Drafting: “Minor Earthquakes”

Sometimes I write a poem, just to write a poem, and it’s just that, a poem. Just words on a page that don’t jump up and sing or leave me giddy and excited. They just leave me and end up on a page. Yes, folks, this is a boring poem day. One of those days when I feel like I’m drafting just to get something out and just to stick to my ritual.

I write these a lot, but I don’t usually consider these finished enough to write a drafting process for them.  I usually store these away and check back on them until I can come to them with something new, or pull an image, line, etc. from it into another poem. Today’s poem, though, does have a clear beginning, middle, and end. The language is not the greatest right now, but I’m liking the  gist of the idea, and maybe it’ll become something better later.

First off, inspiration.

You’ve seen these heads before, right?

WELL! Crazies of crazies, they recently discovered that each of these sculptured heads has a body.

So, all of this time, we’ve been thinking, “Giant head sculptures!” But really, some ancient group of people on Easter Island not only carved heads, but full bodies, and then BURIED them up to the neck. That’s what gets me. Why carve them and then bury most of them? Did they sink because of soggy ground? If so, why are all in the ground so uniformly (shoulders up), instead of some being partly in the ground, while others fully?

It begins,

“Buried to the neck. What would that be like?
For your ears, only, to catch the echoes?”

The rest of the poem sort of slaps together the Memphis earthquake problem and what it’d be like to be buried in the ground if an earthquake happened (so I’m doing some crazy stuff with geography too). I live in Memphis, and we straddle the New Madrid fault line, which last caused a devastating earthquake in 1811-12 (four separate earthquakes that occurred over a space of 3 months) which actually made the Mississippi River flow backward. We’re overdue for another earthquake, we’ve been told time and time again, but there’s no hard facts on when one might happen. Little, if any, of the homes in our city are earthquake-resistant. The only major buildings I know that are are the Wolfchase Mall and Autozone Park.

In any case, it’s a draft. YAY DRAFT! Maybe I’ll feel more…excited(?), hopeful(??) about this one once I put it away and come back to it later.

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One thought on “Drafting: “Minor Earthquakes”

  1. i was born and raised in memphis, and i think that “we’re overdue for an earthquake” is something i was told since elementary school—hopefully we’ll Keep being overdue, i can’t imagine the devastation an earthquake would cause in the south, not even remotely prepared.

    very interesting idea for a poem by the way–i love poetry that takes on these kind of historical, archeological topics.

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