Monthly Archives: April 2012

making the most of my free time: or how i took all day to write two poems

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My kiddos are still vacationing at nana’s spa & retreat. They return tomorrow, with nana! I had planned to spend all day writing poems to catch up with my napowrimo pledge. Various and sundry distractions (curse you, facebook, dumb dog, and kingdom of Crammond cats!) served to limit my productivity, but I did manage to write a 2nd poem. And who knows, there could be more…the day is young!

This poem was inspired by a prompt from Laura E. Davis’ blog.  In a random act of poem choosing, I opened It’s Not You It’s Me: The Poetry of Breakup, and found “The End of the Affair,” by the late Steve Orlen.  I (tried to) turn (most of) the words on their heads. I kind of like the new poem. I really love the prompt!

The Beginning of the Affair

They pick up their guns, back up, air kiss
for the first time, agree, as they will for a time,
to say hello, and enter the empty playground
by the same public entrance. No-one drives
away–on the same streets or on-purpose
opposite ones–suburban sidewalks
as indistinguishable as the feather-weight
of their first last embrace. His car lights left on.
Her car radio tuned to a different station.
Not one detail is perfectly arranged.
The sky clouds.  Thunder distorts their words.
Somebody’s voice. Hey you.
This is not me. I want to say goodbye.

Some god pulls their strings like puppets.
I knew you were going to say that,
he answers in sign language.
One hand reaches for his gun,
one hand makes the sign for love.

i speak for the trees

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I have been lucky enough (when I am kid-free…which isn’t often) to take part in a writing workshop offered by Bernadette Mayer. One assignment was to write a poem substituting one theme/idea for something else. That is a poorly-described interpretation of the assignment, mind you. I was given a gorgeous, ancient guide to trees of the eastern and central united states and canada (c. 1946) to work from. Here, months later, is my attempt at that assignment.

……………………………………………………

The Lumberjack Plans His Wedding

He carries A Guide To Trees
in his great hands
like a bible,

begins on page one,
substitutes beautiful girl
for tree.

What is a bride?

To the forester she is a factory

producing the most good timber
in the least possible time
at the least possible expense.

He takes notes on her bark.

Plant a bride where you live,
in ten years you will become so attached
to the young oak
you won’t want to leave her.

His shovel is always at his side.

Once unwed women grew in forests—
reed-like and pliant,
saplings stealing the light
in some places so thick
men could hardly see the sun.

Then came the cry:
let daylight in the swamp.

A generation of pioneers felled
the great brides, burned their magnificent gowns
to get them out of the way.

That era is now past,
the wise botanist tells him,
and the lumberjack, almost a groom,
bends to praise his bride’s persistent stem.

napowrimo #3 (a day late)

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Yesterday’s napowrimo.net prompt was an epithalamium. What ex-wife can resist the temptation to write one of these, I ask you? It’s a draft, I keep reminding myself. Just a draft. Like most everything in my life, it needs revision & re-organization. But the words are almost right, and the notion is there…

One thing I love about napowrimo, aside from forcing myself to write a poem every day, is that it falls during Easter time. I find the story of the crucifixion fascinating, in that I can not really, fully wrap my mind around killing someone so that someone else can live. On the other hand, that’s how my marriage felt. (oh goody…a poem prompt…)

Aaaanyway…

 Too Late, the Ex-Wife Learns that April Marks the Beginning of Wedding Season

and she removes her mosquito net,
poor substitute for a veil.

When you are knee-deep in a clear pond,
trout buzzing at your feet
the best-case survival plan
is not wait for the sting

but cover your face.

She considers the wedding.
The preacher with
the sign of the fish
at his waist–
two intersecting arcs
like gold lips.

The groom with fists
balled, eyes dark as black flies.

The bride, a poor fisher of men,
refusing to hide her eyes,
leaving the veil in the vestibule.

When he reached for his new wife
it was like drawing in the net—
he the fisherman
she the good fish saved for gutting and frying.

napowrimo #2

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Icarus Takes Off the Wings, Puts on a Skirt

You tell me I am flying too close to the sun.
I shake my feathers,
remind you
I am not flying
but fleeing
the burning house.

Embers cling to my toes,
men with rubber boots and hoses aim,
but no hero’s blast can reach me.
Someone puts out nets,

but I rise
like chimney smoke
curl
and disappear.

Even without binoculars,
flocks of displaced songbirds can be spotted
racing from forests on fire
nests left behind,
haste
and a clear pair of eyes
their only baggage.

Too late,
I realize you did not say
flying too close.

You said I am the sun.
You said Beware.

I watch wax drip from my bare shoulders,
prepare for a painful landing.