an iced doughnut of foliage and flower in my yard
beckons me from books and house
leads me to the floor and twirls me round
rings my fingers with dirt lace
Today marks the first day of unemployment that I can’t claim as a weekend or holiday. I’m pleased to say I worked today. I’ll post a helpful progress report on my business plan research tomorrow. Meanwhile, this came to me today and, since as a writer I’m sworn to honesty as one helpful author/mentor wrote, I’ll share it with all you hopeful writers who read me.
The clock on the wall keeps time
as step-ball-change tugs me loose,
and with clickity speed
I must speedily read,
and wealth of good writing produce –
lest my taskmaster soul bells chime.
No orientation exists –
just on the job training and fear.
The list of whatevers
and jaunty endeavors
make lists upon deadlines appear –
and procrastination persists.
Oh this …
fear of failing,
What if it sucks,
and my rows of ducks
go waddling through
and black guffaws,
full of flaws,
to find at the end
a wordful blend
that makes a difference?
Working on my business plan (I will soon post some resources I’ve found for those of you interested), still not at the end of my commitment here in Idaho, and this morning as I’m preparing to leave for work when the following poem flooded my brain. I couldn’t walk out the door without first racing to my mac and getting it down before I lost it. This is the madness of how my procrastination (in going to work) happens. Still, I’m just so thankful for this gift. Needs some work, but thought I’d share. Reminds me of how Spiderman was made.
this is how it happened
as I lay beneath a cloud,
a rainy mist that formed a shroud
descended to my haptic loud.
engulfed me whole;
swallowed my protected soul
and spit me out
(not feeling thirsty in a drought),
but left me changed,
not quite deranged,
painted gifts that left me strange.
made my thinking twisted round –
blocky reason had no sound.
made me swim in music sheets –
crisp and moving rhythmic beats.
and all at once I touched a blank
and flooded word trains like a tank
invading fields of poppies bright.
a lyric frenzy made me write
poetic verse all through the night,
and in the morning when I woke
my veins were smoke –
as if a stranger took a poke
into the rivers
(my flowing rhyme-laced honey givers).
The countdown to becoming a successfully unemployed writer continues with only 16 days 6 hours and 55 minutes remaining at the time of this post. Yesterday I took an important step (not the MOST important step, but a good one) in the journey. I entered a contest. I don’t know why, but it leaves that old song “On a Wing and a Prayer,” in my head. That’s certainly how it feels. Even if I don’t win, I think these butterflies aren’t going to wear off until after the first year of submissions.
I’ll be returning to my home in the Pacific Northwest (I’m not sure if Idaho counts toward the PacNW but it doesn’t feel like it right now in the midst of snowshoe weather). While home on vacation, M made me aware of the ARS POETICA contest on Bainbridge Island for writers in something like a three or four county adjoining region. What better way to start 2015 – my writing year – than to enter a contest in my hometown area? Then I read the criteria:
Okay, they didn’t actually say the last one. Still, most of my poems (blank lines included) are just over the 30 mark. Let me rephrase – some of my BEST poems are just over the 30 lines criteria. UGH! The entry fee covered up to 30 entries so I did the Walmart thing and made sure I got the most bang for my buck. Not knowing if there was a theme or how the contest originated, I did a miniscule amount of research (“miniscule research” – not a recommended strategy).
Turns out there are several poems by that name but the one that seemed most famous or historically significant was by Horace in ancient times. In summary – he wrote it about writing poetry and drama. So I thought I’d stick to similar themes.
What do you think? They’re short (it’s the rules) so you can read ’em quick. Tell me honestly if you think I have a shot. Honest and productive criticism is also much appreciated.
Gusts and lightning, hurricanes
Tornadoes, floods, torrential rains
The Captain lashes to the wheel –
Character – an even keel.
Speaking of the weather,
Let not these words dismay –
Change may be a feather
That falls on who it may,
But each is her own Captain,
Her well marked maps abound.
No feather tells a Captain
Which depths that she must sound.
Speaking of the weather,
I think it’s safe to say,
Change is like a feather
That falls on who it may.
It flits, it floats, it falling, flies,
Emits a casual lift of ties,
But not for easy, not for cheap.
Its shoulder queasy wants to keep
The ties that bind, the merry smiles
The hearty find, the traveled miles.
The bearer, weighted down with change,
Does find the passage dim and strange.
And wanting still to hold that place –
The people, friendships, love, and grace –
Doth reach both ways but stands so still,
The future frays the battled will.
And so she knows the change must win,
And freeing courage deep within,
Releases anchors founded here.
Tucks safe the memories held so dear,
And lets the winds of fortune wail,
The goals she’s set – the billowed sail.
So waving, frantic that they’ll see
She cuts the mooring, cruises free.
