Wake slowly—bedroom window light shines slant with vertigo,
your arm half-bared touches its
square pool of sun.
Pull a shirt and trousers like the closet’s
loose teeth, its savage, dark maw—
Put them on.
Bathe—prepare breakfast—breathe air
stale with your own sterile scent—
descend the stairway like a cloud—
Attend your job. Stroll from door to door,
form words. White noise like a fan’s
rushing whirr says
everything you might imply. The day looms with its pendulum sun
swung slow back toward night. The hours
mete out as ground glass—
At sunset, draw blinds. Your body
streaked with night takes on more weight—
Sensible meal: choose salad;
skip dessert. Be strong. Be strong.
There’s no harm in looking good even when
no one’s looking
Click here to read Charles's first draft.
From the fingertips of Charles Jensen:
My strategy for revision was to cull a form from the original piece, was was irregular. I also wanted to work toward more word economy and take out needless conjunctions and prepositions as I could. This poem needs more silence--more caesura--and it needed to be "harder." That said, I worked toward iambic meter but allowed some abrupt disruptions of it. I wanted the images to be more stark.
I don't know. I think it's still not done.
Normally I would not revise a poem this quickly. In my process work generally sits around a few months before I take a knife to it. I need to grow apart from it. But perhaps the austerity of this poem, its narrative distance ("you") makes it easier to work with.