L is for Lapidescent and Lamott

lapidescent – adjective – turning to stone; petrifying

Symbol in the Mountain

 

Watch for spiders when turning to stone

A spider outside titanium tombs admits to gathering glass and
Pokes positive whispers to flip
Lichen over rocky ruins welcome collected chlorinated streams to
Come to yes, the dust spinning
You between tungsten traps sanction catching carbonation and
Stay pro compliment still
Safety-pins under obsidian obsessions permit keeping keeps to
Arrive at every surrender lapidescent.

Anne Lamott’s Truth BombsSigned by Anne Lamott

Last weekend (for my birthday), my sweetie treated me to a talk by Anne Lamott at Benaroya Hall in downtown Seattle. Anne Lamott is the author of Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life. My cousin (whose birthday is the day before mine) got me this book for my birthday years ago when I started my first novel.

We had great seats stage left and while we waited for the event to start, I admired the modern style of the room. The pod-like, tiered balcony seats reminded me of the floating senate sections from Star Wars: Attack of the Clones.

When she was introduced, we were told she likes to drop “truth bombs” and she did. She started by answering the questions “How do we keep going in these troubled times? Where do we even begin?” Her answer: “The system works because we’re not all nuts on the same day.”

I enjoyed her truth that “Help is the sunny side of control.” It reminded me of all the times my mother so kindly tells me about job opportunities. And sometimes my “help” isn’t what people need.

And if you want to have a better life, “start each day by feeding the hungry babies.”

Her advice for writers?

  • Stop! not writing.
  • Trick other people into writing
  • Write terrible first drafts
  • Get a lot of help
  • Pay attention
  • Wake up

Her newest book Hallelujah Anyway: Rediscovering Mercy, in its gorgeous orange cover, was inspired by this song:

Though she said she sang it in church, so maybe not this particular version 🙂

These are fun too:

Want to listen to this song over and over? There are a lot of different recordings of Hallelujah Anyhow to choose from.

Happy Reading and Writing!

See you tomorrow.

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Ars Poetica: Poetry At Play

writing-the-abstract.jpg

 

Poetry At Play

Play
Playing
Playing with words
Word play

Rhyme
Rhyming
Rhythm with
Schism and ism

Play
Playing
With beat
iambs and feet
To make line

Form
Forming
Or following
Syllabic plans
Or free stanz-
as

Play
Playing with nouns
Strong, specific nouns
To paint pictures
And bring them to life
with

Action
Acting verbs
Pushing readers
Off balance
Shocking them to emotion
and through relation
to revelation

 

I wrote this in response to the Meet the Bar prompt at dVerse Poets Pub

K is for Kainotophobia and Kakorrhaphiophobia

kainotophobia – fear of change

kakorrhaphiophobia – fear of failure

Rorschach mask

 

Summer Comes Too Soon

Wind whips a chill of impatience. Roiling waves chop at the bulkheads and ramps, speeding the jade of aged concrete, leaving lapilliform spaces for the next surge to fill.
Only the lowest hills are free of the cloud blanket. Toes of snow hint of the giant hiding behind the screen.

Unexpected kainotophobia isolates and penetrates this paradise;
man versus nature in constant battle. He fights the clover, the moss, the dandelions;
the crabrass, lambsquarters, and pokeweed. He is always on the defensive
to the marestail and witchgrass. But kakorrhaphiophobia rules the day.
Every day. Every moment of every day. And he will rule his Eden prison, this utopian cage.

Molten lava heart
Commander of the cloud sky
All watch the mountain

Feather in the Foreground

This is my first attempt at a haibun. When I read the prompt, I worried that today would be the first time my word of the day didn’t fit with the theme, but I think it worked.

Interested in haibun? You may want to check out Contemporary haibun online,

or one of these books:
Journey to the Interior: American Versions of Haibun by Bruce Ross

Landmarks: A Haibun Collection by Ray Rasmussen

Journeys 2017: An Anthology of International Haibun by Angelee Deodhar

Happy Reading and Writing!

See you tomorrow.

J is for Jeremiad

jeremiad: noun – a prolonged lamentation or complaint

In you go

The NaPoWriMo prompt for today talks about the body as a union and about the future state of the union. It’s a fun coincidence that the prompt uses the state of the union as metaphor because Wikipedia states: “A jeremiad is a long literary work, usually in prose, but sometimes in verse, in which the author bitterly laments the state of society and its morals in a serious tone of sustained invective, and always contains a prophecy of society’s imminent downfall.” That sounds similar to a state of the union to me.

