left hand draft
learning to write with my left hand
does my left hand know what to say
if given pen?
are there voices in fingers otherwise
but this still feels like right side
don’t quite want letting
right right right. insistent it is. habit or
toes like tide?
left shy? no.
some afeared maybe you’ll see another me
before I do.
right knows all the
left has none.
you see, resistance can be not only illegible
but plain invisible!
like there was no ocean
yet usher in this hieroglyphic of bipedal
language. trace left-handed grace within
shall we write close and enigmatic, dare
any others than our own eyes to rightly read?
or share as devoted apostles with our kin
say here, this is possible?
make even our criss-crossing collisions into
patience is due bringing this child into
first light. embrace as you would an infant in
your muscled arms.
symmetry is illusion if measured
two pair of radial motion
perspectives, eye and ear but none
right sees some better. right ear too.
right is jealously convenient it seems.
but break a few bones then
left had to learn new skills and some
it never gave back. right acting at times now
right stronger but less confident.
left more able but more prone to being
left built the pyramids but right
lays in them.
here, we’ll call this seed
knowing up knowing down, right-sided dirt
thirsty for bright.
tamp with your foot
set my thoughts in proper place.
random feather landed shadows can
scratch, peck away doubts.
already there are rumors
are stories are suggestive traces of
already parched top-soil words
are feeling new faced kin with the
go ahead, breathe into me.
are left-hand thoughts more an invisible
giant? like a horizon we seldom discern.
often don’t we think this, this
is our life? while
sleeping through the middles of wheat.
left says, yes
like wind with you.
I looked to see, is there a left-hand-pocket
name for me. like some say there is.
I looked. my name was still the same.
because mine’s same as my father’s was.
stranger under-skin from the first.
that other face. I already am.
neil reid © october 2011
Written for We Write Poems prompt (74) Left-hand first!
Please read other poets poems in response as well.
Just a kid with a box of candy words. Do we need to take this seriously? As serious as fresh baked yams I think! (And confessing this prompt was my idea, so I’ll take the blame if you wish.) It is some measure odd and unexpectedly challenging I know.
I meant and take this prompt as literal – write with a poem, pen to paper, with your left hand (assuming you’re right-handed). Why? Because I take interest in the physical act of writing itself, and because something else just might get stirred up along the way. Some say right-brain, left-brain and that there is some difference there. But I don’t know directly for myself.
If you tried this prompt, it’s awkward isn’t it? Uncomfortable.
(But really, so what?)
Interesting how my “editor” and “self” raised their hands, daring to be plainly visible. Right-hand was clearly not so pleased. Not guessing what to expect this poem as a whole was written over several days (each day becoming a section here, although that wasn’t a plan, just the result). How I felt was a little different each day. Wouldn’t say there was a beacon burning bright, but yes, some difference in the light, something to explore again I think. (Do we learn to write, or walk, in just one day or even five?)
Although I do most of my writing, and all my editing, by keyboard, I do however often write first drafts with pen and ink. Self-serving vanity aside, I find something of pleasurable art about penmanship itself (and left-handed only expanded that abstraction of language and pen).
In the interest of full disclosure, and obvious, keyboard needed be the last port before publishing here, and yes, both right-hand and editor got to have something to say, but that’s alright as well, not meaning to exclude them some play (like I could anyway). Of note I did find by the end of this process less jealousy of right to left, less perceived need to hold them apart.
PS. And boy, is this poem ever too long? Where’s that red pen?
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