Window Watching

December 27, 2015 § Leave a comment

Through the window pane I watch them eating.
Through the curtains,
the silver grey curtains,
that sweep the floor like ballroom gowns
swirling confetti as they spin. They
were a gift
those curtains.
Music is playing in the background
and everyone is dancing to a well worn tune.

I stand here day and night
through every season.
Frost bitten in deep bitter snow
or sunk into hot August mud. Locusts
beating against my breast. Gnats trapped in
eyelashes and I can barely blink at the life
in front of me.

I watch the children grow,
the new and old marriages,
vacations planned, bought, and taken,
baseballs, ballet slippers, baking and sewing,
visits from relatives, in-laws, divorce and death,
not necessarily in that order;
domesticities of the modern life.

Same as it ever was- the song sang- same as it ever was- the song sang- same as it ever was-
the groove gets deeper and deeper and yet it all stays the same
was it ever the same as it ever was?

There is a life behind me,
but I can’t see it
my face is glued to the window
“that life, that life is the right life…righteous…televised…”
If only I could turn around,
toss my envy into the compost
beside the perfect house, and turn around
see the many roads that reach out into the horizon.

There is a life behind me
I know because I can feel the sun
on my shoulders, urging me to move,
there is a life behind me, but
my eyes are glued to the Norman Rockwells, and the
American Dream,
if only I could turn around,
but all I can do is close my eyes
and feel the tears of the seasons.
the seasons are always hot
even in the winter.

I stand in the window as the sliver curtains
are drawn, once again, and the chatter never fades,
and I wonder,
will they ever get new curtains?
When they do will they see me standing here
or will I finally be gone?

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Patti Smith’s Woolgathering

November 6, 2015 § Leave a comment

I just finished reading Woolgathering by Patti Smith. A tiny little pocket book more poetry than prose, and all truth. It’s a beautiful journey through bits of her childhood. She gently guides us into her childhood mind, and into her childhood world, and it is a lovely journey that I highly recommend.

I always imagined I would write a book, if only a small one, that would carry one away, into a realm that could not be measured nor even remembered.

I imagined a lot of things. That I would shine. That I’d be good. I’d dwell bareheaded on a summit turning a wheel that would turn the earth and undetected, amongst the clouds, I would have some influence; be of some avail.

-Patti Smith, Woolgathering

Don’t you want to write a little book? Don’t you want to be good? Go out and be amongst the clouds and help turn our precious earth. Go Shine.

Enjoy some words of advice from Patti.

In the Meantime

November 1, 2015 § Leave a comment

I apologize for neglecting this blog- so to fill the page I recommend listening to this wonderful On Being podcast with the poet Mary Oliver.

Art Lovers

July 26, 2015 § Leave a comment

1.

I straddle my lover’s lap and read Walt Whitman to him.
I whisper exhalations of “Song of Myself” like
talking dirty
and my legs tighten around his waist
because literature and poetry is our aphrodisiac.

My lover’s face is in my hair, his lips brush
the corner of my moving mouth
and his soft hush voice in my ear
repeating, keep reading, keep reading…
As “Leave of Grass” escape my fingers and hit
the floor with a gentle thud
my lover’s arms are around me with fingers
in my back up under my clothing
And Whitman is smiling
because he wrote about such wonderful naughty things.

2.
My lover paints me naked
he paints each imperfect curve
languid strokes of blue
hips, breasts, legs, and belly
round and rounder still
the painting always changing color
and never finished
This is the work we do together
being and being and being.
The paint never drying.

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.

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.

Sketching Poetry advice from Robert Hass

April 17, 2015 § Leave a comment

In my last post I had mentioned the first of my online classes through the University of Iowa and the Canvas project- did I mention this course was free? There is good in the world. I had really enjoyed some of the suggestions that Robert Hass had offered for coming up with ideas for poems and which are all apart of the beginning of the course of How Writers Write. I’ve been journaling/notebooking, scraping, and sketching since I was a teenager, but I had never really thought of it as a part of my writing process. Honestly, I’d never really been sure what I was doing and I definitely didn’t know what to do with all of the words, ideas, and thoughts. My notes and writing have always lacked discipline and I’ve gone months with out writing a word, so having this class is a nice way to start jotting down some randomness.

In my last post I also wrote out Robert Hass‘s breakdown of sketching. My understanding of it is that you don’t really plan out your thoughts or words but just let things fall as they may. It could be nonsense, it could be bad, or you could get something really inspiring, but the outcome at this point doesn’t matter. What matters is that you are generating some ideas, some words onto the paper.

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

His first video instruction was to look around your room, and your space and write a single line. I had stopped the video and wrote down 5 lines based on observations around me.

  1. This empty bottle waits for me to fill it.
  2. On my night stand I see a Chinese warrior with a bronze Japanese rabbit at his feet, and the bone of an ancient civilization safely kept behind a framed piece of glass.
  3. My laundry hangs like wilted flowers over an overturned bed frame and opened lockers.
  4. Oh these books these awful books.
  5. How I wish my lamp were a crystal ball.

Next was to write the second line. I could do either a call and response or whatever came to my mind. In the next following sentences I didn’t really take much time to think about what I was writing but just to allow myself to write- something whatever. The most important point that I’m taking away from it is not to critic what I’m writing but to just write it.

  1. This empty bottle waits for me to fill it
    but who will drink from it when I’m gone?
  2. Dear Chinese warrior with the bronze Japanese rabbit at your feet- do you know what is behind you?
    Ancient words carved into bone as fragile as glass and as clear as stone.
  3. Oh these books these awful books
    lies of little children.
  4. I wish my lamp were a crystal ball.
    And if it were, what would you ask for?

 

For the three lines he suggested another approach- one was to quickly write out a paragraph that came to your mind and then to pull the three lines from the paragraph.

  1. I awoke with a panic this morning. The same if not worse than before. There was drool, actual drool on my pillow, my heart was racing, and my mind was sunk into some kind of a hole. Where was I? What kind of anxiety was attacking my dreams, and what were my dreams telling me? There is no manual for this kind of suffering.
  2. I awoke with panic
    The same and worse then before
    dreams lost in the whole of my mind

Then for finding the four line poem he went back to suggesting that we take our ideas from the room that we are in. To use your observations and to just let the lines fall into place one after the other.

  1. I’m sitting on the dirty floor
    watching and listing to you read poetry
    We’ve never met before
    but I’m here, listening to your stories.

Anyway, something like that. Are they poems? No. Can they be? Sure it’s possible. Can I scrap them and toss them away? If I want- that’s my choice. It’s just the beginning. Only the beginning.

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