Monday, August 14, 2006


Here's a poem from "Nothing Held Back" a compilation of prose and verse put out annually by WriteGirl. This nonprofit group out of Los Angeles pairs young female writers with mentors in the t.v., film, publishing, and public relations games. The goal is to improve their ability to communicate and, ostensibly, improve their survival chances in a rather dicey world economy. There's a link to WriteGirl under our list of "Friends" at left.

Here's a poem by 16-year old Zoe Beyer:


A textbook example.

a mother shakes a tree and an apple doesn't fall far.

She eats the fruit of the same girl in the backseat of that car.

Canned oranges, dripping wet

cotton T-shirts like summer,

like starfruit holidays in chlorine and whiskey --

no ocean water surprises,

sea sand and salt,

like mother like daughter.

Ms. Baer's opening line makes her plight universal; something we should lend our attention to, if only for a moment. Her second line is gorgeous even if it twists a piece of conventional wisdom but mildly, it focuses us upon the piece's subject, laserlike. The insinuation of a mother devouring her young in the ambiguous third line infuses the poem with a degree of ferocity we know exists between some mothers and their girly offspring. And then the circumstances which serve to embellish and flavor the memory while engaging in wordplay with those "starfruit holidays."

"No ocean water surprises," prods us on in search of meaning and there it is: no suprises in the watery ocean between these two ladies -- "sea sand and salt." She doesn't even need the last line, her work is so completely done... but she can have it.

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