Monday, September 1, 2014

Lacuna

So thanks to my current Artist's Way group, I have a new resolve to write a poem a week.  We'll see how long that goes. :^)

I am midway through my second Master's degree, which I'm also doing while working full-time.  Every Labor Day is an opportunity for me to contemplate, again, what I'm getting ready to do to myself.  This is a poem about that.

Lacuna

This is the breath you take
before the wave comes crashing over you.
Before you're lost inside it,
tumbling, clawing with
all limbs to find the ground.

This is the moment where
you contemplate the drop
between you and the canyon bottom,
watching toy trees and houses,
bones already aching
at the thought of the descent.

This is the pause you make
before boarding the plane,
or the bus, or the train,
or the bike, or the car,
assessing the scenarios of sudden death
and choosing to believe
or not.

Where something in you cries
not again, not again,
and something else answers
yes,
this is how we know we're alive.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Glimmer

Sticking with the familiar form, and a topic that's become very familiar to me.

Glimmer

As days pass, I grow
more aware of the weight of
them, wanting to slow them down,

each one glimmering
and fading, a chain of rain
drops, reflecting little worlds.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Morning Commute

Today, I offer my daily internal monologue in quasi-poetic form.

Morning Commute

I.
Get out of my way, lady.
Oh lady, get out of my way.
Get out of my way, lady.

II.
Every time I change at Gallery Place
I die a little inside,
herded among the somnambulant masses.

III.
Every morning, the river shows me
another side of itself,
and every morning, I am grateful.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Resurrection

I'm three days behind, so here's three poems on my favorite topic, Resurrection, written on my balcony by candlelight.  I started out thinking I was doing sedokas but ended up doing pairs of 5-7-5 rather than 5-7-7. I'm sure anyone still reading is scandalized by my break with form. :^)

Resurrection

I.
Hurl yourself again
at love... scarred, fatalistic.
Russian Roulette, right?

Stare down the shadows.
Generate your own light. Try
again and again.

II.
Two thousand years is
a long time, but this morning
I'm only aware

of the hope I feel.
Cynicism is boring,
small-minded nonsense.

III.
I have lost count of
my deaths and resurrections.
So many rebirths.

You are the graceful
Presence hovering over
it all, comforting.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Viernes Santo

So tonight I went to a Spanish language Good Friday service. This is an attempt at a poem about that in my terrible, terrible Spanish.

Viernes Santo

Anoche, yo entiendo solamente
que quiero estar aqui,
con Usted,
con la gente que quiere solamente
estar aqui tambien.

Todos nosotros estamos orando
delante de Usted,
estamos con ganas de que
nos escucha,
y nos da su paz.

En este momento,
no hay nada mas importante,
solo eso:
para que Usted vengas,
y pronto.
Estamos esperando por Usted.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Blessed

I think about illness a lot. Growing up, my Mom was sick a lot, one of those people who have always been susceptible to sickness. She had a lot of "invisible" things --chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia-- that a lot of people (including doctors) dismiss as not being "real diseases", but which are nonetheless very real to those who suffer them.  I didn't understand them when I was growing up, but now that I've suffered nearly two years with a series of symptoms that no one can diagnose, I get it.

Of course, visible illnesses are invisible, too. I don't know why we're supposed to act like everything's cool when we don't feel well, but we are.  I think that doctors and nurses are heroes for opting to spend their lives looking directly at what we are encouraged to ignore, to see the sick and suffering, to try to understand, to help.

So. This is a tanka (of course) about sickness.

Blessed

Blessed are the sick,
bodies shaking, bent, in pain.
The LORD God sees them.

When we don't want to look, He
sees them, and offers Presence.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Triptych: Grace

Three more days without a poem, so three poems. This is a set of three tankas.

Triptych: Grace

I.
To see the face of
Christ in the woman holding
a large "fuck God" sign

is not so hard. What's hard is
knowing what to say or do.

II.
My faith requires me
to examine my hatred
and to let it go.

But I swear it comes back. It
always comes back. Always.

III.
Today, I wanted
to feel the rain and the wind,
to get soaking wet,

to push myself against it
and give thanks that I can feel.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Picture Window

It's been three days since I've posted, so I owe three poems. I always think that I write poems because I can't draw. Here are three that I've hastily written in front of a bar in Adams Morgan... three images like a three paned window.

Picture Window

I.
Adams Morgan Bar
gin and tonic,
little notebook, waiting.

Guy to my left says
"We're going to a FOAM party later,
where everyone gets soaking wet
and FOAMY."

And I think
"Dirty or clean?"

II.

Three little brown girls
breaking off cherry blossoms
giggling and running.

A white man in tube socks
walks by and yells
"STOP THAT!!"
5 minutes later,
another white man with
a little white baby walks by,
" STOP DOING THAT!!"

They look at me.
I look at them and smile,
embarrassed.
They erupt in gales of giggles,
free.

III.

