Thursday, July 20, 2017

i dare you


I stole this most excellent graphic from my friend Sarah Hope's new blog, in which she dares herself and all the rest of you humans to do things that might make you see/feel/experience life a little differently.  A few weeks ago, she dared us to put our feet in the mud. For some, I know this is crossing a boundary of sorts, but for me, that's just another day in the woods. I didn't think it was that big of a deal, really.

But I decided to do it anyway.  Not knowing where, exactly to find mud in the middle of July, I decided that there must be some down by Cheyenne Creek, a short walk out my back door.

After a bit of searching, I found the perfect creekside rock, set my composition book down, removed my Chaco sandals, and sank my feet into the water. Ooooohhh. Already, I was thanking Sarah in my mind.

At the bottom, about nine inches down, my feet touched not mud, but coarse granite sand, a natural foot massager if ever there was one.  My gratitude for Sarah's dare grew bigger.  It felt so good I decided to take a walk upstream.  I probably ventured only about 30 yards before turning around, but taking steps barefoot in creeks is such a calculated, mindful experience, it felt like an epic journey.  Plus - it was a whole new world in there! There was a hiking path on one side of me, and a road on the other, but under the canopy of the trees and with the rippling sounds of the water, they disappeared. Then I remembered creek hiking at Camp Kilowan every summer!  Then I started singing:  "Kilowan, Kilowan, your maidens have gathered...."! Then I remembered fairy boats! Then I wanted to bring everyone I knew on a creek hike! I still do!  I have no idea how if it would work (the creek's pretty narrow), but if anyone wants to come with me, I dare you.






(Unfortunately, my phone died just as I was taking it out to get some photos.  I was angry for about two seconds, and then figured it was actually kind of a gift.  No one knew where I was, and there was no way for them to reach me.  I found this to be an extremely pleasing circumstance. Anyway, here's a photo of Cheyenne Creek from the internets)










I finally returned to my rock and grabbed my composition book.  Here is what I wrote:

The water 
will almost always flow 
faster than your stride --  
get used to it.

Pine cone canoes 
navigate the rapids
by not navigating. 
submerge
resurface
flounder
snag

Will you will recognize 
in yourself 
the false prophet 
if you stay too long 
in one place?

The key is to connect 
and disconnect 
in a cycle prescribed by 
the cottonwood leaf

Thank you, Sarah.  For the memories, new and old.


Tuesday, July 4, 2017

for Gerard Manley Hopkins

Huh.  Here's a poem I found that said "draft".  I remember writing it, but I totally forgot about it.  It's dated 4/1/17.   I wonder how many other drafts I have in here.

It seems somehow important and relevant that I discovered it TODAY, being the fourth of July and all.  I remember I was trying to copy a form (from Gerard Manley Hopkins) and that it involved rhyming, and it was hard, but rewarding.  Anyway, happy whatever, America!


Glory be to God for dappled beings —
    For humans of couple-color;
        For the immigrants' brindled descendants;
Butt-dimpled newborns who cross borders in slings;
    Deserts dotted with dolor;
        Following the Pied Piper of Independence;
Vainglorious attempts at Euclidian geometry;
    Whatever is not-so-evenly divided (smaller);
        Freckled, splotched, mottled, transcendent;
He knows that beauty does not rely on symmetry:
                         Praise Him.


 
     

Monday, July 3, 2017

is david lynch still relevant?

I'm going to attempt to write a few of my truths regarding the new Twin Peaks The Return.  I'm not sure where it will take me.  Trying to write about Twin Peaks feels sort of like entering the Red Room itself.  Anyway, here goes...

Truth #1:  I've only watched through episode 4.

Truth #2:  The first time I watched Blue Velvet I was in college, and so stunned out of my everyday existence that I walked around for days in a daze, wondering if what I thought about the world was even real. I've been a Lynch fan ever since.

Truth #3:  That said, regarding Twin Peaks, I'm only in it for the nostalgia.

