Too busyto write. Toobad this writer mustwork for a living.Be back soon.
Yesterday,my name was Snidely Green.Today, it's Guardedly Optimistic:Requiring External Validation.My real name is Mama, Mama, Mama!Tomorrow, it will beBellowing My Poems From That Rooftop.My secret nameis Tender RootsQuakingToward a Half-Centuryand WonderingHow I Got Here.
A reprise and gentle re-write of this poem I wrote a few years back, on the advent of my forty-seventh birthday. Ahem.
They walked,seemingly amiably,apparently a motherwindow-shopping arm-in-armwith her adult daughter,laughing,until the young one said,loud enough for passersbyto perk up and listen:I’m not going to saythat you’re emotionally stunted,but I am going to saythat you owe me an apology.
My birthday.Got a bracelet,one dollar, a box of candy,and silk stockings.Am fourteen, now.Another birthday.Got 2 boxes of candy,two nightgowns,a pair of silk stockings,choker beads, and a compact.Sweet sixteen!Got a pink silk combination,a pair of silk stockings,a pair for fancy garters,and a compact.Seventeen.Mother baked me a cake,Dad brought me a box of candy,and they both gave megreen & white silk sport stockings.
My grandmother would have been 103 today. These are excerpted from her teenaged diary, 1924-1927. Silk stockings, who knew?
I sit, containedby four white walls,my back to a windowand the bucolity beyond:Conifers, bike paths,raindrops, rolling greens.I face a screen, drink coffee,type on a keyboard,plotting my dream-escapein excel cells.
Fireblossom asked the Real Toads for a poem in which the physical setting is integral.
Recounting haunts of appledCheeks, dappled hair wrapped tightlyRound aching wrist, my habitHaving been kidnapped, nightlyNow I pine for sleep, respiteLong, deficit apparentLike death’s last inventory,Our story untold, unspent.
Karin challenged the Real Toads with a word list containing (among others) dapple, hair, inventory, malingers, wrist, and habit.
hey thanks for the cookiethat was a good one maybe it wasfrom the bakery down the street i reallyappreciate the gesture and soagainst what is no doubt my strongself interest i feel compelledto report that yesterday i met an anton your counter herejust the one guy he was scoutingand he might have left finding not muchas youre so tidy in your kitchen but unfortunatelyhe found a popsicle sticki know it surprised me too but surpriseor no the reality of it is henodded to me and said ahoythats a bad sign as i think you knowthat one ant is harbinger of an army thereofthey will come my friendso i worry because of course this means warand decimation of a platoon of finesoldiers who are just following ordersand the scent of sugaruse caution my human friendlife is in the balance and youcan tip the scales
Inspired by Archy’s voice: Archy & Mehitabel
Come read more rictameter in the Imaginary Garden.Enoughhistrionics;confusing tendencyto conflate real with imagined.I wish I could be enough for your days,but failing exclusivity,I guess I’ll learn to shareif home base isenough.
Granite,lined like bookbinds,stratified loneliness--a pressing, lengthening of limbs,heaviest words, incapacitated.I am closed to your ideas,rejecting your outcrops;My heart’s weight ingranite.
Friends, I thought maybe you'd like to see a photo of the cast of Listen To Your Mother Providence, as I’ve been going on about how proud I am to have been a part of it.
And I'll bet you’re curious to know what poems I read:
after NewtownIn talking aboutthe end of the worldand human civilizationby tidal wave or solar flare,my young son whisperskids are too young to dieas my heart simultaneouslywilts and blooms.I reply, yes, far too youngand brush his hair backfrom a pretty foreheadclean of bullet holes,stifle a moan by swallowing.One heartbeat later,my child bemoans those humans--the ones he thinkswill finally realizethe planet is overheatingjust about the timehis own children are grown--and describes his childwiping her own sweaty browas future apologists cryWhat have we done?
bed-hopping (not that kind)When you wake up squishedon the too-short loveseat,entangled in warm limbsand breathing in the breathof your bright little girl,
you manage to peer throughsleep-filled eyes to witnessyour long-limbed sonsplayed and snoringon top of this drowsy daddy.
