Excerpt from The April Book


July 1, 2022


COMPARISON

From The April Book by Jennifer C. Weil


An unedited diary of at least one poem per day, from April 5,1984 trough April 5, 1985


The April Book originated in the Mile High City with a Dedication to my husband. In 2019, I made a codicil. They follow here:



Dedication

It is April 5, 1984, and I can neither eat nor sleep. I have no need to wander the halls in search of space or some diversion; the hotel room feels very large. He snores gently; I listen alternately to him and to the efforts of my heart to fashion wings ...


THE APRIL BOOK: NOTHING'S BLACK OR WHITE arose from (and occasionally revisited) insomnia. It is, without being a diary or journal, a chronicle of one year in a particular lifetime. With no small love, I offer it to you in the best way I know: from my heart.

There was no commitment to make these poems profound, no compulsion to produce the best I would ever produce. I refused even to look at what I had written. In the long years since the end of the year, I have resisted editing these pages, even when they made me cringe. Except for the purposes of correcting formatting differences from the original software to the one used for this edition, my only requirement of me was to communicate daily with myself and with you, whom I have imagined again and again, and whose face I have seen recognize itself in the pages of this book. Your changes are my changes, your dreams and deeds are mine, and so too is your poetry.


-- Jennifer C. Weil April 5, 1985




NOTE: There is no table of contents. Each poem bears the date on which it was written. In rare instances, a date may have two short poems. Those pages are the exception, the only bending of my rule.


--JCW

June 9, 2019






July 1, 2022


I thought at first to take the pieces from the manuscript, a simple chronological approach to sharing this long-ago work. On reflection, it seemed too journalistic, instead, I chose to take poems at random and alter them as I wish, then write one for today. How uncanny that the first one is titled “Comparison.” Now, you just come along and decide whether the old woman’s take is stronger than the young woman’s. Perhaps you will say, “Why didn’t she leave it alone!” You might say, “They’re both _____________ (fill in your adjective(s). And as for the current one, well …”


This is naked stuff I’m putting out here. You can be naked, too, in your response. I do like honesty without vituperation; yet, it’s not my place to tell you to be nice or civil or show restraint. Welcome to the warehouse.


~


January 24, 1984 July 1, 2022

COMPARISON

Our house was quieter; That house was somber;

we never threw things we never threw things

or raised our voices or raised out voices

without feeling guilty. without a fugue of guilt.

Our house is volatile; Our house is volatile;

words are projectiles words, sharp projectiles

bouncing off the walls nicking the walls

around our guarded ears. around our guarded ears.

Our house was too careful, That house built of eggshell

left us unprepared rendered us unschooled

for these later wars for these later wars,

without nice rules to keep. absent useful guidelines.

Our house is too hurtful, Our house is strong built

yet within its bonds a fortress of both hurt

gentle words have lured and gentle syllables to lure

my leaving heart back home. my leaving heart back home.

Our house imitated love That house imitated love

it could not feel; so earnestly, a love it could not feel;

Our house courts our pain-- our house courts our pain.

and neither place is mine. Neither place is mine.

~ ~



July 1, 2022


Residence


We adopted a gallery of walls

with doors to match

and windows looking

everywhere.

Views of trees,

of sand and beach

and hills of parch

and evergreen.


On wheels we came to places

that begged our residence,

where our hearts then pleaded

of the places, Let us go!

Each residence, a school;

each room, a lesson,

teaching the math of variance

in yearning,

to seek not a sameness of passion

for this or that

but for the truthful answer.


Walls expanded and contracted

Remained, but relocated with us too

when we moved on;

and so had little need to mourn.

We took our rooms, our places

everywhere with us;

we listen to them laugh at us,

at bickering whose power reigns

a minute,

at forgiveness that waterfalls,

at love that knows the frail houses

of the past

were never

built to last.


~


One prudent (I hope) observation: A poem written many years ago sprang from the perspective of one who since has likely grown. Myriad experiences informed a new person, in a way. Enveloping the old, to be sure, this new poet will not write the same poem today. As a piece of one’s personal history, the original work will bear the date of its creation, and so will the rewrites its poet makes.


~