Truth #4:  I loved Agent Cooper with a fancrush love.  Now he's gone (well, actually, there are more of him, but none of them are the one I loved), and I haven't fallen in love with any of the characters yet in the new series. This is a huge problem.  At its heart, a show needs a sympathetic character to draw me in.  The sympathy is gone.

Truth #5:  Oh shit, there it is!  Why David Lynch is still relevant.  There is no sympathy in a world that has Bob in it.

Truth #6:  I fell asleep twice during the past four episodes. (It was late, and I was soooo sleeeeppyyyyy......  but still). Well, damn, there it is again. The excessive slowness of the pace only serves to reveal our own shrinking attention spans.

Truth #7:  When Bobby walked into the room, saw Laura's photo on the table, and cried, I cried right along with him. Classic Twin Peaks soap-opera moment, complete with Laura Palmer theme song. Thanks, Dave.

Truth #8:  Twin Peaks The Return makes me laugh. Andy and Lucy's son telling his parents they can do whatever they want now with his childhood bedroom.  Lucy's incomprehension about how cell phones work. Every time Cooper yells, "Helllloooooo" at the slot machine.  Former psychiatrist Dr. Jacoby spray painting shovels gold. My favorite so far, though, is when Lynch, playing FBI Director Gordon Cole, says, "I hate to admit this, but I don't understand this situation at all."

Truth #9:  OMG this moment!















Truth #10:  If you understand this genus of funny, we can be friends.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

stages (a study)

Materials
I have two poems in process right now.  They were seeded in two different forms.  One was on
20 July 2017 and is handwritten in my wide-ruled Composition Book; the second is in Notes on my iphone, auto-dated July 18, 2017,  to which I attached pictures that may never make it here.  The journey is almost too far, even though it's wireless.  The distance is time.

Procedure
I am going to transcribe each of these "seed writings" onto the blog, and, of course, revise as I go.  It can't be helped.  I am curious to discover how two juxtaposed starting positions might create a different experience for me as a writer as I struggle toward publishing.  How did I get from there to here?  Did handwriting or texting have better outcomes?

Hypothesis
Neither the texted Note nor the handwritten Composition will be better or worse than the other when typed up here on my blog. I have no way to prove this hypothesis. Maybe the proof will be, "What do my friends think?"

Background
A first draft (Stage 1) ever only really exists as its seed. You don't get to read those. Nobody does.
This, right here, is Stage 2.
Also, lately, my blog posts have been Stage 3 poems.  They have been labored over and crafted.  I'm very proud of them.  But they lack something.  Voice, maybe?  Context?  I don't know.  Like I haven't wanted to just write for the sake of writing anymore...  There's always too much thinking now.

I like thinking about poems as having Stages, though.  Like cancer.

Please remember that what you are about to read are Stage 2 poems, maybe 2B. They still have lots of growing up to do.  Any kindnesses or critiques you might like to bestow on them will be welcomed!
Also remember that you do not know which is which.  I think they call this a "blind" study, but I honestly really don't know.  Feel free to make guesses.

Procedure, con't

A:

Write each of your poems
as if it were your last—
As if all tattoos were temporary,
which they are, of course,
if you really think about it.
Send each of your words
to the darkest cave chamber, whose
walls have never known sunlight.
Make sure your poems have
napped in hammocks and
slept on Greyhound busses.
Let your phrases pierce our defenses
like terrorists, and be the Ones Who
Know. Read every poem three times—
you can't get it all on the first go.
Don't even try.
Write each of your poems
as if someone will read it
three times.


B:

We remember backwards best
I walked where once we kissed
My body remembers it as resurrection
My imperfect memory sees pathos

Here's the hole into which we almost fell
The lessons are all common sense
And we thought the trees and their shadows
could hide us from the moon.

How foolish, how almost tragic.

Conclusion
?

