02 August 2023

Poem 20 (Poetry prompt: Thematic unity)

The second poem that I'm writing for my online poetry course will be workshopped. This post will document the evolution of the poem from its first to its final draft.

Disclosure: What you see below, which is what I have also submitted, is not exactly the first draft. What constitutes a first draft anyway?

To give you an idea, this poem had undergone a major revision in prosody pre-submission. It went from having paragraph-like stanzas (lines grouped per image or idea), to this now musically focused line-cutting.

Draft 1


Write your name on top
of your beloved's,
strike the common letters,

count the odd ones out,
and you're left with a number
that tells your future

together or apart.
Matthew and Anna
were meant to be

Enemies. So I tweaked the rules,
wrote full names and nicknames,
till the game declared

Marriage. Twenty years
since high school I lay in bed
alone, playing

with my phone:
Swipe left for the Oh-Nos,
Swipe right for the Why-Nots.

How to outsmart the algorithm
to make it make matches
that catch a flame?

I may not win again or ever,
but I carry on dreaming
new ways of miscalculating fate.

—RE, 2 August 2023

Update (30 September 2023):

I am pretty happy with the draft and so I am labelling this as Poem 20. In fact I kind of knew that I won't budge on this one as soon as I hit submit. Like I said in the intro, this has already undergone several revisions.

I will be editing this poem draft instead for the poetry course. It's a fun verse to write, but lame. Will do my best to un-lame it.

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