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A Poem by Leora Fridman in Response to Caroline Cabrera’s Prompt

A Poem by Leora Fridman in Response to Caroline Cabrera’s Prompt
Draft of "Vessel for Purpose"

Draft of “Vessel for Purpose”

From time to time, we will publish a creative piece that was inspired by a Friday Prompt. You can always submit your prompt responses for consideration to Leora Fridman’s poem was written in response to Caroline Cabrera’s Prophetic Writing Prompt. Below the poem, you’ll find more about Leora’s process, as well as a note from Caroline about the poem.

Leora Fridman

I am coming
on an age

where I have
no babies

instead of
no nothing:

a woman
grows old,
it comes up.

My pieces
are compiling,
never built.

is the rest,

for example,
the beers
are no belly.

M says this is
brave, I am


I say, this is
my lazy lord

failing to
grow up.

I hate her
for having

no business
to attend to

but folk

A project
of loving

and goes.

Loving, I call you
my namesake

because I have
no child.

Loving, she is such
a stupid healer.

Heal thyself,
wrench thyself

by those
of minutiae

and pray,
pray that

something alive
will come of this.

Leora Fridman: 
Part 1 of the prompt brought up in me a lot of desire for purpose, which is something that has already been circulating in my circulation lately. I resisted writing down all my events/thoughts/feelings in the way the prompt asked because I felt their insignificance in the face of the world ending — I felt my desire to feel importance, purpose, gravitas. I moved towards words and topics that feel a direct and even pithy gravity. I wondered what a poem could do. I stopped writing and went to some organizing meetings. I came back.

Part 2 of the prompt had me engaging with my relationship to my own drive/energy vs. my own laziness. I’m hard on myself, and very demanding in terms of how much work I get done, and at the same time I’m always seeking to question what is “work” anyway, what counts as labor, especially when it comes to folk skills, home skills, the labor of care and loving — skills and labor I spend quite a bit of time in and am trying to teach myself to re-value. In Part 2 I let myself be both gentle and honest with myself and then switch pretty rapidly to hate on me. This flipping was actually fun. It felt like a process that both clarified my sense of purpose and denied it.

Basically and essentially, that jumble just made me feel more like a poet. Thank you for that, Caroline — it’s a big gift.

Caroline Cabrera
This poem speaks with a frankness that has such gravity. The persistent parallelisms and repetitions create a force. Mostly I want to marvel at some lines here. That opening is killer; I want to shout “no babies // instead of / no nothing” as loud as I can. And “A project / of loving // arises / and goes” made me gasp aloud when I read it.

Leora Fridman

Leora Fridman

Leora Fridman is author of “Precious Coast” (Hangman Books),”Obvious Metals” (Projective Industries), “On the architecture” and “Essential Nature” (The New Megaphone), and ”Eduardo Milán: Poems” (Toad Press). With Kelin Loe, she edits Spoke Too Soon: A Journal of the Longer. With media artist Liat Berdugo, energy specialist Joshua Finn, and scientist Shawn Manchester, she forms the arts collective The Bureau.

Amy McDaniel

About The Author

Amy McDaniel

Amy McDaniel teaches high school and runs 421 Atlanta, a very small press that publishes poetry and short prose. She is the author of two chapbooks, both with the words "Adult Lessons" in the title, and her writing has been published widely online and in print. She is the editor of Real Pants.

Real Pants

Good hair, crooked gait

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