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Caye Caulker, Belize






















In a motorboat skimming across Caribbean
Blue, the shirtless Islander pilots like a pirate.
One-hand on the wheel, he tells today's tourists
Stories of his Great Barrier Reef Boyhood.
Listening with lust, novice young snorkelers
Adjust their unfamiliar equipment, and awkwardly
Await their turn in the turquoise below.

A ceiling fan revolves, whirs, hums, delivers
Tiny breezes across naked bodies, sprawled
Like already forgotten suburbs. From the wall, a lazy
Lizard watches the only movement in the room–
A single thumb stroking a satisfied cheek. Outside,
The regularly-scheduled afternoon thunderstorm
Tells the stirring lovers in Neverland: Go back to sleep.


















Escaping through make-believe walls, the sound
Of reggae rhythms, melodies.  At sunset, lured
By unbroken beats, sandaled feet wander from boats
And beds toward the bar. Reefer floats on the sea air.
Barefoot and nearly bare-bodied, American girls sway
With Rasta boys on floors of sand. Sometimes,
They stay, and raise beautiful blue-in-the-moonlight babies.

But most times, they manage to barely not miss the boat,
the bus, the plane, and end up in a gray airport, inadequately
dressed, asleep on a cold seat, waiting for a ride home.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

not tonight

The lights have gone out in Caloocan City.
You'll need to tell them.       Tomorrow
Would be a good day.  You need to say, "There is no God
In Caloocan City, not tonight."

While we slept, God got torn apart—
Not north by south or state by state, or even zip code
By zip code.  No,    God got torn apart neighborhood
By neighborhood, house by house, apartment

By apartment.  But really, it was life
By life, sifted out by the parties they attended
To.      You could ask them to remember the radio–
How it tried so hard to find the middle,

But no one had the mindset.
So they said they didn't have the money.
They said, "The churches will save the slums–
Go back to bed."      But

The lights have gone out in Caloocan City.
You need to tell them.      Tomorrow
Would be a good day.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Vespers for the Voiceless

If I were to commission a stained-glass window for my Church,
It would be a single Nightingale upon a beech branch in springtime.
Her tongueless trills would be the Hymns we would sing at sundown—
No noticeable pattern, only an algorithm inherited from the Ancients.

Our Priestess wears her sandy plumage as a sacred vestment,
Her legitimate lineage endows her with the power to Pardon.
Her mutilated blessings would help us to forgive our Tereusian Trespassers,
And dare her Congregation to turn laments into Praise.






Sunday, March 19, 2017

WITHIN ME BURNS A FLAME

Sap's Rising;
it has been tapped, captured,
heated to pouring perfection.
     WITHIN
ME BURNS A FLAME

Seeds're Sprouting,
warmed by layers of grief
and the sun's return.
     WITHIN
ME BURNS A FLAME

Sun's Setting
on so many sacred
landscapes.  They need rain.
     WITHIN
ME BURNS A FLAME

A magpie is nesting.
Drawing upon his ancestors'
DNA, he builds.
He is not sure why.
     WITHIN
ME BURNS A FLAME

Spring's coming —
tomorrow, I think.  The Planet
is ready.  A few things still
need to die.
     WITHIN
ME BURNS A FLAME

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

who made it possible for you to march?

Who made it possible for you to march?
Tell me, can you tell me–

who filled the salt & pepper shakers
your waiter will twist?
Tell me, can you tell me–

How much of a tip
you left for the immigrant
who made your bed?
Did you think about her as you drifted
off to sleep, worrying about whether
or not the others
would care if you snored? Or was it only
when it came time
to dole out the few crumpled dollars
you discovered in the pockets
of that coat you hadn't worn in ages?

Tell me you will read them more poetry.
Tell me, can you tell me–

Who made it possible for you to march?
Was it the husband or wife who picked up the kids?
The partner who prepared dinner?
The friend who covered a shift?
The teenager you trust enough leave home alone?
Tell me, can you tell me–

what you have inherited from your ancestors?
Tell me, can you tell me–

Who made it possible for you to march?