Thursday, January 21, 2016

In Those Relationships

Image of the Day:  A bald eagle being attacked by some other large bird outside our office windows. 

One of my co-workers spotted the eagle today while we were having lunch.  This is the third bald eagle I've seen in like two months!  One was right in my small town!  Before this, it had been years.  I wonder what is happening to their environment to make them so visible? 

So I haven't been exactly current on this blog.  I've been distracted from the poetry world by other parts of my world.  But this happens and I'm okay with it--mainly because I know we need these other parts of our world to take over and to possibly deepen our experiences. At least this is what I'm telling myself. We can't always focus on just one part of our lives--the poetry will happen soon.  I know this because I'm going to be taking an on-line class in February.    I have purchased poetry books in anticipation of delving back into that world:  Kingdom Animalia by Aracelis Girmay and ABCs of Women's Work by Kathleen Kirk. But right now I'm just re-reading the Harry Potter series because that's all my mind can handle right now.  I miss writing, which is a good thing.  We'll see what happens to my writing when I return to it. 

But I do have a poem here, that you can read.  Disclaimer:  I don't have a therapist but I am fascinated by the intimacy that must occur in those relationships. I had at one point titled this: Love Poem to My Imaginary Therapist, but that didn't quite work. 

From Ann Truitt on Brain Pickings:
The terms of the experience and the terms of the work itself are totally different. But if the work is successful — I cannot ever know whether it is or not — the experience becomes the work and, through the work, is accessible to others with its original force.
For me, this process is mysterious. It’s like not knowing where you’re going but knowing how to get there. 

Mind in Flock, Mind Apart
by K. A. Hays

They scatter high, the grackles. What's to know
of mind in flock? Some baffling drive to share?
I keep apart my thought. They swoop and go

as if some harried god inhaled. A show
of beauty, then—the great lung thrills with air
that scatters high the grackles. This I know:

they perch like thorns, that blackened croaking row
along a bough. We too sing what we bear,
but keep apart most thoughts—they swoop and go

like hawks, drab hunters circling, circling slow
over small things: to dive, to feed. To tear
and scatter high. The grackles (those I know)

stay close in hunger: flit down, grub low,
blue clucks, green squeals—and each self gone where?
Not kept apart. Less thought, more swoop and go—

a particle, a wave. The peppered dusk. But no,
what weird squalling—is what's here in me out there?
They scatter high, the grackles, what I know.
They keep a part of thought. I swoop—they go.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Wasn't There

Image of the Day:  The yellow leaves outside my work window lit up from the gorgeous and generous sun today. 

I have a poem here in Rogue Agent.  A Poetry Story:  that poem, "Girls Who Struggle," was previously accepted at another journal but when the issue came out in which it was supposed to appear, it wasn't there.  So I emailed and the editor said he'd "look into it" but nothing ever came of it.  So I withdrew it and sent it off to various other journals.  Rogue Agent took it and so I subsequently withdrew it from other places.  But then came an acceptance from another journal, who hadn't apparently gotten my withdrawal or had overlooked it or something.  I emailed them back and told them about the mistake and figured, well, they're gonna hate me and I can't submit there ever again.  But then yesterday, I got a very nice and understanding email from that journal, asking me to resubmit when they open. Phew! Very nice. So technically that poem has been accepted three (!) times!  I guess that makes up for some other rejections.   

Also, I had mentioned that one of my poems had been published with the wrong title.  Well, actually, they had told me in the acceptance letter that they had taken one poem with the title "Abandoned Girl at the Source of" but had published that title with the wrong poem associated with it.  So I just assumed that they had wanted to publish that poem ("Abandoned Girl Wants to Peel You Open").  Turns out, no.  They had somehow published the right title with the wrong poem and have now fixed it--thanks!--AND they are nominating it for a Pushcart Prize.  So that is mighty cool. 
So here is the right poem with the right title at the fabulous Amethyst Arsenic journal

And I'm being featured at The Sundress blog The Wardrobe's Best Dressed.  You can check out some poems from my chapbook The Ornithologist Poems here. 

The Marrow

There's a gleam to the trees and meadow
that verges on something heartsick;

convent quiet,
and rich as a jeweller's window.

Facing the lake-water is your bull.
He's concentrated and arcane,

his Dutch yellows make him look mild;
you think he sings to himself.

Like you, he seems to have had
a grasp of what it was to love.

What it is.
And he's lost it.

Michelle O'Sullivan

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Out of the Fall

Image of the Day:  Sleek dark heads of three mink poking out of the fall river.

