I've only written a few poems over the past few months, and I seem to be floundering, waiting for someone to publish my current manuscript, Slight Faith, and not quite sure what I want to write next. I'm at a threshold. My writing needs to go in a new direction. It's a frustrating feeling.
I've never been able to work with "poetry prompts" from others, I suppose because they track into what another poet is fascinated by, but don't evolve from the deepest part of my own being. I'm always having interesting conversations with myself, but often I forget to write down my thoughts, and too often, they disappear.
But the other day, I made a list of things that do fascinate me, that I spend time thinking about. Perhaps it's a start.
The Urban Death Project
suicide notes, particular Jumpers
heroin addiction/ effect on my community
Cosmology: constellations, seyfirt galaxies, singularities, gravitational waves
Dementia, amnesia, failures of memory
Last week, I didn't post a Sunday blog.
Some days, I feel like I have nothing more to say.
I've begun to wonder why I'm doing this at all.
Gazing through gray glass at white snow.
Every part of me is cold.
Looks like The Februaries got a hold on me.
as another Sunday morning passes
another January is dispatched
and another moment is squandered
which offers another chance to practice courage
or another instance to lose faith
The way you curl into a poem,
bidding its shell to your mollusk,
storm of sea blowing in your ear,
inexpressible pain expressed.
I’m not hungry
but I want bread,
the crust and batting of bread
in my mouth, silk of butter
on my tongue.
I don’t need the body,
just the spirit, to fill this hollow
made of teeth
with the manna of its ever-
readiness to console.
dear new year,
bring it on, bring rain, bring snow, bring cerulean
bring quakes, bring tornadoes, bring cyclones, beget heat waves
bite frost, wave flags, hitchhike, thumbs up, thumbelina, trump the dealer
shoot up, steal, kill, lie, fuck
make sorry, make babies, make pecan pie, make me
run backwards, skip ahead, jump the broomstick
stand still for chrisake, for a minute, for the hell of it
nice work if you can get it, remain silent, remain steady, remain flush, run on empty
meditate, don’t be late, shut the gate, hesitate, just wait a minute
subjugate, fluctuate, conjugate, fight the power
pray away fear, eat fear, forget the past, be present
pay your dues, pay your way, pay check, pay pal
bring it on: diwali, ashura, tisha b’av, year of red monkey
don’t mind, eat dogs, drown cats, regard aardvarks, send missiles, stream podcasts, cast the first stone
have a heart, have a biscuit, have the nervous energy of a flea
be a sport, be gentle, be smart, be a do-bee
be busy, but not too busy, a time for anything, brick-a-brac, “bracket that”
break a leg, break a sweat, bemoan your fate, have a date
and everything else, possibilities, more war, more dead black boys, less compassion
beer belly, sugar-pie, don’t cry
think of what you’re missing
smoke crack, shoot heroin, be my heroine
make a promise, make a wish, make hay
don’t think twice, blink and you’ll be toast
POETRY (in no particular order)
Next week: Fiction
Since Thanksgiving, I've been counting the days until the solstice, that is, until we start to go back into the light. For several months each year, I go to work in the dark and come home in the dark. My mood hovers on a ledge over a deep ravine. When the moon is new, and blustery winds bring slant storms, I knuckle the steering wheel as my aging eyes try to make out white lines on the road. Lights, dotted along the road, cheer me through darkness and rain, the simple grub of this season on the Olympic Peninsula. Then, just as I arrive at the clinic, these lit trees greet me.
After Tuesday, it will reverse and I will sigh a modicum of relief, another year opens the window and welcomes the light. I can still drive, so I can still work. No guarantees for next year, but it appears that I'm willing to hold on.
My reading recommendation for Christmas: The Road to Emmaus, by Spencer Reece. It redeemed the season for me. Read the title poem. Buy the book, with its cover photo by Thomas Sayers Ellis. It's a gem. Trust me on this one.