In honor of the 20th anniversary of National Poetry Month, we asked Entropy writers to share with us one of the first poems they ever read that got them excited about what poetry could do or changed the way that they thought about poetry, and one of their own poems that they are particularly proud of, still resonates with them, or an early poem.
I read these for the first time when I was about fifteen and I read them nearly every six months for the next decade.
A Season in Hell – Prologue
(Une Saison en Enfer)
Once, if I remember rightly, my life was a feast where all hearts opened, and all wines flowed.
One evening I sat Beauty on my knees – And I found her bitter – And I reviled her.
I armed myself against Justice.
I fled. O sorceresses, O misery, O hatred, it was to you my treasure was entrusted!
I managed to erase all human hope from my mind. I made the wild beast’s silent leap to strangle every joy.
I summoned executioners to bite their gun-butts as I died. I summoned plagues, to stifle myself with sand and blood. Misfortune was my god. I stretched out in the mud. I dried myself in the breezes of crime. And I played some fine tricks on madness.
And spring brought me the dreadful laugh of the idiot.
Now, just lately, finding myself on the point of uttering the last croak, I thought of seeking the key to the old feast, where I might perhaps find my appetite again!
Charity is the key – This inspiration proves I have been dreaming!
‘You’re a hyena still…’ the demon cries who crowned me with such delightful poppies. ‘Win death with all your appetites; your egoism, all the deadly sins.’
Ah, I’ve practised too many! – But, dear Satan, I beg you, an eye a little less inflamed! And while awaiting my few cowardly little deeds, for you who prize in a writer the lack of descriptive or instructive skill, for you, I tear off these few hideous pages from my notebook of a damned soul.
A POEM FROM THE AUTHOR:
god was crying at the bottom of a well
–look at the sky, it’s like the Ocean
— Kazuki Tomokawa
–our pillows side by side
the heartlessness of my dreams
the moon sets in the west
a winter’s midnight
— Akamine Oyakata
in the blackness of this room there’s only me and clicking keys & you sleeping fitfully in this bed we share but we no longer sleep at the same time, always exchanging hours, handing off dreams rather than sharing them, & when i pull you close to feel your warmth surge through me you roll over & when i wake you’re gone & when i sleep you’re plotting an escape in the dreams i can’t see through the blackness surrounding & confounding
. . . . &
. . . . &
. . . . there are nights alone with you i fear this was
all a mistake made too soon & too fast & too often
. to be alone with you
. . lonely touch
. . . scorch’d memories