Thinking about the body as a union, I noticed that there are a lot of movement “J” words:
jut – extend up, out or forward
jump – to spring free from the ground
jumble – to move in a confused and disordered manner
juke – to fake (someone) out of position
juggle – to hold or balance precariously
jounce – to move in an up and down manner
jostle – to come in contact or into collision
jolt – an abrupt sharp jerky blow or movement
joggle – to shake slightly; to move shakily or jerkily
jog – to go at a slow, leisurely, or monotonous pace; to nudge
jive – the dancing performed to jive music
jitterbug – a jazz variation of the two-step
jitter – to make continuous fast repetitive movements
jink – to move quickly or unexpectedly; a quick evasive turn
jiggle – to move with quick little jerks or oscillating motions
jig – any of several lively springy dances in triple rhythm
jibe – to shift suddenly and forcibly from one side to the other
jettison – action of throwing
jet – to move or progress by or as if by jet propulsion
jerk – a single quick motion of short duration; jolting, bouncing, or thrusting motions
jar – a sudden or unexpected shake; an unpleasant break or conflict in rhythm, flow, or transition
jag – to move in jerks
jade – to weary or dull through repetition or excess
jabber – talk rapidly, indistinctly, or unintelligibly
jab – to poke quickly and abruptly; thrust

For today’s poem, I’ll try to work some of those great verbs into my jeremiad.

 

Make The Body Great Again

For too long this union was mind-focused.
A jitterbug of reading and typing,
eyes jibing, fingers jouncing
Hours spent sitting,
jading seats in chair, couch and mattress,
lost in thought and self-jabber
But I say Body first.

The brain is an organ, only one of many
We must set aside our differences
And learn to work together
Jettison idle mindfulness
Jar loose ideas, jig those joints to junctions
Jostle that jumble in juvenile jubilation
Juxtapose jogging with juried jurisdiction

Though we have a long way to go
We should focus on our many accomplishments
We have juked more than anyone could imagine
And jinked in ways no one could understand
Everyone is saying that our jiggle is the very best
But are they reporting it?
Why not focus on our great joggle for a change?

As we jut toward the stars and jab our own flab,
I say jump, get that body jostled
Remember, idle hands are the devil’s playground
There’s little we can do to completely
silence the jibber-jabber,
but a tired body quiets the mind.

 

Happy Reading, Writing and Juggling!

See you tomorrow.

I is for Ignivomous

ignivomous: adjective – vomiting or spewing forth fire.

 

Discovering Fire

 

The Bather

While
she tentatively dips a toe in the crystal water,
he races across the flat, dry land.
Top down, dark hair flying, blasting the classics
Smile so tight he can’t sing along
Smile so long his face tans that way
If he ever stops smiling, contrasting lines will punctuate
and radiate his visage.

While
he travels freely to no particular destination,
they sit across from each other in a dimly lit dining room.
Silver clicks and clacks on China, rings on crystal
She spits vitriol through ignivomous lips between bites.
He hunches over his plate, shoving overflowing forkfuls of steak,
mashed-potatoes and candied carrots,
mushy peas and roasted garlic
His hand works like an excavator.
Beet juice runs down his chin.

While
she expresses disdain over dinner,
the bather has waded up to her thighs.
She faces a troubling decision.
The next few steps are more sensitive.
Will she continue to inch forward?
While waves lap and splash creating goose flesh,
she rises on tiptoe to postpone the painful shock of cold
then steels herself and dives in.

H is for Hypotyposis

hypotyposis: noun – lifelike description of a thing or scene; a vivid, picturesque description of scenes or events.

Contrast

Hypotyposis

They suffered in those seconds turned to years
because a spat became a war when a look cut to murder

The warbler’s whisper twirled to hurricane
A goof that grew to cyclonic calamity

The mouse removing the lion’s thorn proved harder than
Separating the infant from the mob; the pebble from the mountain

A fleck in the eye scratched a swath of brilliant red pain
The minuscule damage opening space for the microbe

Multiplying to pandemic wreckage
A minute seed grown to the height of epic redwood

Termites amassed chew away the home
Never a stitch to sail nor to heal.

monster dancer

I found inspiration for today’s poem in The Poetry of Derek Walcott 1948-2013 especially the poems in the section “from Tiepolo’s Hound.” Derek Walcott was born in St. Lucia and won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1992.

Interesting side note: This month is the first time I’ve been very interested in the Nobel Prize for Literature and there just so happens to be a scandal going on right now with the prize committee. Swedish Academy in Crisis – New York Times. The story broke in the Swedish news last November: Man with Swedish Academy ties accused of sexual assault – Dagens Nyheter

If you’re interested in learning more about the Nobel Prize, you may want to check out these books:
The Nobel Prize: The Story of Alfred Nobel and the Most Famous Prize in the World
The Nobel Prize: A History of Genius , Controversy and Prestige
Nobel: A Century of Prize Winners

Happy Reading and Writing!

See you tomorrow.

