Real Life Plagiarism

January 17, 2007

I’m not really sure what to call this one. I’ve called it this based on a writing exercise the BrightSparks Poets did recently. The exercise was to take another poets poem-pick at random from a selection of books, pick one that speaks to you and change the words. Change each word for something something similar or its complete opposite. The result will be either a complete new poem-after the writer-or at least a collection of interesting lines.

What I have below is a bit like that, but not. It’s based on a client visit I made (I work in mental health) but the actual exchange has been completely altered as the above rules dictate.The reasons here are rather more practical. I wanted to write about the visit because it really moved me-but I could hardly broadcast another persons real experience. So, here’s my real life plagiarism…

There are icicles
growing inside my walls
can you see them? I can smell them
like chlorine, they smell like
blue snow, can you smell fruitcake?
Fruitcake in the icicles? They’ve been
growing there for days,
hammering flat leaves of veins
beneath the plaster. The plaster’s cold
because of the ice, turn the fire on?
no I can’t do that. They’d melt and
flood the cavities, soak through the ceiling
and the floorboards and drown,
I’d drown in the night. And the fruitcake
would rot. No one else can see them
how’s your nose?


3 Responses to “Real Life Plagiarism”

  1. catherine said

    That makes a fascinating poem – your introduction really makes me wonder what the original was.

  2. Hey Catherine-glad you got something from it, thanks for reading.

  3. Amazing and poignant poem. Having worked with people experiencing mental health issues, I feel the emotion of this poem. Much peace, JP

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