'Commuter' by Alexandra Rockwell Lorenz is Poem of the Week
The new Write Out Loud Poem of the Week is ‘Commuter’ by Alexandra Rockwell Lorenz. In a poem that is rich in images, including "forgotten train tracks" and a "slinking cat", these lines also stand out: “Where trash turns to gold, two worlds are joined … the poor and the rich walk side by side … looking at their faces, I’m not sure who to pity.” In a Q&A interview with Write Out Loud Alexandra told us about her writing method, and how she modifies and skews words jotted down in a botebook to "heighten their meaning":
What got you into writing poetry?
Writing poetry became part of my daily life when I realised that it works wonders as a mood stabiliser. I hadn't written anything that even resembled a poem since middle school, but after encountering some health issues, I began to jot down condensed versions of my thoughts in my notebook. These thoughts then became what you could call 'poetry' when I started to modify and skew the words to heighten their meaning. I've been told that my poems are extremely personal, and have even been encouraged to write poems that are silly, but I feel that their serious tone suits my internal voice.
How long have you been writing?
I've been writing in a more general sense since I could hold a crayon in my hand. I remember the delight that struck me when I spelled my name (albeit incorrectly) when I was three. It amazes me that human beings not only have the ability to verbally communicate complex ideas, but that we have such intricate systems of markings that correspond to our vocalisations. Being part of what will become written tradition has always excited me.
Do you go to any open-mic nights?
I haven't been to a poetry-specific open mic night, but every few weeks I decide to torture some poor musicians at a local cafe by interrupting their songs with my rather arrhythmic poetry.
What’s your favourite poet/poem?
My favourite poet is Benjamin Clementine, a young man from the UK, discovered in France. The way he combines words is absolutely mesmerising. He is also a musician and I am in love with the music he composes. Please listen to some of his music and look out for his upcoming book of poems.
You're cast away on a desert island. What's your luxury?
I'm getting into minimalism, so being on a desert island with no material objects sounds amazing. My luxury would be sunscreen, as my complexion isn't fond of too much sun.
by Alexandra Rockwell Lorenz
Pink trees reach tall with bare arms
Spare tires piled to the moon
Old records shattered and covered in dirt
Forgotten train tracks crisscross the earth
Clouds mirrored in muddy ruts
filled with water from the drip drop sky
Profanities purple and bubbled on walls
Slinking cat curled up so small
In the car are silent bobbing heads
Gazes glued to glowing squares
My nose on glass, my breath to fog
Speeding now, it won't be long
Counting houses with rotting wood
roofs collapsed, bellies missing food
We come to the limit, the line, the point
Where trash turns to gold, two worlds are joined
Bobble heads leave the train and go on their way
ignoring the people they pass everyday
the poor and the rich walk side by side
elbows bumping, stairs are climbed
out into the air, to the Emerald City
looking at their faces, I'm not sure who to pity