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Street Fighting Women


Inside out t-shirt by Anna Arnold – foto Smith

Wrote this this morning, posted it, then took it to the Newfus poetry workshop. I figured if any poem of mine could use constructive criticism, this newborn was it. So here’s what I posted, followed by what the workshop group suggested I change it to. They did make it better.

Street Fighting Women

My wife gets up at 3, goes to bed at 8
while I retire at 11, rise at 6.
At 3:28 in morning
through sleep I hear soft “Honey?”
“Uhhhhh yea?”
“There’re two women fighting outside
and I don’t know what to do.
Should I go out and stop them?”
“Let me look.”
I stumble through dark cold to look out window.
On the sidewalk three floors down
two women are screaming at each other.
In our driveway is an unknown car,
a man standing foolish, silent,
staying away from the women.
I listen . . .
anger, outrage, but no violence.
“Don’t worry, they’re not going to hurt each other.”
We watch awhile.
One puts her hand on the other’s shoulder.
Shoulder woman jerks, turns, starts away.
Hand woman follows,
both still screaming.
Man sort of starts forward,
stops when they stop, keeping distance.
More yelling,
but it’s running down.
Shoulder woman finally leaves left.
Hand woman, man depart right.
I go back to bed,
unsuccessfully seek sleep,
toss and turn
trying to return to where I was
seeing no moral
no lesson
nothing but this poem.

– Smith, 4.28.2012

Workshop result:

Street Fighting Women

My wife gets up at 3
goes to bed at 8.
I retire at 11
rise at 6.

At 3:28 this morning
through sleep I hear soft “Honey?”

“Uhhhhh yea?”

“There’re two women fighting outside
and I don’t know what to do.
Should I go out and stop them?”

“Let me look.”

Stumble cold through dark to window.
On the sidewalk three floors down
two women are screaming at each other.
In our driveway is an unknown car,
a man standing foolish, silent,
staying away from the women.

I listen . . .
anger, outrage, but no violence.

“Don’t worry, they’re not going to hurt each other.”

We watch awhile.
One puts her hand on the other’s shoulder.
Shoulder woman jerks, turns, starts away.
Hand woman follows,
both still screaming.
Man sort of starts forward,
stops when they stop, keeping distance.
More yelling,
but it’s running down.
Shoulder woman finally leaves left.
Hand woman, man depart right.

I go back to bed,
unsuccessfully seek sleep,
toss and turn
trying to return to where I was.

– Smith, 4.28.2012



Lady hugging tree yesterday for Arbor Day
same tree 2 women were screaming in front of this morning
foto Smith

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