Category Archives: monday poetry thang

Monday Potes (on Tuesday, of course!): On the Day of the Bicycle Mammogram

A few weeks ago I gave a weekend workout assignment that I enjoyed so much I haven’t stopped. It was a writing ritual I had created for myself 9 years ago that became the manuscript for my chapbook Her Red Book. Once I got back into the ritual (very basically: writing in 3rd person early in the morning and just before going to bed, and always titling it FIRST with On the Day of, On the Night of, On the Morning of. . . etc) I quickly realized what a gem it was and couldn’t believe it had taken me so many years to try it again.

I’ve wracked up several of them that I’m already editing and have decided to post a few, even though they still feel a bit precious.

On the Day of the Bicycle Mammogram

She rides on an uneven day west
a straight shot that curves     but
does not stray     In the waiting room
the receptionist speaks loud English
to the Chinese lady     nods in another cyclist
eyes the father holding hands
with his woman-girl

They are all beyond guessing ages

She makes polite naked conversation
in the machine     her breasts
vised in like fruit to juice
nothing to it   she thinks
walking over the fading footprints
of visitors to the objectionably yellow building

She admires rooftops
the array of shingles     ceramic and wood
She cycles past the cars and buses
daring them to make her feel
mortal
It’s just a test this
is only a test     not the last
not the truth     not the point

When she reaches her door
the winds have died down
the sunset has been postponed and
all she wants
is to finish her book
the one she is trapped inside
the one she has climbed into
volunteering herself
for duty

2 Comments

Filed under her red book, monday poetry thang, poetry, writing exercises

Thought About You

Okay, a singularly unoriginal title for my experiment.

The last writing workout was writing about loss. I had wanted to write a poem for a friend on the anniversary of her death, so I experimented by writing snippets, thoughts, images, mememories of her out on cards over the whole weekend and then collaging them into a poem.

At one point I had gone out for the evening and forgot that I was “remembering” Gabrielle over the weekend until the next morning, then felt guilty for forgetting. So that’s in here, too.

Thought About You

For Gabrielle Bouliane, One Year Gone

I’m done baking and remember you.
Remember that I’m supposed to be remembering.

I want to say I’m sorry for every minute gone by,
but that is mortal guilt and not for angels or sunflowers.

Your candle lit in the livingroom and I must leave the house.
Someone once told me
never blow out reverent candles,
but snuff them with metal.
I hear you laugh through my superstition.
Motorcycle lipstick, coming down at me love.

Is it better to leave a candle nub or burn it to the end?

I think about my old motorcycle,
wonder if I’ll ever be that daring again.
I bet you ride sharp and clear like a sting.
I bet you leave star dust, kicking into cosmic gear.
I bet your kiss could wrap humanity,
and we’d all grow suddenly hungry.

Oh, Gabby, I’m afraid
the world has gone crazy.

I wish there were more of you
of your voice    of your word
I can hear your tone your eyes your stance
I can hear the waves of you on stage
I can hear you working next to me,
cranking through ideas.

First day on the job at The Poetry Factory,
you spilled a coke on the new Mac keyboard
and it didn’t work for a day.
But it was just us, and we could laugh it away.
What isn’t done in the sticky hours isn’t what strikes us down.

Oh, Gabby, the only thing I fear
more than this crazy world
is not living in this crazy world.

To be alive is to get uncomfortable,
to get up on stage and tell the world
I’M DYING and you’re all coming with me,
my friends, my beautiful beautiful friends.

You caught us with our genius showing,
a challenge dancing in the wind.

You came into this world gifted and aimed,
and I can’t help wondering
what target would you have hit
in your Golden Days?

5 Comments

Filed under every day angels, monday poetry thang, poetry, writing exercises

Monday Potes on Tuesday: Retro-Pome

I’ve been wanting to write about the birds for weeks. We have character birds in the neighborhood. They are my confidants. But alas, the poem has not unwound itself from the glue-sticky of fresh wordness. So, I am posting a retro poem.

If you can call the early 90′s retro.

I was flipping through an old poetry chapbook I printed 16 years ago and found this funny little piece.

The idea of the poem was to write 3 stanzas using all the the same words, but in a different order each time. I notice that I stayed with the same 4 commas, semi-colon and tab space, too.

But I did take one small liberty. Can anyone spot it? It’s not as hard as you might think. If you do, I will mail this chapbook to you. It feels like freshman Danika Dinsmore poetry, but at the same time, I am surprised at my own young poet mind.

