I went through a box of old papers this weekend, and I discovered the very first poem that I wrote as a freshman in college (1991). Although it's good to see that I have improved a lot over the years, it's also neat to see some of the same themes in my current writing (like the scissors), and I have to say I am very fond of it. Here it is, my first poem filled with eighteen-year-old identity angst:
Mice in the Dark
The owl grips the streetlight
in hopes to stay the wind.
The sun has been consumed,
his time begins again.
His eyes reflect my headlights
as I drive by underneath.
My presence is a mystery
from an unknown world.
The image of the owl is rare,
seen for the first time.
His eyes search the shadows.
They see clean through me.
I switch and wear the beak of an owl.
My eyes question the reflection.
I grip the steel branches and feel with him,
misplaced in a forest away from home.
The predator on the streetlight is also the prey.
He is like mice in the dark, too afraid
because the predator in the owl can thrash him.
His own searching talons can bleed his feathers.
I have my scissors to hunt my prey,
but they poke holes in my pockets.
I scar my fingers while hunting
and find shadows painfully mouse-free,
cutting through the velvet shadows
to find something unseen inside.
Pointless to bleed myself dry
to find a mouse in the dark, that is me.