Today on the front porch, we’re spending time with Regina Rodríguez’s piece “Glimpses of Too Many Dates, Summer 2003.” This piece was originally published in “The Visit,” the Fall 2003 issue of JOT.

Regina Rodríguez

I am—
on my 60-minute lunch break
moving slowly with all the time in the
running late and out of breath trying to
stay cool at the same time
hopeful that this will take all night.

 I enter—
hoping that hair and lipstick are
hungry and ill-tempered as a two-year-old
gorgeous in vibrant color and planted
knowing that the odds of this one being
“it” suck.

We interact—
relaxed as two friends doing laundry
unable to figure each other out
with conversation as smooth as a
balloon rising
with conversation as smooth as a wheelchair
on gravel
determined as a plodding traveler
delighted as the color yellow.

The chemistry—

We part—
smiling at the warmth inside
with self-loathing for a miserable display
intrigued and hopeful
wanting to e-mail each other immediately
grateful for a good meal anyway
knowing we did our best
certain that it’s all hopeless.

I love that this piece creates a poem out of glimpses of “too many” scenes. “Relaxed as two friends doing laundry” is such an evocative, yet comfortable line, but Regina doesn’t elaborate on it—instead she describes other moments, similar in set-up, but so different in tone and mood that the procession of dates becomes absurd. With the constantly contrasting metaphors—“hungry and ill-tempered as a two-year-old,” and “delighted as the color yellow,” for example—which tone do you think this poem settles on? Hope, despair, humor, or somewhere in between?

Writing Prompt: Try creating a piece of your own that is constructed out of multiple scenes, but still resolves around a cohesive theme. You could use a variety of contrasting analogies, as Regina does, or different pieces of dialogue, or describe the same object or place at different times in different settings. What changes each time? What stays the same?