Guest Poet Kelly Donohue

"Rough Draft"

Teeming head, scratching
Raw coughs in the virgin trickle
of ink - the first dry moments of fucking.
Scabby thing.  Fascinating
Salty buried Truth, warm
On the tongue.  
The pause is a hardening clot.

Birthing rush of metaphor - blood - sweat, 
the anti-climactic climax.
No celestial afterglow, shaming
Cheap one night stand with the muses.
Either hope to forget its name
Or memorialize it, 
As a scar.

November, 1998

Kelly Donohue's Questions:

Friends have mentioned not understanding this poem until they were aware that the title was actually "Rough Draft" -- I was going for what it feels like to scratch out those first few images, the mix of pleasure and pain, like picking at a scab or losing one's virginity--does this come through to the reader? 

Another friend mentioned it's either "too long or too short" -- any suggestions as far as length?

My poems all seem to hold around 20 or so lines, and so I'm open to suggestions about challenging myself to either cram the imagery into fewer lines or to draw on them further, depending on what the poem needs.

Thanks for your help...

Correspond with Kelly Donohue at
with your ideas about this poem.

The Albany Poetry Workshop