.

Aftertaste

Love at first sip was so cloyingly sweet,
When I’d have gladly laid all at his feet,
Sworn by the heavens his eminent worth,
Followed him unto the ends of the earth.

Tragic, how quickly he emptied the glass;
Shocking, how hastily pleasures can pass.
Salty the drops that I wept in the void,
Finding my heart all at once unemployed

Now he’d found joy in another’s embrace.
Sharp were the pangs when they laughed in my face;
Biting the wounds that reality wrought,
Sour the savor of lingering thought.

Bitter my memories, and bitter my tears;
Bitter in prospect my future appears.
Bitter the aftertaste of our last kiss—
Bitter the romance that ended like this!

.

.

Split Ends

Now, this is just to say (and please don’t laugh)
That since the other day, if you recall,
At dinner when I ate the other half
Of what had started off as your meatball,
I feel akin to you more than before,
And I begin to dream about your face;
Yes, now I long to see you more and more—
Oh (is it wrong?), I yearn for your embrace!
It must suffice to bask in your bright smile;
It sure is nice to drown in your dark eyes.
Eager, I wait for our “once in a while”
More than of late. The reason, I surmise—
That’s just how parted meatballs tend to roll:
The halves in you and me want to be whole.

.

.

At a Loss for Similes

Liquid and glowing, like sweet molasses,
__And yet much blacker still by far;
Expansive and dark as the midnight sky
__Yet tightly gripping as molten tar;
Translucent as shards of obsidian—
__Onyx-toned, and yet lucid and bright;
Mysterious as deepest abyss, yet lit
__By thousands of sparks—a starry night;
Like charcoal, potential of secret heat
__Liable at any moment to blaze—
To make contact at all with eyes like these
__Is to be utterly lost in their gaze.

.

.

From Afar

An Acrostic Sonnet

For fear of falling victim to your charms,
Outcast I am from your society,
Retreating from your most enticing arms—
But hating every minute that I’m free.
Impossibility, that brave deterrent,
Despairs to quench my misdirected ardor;
Delight persists, a stubborn undercurrent,
Exultant in the need to struggle harder.
_Nearness is heaven; separation, hell;
__Felicity—to keep you in my sight,
___Regarding not this infinite divide.
_Undaunted, I remain beneath your spell,
__Imagining the wondrous things that might
___Take place—if ever I gave in and tried.

.

.

Combinatorics

Perhaps, if I just persevere,
Eventually the lines will fall
Right where they ought to be, my dear;
Maybe, if I just give my all
Until I get each sequence right,
The key to finding joy and bliss
And happiness will come to light.
Till then, I only promise this:
I’ll try the paths out, one by one,
Observe the ones that prove most true,
Not tiring till my goal is won—
So long as I end up with you.

.

.

A Pennsylvania native now residing in Colorado, Anna J. Arredondo is an engineer by education, a home educator by choice, and by preference, a poet.  She also has poems published in Light, The Lyric, and Time of Singing.


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36 Responses

  1. Sally Cook

    Anna —

    I am delighted with your poems and also wiith your mention of home schooling
    The poems remind me so much of both Edna St. Vincent Millay and Dorothy Parker. Since they left us, there hasn’t been anyone to fill the gap. And the home schooling ! I am thrilled that someone of your caliber is involved. People that have got hold of education today are harming young children in countless ways.
    Please do continue to submit here. Have you published any books?

    Reply
    • Anna J. Arredondo

      Sally,

      Thank you so much for this high praise. I am flattered by the comparisons, though I think quite undeserving. I am also encouraged by your appreciation of the homeschooling.

      I have not published any books, but I would love to. At this point it is a dream without a plan. I could certainly use some guidance as to where to begin and how to go about it!

      Reply
  2. Joseph S. Salemi

    “At a Loss for Similes” piles up dependent and participial clauses in eleven lines of trembling expectation, and then provides the main verb in the final line. And you only learn that the speaker is talking about “eyes” in line 11. It’s complex, but very effective!

    Reply
    • Anna J. Arredondo

      Joseph,

      Thank you for this analysis of and praise for “At a Loss for Similes.” It means a lot!

      Reply
  3. Russel Winick

    I was moved to read each of these poems multiple times. Totally agree with Sally that there are sweet essences of Dorothy and Edna here. Delightful work!

    Reply
    • Julian D. Woodruff

      Very impressive, Ms Arredondo. The 2 acrostic poems make a good complementary pair.

      Reply
      • Anna J. Arredondo

        Thank you for your comment, Mr. Woodruff.

    • Anna J. Arredondo

      Russel,
      thank you so much for your comment. I am glad that you enjoyed them!

      Reply
  4. Susan Jarvis Bryant

    Anna, this is an exquisite array of admirably crafted poetry that is an absolute treat to read. They are all wonderful, but my favorite is ‘Combinatorics’ – a very clever acrostic. Who would have thought that mathematical terms would lend themselves to poetry so beautifully. I used to have arithmophobia… not any more! 🙂

    I also love Evan’s chosen picture… “Still life with hot chocolate” brings a wickedly steamy and delicious dimension to the ordinary – a perfect choice. Thank you!

    Reply
    • Anna J. Arredondo

      Susan, thank you for your kind compliments. I am happy to have played a part in curing you of arithmophobia! I actually have a few more math-related poems, composed over the years…

      And I agree with you on Evan’s choice of picture. He does a great job, often unrecognized, in thoughtfully choosing the art to go with each post.

      Reply
  5. Jeff Eardley

    A very good read today Anna. You are a poet of the highest quality. I enjoyed all of these, particularly “Split Ends.” It reminded me of the 1940’s song, “One Meatball” which I recall being in the repertoire of legendary Ry Cooder. Thank you.

