Friday, April 22, 2011

National Poetry Month Guest Blogger: Rachel Simon on Poems in NBA Playoff Season

Thank you to Rachel M. Simon, fellow Sarah Lawrence College MFA alum, and friend, for today’s thoughts and poem.

Rachel M. Simon is the author of the full-length poetry collection Theory of Orange and the chapbook Marginal Road.  She teaches writing, gender studies, and film courses as an adjunct at SUNY Purchase College, Pace University, and Bedford Hills Maximum Security Correctional Facility. 

Poems in NBA Playoff Season

This January at the Palm Beach Poetry Festival I got a great (and somewhat vague) writing prompt that I think might be useful to others.

First, the prompt:

Then she gave us permission to abandon the narrative and write a poem that pays attention to sound.  It was encouragement to play with sound.  I love the Taggart poem’s musicality.  My first impulse was to borrow heavily from him and start with music.  I wrote a few attempts that started with Elvis Costello.  They were terrible.

My current project is a collection of sports poems and I’ve been hitting a wall trying to write about the rape accusations against Kobe Bryant and Ben Rothlisberger.  I went back to the source text of the Kobe Bryant police interview and started there.  I needed this Taggart prompt to get beyond the judgmental tone that I kept coming back to as a feminist poet writing about Kobe and Rothlisberger.  Below you’ll find a draft of my poem that came from the prompt. 

summer 2003

Accused and unsanitzed 19-year-old Colorado woman
claimed consensual claimed and scrubbed obtained
first denied encounter (inaudible) claimed consensual 19-year-old
Colorado, Vail over Colorado. Did you ever make the allegation
that you like Vail Colorado when you were having sex with her?
Everything an (inaudible) allegation to Detective Winter
who must also like Vail Colorado, to detect there.
Did you ask her, did you ask, did you
if you could cum in her face? Face, to turn towards.
Ask her, ask, first denied encounter (inaudible), denied.
Yes.  That’s when she said no.  That’s when she said no. 
That’s when she said no. Accused consensual
claimed and scrubbed.  Did anything escalate at that point?
Hotel escalator tour. 19-year-old. Foreplay type issues,
you know I mean grabbing? Issued in Vail Colorado.
(inaudible) Let’s talk about that in your room Kobe.
Yeah.  Denied detective Winters (inaudible)
I’m not (inaudible) if I knew (inaudible) knee (inaudible)
have an appointment.  Oh no. (Whispering).
Knee procedure denied encounter
consensual knee procedure (inaudible). 19-year-
old.  Like Vail Colorado. Don’t want it to get to the media.
Blood Scrubbed.  I still have the boxers, (inaudible) 
boxers, they’re all white, they’re all white, there’s nothing.
Grabbing bleeding asked ask, did you? Claimed consent.
She had a lot of bleeding. From her vaginal area.
(inaudible)  Room encounter escalate.  Bent
herself over...19-year-old Colorado woman
consensual knee procedure bleeding.

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