A compatriot and I at work often stand at the window and look down at Washington Avenue, five stories below, to take a break from our work. Once, when I was a young man, I wrote the following sonnet about a similar situation, watching the kids (women to me then, but we were all kids) walking along the college malls:
Fifth Floor Eyes
With bouncy strides of legs just lightly tanned,
you walk below my watching third floor eyes.
A gentle wind moves silently and dies;
you brush some wayward hair with careless hand.
Your lips, marooned with hasty morning care,
are framing hinted teeth in sudden joy
and move in greeting of some passing boy,
the words sweet notes unheard in summer air.
Your dark sunglasses never flash my way,
and you continue on toward a class,
or maybe to your dorm–I’ll never know.
For sixty stairs is much too far away,
so silently I let you swiftly pass,
invisibly about my way I go.
Whoa, we’ve got subtle allusions to Shelley and Blake in there, don’t we? I am a far distance away from reading those authors in my Romantic Poets classes and whatnot. I published that poem in my 1995 chapbook Deep Blue Shadows. My second chapbook came a year after the first (Unrequited, 1994), and altough I started mocking one up in the late 1990s (Flipside Id), I have yet to finish it.
Flipping through the chapbook, I note that it’s a hastily-composed bit designed when I was restless and worried that I wasn’t going anywhere as a poet. With its contents, I can see why, although in the period of 1996-1997 I would write some of my best work, yet unpublished.
Also, regardless of my merit in structured poetry, much of my free verse is crap. Which is par for that form.