A Poem by Leora Fridman in Response to Caroline Cabrera’s Prompt
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 email@example.com. 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.
VESSEL FOR PURPOSE
I am coming
on an age
where I have
it comes up.
is the rest,
are no belly.
M says this is
brave, I am
I say, this is
my lazy lord
I hate her
to attend to
Loving, I call you
because I have
Loving, she is such
a stupid healer.
will come of this.
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.
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 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.
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