    Reply
    • Anna J. Arredondo

      Jeff, thanks for the generous compliment. Of course, I had to go to the internet to give that song a listen… I’m not sure that 15 cents could get you even half of a meatball these days!

      Reply
  6. Yael

    These are all delightfully entertaining poems and my favorite one is From Afar the Acrostic Sonnet. Having worked most of my life together with young and beautiful half-dressed people in high temptation environments I can totally relate to it and I’m impressed by the clever and tricky composition of it. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
    • Anna J. Arredondo

      Thank you, Yael, for your comment. Now I am exceedingly curious, what work was it that put you in the environment you described?

      Reply
      • Yael

        River, mountain bike, and wilderness adventure guiding on and around the Ocoee River in the Cherokee National Forest, and other wilderness areas of TN, GA, NC. You almost need blinders or you can really get an eye full here in the summer time.

      • Anna J. Arredondo

        Wow! Sounds like an entertaining and rewarding job, and one that must have given you tons of stories to tell…

  7. Roy E. Peterson

    In “Aftertaste,” besides Edna St. Vincent Millay, I was reminded of Sara Teasdale in several of her poems including “May” and “The Kiss.” Emily Dickinson also wrote of losing love(s). This is a welcome and an outstanding contribution full of feeling in the tradition of these great poets. The next three are delightful for the images they depict. I especially liked “…If ever I gave in and tried!”

    Reply
    • Anna J. Arredondo

      Roy, thank you for your thoughtful comment. After reading your feedback and that of the others, I think maybe I ought to do some focused reading of Millay, Parker, Teasdale, and Dickinson to get more inspiration!

      Reply
  8. Allegra Silberstein

    Wow…you gave me a special treat with your poems on this hot afternoon in Davis CA…your acrostics were amazing and I agree with all that Roy said.

    Reply
  9. Michael Pietrack

    Nothing makes you feel like an outcast to ones society than a break up. It’s been a long while for me, but the pain still feels recent.

    Reply
    • Anna J. Arredondo

      Michael,
      Thank you for your comment. I’ve found that pain expressed in words is a more bearable pain. Sometimes I manage to find those words myself, and often I’m delighted to find those words written for me by others.

      Reply
  10. Norma Pain

    I love all five of these poems Anna but especially “Aftertaste”. I can almost taste the bitter-sweetness of lost love. Thank you.

    Reply
    • Anna J. Arredondo

      Thank you for your comment, Norma. I enjoyed writing “Aftertaste” to include the four basic tastes I ‘grew up with.’ But I did leave out umami…

      Reply
  11. Margaret Coats

    Anna, in my opinion “Combinatorics” is the most nearly perfect of these. I had to look at my math tutoring notes to recall the difference between combinations and permutations. Order matters in permutations but not in combinations. And there are complex equations to calculate the number of each for any total number of items, in relation to possible choices made or not made. And these numbers get very large rather quickly, with factorials n! involved. You manage to express emotion in words and mathematical concepts, using “all” for the total, “sequence” for the pertinent order, and suggesting that you focus on permutations (the smaller number) but do not neglect any combination (the larger number) of means that might achieve the desired result. Order per se does not matter, except in the one item that must be in final position!

    The poem is satisfying to us aware of the equations, and to those who just see a careful process of numerical logic being followed. The acrostic supports the discourse, in which the syntax of grammar and emotion both work out admirably.

    Reply
    • Anna J. Arredondo

      Margaret,

      Thank you for your thoughtful analysis! I came up with the acrostic idea after a lengthy discussion with my niece, who is studying towards a PhD in mathematics (the specific area slips my mind right now), and a young man who is majoring in math as an undergrad. During the course of the conversation it was pointed out that what we typically refer to as “combination locks” should more properly be called “permutation locks”, since the order of the numbers matters.

      Reply
  12. Alena Casey

    “At a Loss for Similes” is beautiful in its variety of images and the way it builds tension. Thank you!

    Reply
  13. Sally Cook

    Anna —

    My computer is weird. But if you are interested in doing a book, Evan might be able to suggest some publishers. And if you do want, we can communicate thru e-mail. Evan, I know, will give you my e-mail address.
    Forgot to say that I like very much the way you often refer to food in your poetry.
    Also, some editors also publish books. Keep at it; your work is carefully wrought and has a personality !

    Reply
    • Anna J. Arredondo

      Sally —

      Thank you for following up on this. I would like that very much. I’ll begin by writing to Evan to get connected via email..

      I guess I do mention food quite a bit — I love it!

      Reply
  14. Adam Wasem

    Ah, the romance of courtship and heartbreak. These poems make me feel it’s not dead quite yet. I especially liked “Split Ends” and “From Afar.” Normally I feel like adding an acrostic to a sonnet is just gilding the lily, but you made it work quite well, kudos.

    Reply
    • Anna J. Arredondo

      Adam,

      Thank you for your comment. In this case, technically, I added a sonnet to the acrostic. 🙂 I have written some more ‘irregular’ acrostics, when the number of letters in the word or phrase doesn’t lend itself to a traditional form. But when the count is 14, I get a little excited, and almost always go with the sonnet form.

      Reply
  15. C.B. Anderson

    Though I am not a big fan of acrostics, all four of these were great examples of the forms they were meant to instantiate. I have a feeling that your work should be much more widely published than it already is, because you are damn good at it.

    Reply
    • Anna J. Arredondo

      Thank you, C.B., for your encouraging comment! I would love to get my work more widely published. Though I feel my biggest obstacle is finding/making the time to just sit down and go after it, having some useful strategies and direction would certainly help. Do you have any tips you could share with me?

      Reply

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