Sunday, February 15, 2015

not exactly wonderland



not exactly wonderland

second apartment, a
rocky, rebound relationship—
left the beat of the city
to the middle-of-nowhere-special.

our eat-me sized furniture
loomed over drink-me sized spaces.
narrow strip of carpeted
kitchen invited takeout delivery.

shackled to the second
bedroom—my  office prison
for scholarly pursuits—
with ample room for self-doubt.

three children and a baby
below served as regular alarm clock.
yard bug zapper droned
throughout suburban summer nights.

the only reprieves from
steady silence of study and stress.
long island isolation—
living three disparate identities.

with husband often working,
the drink-me sized second-floor apartment
seemed super-size-me large
that first, endless year of grad school.

at least there was cable.  



http://magpietales.blogspot.com/2015/02/mag-258.html



63 comments:

  1. Alice in first apartment land? Deftly written, loved the details.

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    1. Fireblossom, when we first looked at the apartment, it seemed bigger. And then it got this closing-in feeling once we moved in. Reminded me of those skewed Alice in Wonderland perspectives.

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  2. sounds like my first place. Well done.

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  3. "With ample room for self-doubt"---very clever inclusion in a description of space. And I love the creative play on "not-exactly-Wonderland"--brilliant.

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  4. Just love this particularly as I live in a sip me loft with nibble me furniture! Oh, and my student neighbours are my alarm!

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    1. Keith, I've lived in so many places with noise. The last three years have been my quietest. Finally!

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  5. Great poem. Reminds me of some of the struggles of my husband's and my early apartments. Hope you're doing okay with all the cold and snow.

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    1. Natalie, I guess most of us start that way, and some of us stay in small spaces. I'm glad to have a little more room now. We got at least another foot + the wind is making 2-3 foot piles, so it looks worse! How is the weather by you?

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  6. I like the literal descriptive style and the wry, resigned tone of this. Really enjoyed the poem.

    http://patteran.typepad.com

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  7. Love the end.. sometimes starting anew is a struggle... loved the description of that cramped apartment---

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  8. When you're lonely, every place seems large and empty.

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  9. Loved this. The bed is an ocean when you're alone

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  10. I could really feel the emotion in this poem and can easily picture it. Love the last line.!
    ~Jess

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    1. Thanks, Jess! Having cable was good entertainment as a poor graduate student.

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  11. Perspective makes the space! Nicely told.

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  12. Love this. The details are painfully good!

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    1. Thank you, Mary. One of my friends at the time had a much worse apartment than I did. Her electric heat bills were insane!

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  13. You can't really know a space until you live in it - and it's not always what you expect!
    Nicely written :)

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    1. It's so true, Jemi. Since that apartment, I try to picture the furniture critically--even measuring.

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  14. Well done! I love your descriptions and can easily picture it.

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  15. Very nice! I really loved the "eat-me sized furniture." Perfect.

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  16. Ooh! LOVE this so much! You capture the feeling so well, and I adore your word choice.

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    1. Thanks, Caryn. I don't write that fancy, so I appreciate your comment.

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  17. You really took me there. I'm now thinking about all the apartments I've lived in with the interesting *ahem* neighbors and furniture.

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    1. Medeia, there are places we don't fit in, but we try to work it out anyway. It's like wearing rented clothing that doesn't fit, isn't it?

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  18. Grad school can definitely feel endless, especially the first year when everything's new and feels more overwhelming. I can relate to the point about cable, too; I've thought about cancelling my cable, but it's a good stress reliever when I need a break from studying.

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    1. Neurotic Workaholic, cable is so expensive now. But when I think of how little I go out for entertainment, it's a bargain. Sort of.

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  19. With writing like this to read, who needs cable? Loved the beat style you used with surprising images and impeccable timing! I will be visiting your poem each week now!

    I agree about cable I consider it cheap when you look at the price for a movie and a night out! Haha!

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    1. Thank you so much, Bekkie. I enjoyed your poem too!

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  20. Gotta have cable! Sounds like your life has been a busy journey. Love the way you told the tale Theresa! :-)

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  21. I love the play with the Wonderland themes here, especially how it contrasts with a very regular reality.

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  22. What strange adjectives you have used. I have no idea what "eat me" and "drink me" even look like but I'm picturing rather small? I suppose that's what poetry is supposed to do, right? Intrigue the senses and challenge our idea of what is known.

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    1. Michael, the title "Not Exactly Wonderland," is a nod to Alice in Wonderland. In the book, "Eat me" means she grows bigger, and "Drink me" she shrinks. So the furniture was too big compared with the too small apartment.

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  23. Wow, cable? Lucky you, as I read your words, with eyes of remembering, except for that!

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    1. Karen, it was a nice change because where we lived in NYC before this apartment didn't have cable laid out yet.

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  24. this is that extra bit good that one finds in a book somewhere making the writer money

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  25. I enjoyed the tone and illusions of the poem. I loved your metaphors. Thanks for visiting me on my Blitz Day. Hope you will stop back by. ;)

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  26. I still say, good for you, Theresa, for going to and surviving grad school. If I had graduated earlier in life, I believe I would have tried to find money to attend grad school. But as it was, with five children all quickly approaching college age as I received my undergrad degree, it simply wasn't in the finances.

    As for the poem, another winner. I love how you describe the children below as alarm clocks and the second bedroom/office as large enough for self-doubt. Boy did I have a lot of that attending the University of Pennsylvania.

    Theresa, there is much I love in your description about your second apartment. The poem is wonderful. You are an amazing writer, and I am glad we are friends.

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    1. Victoria, if it makes you feel better, I was in grad school then and I'm in grad school now. Almost done... again.

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    2. Your comment really means a lot to me. Glad we're friends too.

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  27. Hi Theresa .. how often did that happen .. I just never managed the 4 children! But we mix and match, unhappily at times, til with luck we can reach out and be free ...

    We can succeed despite the challenges .. good luck for your nearly done again!! Cheers Hilary

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  28. I love the fact that the family despite of sizes and parameters existed and guessing, in love, what make all difficulty manageable.....~ Love the ironical tone of poem. Glad that the last three years you have quieter house. Thank you for sharing!

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    1. Thanks, Humbird. That was one strange apartment during a hard year of grad school. The last 3 years are a lot quieter!

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