Hanging Fire Response

Topics: Girl, Boy, Stanza Pages: 5 (1838 words) Published: May 6, 2013
Unspoken Thoughts and Flashbacks

To be quite honest, I had no idea where I was going to begin with writing this response. I must have re-read Hanging Fire by Audre Lorde over and over again, and I am still sadly stuck on what my starting point is going to contain. I have to start somewhere, so here it goes. What I can say is that I enjoy this poem greatly. It brings back memories and feelings I thought were buried in my mind everlastingly. The first stanza compares a lot to many experiences and emotions I have felt and endured throughout the 18 years I have been alive. I first pictured a young girl with a face filled with acne, which refers to the line “and my skin has betrayed me” (Lorde 824). This helps me to remember that just hours before I began writing this, I was staring at myself in the mirror wondering why my face broke out and I just wanted to cry. I know how this young girl feels, and it is not a pleasant feeling.

The next line “the boy I cannot live without still sucks his thumb in secret” (Lorde 824), instantly brought up the feeling of disappointment. I just assumed she was talking about a crush and it just meshes with the negative aspects of her life listed in the poem. I understand why she would be disappointed and I do not blame her. She found an unsettling flaw in someone she fancies. She either has to accept this or move on. Suddenly, I remembered that I sucked my thumb for a few years when I was around the age of seven. To make it even worse, I carried along a sheet. Yes. Not a blanket, a sheet. Apparently I liked the way it felt and I religiously held it with me throughout the entire day. It is definitely not one of my favorite memories, but I am glad this poem helped me to remember that small part of my life.

The following line “how come my knees are always so ashy” (Lorde 824) caused me to immediately look down at the ash that was occupying the space between my thumb and pointer finger. My hands are always dry in the winter, which then made me remember that I had forgotten to use lotion this morning. Thinking about the winter makes me miss the summer and how I would rather have sun-dried skin than unflattering ashy skin. While reading the last few lines of the poem “what if I die before morning and mamma’s in the bedroom with the door closed” (Lorde 824), I was interrupted by one of my favorite songs playing in the background. I made the choice to write my response in Starbucks, which is packaged with a lovely coffee shop soundtrack and a room filled with maddening chatter. Therefore, my brain simply synchronized the song and poem together. I cannot recall the actual sense of the lines, but now they are overpowered by a lovely song called “Home” by Edward Sharpe& the Magnetic Zeros.

While reading the next stanza, millions of thoughts were running a marathon through my head. The astounding part is that they are all connected to me. This whole stanza reminds me of myself, and I find the written structure of it quite fascinating. I find it amazing how only a few sentences are capable of stirring up forgotten judgments and opinions, which previously consumed my conscience. While reading the first line “I have to learn how to dance in time for the next party” (Lorde 824), the word “awkward” sprung into my mind. I recall going to my middle school dances and how they made me so nervous, solely on the fact that it was a “dance” where one was expected to “dance.” Well, the so called “dancing” at the time was considered “grinding” and I refused to do that. Everyone that participated in this dance looked so awkward. As a female, “grinding” makes you look trashy and shows an indication of having no self-respect for yourself. Honestly, it should not even be categorized as dancing. There is no dancing being done, and I believe dancing requires two or more people moving to a rhythm. Grinding essentially is a male standing still while a female simply “grinds” on him. I do not know...

Cited: Lorde, Audre. “Hanging Fire.” Literature: Approaches to Fiction, Poetry, and Drama. Ed. Robert DiYanni. 2nd ed. New York: McGraw Hill, 2008. 824-825. Print.
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