Too many layers
of guilt
and strain
and serious weariness
had to come off

but the band's beats
and your kind smile
finally peeled them away
and for a few precious moments,
I lost myself to dancing.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Cake

No set form tonight.  This is a poem about cake, sort of.

Cake

Nerves stretched tight, jangling and pounding
like the wires on John Cage's piano
Pressure in the skull like her brain
has finally decided to make a break for it
Eyes bloodshot, small and irritated
framed by blurred mascara

She is weaving and careening towards the bathroom
focus fixed on kamikazing this wretched long day
and catches a mirrored glimpse of herself,

a dark splotch of chocolate frosting on her forehead
from where she'd taken down a piece of
gluten-free seven layer cake
like a hitman

And laughs.

It's going to be ok.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Dorothy Day

This is a tanka about missing the late bus and waiting a half hour for the even later bus, and my recommended reading should you find yourself in that situation.

Dorothy Day

If I have to wait
for the 11:05,
this is how it's done,

reading of a saint who gave
her whole life, without complaint.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Flame

And poem two of two today.  I may be in a rut, but here's another Japanese form, a somonka.  The somonka is in the form of a love poem and a response.  Since I'm setting this up between two non-persons, I'm not taking on their voice (how would a candle flame sound if it spoke?).  And yes, in the spirit of writing from experience, this is the second poem about candles tonight.  Today was a grey, grey day and I am finding delight in the warmth of the candlelight.

Flame

The candle's flame lifts
itself up, dances for the
darkness, reaches out
warm arms and seeks to pull it
in, consuming it with light.

Darkness lays painted
in the corners, letting light
reach it, but keeping
a certain distance.  It knows
that flames burn hot, and die quick.

Cozy

I owe two poems again today, since I didn't get to write one yesterday.  The first is a choka, because I liked that form a lot when I used it the other day.

Cozy

The cat and I share
warmth on the couch by the glow
of six candles and
four strands of Christmas lights, my
reward to myself
for another day grey with work,
clouds mere mirrors of
the long day's slog to evening.

Many years ago,
I feared just this; late 30s,
alone in an apartment,
candles and cats and
poems scrawled in a small notebook.
I feared grey hairs,
lines on my forehead, empty
womb, an empty bed,
feared an empty life alone.

I couldn't see this
moment, curled up with the cat,
candlelight caressed,
content with myself, heart full
with love for my friends.

Our fears are only shadows.
The life that we live is light.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Kite

So here is a choka, another Japanese form.

Kite

I can't remember,
but I don't think I've ever
flown a kite.  You
kneel on the grass, absorbed by
the task of making
this winged thing from canvas
and some metal sticks.

I can barely contain my
excitement.  A kite!
A thing of wonder, something
to do simply for
the delight of it.  After
this long, dark winter
of wondering and sadness,
I am ready.  I
need to see something take flight.

And fly it does. A
few false starts but finally
up it soars, bright neon
flashing and flaming against
the flat grey sky. Kite!

I find myself jumping up
and down, swearing when
it dips to the ground, enmeshed
in the drama of
wind against weak canvas as
you quietly work
the strings below, catalyst
and comforter. I
cannot explain the tears in
my eyes, and won't try to now.

Later

So I didn't do a poem yesterday and owe two poems today, but am also cramming coursework for three classes into the few short hours I have today.  So here is a poem for my dinner study break, and I'll post another later, probably about how exhausted I am.  And yeah, it's another sedoka.

Later

Later, when I'm by
myself, back in my own world,
the story that came before

you in your own world,
with your story without me,
I'll walk between worlds, wondering.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Crazy Cat Lady

It's late, and so here is a sedoka about the cat.

Crazy Cat Lady

Oh soft puddle of
sunlight, sherbet colored fur
and soft purr.  You delight me.

Crazy cat lady?
Or someone who knows to love
simple things, and be grateful?

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Dupont, April 2

Someone, I'm guessing the Guerrilla Gardener,planted daffodils at the Q Street entrance of Dupont Circle Metro.  There are all of these little squares of dirt in this concrete wall, clearly designed to have greenery planted there.  Guerrila Gardener keeps putting them in, and Metro keeps paying someone to go in and rip them out.

DC is a City of Protests, and you get tired of it.  Tonight, riding down the escalator, I saw these bright yellow daffodils protesting against the bureaucratic absurdity of Keeping Official Dirt Officially Dirt, and I felt invigorated.  This is a poem about that.  And yes, it's another tanka.  Lewis Turco's Book of Forms and I have a date for me to pick out another form but it's not tonight.

Dupont, April 2

Such noise: Posters and
stickers, newspaper headlines,
bus advertisements.

Rebel daffodils reach me,
protesting in the concrete.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Shadow

Hey look!  My blog still works!

So it's NaPoWriMo again, and this year I'm going to try to overcome the deep shame I feel at not completing last year and give it another shot.  It's been a while, so I'm starting with a form that is safe and familiar for me, the tanka.

Shadow

Today's discipline:
Don't look too hard at the light.
Just rest in it, blessed.

Every light casts a shadow.
Rest here.  The darkness can wait.