I.
the day is you, is meat
not feet, you are up my what: hunger
take a poem offering, a blood poem,
because it’s what keeps my appetite
at your parade      this is a love been
so full of moves you are always
its table

II.
my appetite keeps because it’s blood
at your feet      this parade moves up
a poem that is love, not
a full table you are offering, it’s
always you what my hunger is, you
are of a poem meat, so take
what the day is: been

III.
this is not a love poem, it’s a
blood poem because that moves,
my offering is what it’s always
been: appetite      you are
so full you take up the day,
you are a parade of meat
is what keeps, hunger
my feet at your table

3 Comments

Filed under monday poetry thang, poetry, writing exercises

Monday Potes: ReFound

For kicks and giggles I randomly opened an old journal to see what I would find. I found the original version of a poem from my book Every Day Angels. Because my kicks and giggles quota is down, I decided to edit the original journal poem again, to see what I would come up with. My only rule was that I couldn’t end or start with the same lines.

I ended up with something completely different.

HERE: mysterious one HRB is the version that ended up in Every Day Angels

BELOW is the version from today.

I highly recommend this as a writing exercise if you are having muse issues. Take the original (hand written / in journal if you can find them) from years back, another lifetime ago so that you are in a new place, wiser, more experienced, more cynical, whatever. Write an entirely new poem from that place.

the field

I was up all night
(she said)
turning pages
pulling weeds

we drown or swim or let the tide
take us somewhere new
we are ships
even in (the) afterlife

I dreamed it was the
end of my world (she said)
and wrote it down

knowledge is a kind of rotten fruit

little deaths
are what save us
from wanting
too much

smells like tornado weather
(she said)
high above the plains

for a thirsty world
touch   is matter
not minutes

or anything anticipatory in the mail

but I exist in books
(she said)
and

things on earth are definitive

squirrels die in trees
magpies gather in roads
we run out of gas and ink

the sun admits clouds exist
the foot
a path

it goes or doesn’t go
(or becomes something else)

my hands are tied
(she said)

we don’t imagine pain
but imagining there is something else
keeps us here

I think I’m going a little crazy
(she said)
and did

no plan
just dizzy in the sea

***********************

I don’t know which I like better. The one in EDA has some lines that are not in the hand-written version and I’m not sure where they came from. The one I wrote today doesn’t flow as much as the other – it’s more fragmented. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing – it just reflects something about my state of mind.

Here is most of the hand-written version. You can see that it was written in fragments even then.

11 Comments

Filed under every day angels, monday poetry thang, poetry, Previous Lives : Poems ReFound, writing exercises

Monday Potes – Dropped Pages

“Dropped Pages” is a series of poems that were, for whatever reason, left out of my books. I can never really finish tweaking them or being totally satisfied with the results. This one was left out of Her Red Book

On the Night of the Flood of Ghosts

For M.L.

He says we’re those kind of friends
some day
one of us will be at the other’s funeral

She pulls the death card
scythe and burning vardo

in Texas flooding takes their friend’s home away
and homes in Russia and the streets of Prague
as Nigerian women sit
on the dock at Texaco and threaten
to remove their clothing

from around themselves
everything breaks

She taps the deck
the further we get from heartache
the more we can love the ghost of it

recalling the decree of separation
that left her a Toyota Corolla darkroom
equipment piano and one cat named Quincy

all night They turn over old loves
now with new loves              lost
in the tarot deck         seeking advice
from kettles and feathers and stones

She says         handling the pain of His Heart
despite the cards
Let’s everything around Us grow wild

 

2 Comments

Filed under dropped pages, her red book, monday poetry thang, poetry

Monday Potes: more 3:15ness

More middle-of-the-night workings from this year’s 3:15 Experiment

Aug 3, 2010
Vancouver, BC

measuring the good people of the universe
their birth    their celestial footprint

when she left she became star dust
arriving to see the aftershock
travelling unladen     as a dying wish

granted
we sped past the farmlands
what’s left of them in the urban creep
fresh blueberries blocks from the highway the
super highway the burning desire

sun stroke us down     past the islands
ferry hopping                        past the passengers
en route from their holiday
get away     gotten     the stars      we too
become star dust     memories
it is the only thing to become
when all
is said and done

make me a shooting star
spotted by farmers across the galaxy
looking up after toil     after burn
let me burn up    burn out
light the way

Leave a comment

Filed under monday poetry thang, poetry, The 3:15 Experiment

Monday Poetry on Tuesday

Cycle of Dizziness

I want to touch the matter in front of me
and say I am recording you
to reassure my science

when I go inside to have a conversation
to appear days later in a foreign place
with David Byrne singing in my ear

ginger is the new black

I’m getting old and all the things
the peace-resters told me are True

little bang little
bang            bang

my medication is grief
I make a tea with
get burnt and sober

sipping my choices

grind myself helpless and thin
or open up wider     to
fall limitless in

2 Comments

Filed under monday poetry thang, poetry, truth and beauty

Monday Potes: from 3:15

From this year’s experiment. This is the first 3:15 poem I’ve ever written from a hospital room. I had to take my husband in one night. (He’s fine, btw. He had a nasty virus.)

