“Everybody looks at him playing / the machine hour after hour, / but he hardly raises his gold lashes,” writes Thom Gunn in his poem “Bally Power Play,” which appears in his collection The Passages of Joy (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1982). In the poem, an unnamed speaker describes the movements of a pinball player in a bar with a sense of close watchfulness and adoration. “He is / the cool source of all that hurry / and desperate activity, in control, / legs apart, braced arms apart, / seeming alive only at the ends,” writes Gunn. This week, write a poem that captures a scene in which your speaker is observing someone closely. Consider, as in Gunn’s poem, how descriptive language can create and match the rhythm of a subject’s movements. For more inspiration, read C. K. Williams’s poem “From My Window.”
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