Poetry: A Bushwick Villanelle

Back in the (rightfully) lost poems of my college years—all scribbled in a notebook or, for two of them, on my Hi-5 page—I mostly wrote free verse that ranted quite a bit, though, influenced by Baudelaire, I tried to rhyme sometimes and keep my imagery fresh; the most formal I ever got was by writing two petrarchan sonnets, of which I was so proud that they're the aforementioned Hi-5 entries, lost in the same wave of oblivion that took that social network.

Now that I'm writing more, and have read more, I've found beautiful, musical, haunting free verse in García Lorca, Whitman, Mario Benedetti and Borges, as well as many talented young poets who haven't lost touch with the less restrained magical state of pre-self-effacing that seems to beset young professionals. However, now that I'm coming back, bereft of practice, I have found solace in more strict forms: they give me a solid scaffold in which to construct verses that try their best to convey what I've come to call—not very originally—the everyday poetic, or simply the little glimpses we all get every day of things that are worth saying from our personal perspective; and I think some structure also helps the reader commit to the poem long enough to extract the humbly presented gift of seeing life from someone else's eyes.

Better writers can argue for or against having more or having less structure, but in my meanderings back into this world, I appreciate enough structure to allow me to tackle an idea and come up with something that may make some sense to others.

All of that to say that today's poem, written last month but finally edited today, tries to adhere to a formal structure: it follows the Villanelle form, which I found mentioned on the Original Content Poetry subreddit and liked as it poses the challenge of using the same two rhymes for quite a few lines, and of finding two refrains that will make sense throughout the poem. In my very limited experience, it helps tell stories where a certain notion recurs in different roles, and thus I chose it to tell a condensed portion of my life so far after moving from Tegucigalpa to Brooklyn.

Without even more ado, here it is: A Bushwick Villanelle