Tragic Magic

The road home

Tragic Magic

I wait, camera ready
Patient as stone
For her to return

The blue, of her name
Coats three speckled
Magic orbs

The sky breaks aflutter
She shapes a world
To plump body

I twitch; she disappears
Clacks and cracks
burst to life

The clutch, altricial horrors
She hunts and returns
to nourish

Quick clicks, intent to capture
Death and life entwined
Becoming one

In growth, patient negotiation
Hidden hope
To witness flight

The loss, complete disappearance
Tragic magic
The attack in blissful blindness

 

Today’s poem was inspired by yesterday’s revelation that a robin rebuilt the nest I watched last year. After the chicks had hatched and begun to grow feathers, the nest was attacked and one of the chicks was left dead at the base of the Camellia bush under my office window.

Part of me is excited to see the eggs again, watch them hatch, and take pictures of the momma bird feeding grubs and worms to her young (it’s somehow beautiful in all its gore and horror). But then part of me wants to scare the bird away and destroy the nest and spare the bird from the inevitable cruelty of nature.

I’m also thinking about birds because I’m going to see Anne Lamott, author of Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life. I’m looking forward to an evening of inspiration.

I started a story about ornithologists a while back. It’s about identity and specificity causing difficulties in relationship. I think I’ll try to finish it up this week.

If you like birds and want to learn more about ornithology, you may want to check out Essential Ornithology and The Bird Watching Answer Book: Everything You Need to Know to Enjoy Birds in Your Backyard and Beyond (Cornell Lab of Ornithology).

Happy Reading and Writing!

See you tomorrow.

 

G is for Gigantomachy

gigantomachy: noun – a war between gods and giants.

Gigantomachy

 

gabble: verb –  1. to talk fast or foolishly; jabber 2. to utter inarticulate or animal sounds.
galimatias: noun – nonsense; confused mixture of things; confused or unintelligible talk.

 

Gigantomachy

 

 

 

This poem was inspired by provocative phrases from the Foreward by Martin Krause  and Preface of Surrational Images: PHOTOMONTAGES by Scott Mutter that appealed to my interpretation of the NaPoWriMo theme.

Happy Reading and Writing!

See you tomorrow.

F is for Frangible

frangible: adjective – readily or easily broken; brittle.

Blending skulls

 

Believe Your Eyes

Still
Blending
Fiercely striking
Color and shape
The straight and rigid
Reject the curve

Fill
Bending
Coyly tricking
Hue and line
The playful illusion
In frangible balance

Will
Bedding
Madly mimicking
Base and fore
Hidden in mystery
Beyond awed eyes

Skill
Besting
Wildly beguiling
Depth and space
Endlessly dancing
Connections in the mind

 

Today’s NaPoWriMo theme was line-breaks and speaking of lines, specifically blurring them, have you seen Emma Hack‘s art? She does amazing body paint illusions. I found her images inspiring today. I especially like the Geometric collection. If you like visual illusions in art you may want to check out The Museum of Illusions: Optical Tricks in Art by Celine Delavaux.

Happy Reading and Writing!

See you tomorrow.

E is for Erumpent and Etiolate

erumpent: adjective – bursting forth or through a surface.

etiolate: verb – 1. to bleach and alter the natural development of by excluding sunlight 2. a. to make pale b.to deprive of natural vigor: make feeble.

 

The NaPoWriMo challenge for today would have been daunting–find a photograph and a poem in a foreign language I don’t know then pretend I am translating the poem so that it describes the photograph–if I hadn’t recently read Here by Wislawa Szymborska. Her beautiful book of poems is laid out with the Polish versions on the left hand pages and the English translation on the right.

The Polish poems look so interesting; so many curious diacritics. The kreska or acute accent (ć, ń, ó, ś, ź); the overdot or kropka (ż); the tail or ogonek (ą, ę); and the stroke (ł) (from Wikipedia) all combine like a wild jungle of ferocious expression. I know nothing about the Polish language, so hopefully exploring the Polish poems (while covering up the translations) will spark some creative translation.

 

Contemplating the Other

                                                                                                            photo by Maria L. Berg

 

Contemplating The Other

Sad boy who stole my clothes, why are you made of flowers?
You float on a sea of boards beyond this barrier where I cannot go
You have my hair, my nose, my ball, even my shoes
But you do not have my smile, where has it gone?

When you sing, do you sound like me?
When you cry, who kisses you and wipes your tears?

If there is another of me, do I still possess specialness,
Or does acknowledging him etiolate me?
What becomes of me if the flower boy is more precious?
I want to play with him, but our hands are full.
He wants me to leave, but won’t turn away.

 

It took me a while, but I found a video of Wislawa Szymborska reading her poem “True Love” in Polish. I really wanted to hear her words in her language. And here you can see the words of a poem while she reads.

Happy Reading and Writing

and Exploring poems in foreign languages!