Tag Archives: poetry

Back Home Again

14 Aug

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Last night, while flicking through files on my thumb drive, I came across my old writing group one from several years ago, and opened it for a looksee.

…Some interesting bits and pieces…a lot I had forgotten about.  Prompts that had been given me, fifteen minute in-group exercises…pictures and music clips I’d used to assign as inspiration to others. Every conceivable genre, and length, and discipline…from short stories to long-form, scenes, dialogues, and poetry to what-all.  Mystery, love stories, gothic ghost stories, horror, comedy, period…you name it. It was a fun time capsule to break in on, suddenly without planning to.  Especially when I hit one specific blip: a noir detective story that had me cracking myself up with how thickly I laid on the Dashiell Hammit of it all.

…All in good fun, of course.

…And it got me thinking.

In the time I was part of that group, I had produced reams and notebooks full of random nothings, exercises, thoughts, ideas…rough forms of characters and plots and ideas. I had written two full length plays, (one with the group itself, and one on my own)…and started a novel…a historical monster of research which sits to this day, in that same folder, untouched since those last meeting days…at 100 pages, yet to be finished.

…What I’m saying is: I recognized the importance of the weekly exercises and assignments…but the value of the fuller works is what the group’s point was meant to lead me towards.  And it had done it’s job.  As long as I had stuck with it.

…And maybe, this full year of blogs, was a certain form of “exercise” meant to prep me for something bigger.

What if?

…So, with this idea in my head, (and the knowledge that “schedules” as they are in today’s world, simply cannot allow a guarantee of an every week meeting time), I shot an email to a bud, and we two instantly built a digital, brand-spankin’-new writing group.

…Yet to be named.

Writing prompts are given out on Fridays.  To be fulfilled in any genre, at any pace, to any purpose, in any discipline we like, so long as it is turned in on the following Friday.  At which time, we (wherever we are) read said pieces, and pop onto IM, or fire our emails for a discussion, directly following.

…We’ve started half through this week already, so we have something to share on Friday.

…He’s been updating ever since, here and there on the progress.  And how good it feels to be at the keyboard with creative intentions again.  And tonight, I finished my piece.  At twelve typewritten pages.

…My first piece: a scene.  My prompt: a quote.  His prompt a painting I’d found. His discipline: TBA.

All I know, is that good, bad or otherwise in final piece result…it sure felt good to get creative again.  With words and ideas, in a specific character environment.

…It’s good to be back “home” again.

I’ve missed it.

~D

Word Fairies, On A Walk

17 Sep

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A walk.  To battle the  Monday-after-Vacation, gross obeseness of crud.

…There’s this walk I take, that we call “the loop.”  It’s the long circle that takes you down the full length of the north-end neighborhood, and round to the point, looking down on Old Town, rising up from the sea. I usually take it when my brain is too full to negotiate actual directions and choices. It’s easy because it never wanders too far from itself and always comes back home again…like a good dog. Which is really convenient when you’re clearly too busy talking to yourself like a schizo, about all the things you didn’t get around to today, but need to, and how the associated reporting materials will be filled out, and in which order.

…Also, the ocean is good to focus on after a rough day. (If you let yourself.)  It’s calming, somehow.  Maybe because it’s bigger than anything that could possibly be bothering you at the time.  Maybe because it’s so “in your face,”  that you can’t help but get sidetracked by it.

…Sorta like how you can trick a kid outta crying if you give ’em something new to focus on, instead of whatever it is they first wanted, or was taken away, that they can’t have now.

I totally know how that kid feels, today.

Those bastards stole my vacation goodness away…and I was pretty ticked about it. 

…So clearly, after work was done, (and my car payment was made), “the loop” was in order. 

…Anyway…the point I was getting at is: mid-between casa de mi, and the beginning of “the loop,” is this house:

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About once a week, they print out a poem, short story or anecdote in bulk, and plop it in that little plastic holder bolted on the post and driven into the ground, just on the corner, there. I dunno what the owner’s story is…I frankly don’t think anyone does.  And not too many people take the souvenirs, but I know I’m not the only one who stops to at least read ’em.

The rule is: it can only take up one page. 

…So far, that’s the only quantifying identifier in content or theme. And it has become an addictive reader board, like a fortune cookie’s guts, housing who even knows what words of wonder, day-to day. The top black flip-up cover says, “take one”…like those realtor get-ups you might use to sell a house.  Only this one is used to sell you “thoughts” instead.  Sometimes they’re goodish ones.  Sometimes not. Sometimes I wanna write a note back, and pop it in the box, for the Word Fairies.  Things like:

” I liked the one about the dog.”

…or…

” Sylvia Plath isn’t always totally depressing like I thought

…or…

” This one hurt my inside parts.  But that’s okay sometimes.  So, thanks.”

…Also, I wonder if they take requests?

” Maybe less Politics please…”

” Can you find something about sunshine for the next one?  It’s been raining for six solid weeks…”

” Have you ever considered limericks?  I’d suggest a good Dottie Parker…”

Regardless…its always nice to have some clean, warm air…to hear the sound of sprinklers and dog pantings and runner’s tread…and watch the sun set out over the water.  Its nice to have words like these in my head, other than the chanting of “to do” lists for tomorrow, and the balancing of my checkbook.  Those things can wait.  But a hard-earned piece of goodness and mental rest after a long day, cannot.

…So: “Thank you, Word Fairies.  Keep up the good work!”

(Here are a couple, most recent…)

***

Poem: “The Clearing,” by Gregory Djanikian
from “The Man in the Middle” (Carnegie-Mellon University Press)

**”Poetry is an act of generosity.” ~ Don Skiles**

And something will happen:
You will stand at the edge of a field

hearing the wind-skirted
leaves of the trees, and you

will try to remember
the woman you almost married,

though her life will spiral
like a hawk away from you,

and you will want her,
as deeply as you’ll want

the hawk to settle on your fist,
or the wind to empty

your eyes of grief for all
you’ve renounced to become

what you now are, but
nothing this day will claim you,

neither hawk, nor wind, nor lover,
and you’ll sense how your past

has seduced you through the years
to this field, this reckoning,

to, finally, this poem
which you will write by learning

what matters is not the words
but the unlabored

breath through which
they’re spoken and given up,

like hawks, or lovers
or this life you keep on revising.

***

Poem: “You should at times go out, ” by Elizabeth Daryush

You should at times go out
        from where the faithful kneel,
visit the slums of doubt
        and feel what the lost feel;

you should at times walk on,
        away from your friends’ ways,
go where the scorned have gone,
        pass beyond blame and praise;

and at times you should quit
        (ah yes) your sunny home,
sadly awhile should sit,
        even, in wrong’s dark room

or ever, suddenly
        by simple bliss betrayed,
you shall be forced to flee,
        unloved, alone, afraid.

***

~D

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