A Poem Called “Shampoo”

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Not a real Spring Break photo

This week I’m on spring break, which means I’m grading papers, prepping for two new classes that start Monday, and trying to find time to finish the first draft of this effing novel (I will find the time. I will. I’m too close.). I’m also keeping pretty busy on the blog front with some behind-the-scenes stuff. And my parents are visiting, which is nice.

So I didn’t have a ton of time this week to write my almost-every-Thursday blog post, but I’ve been pretty consistent lately (thanks for noticing, jerks…I’m kidding), and I didn’t want to just let a whole ‘nother week fly by with zero blog activity. So, I dug through the archives, and uncovered an old batch of poems.

A few years ago, I got a trio of writers together for a 30 Poems in 30 Days challenge. It was as hard as it sounds. We did help each other out by taking turns throwing out topics/ themes/ prompts to the group. I don’t think anyone hit the 30 mark, but I did come out with something like 25 new shitty poems, and while that may not sound awesome, I’ve been working on a handful of them all along, because if we writers know one thing, it is this: if we write enough garbage, there will be SOMETHING that is only one million revisions away from being good.

It’s been a while since I dug through the 30 Poems in 30 Days slush, but I opened up the file and found this little poem about what happens when the speaker of the poem gets soap in his eyes. I reworked it a bit, and I like this version a bit better than the earlier version (Well, I should hope so!). At any rate, here is my little poem called “Shampoo.”

When shampoo oozes through cracks in my eye lids
again, it’s not the pain that sucks and makes me
yell so that I know the guy upstairs can hear—

it’s the way that those little multi-colored
dots dance in the darkness that follows—the way
they take the shape of your face when I knead
my eyes like dough with open palms. Your face

smiles in shades of red and purple, and though
tears are the body’s natural reaction to eyes
filled with soap, I hate crying in front of you—
especially when you’re smiling. But it happens like this.

One day—in a place I will never see—soap will sneak
through and into your eyes to trigger tears. As you
cry, maybe you’ll see me smiling back
through a screen of abstract dancing dots, but not smiling

because I’m happy or find it funny, but because I would
not know what else to do seeing you like that, and since I
never do the right thing, I’ll probably just smile.

I’m definitely interested in getting another 30 Poems in 30 Days challenge kicked up. It’s always worth writing a few poems like this one to get the one or two good ones that you can workshop and submit to journals. So, if any of you out there are interested, let’s get it done.

I just need a little time to finish this first draft of this novel.

Talk to you soon!

-Shane

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4 thoughts on “A Poem Called “Shampoo”

  1. If I get one decent poem (and decent is a relative term here) written a week, I think I’m doing well. But I admire you for giving this a try!

  2. I haven’t written any poems in a few years. I was actually thinking about giving it a try, but I see so many style out there. I’m not sure I feel educated enough to write one publicly. This made me laugh though and the poem itself was very sweet. I was surprised by the emotion I felt when reading a poem about shampoo. 🙂 That speaks to your talent.

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