One of my goals this semester is to revise a manuscript of poetry that I've been working on for years, with plans to send it out by May. I don’t have a big chunk of time to work on it – the biggest chunk of time I ever get in my life is the thirty minutes of quiet in the car or music studio or piano teacher's house while one of my kids takes a music lesson. The vast majority of my blog posts have been written during music lessons. But if I can write a blog post during a thirty minute music lesson, I figure I can work on a poem in the same amount of time.
So I am choosing poems from the manuscript to revise, looking especially at poems that have never been published, poems that have given me trouble, poems that I just can't seem to get right. Yesterday, I decided that I would blog one of these poems for Friday Poetry Blogging because that gave me a deadline. And I encourage readers to give me feedback if they would like to. Please don't feel you have to know anything about poetry to leave a comment. You can just tell me what parts you like and what parts you don't like. You can tell me simply, yes or no, keep the poem or cut it in favor of a better poem. You can tell me what you think the poem means. You can tell me if parts of the poem confused you. You don't have to worry about hurting my feelings – after all, I already told you that I am deliberately choosing poems I am not so sure about myself. And the manuscript is too long so I am going to have to cut some poems eventually.
If you want the context, the manuscript is filled with poems about the body, and this poem is from the section on adolescence.
BOARDWALK AT SEASIDE HEIGHTS
rough grey planks splinter
the bare soles and greasy fingers
of teenagers who escape jangling heat
to climb below rotting piers
that smell of popcorn and cat piss
for sweaty kisses that shift gritty hills
for ocean waves that rush against ancient timbers
for shady mounds of pale ocean sand
that move as she wriggles
brown thighs brushed with glittering grains
below her bathing suit
line of foam white
for that deep-sea rhythm that awakens
a riptide she cannot escape
Edited to add: After the first 20 comments, I decided to update the draft of the poem after Bitty pointed out that the word "swoosh" has been co-opted by Nike. More substantial revisions will have to wait until I have more time.