The Promise of Rain

July 24, 2015 § Leave a comment

No one promised to be there, except the rain.
In the October downpour she choked on the afternoon light.
Too bright to take it all in.

Her eyes were wide open in momentary wisdom.
Her fear had faded to wonder as she rested her damp
head to his sweaty chest.
The sunlight struck her face like a spotlight
and she meditated on the rise and fall of his breath.

It would be hard to hold onto this man
it would be best to let him go and not to bother,
let the moment float away from the fairytale with this one
he was not capable, too much flesh to explore, too young

She sighed away the kisses from the previous evening,
and allowed the freedom of her breath to separate from his.
She exhaled into the force of nature and mourned nothing.

Tiny promises splattered against the window pane
and streaked the glass like memories
as she dissolved into the light’s dust.

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Untitled Poem/Black Dawn

May 9, 2015 § Leave a comment

A new poem, no where near complete. My mother died last year, and I’ve struggled to find a way to write about my feelings of loss and grief, to express my loss, and I just have not been able to. In fact, as far as writing goes, it’s been so quiet, or I feel too tired, or cliche– I’m stunted.
About a month or two after her death (which was an unexpected and sudden death) I had one of my very few dreams about her, and in this dream I woke up with the words: “black dawn she is silent now”.
I wanted to do something with these words; after all they came from my deepest consciousness. They were given to me like a gift, like a message, but more like a code that I have lost the ability to decipher. Today, was the first day that I made something, anything from those words. And, something, anything that can even chip at the surface of my grief is something to me. It’s not a completed poem, the same as any poem that is published here, but at this point to put anything on paper, and then to transfer it to here is an accomplishment for me. So as it is, it is untitled.

 

Black dawn

minutes before,

the cock crows is
blue luminous light, a blink
a slit, below the horizon line

of earth as far as
we can see

from our own perspective
but, our eyes are closed.

We are all sleeping
except for the ghosts

who watch us
wishing they could hold us

still.

I see her in my dreams

rarely,

As I rise from my living death
she returns to her death,
real death,

mother—
languid, somnolent, cries:
don’t leave me.

She is silent now,
and I’m awake.

Poetry Lessons Day 1

April 17, 2015 § Leave a comment

The online course from The University of Iowa’s International Writers’ Program has begun. The course is “How Writers Write Poetry”. I found the course on the Canvas Network which has many free online classes.  I’m really very thrilled that taking this course is a possibility for me, and even though I can’t afford to get the certificate (I like that it’s an option) I can still take the course and do the work.

The first lesson was on Note-taking, basically the beginning steps that any kind of writer needs to gather information and to practice writing and capturing images, conversations- anything that you need to build your poems or stories. I watched a video with three poets discussing their note-taking processes.

The first was Lia Purpura who spoke about keeping journals and the process of note booking which is different than keeping a diary. The key points were to keep an active journal and to keep it with you all the time. You could also just have scraps of paper or small notepads both of which can be transferred to your main journal. The point is to capture the world around you. She also mentioned a way of collecting your thoughts through something she called a found journal. This is a journal that is created from all of your notes of life; meaning your check book, your lists, your calendars, e-mails, whatever you do to record and archive your own life can be transferred to your journal. I had liked this idea because it is new to me. I’ve kept journals since I was 16 (not always active journals) and I’ve done the scrap method, and attempted to use note pads, but unfortunately I’m pretty bad at keeping them on me and remembering to take notes. This found journal is something I think can be fun to try because I have tons of scrap notes that keep reminding me of what I need to do and what I haven’t done.
A couple of things that she noted that I found to be useful to hear was her opinion of the reason behind the journalling and how it is different from a diary. The reason that we journal for the purpose of writing poems or stories is to look for patterns. Patterns of thoughts, images, types of conversations. To see what you gravitate toward in your observations of the world. According to Purpura the purpose of taking notes and  keeping a writing journal is to teach yourself about yourself. I thought this was very insightful because as a person who has kept a journal for years I had never quiet figured out how to make use of the journals which tend to be a combination of observations, and diary. and story ideas. I had never thought to look for patterns of what I tend to capture, and I like the idea of looking at my jottings in this objective manner.

The next person on the video was Kate Greenstreet who spoke about her notebook or collection of words that she called “The Epic”. For Greenstreet “The Epic” is her way of collecting her words and then swirling them around until she gathered or saw what she wanted from her words.

Lastly, Robert Hass spoke and offered his experience of what he called “sketching” a way of collecting your fleeting bits of thoughts and words. Hass also offered up a loose formula to play around with your thoughts and ideas and he numbered this sketching 1-4.

  1. Start with a basic line
  2. write a second line: try the call and response- let the second line surprise you.
  3. Write a third line which is the rhythm of the body
  4. Write a fourth line- the rhythm of the mind.

I will explain more on Robert Hass’s sketching in my next post since he offered some moments in the video to pause and to try some writing.

On thing he did was give out a sentence like this one:

I’m asleep on skis, and, The rain fell all afternoon

Then he said for us (students of the course) to write our own response- what are the first thoughts that come to your mind? Below are my responses to Hass’s first lines:

I’m asleep on skies
and you are not here.

The rain fell all afternoon,
and still the grass did not grow.

So far I’m enjoying the course, and I’m grateful to have found it. Although, I won’t be getting the certificate I’ll at least be writing and listening to people talk about writing- and right now- I need that.

 

Alysia Harris: “That Girl”

March 21, 2015 § Leave a comment

From Brave New Voices

Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass

March 20, 2015 § Leave a comment

My favorite poet read by Tom O’Bedlam

What is grass? What is the sky? What are the stars shining down on us 3.4 billion years before us? What is time?

Free Poetry Courses-

March 18, 2015 § Leave a comment

It’s a pretty exciting time when you can take University courses for free.

I’ve signed up for a course through The University of Iowa on How Writers Write Poetry.

I’m looking forward to taking the course, and I hope that I can learn some things, and open up my creative mind, so I can figure out what to do with all the jumbled words and ideas I’ve collected below:

A lock of red hair in a clear velum envelope.
A woman in lace and silk underwear standing in a Parisian hotel room she is smoking a cigarette and leaning over the iron rod railing of her balcony.
A dilapidated building.
A marble façade of angles and gargoyles leaning over ornate gigantic wooden doors.
A painting of a naked woman lounging on a blue chair she is looking over her shoulder at her painter and the viewer.
Black notes on a sheet of music.
Cobblestone streets. Pebbled roads. Graveled lanes. Brick walkways.
Milk spilled over a linoleum floor.
Wood paneled walls.
A white clawed foot tub. A gold faucet.
A glass filled with rusted water.
Water bubbling into a pool of blue and gold.

Trains like caterpillars

Black dawn,
She is rising now

Three Poems by Anis Mojgani

March 17, 2015 § Leave a comment

Anis is not only a wonderful poet, and a powerful presenter of his inspiring poems, but he’s also a great person. I’m grateful to know this man.

Direct Orders
Here I Am
Shake the Dust

If you want to know more about Anis go here.

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