The sunset forward, history aft,
Heartaches cried and funnies laughed,
A ballast full of lessons learned,
Friendships forged, demons burned –
The Captain sets a course for Then,
Embraces now, begins again.
So Change unfettered, rides the clock
And elsewhere seeks another dock.
Tune in for the conclusion of this self-fulfilling prophecy on December 20th.
A genius raised, a shroud of mist –
A muse amazed, a writer kissed –
From blue veined structures, lyrics flow.
Into a bloodlet cistern go
The drippings of a mind possessed –
Such humors best to have confessed
Onto the page where readers drink
Transfusions of vampiric ink.
They get their fill; they breath the words,
And bits of meaning flit like birds.
Into their daily highs and lows
A writer’s rhythmic weather goes.
A writer/poet – I appreciate
All form, but also dearly love free reign.
Still, yesterday I planned to write by rule,
And post a sonnet here for you to read.
“Iambic” and the word “Pentameter,”
Won’t fit inside a verse that has that count.
For starters, therein lies the rub I fought,
It’s difficult to capture depth and flow,
When forced to beat the drum on every verse.
The point and art get tangled for the worse.
What’s more, I am not one that talks so much
To say what fewer words could well convey.
But Sonnet creeps and crawls and reaches out
To poke and tickle thought and pondering
Before arriving at a central theme
And twisting a duplicitous array,
Or giving fuel to irony at last.
And somehow all this ends a melded blend.
Unlike the daily spew, the Sonnet points
To focus perfect words at ending joints.
And then there are the rhyming schemes to shape,
(Which, as you see, I’ve floated in this post,
Except to rhyme the couplets, Shakespeare style).
“A-B-A-B,” then “C-D-C-D,” goes
The Shakespeare variation at each start.
Then “E-F-E-F,” next is followed by
The final “G-G” couplet at the end.
See – Will abandoned old Petrarchan rule.
“A-B-B-A,” done twice, and then to field –
“C-D-E-C-D-E” was hard to wield.
Don’t get me started on the Dante twists
Where “A” through “C” are all that one can rhyme
The worst Sicilian puzzle to my mind
And long before a Puzo story that.
So I attempted, but alas – in vain,
To focus all my talent to the task.
Eight lines was all I managed yesterday,
And really, only seven counted good.
My point is: all the thing was meant to say
Was, “Time slips fast, especially in a day.”
Here lies yesterday’s unfinished sonnet:
“The brown of noon has come and murdered birth
With up so floating nothing inked but rhyme.
A spacious nothing lurks and fondles worth
What little is, and tiny left of time.
A gasp, and I inhale the dust of sleep,
My eyelids snap and muscles flinch to wake,
The bleach white curtain lets the sunbeam seep
Its “lost-time” acid all my urgent take” . . .
A scrap of red paper stuck in a book at Salvation Army made this gal look pages of poetry poet of note ee of cummings & much that he wrote
I wondered if a meaningful poem could be constructed solely for twitter (with just 140 characters) and was pleasantly surprised when I built this one. I was saved, as you can see, by the ampersand. It’s a true story too.
on this day is a morning of similar build to a stretch and a coffee - my grogginess killed. in the clock is an hour hand, outstretched to no one, pushing obstacles at me - wainscoting the sun. i could write of a hero, a "save-the-day" sort, fighting hand-to-hand combat; i'd level the court. with a name like "Time Stopper," "Time Keeper" perhaps, she would introduce friction to Time's brutal laps. wash those lines above! i shall name her "Love."
down for the count up for the bill water, more water swallow a pill head full of broken shut your damn lips type in my logon man this pain rips check my to do list throttle a yell keep the damn light off Lord, i'm in hell responsibility headache is killing me punch out this deadline now make a b-line sunlight and dizziness throbbing and sleepless poetry rounding forehead pounding oh for a temperate dark quiet room to wrap me in stasis, a comforting tomb.
The pain to know the weight of time the angst of rhyme the pressure flow the words describing tender heart/mind bender tripping rhythms of life schisms once upon a dream with a twist at the end unimagined stream chapter verse rend alternate ending
in a rush to be loyal. promised and will pay. what will become when the contract's done, when disconnect from daily sways into my creative out of my furtive hopes to write experience and strife when i have no more to show up for?
“Time travel on a day with deadlines,”
That’s what I think over coffee, under fog
of sleep crusted eyes and rickety bones.
It’s only six, but I’m at my eight,
then my eleven. I wonder.
“Does the car need to sweat off some frost?”
the wideness of my headspace yawns the hunger open the coffee slides fatigue presides sly glances of bright outside push into my groggy cold whispers my skin where to begin a magic show swallowed my genius disappeared my idea bodies scratching inward i dig for the prisoners dreaded yearnings seek for letters ... words ... a string of story to explain my empty.