My great friend Nick Zaino has a cool website called The Department of Tangents wherein he writes music and horror film reviews and publishes comedy interviews.Nick put out a call for friends and colleagues to write music reviews of records he missed in 2016. I said oh! I could write a review of David Bowie’s Blackstar! As I have been listening to it on a continuous loop for the entire year! And Nick responded great, yes!I sat down to pen my review and realized I had no idea what to write. What was I thinking? So I wrote a poem instead. And Nick, lovely soul that he is, indulged me and published my poem right alongside the words of folks who obviously know how to write a record review.Take a peek for my original poem. And explore The Department of Tangents, which is chock full of fascinating items (including interviews with literally every comedian you can name, for real). Happy New Year!
I watched an old manpruning apple trees in Decemberladdered during snowfallstraining for the farthest branchand realized I had not consideredthat quickening is a year-roundlifelong commitment to growththrough paring back
So youbygone year of wantyou my bygone sisterburied expectationsin awful post-truthIt’s snowing
Still I ascend the highest rungand start cuttinglimbs leggily reaching for sunbecause flowering requires tendingbrings fruit for sustenanceand only now have I learnedwhat fruit from labor really meansThat man has taught me a few things
For Mama Zen’s Words Count in the Imaginary Garden. My poem went long but I beg forgiveness as frankly that never happens! :)
So the longest darkest nightalready came and wentthe lowest Fahrenheit markaccomplished last yearsooty depths of insecurityexperienced under a waxing moonin a long-ago bone seasonso we don’t have to worry anymore
File them all awayalongside the giddiest infatuationscatterings of September chicorysweet balsamic on the tonguebaby-milk breathdust suspended in long sienna raysall just under the surfacefor retrieving in discomfiting times
Sharing with the Real Toads on the Tuesday Platform, typically late but at least I wrote something! *cheer*
Poetry books make beautiful gifts. Get them from me directly for holiday discount: $10 for one, $15 for two, or $20 (plus shipping) for all three. Signed with hearts and flowers by yours truly, and each includes a very cool bookmark. Hit me up in the comments or email me at email@example.com. Superheroic verse is always in season!
A protest of crowsmet at the Sunocosending contingentsacross Armory StreetAmerican crowsin a tumultcawing newsof fumbled rebellionmore ignominy than murdermore sorrow than resistance
Sharing at The Tuesday Platform in the Imaginary Garden.
by Siv Cedering
What explanation is given for the phosphorus light
That you, as boy, went out to catch
When summer dusk turned to night?
You caught the fireflies, put them in a jar,
Careful to let in some air,
Then you fed them dandelions, unsure
Of what such small and fleeting things
Need, and when
Their light grew dim, you
Let them go.
There is no explanation for the fire
That burns in our bodies
Or the desire the grows, again and again,
So that we must move toward each other
In the dark.
We have no wings.
We are ordinary people, doing ordinary things.
The story can be told on rice paper.
There is a lantern, a mountain, whatever
We can remember.
Hiroshige's landscape is so soft.
What child, woman, would not want to go out
Into that dark, and be caught,
And caught again, by you?
I want these pictures of the floating world
To go on, but when
The light begins to dim, catch me.
Give me whatever a child imagines
To keep me aglow, then
Let me go.
Siv Cedering, from Letters from the Floating World: New and Selected Poems (1984: University of Pittsburgh Press).
Sharing in the Imaginary Garden today for Brendan's prompt: STILL POINTS. Was reading and came across this, one of my favorite poems, and thought to share as I found it comforting.
Siv Cedering was a visiting poet when I was in college. I enrolled in every poetry writing seminar she offered. Siv was brilliant, feisty, beautiful, passionate. I can still hear her voice reading her poems, I can see her throw her head back, that mane of hair, her laugh. She influenced me enormously. She helped me learn and use my words, really to come into myself.