You recall the night before,one in your bed at one,the other in with you at two,At four? Mama, I’m so sorry,I wet your bed, Mama.
As you throw the sheetsin the washing machineand the kid in the shower,you know for sureyou’ve hit the jackpot.
basic human needsSleeping, dreaming, drowsing,awakened,predictably,by one, then two,little bodies in my bedwith their little voices,cold limbs, and big needs.
They snuggle in,then drift back to sleep.
Mama is awake at three ay em,starting to count sheep,
when a cozy little girl voicesays in her sleep, I love you, Mama.Mama replies, I love you, Baby.
Then the drifting, sleeping voice says,
My butt isn’t getting any blankets.
(The first poem is from my upcoming book, SUPERPOWERS or: More Poems About Flying, and the other two are in my first book, Responsive Pleading.)
What you don’t realize is that you really need to hear the stories of all of these women. So I am telling you. Because these stories will affect you, even change you.
Imagine all of this times 24 cities across the country, and baby, I feel like I was part of a social movement.
I know you’re dying to see video from Listen To Your Mother, and believe me, as soon as I have a link, you’ll know it. It’s a big project for the women in charge to put that together, so I expect it sometime in the summer.
In the meantime, I’ll post links to the stories of my sister-writers as they post them on their own blogs, so please check back here often. Here’s some reading for now. Make sure you have your box of tissues.
Kirsten Di Chiappari, The Truth
Brianne DeRosa, Normal
Laura Rossi, Mother’s Day
Jennifer Ciplet, Sunny Side Up
Phyllis Myung, What Took You So Long
Lexi “Sweatpants” Magnusson, I’m Jealous Of You
Lauren Jordan, Pink Butterflies
Alicia Kamm, Baby V
Stephanie S. Lazenby, Nobody Ever Told Me
Carla Molina, Perfect
Kelly Baraf, Tea Party
Jackie Hennessey, The Horrors of Shopping With Kids
Jessica Severson, May-Bell
Friends, I am rather beside myself with joy in this moment, as I get to shriek on the interwebz about the publication of a special book by one of my most special favorite poets! What? You don't get to do this every day? Well, my life is charmed, apparently.
ALL CAPS PUBLISHING and yours truly announce the publication today of No Direction But Home, a first chapbook by Seattle poet Sarah Whiteley.
"A gentle foray into beauty and stillness, No Direction But Home is an exploration of the threads that tie travel, nature, and themes of home to the heart. In this first chapbook, Sarah Whiteley skillfully weaves words into snapshots of time and place, creating a reading experience that is both immediately relatable and intimate."
Get your (quite affordable) copy here!
I've been following Sarah's blog, ebbtide, since I started blogging. I admire Sarah's writing immensely--her images, her descriptiveness, her ability to make my heart skip a beat with her words. Her focus on perfection and her clean design. Sarah's just perfect, pals... and I'm all shivery about stacking up my own writing next to hers and the other fantastic authors in our ALL CAPS collective. Yippee!!
I thought you all might enjoy these directions from Sarah about how to read poetry. It's called "Guide."
poetry should be read slowly
standing upon the very edge of a precipice
no turning back
toes curling upon those last rocks
before the world falls away
there at the edge of all that ends
the edge of all that begins
one may have just the right perspective
Okay, required reading, drop everything and click:
Sarah's poetry blog, ebbtide
Sarah's photography/art blog, tied to sky
Sarah's book on Amazon! No Direction But Home
Izy asked the Real Toads to write about the dark side of spring.
The wall-to-wall chartreusehas already waned to avocadoand soon will turn dull kelly.Sugar season’s long over.Today I walked in a dogwoodblizzard, and it’s raining.If flowers stuck around longer,would we love them less?
Izy asked the Real Toads to write about the dark side of spring.
They gave each of us cousins,your grandchildren,a potted violet, your favorite.I tended mine,along with your old asparagus fern,the one that had been Monya’s.In truth, that fernonly lasted a few more yearsin my care,and violets are fussy little plantsprone to giving up in protest.Like you did.
|Flowers in Violet, original encaustic by Kim Nelson|