I got to see that yesterday while walking my dog.  At first I was like, "Seals!" cause that's how seals always pop up in the ocean in Maine, but then my brain registered the river and I realized these were mink. 

Also, I got to see a huge fat raccoon out on my run on Tuesday.  It was so big I wasn't quite sure if it was a small bear or something.  But it turned around to look at me and I could see its tail as well.  I wanted to take a picture but it lost itself in the river weeds. 

I have two poems here in the recent issue of Pith.  I love the found poem that Meg Cowen made with lines from all the poets' poems.  I really love it when editors do that kind of thing.


It's quiet here. A stoic rectitude
Props up the weather-pummeled citizens,
Craggy yet almost cheerful. Uniform
Gray granite cottages, precipitous
And sturdy, make the most of things. The wind
Does all the talking hereabouts, and who
Would think to think about the universe?
Their certainties define them, not their doubts.

Joseph Harrison

Thursday, October 15, 2015

New Chapbook: Small Portraits

I am so pleased that my chapbook, "Small Portraits" is to be part of Ides:  A Collection of Poetry Chapbooks.  You can read the press release here at the Silver Birch Blog.  There are fifteen chapbooks collected in this selection, so you definitely want to buy it and check out all the poetry.  You can purchase a copy here at amazon.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Permanently Change

Image of the Day:  Bluejays and tufted titmice squawking at something (I'm assuming a hawk) on my way to the cafĂ© here on campus; on the way back, total silence, the birds gone.

So I have a poem here at Amethyst Arsenic you can read.  Funny story:  The title for this poem is actually the title to a different poem.  I emailed the editors if they could change it, totally panicked at the mistake--and they said they would, but I know life gets busy and they haven't yet.  And now I kind of like this title better than the original title.  I may permanently change it.
Update:  So they changed the poem to the correct poem and have nominated it for a Pushcart Prize!!  That sure makes things better!

From Anne Truitt, in her memoir Prospect:  "We can understand what it is to be human only to the degree that we are willing to endure all that it is to be human" (64). 

"Empathy is about finding echoes of another person in yourself" --I had misread that as empathy is finding echoes of yourself in another person when I first read this.  (Mohsin Hamid in Poets and Writers Sept/Oct 2015 in "The Time Is Now" column.)


Finally, the body is littered with landscapes,
the brain all map and diligent chart.

The three-story row houses line up like memories
over the barbershops and the gas station
along a street grooved with trolley tracks.

A town at the center of a stubbled cornfield
blinks under an unnecessary stoplight,
waits in bone for the winds to come at dark.

There are two lakes breathing in the chest,
one north and large, the other south and smaller,
freezing over each year, but still breathing,

the avenues rough with fleets of gypsy cabs,
the bus idling in front of the YMCA,
the national road with its angry pickup trucks.

There is so much soil in the creases of the skin,
feet black with asphalt, toughened by brown glass.

Finally, the wanderer will settle into one place,
laying the back's weight on the pavement.

The world will take root—
the world will be buried in that place.

Monday, August 24, 2015

A Mess, Spilled

Image of the Day:  some bird in the deep woods, calling, calling.

Dreams:  We had forgotten to have someone come into our house while we're away and take care of our pet monkey.  So I leave early--a campground?--and go home and the fridge is a mess, spilled pasta all over the place.  I can't find the monkey and am super trepidatious.... (We do not own a pet monkey, fyi.)

From an interview with Rachel Eliza Griffiths in the recent American Poetry Review:
"Creatively, I had to let go of trying to control myself on the page.  And to give up any attempts to control other people's experience of me" (18).

From Women of Will:  Following the Feminine in Shakespeare's Plays by Tina Packer:
"[Shakespeare] was an artist, and as with all artists, the conflicts they hold beg for attention, so they can be examined, perceived, made whole, made use of"(43). 

I had deja vu when I read this poem and I don't know why...

In the Home for Elderly Vehicular Manslaughterers by the Sea
The guilt, like the sand, is in everything,
being so near, as they are, to the ocean,
being so close, as they were, to the end
of their lives, before they took the lives
they took. Someone should have taken
the keys away. In many cases, they tried—
but the old, mottled, gnarled knuckles
clenched, closing reflexively around
that silver promise, its heft, its glinting
mountainous teeth. And they held on to it.
Now the guilt, like the sand, is on their hands
and on their lips. It's the grit in the food
they can't eat. Lucky the demented ones,
with no idea, no memory, blithely chewing.

Paul Hostovsky