxious, have a panic attack, and just mess everything up. I feel as though, when the time comes, though, we'll know, so it won't really matter. (Of course, I could be interpreting this COMPLETELY WRONG, in which case, ignore my rambling.)
Beyond that, I feel as if there's more that I want to say, to relate with you/this poem, but I'm finding myself short of words. But I think that may be a good thing.
Thank you so much, Troy! I can talk a little bit about the process of writing it, if you want, because I always think that’s the most interesting piece of any art.
The clearest image in the poem for me, the floating ship in a suburban neighborhood, came to me in that weird time between being awake and asleep. I can’t remember for the life of me if I was just going to bed or just waking up, but I think that’s the one piece of spontaneous inspiration in the poem.
A lot of the other imagery and themes came from various conversations I’ve had in the past week or so. Topics from various exchanges I’ve had, like summer, sneaking out, photography, and underwear—to name a few—all contributed to the writing of this poem.
In terms of structure, the poem is segmented into seven sections, which I wrote with the aim of creating independent poem-modules within the larger work. They almost stand on their own, each segment having slightly different imagery and repeated patterns, even though they don’t have as much power by themselves; the full effect is achieved when all of the modules are read together.
My goal for the poem was to create really evocative imagery on a small-scale level, so I tried to combine familiar elements with the unfamiliar or unexpected, which tends to be what the most effective imagery does; by juxtaposing common things with more unexpected phrases, the brain connects the two in a way that it previously hadn’t. I think the best example of that is in the fourth module, where the summer breeze in the night is described as dark and familiar, and then emerald. Emerald evokes the color green, and also plays off of dark, but is unexpected in the context of the wind. Emerald is a hard gemstone, while summer air is intangible, so their combination in the stanza creates a whole different interpretation.
On a less serious note, I posted the poem after I was quite sure it was finished. Of course, after reading it a few times, I decided I had made a few mistakes in the last module, which I proceeded to edit. However, I printed it out just to be sure, and sure enough, I found a few other minor changes that I wanted to get in. I’ve now rewritten the needed portions and I’ll post the next draft after this.
In terms of the undertones of “losing my virginity,” it actually only occurred to me after I had finished writing it. I sort of laughed, too, because the literal idea of it happening on a magical ship that picked me up in the middle of the night is ridiculous. But I decided that I liked its metaphorical connotations, and so I kept it. I also left it as open-ended as possible, in terms of who the narrator is. I feel like both boys and girls could relate to the poem as the narrator, the only stipulation being that they’re interested in someone who is male-identified. Of course, you could also ignore the whole allegorical connotation of the poem and interpret it literally, in which case I think it could apply to anyone.