This was the first poem I wrote that made me feel like a Real Poet, something like 10 or 12 years ago:
It was long since morning
but the city was quiet, whited,
and I was starting to think
in words again. Long
lines got longer. I chased you
to the park, tread worn
off my shoes. I tripped
behind you, bounding,
my heart skipping,
clenching like a fist
to hold you in. And I gasped
through the freezing
air, How can it be so
bright and so cold?
you kissed me on the shin, we sat
and waited on the bleeding,
our jackets getting wet,
and stared into the trees.
That wasn’t a blackbird,
just a black bird.
But I couldn’t tell you no.
And you were covered in
crystals, the smallest snow.
I recognize some of this as sentimental or cliched now (hearts are always fists, aren't they?) -- and the line breaks somewhat inscrutable -- but I do still like that linguistic flourish of the blackbird versus the black bird. That's very me. I also still remember that one of the girls in my college workshop said it "breathes," and she "loves poems that breathe."
I had to dig through my MFA thesis to find that. I also found this one that I still like, though again, the sentimentality alert is at orange.
ON THE BRIDGE
I was crossing the Harvard bridge, sun low and beaming,
when I remembered my dream—not the plot,
but a still frame from it: standing on a kind of plank
about two stories up, with the explosion behind me,
blooming out white and expansive like a nuclear rose.
I know I have to jump to the concrete below
but I hesitate, imagining the sound of my knees breaking,
though the scorching air shoves at my back.
I stopped halfway across the bridge, and wondered
what I’m dreading. One end of a long, slender ribbon
from an audio tape someone had torn apart
was caught on the railing. It waved out shimmering
over the river, like a streamer thrown off the deck
of a departing ship, trying to kiss the shore goodbye.