Recently submitted this poem to the Rattle: Ekphrastic Challenge. More recently, it has been declined. C’est la vie. It was a cool contest where you had to create a poem in response to a painting.
The one submitted was by an artist named Kate Peper, who has some really good stuff on her website, so please do check out her work!
The poem I wrote in response to her painting was inspired by the focal point: a shop with the word Liquors brightly lit in neon red for passers-by to see. I imagined being the person standing on the other side of the street, looking at that sign.
When I first looked at the image, I immediately thought of the internal struggle someone goes through when trying to get over addiction; I focused on that one phrase I say to myself when I know I’m about to give in (again) to something I know I shouldn’t:
I’ll do better tomorrow.
I imagined someone standing across the street, looking at the liquor store, contemplating. The poem is the person talking to themselves and to the people they imagine are judging them; they know full well that they will be giving into their temptation, but they justify their in-the-moment weakness with a resolve to do better and be better…someday.
Ultimately, this person knows they’ll be back at that same spot again the next night, saying the same things and convincing themselves that they will eventually reach this ‘elusive tomorrow’ someday, gives them courage and hope for the imaginary version of themselves they visualize: someone who is finally free from addiction.