Aug 4, 2010

Vancouver General Hospital
Vancouver, BC

the moon is red
like a sci-fi planet
surreal in the night
out the emergency taxi window
three cats to the wind
then all windows vanish and replace
themselves w/white hum
disembodied voices test for cures
charts mark the anaesthetic blocks
to your hands and feet
you’re the patient under the sheet
you have a fever of 101˚
you ask if you are dead
not yet
on the TV a man kills
8 in Connecticut but you
are safe for one more red moon
rise             more red blood sun
the plasma rays reach out
touch earth skin
heat it like your neck
fevered and quiet
except for the occasional
moan                   what’s the occasion?
lying in a hospital bed
the familiar feeling of
a body breaking down
its limits
cosmic and uncertain

4 Comments

Filed under monday poetry thang, poetry, The 3:15 Experiment, writing exercises

Spider Relocation Project and Avoiding the Woolly Worms

It’s Day 28 of the Spider Relocation Project (aka Shed-to-Office-Renovation) and we’ve lost two more little dudes. One was into the vacuum and the other one was painted over with a roller. Sorry guys!

Total Saved: 56*
Total Lost: 3

*It’s possible I could have saved the same spider more than once.

I can’t show you the current status of the renovation because it’s too close to being done! The big reveal will be within the next week, I’m betting. Squee!

For the Monday Poetry Thang, and in the spirit of being concerned about little critters, I bring you (from my book Every Day Angels):

avoiding the woolly worms

I drive 10 miles an hour slower
to avoid them crossing the road
it is the season for so many things
don’t know what they will become
if left to become
some moth or butterfly fluttering to light
but for now they simply creep across every path
subtle as skin
twice as vulnerable
and I know I must be insane crying over
black and orange fuzz-piles on blacktop
as commuters back up I
swerve into the opposing lane my life
an unconcern as worms are enlightened
be free                 be free

in the next lifetime
perhaps they will live
in a great ocean

*            *            *

if you listen to sea turtles laying eggs
it sounds like a moan of human pleasure
exhale so familiar it makes one shiver
afterwards they abandon their young
to predators and elements
return to ocean         straight necks
sun and salt     stinging tears     mistaken
for regret

at recess village school children
shield emerging baby sea turtles
from vultures
They would tear their heads off
if we let them…

they say in Spanish

so few
so few after egg gathering season
ever make it to the water

*            *            *

upstairs I stand at the window
wondering if you are asleep
in the hammock
one leg thrown over the side
it is as if I am looking down
on the memory of something
or a distant happy dream

it is green and dry through the trees
I’m at the window upstairs
as the hammock swings back and forth
and back             and forth
filling the space between us

You wave slowly and I
wave back
far too calm and quiet

7 Comments

Filed under every day angels, monday poetry thang, poetry, renovation

Spider Relocation Project – Casualties to Date: 1

There was bound to be a casualty sooner or later. Spider relocation is risky business.

I didn’t mean to do it, but I wasn’t exactly looking out for the little guys as I caulked the room. I was just caulking along and ZOOP, accidentally caulked a spider into a crack. Egad!

Condolences to the wee beast’s family and a tribute – an oldie but a goodie from my chapbook Her Red Book.

Days After the Spider was Dead

She knew that time of year
when trees invent new colors and the sunset
from a pacific Northwest train is an
angelic hole in an otherwise clouded sky

She’d been waiting for some appropriate
memorial for the dead spider
Big-as-Your-Hand leg span tennis-shoed
into a basement carpet as 40-year-old
schoolboys revisit songs they’d written
long before the world had bitten them in two
sent them separate ways with a melancholy glance

She sat mesmerized by her lover’s fingers
and his “forgive me I’m out of practice” smile
until the spider incident
knocked against her head
the spider later to be
reincarnated as a
deaf child whose parents grow frustrated
after years of misunderstanding
a deaf child who will only hear music
in her nightmares
as long fingers reach through webs like
musical notes and catch her
by the hair

The reunion is over now the basement graveyard
lights out cold fall streets
smear pages of leaves wet with timely rain
her lover’s hand takes hers during
Ave Maria in church on a Sunday and she thinks
I didn’t even know that spider’s name…

6 Comments

Filed under her red book, monday poetry thang, poetry