In one of my earlier poems, “Butterfly,” my writing is for the most part literal: “His sneakers echo in the empty mall./ Only the theater is open now./ Part of him chickens out. He thinks to call/ it off, but at this point is not sure how.” It’s like I’m telling a story—very narrative-driven—and it’s only in the final couplet where a metaphor emerges: “That first date led to another and soon/ the butterfly emerged from the cocoon.” And it’s a clichéd metaphor at that.
In a newer poem, “Nothing,” I again explore a gay relationship, but this time it’s less cutesy and less narrative-driven. I make use of more striking visual metaphors: “You stand, showering./ Naked. A scarecrow/ with no crows to scare,/ no crops to protect.” Phrases like “your raw skin bleeds… I keep on scrubbing” are less literal and more metaphorical, and I think, more effective. Comparing “Nothing” to “Butterfly” is like night and day. Other poems I’m most proud of now included “Wishes” (“girls resembling flamingos/ with long, stiletto legs/ and bright, warm coats above”) and “Helpmeet” (“But then you smiled with/ fruit juice dripping/ from the corner of your/ apple lips, your mouth a/ yawning hollow”)—poems that have definitely benefitted from my professor's stewardship, the workshops with my peers, and my own deepening understanding of poetry.