Friends. I am not okay, we are not okay, this is not okay. Our nation and our globe are in trouble.Our mountain was defiled with horrendous racist, anti-Semitic, pro-Trump graffiti. Here in wacky hyper-liberal western Massachusetts, one of the blue-est states. People of color, Blacks, Muslims, women, gay people, people in the sights of Trump and his followers have been harassed, yelled at, grabbed, assaulted, wronged in every way this week all over the USA.Am sorting through thoughts and feelings. I've been thinking about the vast human capacity to normalize and incorporate pain and trauma, and how that is playing out in our nation, our world, and in my own brain and heart.This article is really important and I hope everyone will read it and be vigilant:Autocracy: Rules for Survival by Masha Gessen, New York Review of BooksSave it and read again when you find yourselves (as I do and will) going on as usual with a new normal. "Whenever you find yourself thinking, or hear others claiming, that he is exaggerating, that is our innate tendency to reach for a rationalization. This will happen often: humans seem to have evolved to practice denial when confronted publicly with the unacceptable."Love, M.
Hindsightis really somethingwith its unerring wisdomforever on the hipshauled aroundlike so much ladingthough happier tossed offwithout settling the bill.You carry yours on a chainin a back-pocket wallet,mine’s stowedbehind a gold crown,left mandibular rear molar,which is how my familywill know me when I’m gone.We did not anticipatethe cuttingcunning of enemies,the force of greed.Our money’s no good now,our children dispossessed:We did not account for this.
For Grapeling’s prompt to the Real Toads: What Fresh Hell Is This?
At Halloween, you wax poeticon roaming packs of kids frenetictrick or treating, gorging chocolate,razor blades be damned. You'd walkand run and roam the streets,bands of ghouls on tireless feet,laughing, shrieking, no cell phoneso no one told you to come home.
Now you watch your kids. No daring,urging them to please be caring.Don’t slip & fall! Please & thank-youno matter what those people gave you,thanks for pencils, teensy toys--act like you are overjoyed.Be polite, please, and be safe.On sidewalks, parents congregate
Hovering over progeny,protecting them from everything.Meet your neighbors on Halloween!Friendly chatter, then never seenagain until this time next year.You’ll re-introduce then, never fear.Retreat into your house again,reflect on childhood now, and then.
Re-sharing this truthy poem from a couple years back. Happy Halloween!
But I am not finished thanking Anita Hill.I remember standing in the student loungein a crowdmy first year of law school.I remember her suit,her posture,her clear voice,the wave of heat flooding my faceas I thought that's what it’s called?I remember the wave of shame,trembling,and righteous indignation.I remember my senator,Arlen Specter,who interrogated her and mocked her.They confirmed him anyway,threw her away.She was disposable,as I had been.I remember being young and bright,just out of college,but I was disposable,used and thrown away for another's pleasure.Oh, Thurgood Marshall,that was the year of my going crazy.
I was privileged to read my poems for an audience in Emily Dickinson’s house last night.Yes, that Emily Dickinson.Still pinching myself this morning. Which resulted in this:
So much love for my Florence Poets Society comrades.Thank you to the Emily Dickinson Museum for the opportunity to read.
And much love to wonderful poet and friend Maggie Butler, from whom I received quite a shock (as I thought she was across the ocean from Amherst, at home in Dublin) and several hugs.
Throwthat poem in the trashthe one that makes your lip curllike it actually stinksrancid words radiatingoff you so intenselyjust from spending a little timewith that damn poemthat you’re compelled to strip downand launder its wordsin hot waterwhich is where that poem came fromanyway
Flash 55 Plus for Real Toads!
Rocket shipsare excitingbut so are roseson a birthday.-- Leonard NimoyRoses deliverbut so does a chicory spraysweaty-grippedby a toddler
Diamonds excitebut so do love songsscrawled in chalkacross blackboard sky
Love's lyricneeds no bylinewhen adorned with adjectivestattooed above the heart
The etymologyof our love affaircan be traced from the airlike cropmarks
Today is the 50th anniversary of the Star Trek original series! This is cause for celebration at my house. I wrote this poem a couple years ago, I think before Leonard Nimoy passed away. It is published in my most recent book, Heart Container. Live long and prosper!
Shriek of blue jaysand a good ole American crowwoke me on Labor Daydropping the flag on next season.I could cry.It’s just too fast,the passing of plays. Just unfair,half-time of my half-centuryarriving as I still resist adjusting.Not ready yet for cheerleaders,courting by a chorus of crows.
Flash 55 in the Imaginary Garden!