Flowers: for Etta James, Johnny Otis, the Skier, and the Hairdresser's Grandmother

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Flowers: for Etta James, Johnny Otis, the Skier, and the Hairdresser's Grandmother

Post  Jessica Swanson on Sat Jan 21, 2012 9:56 am

Please comment and let me know how this is. I feel like I'm touching on stuff and then not going more into it, and that there are parts that could be left out. Let me know!

This is one of those days that, if I were in
love, I would tell that person
right now. The hair salon
was better than most, with
less product fumes and more
Dum-dum lollipops, exploding from
a can like a bouquet of plastic
flowers. “Let’s just trim off
the split ends,” says the
hairdresser- Stephanie- and
she wants to know if I’m
a Virgo or a Libra. We’re
debating whether to straighten
or curl the dripping hair on
my shoulders and my mother
comes over to let me know that
Etta James has died, and another
hairdresser comes over to let
Stephanie know that more people
are chipping in for the
flowers. A woman who works
there has just lost a grandmother,
and my hair is beautiful.

The bouquet- not the one of grief, but
the one of candy- tastes more
delicious than it looks. I
throw the sticks in the
trash and watch the salon’s
TV. Groundhog Day is on
again. (It’s like we’re living
the same day over and
over again.) In the car:
my hair is shorter, and Mom’s
is darker, and the radio lets
us know that Johnny Otis
is dead. I can still taste a
mango Dum-dum in the back
of my throat. At home: I’m
singing “The Wallflower” to
my brother Eric and Mom lets us
know about the skiing accident
that took an Olympian.

Back in the car- we’re dropping Eric
off for a camping trip- and after,
Mom says a boy in her book
has just been badly burned
by campfire. We have a dinner
of frozen yogurt and Hunger
Games
trivia. At home: Dad
thinks I should straighten
my hair more often. We listen
to the same song over and over
and over again. You can be addicted
to a certain kind of sadness
. I read and
play with my hair, and I know, because
of everyone who has let me know: This
is one of those days that, if I were in
love, I would tell that person right
now.
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Jessica Swanson

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Re: Flowers: for Etta James, Johnny Otis, the Skier, and the Hairdresser's Grandmother

Post  unused on Sun Jan 22, 2012 10:37 am

I really like this, Jessica! I mean, maybe "like" isn't the best word. Because it's depressing and makes me think about how short life is. I don't want to be the peppy cheerleader at a funeral.
Anyway.
A few things.
First, I love the "This is one of those days that, if I were in love, I would tell that person right now." It creates a sense of urgency, and ties everything really together when you repeat it at the end.
Two, don't tell us the hairdressers name! I think that one of the most beautiful things about this poem is the mixture between personalized and non-personalized events (or deaths, to be more specific). So just take out "-Stephanie-"
Three, love all the stuff with the dum-dum lollipops. I don't care if Gertrude Stein comes back from the grave and tells you to take it out. Leave it in. This is very good advice Very Happy
Four, "Groundhog Day is on again. (It’s like we’re living the same day over and over again.)" could be tweaked. Maybe "Groundhog Day is on again. / we are again" or "Groudhog Day is on again./Again." Try tying it into the last stanza line "We listen to the same song over and over and over again." If you keep the three overs, maybe make the on again go three times. You get my drift.

Just suggestions, and a lot of praise. I figured I couldn't quote the whole poem and be like "I FREAKING LOVE THIS!" so there you go(:
Miss you! Good luck and keep writing like this!!
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