Saturday, June 4, 2016

Just Yet

Image of the Day:  The large white swans in a nearby town's pond, sailing about like small white skiffs.


I received my contributor's copies from Zone 3, where I have my poem, "Abandoned Girl is Full of Words" and read a marvelous poem by Alyse Bensel about Plate 18 of Marie Sibylla Merian's .  So I sent her a fan letter via Facebook.  There's also a fabulous poem, "Bone Woman" by Aimee Baker that knocked my socks off.  I really love poetry and finding new poets.


Today I wrote another poem, sent of a packet of poems (coincidentally, three poems about Marie Sibylla Merian) for an anthology, and revised some of my other poems.  No rejections just yet.




Some Glad Morning





One day, something very old
happened again. The green
came back to the branches,
settling like leafy birds
on the highest twigs;
the ground broke open
as dark as coffee beans.


The clouds took up their
positions in the deep stadium
of the sky, gloving the
bright orb of the sun
before they pitched it
over the horizon.


It was as good as ever:
the air was filled
with the scent of lilacs
and cherry blossoms
sounded their long
whistle down the track.
It was some glad morning.





Thursday, June 2, 2016

Keeping Track

Image of the Day:  Buds of the Japanese purple irises, unopened and blade-like.


I'm trying to keep track of things I do (especially in the summer) to keep my poetry in motion, so to speak, on a day to day basis.  I do this in another area of my life, my karate, that helps me keep confident I'm working on my stuff while I learn new things and get tested on it. Otherwise, I'd feel overwhelmed and out of focus. So I'm hoping this makes me accountable to the poetry part of my life. 


Today I wrote in my daily journal, wrote a poem, sent out a book submission, a chapbook submission, and poetry subs to four journals, and commented (very briefly) on two other poems.  I also revised my poems while submitting.  I need to read some poems, next. Oh and last night, I got rejected from Sugar House Review.


All this is kind of rare for me.  But I am trying to follow Entropy's list of where to submit on a monthly basis. And I'm trying to send out my work to more places, more often.  I feel that I haven't been doing a very good job at that.  Also, I'm following Jac Jemc's blog which is all about where she gets rejected and that has made me feel better.  Other people get rejected all the time, and better writers, so I just need to suck it up. 


Another thing I'd like to be doing is applying for writing residencies, but that whole artist statement and reference part of it makes me hesitant.  But I'm going to set my sights on that in July and work towards getting to one of those.  We'll see how it goes. 




Maybe; maybe not


When I was a child I spoke as a thrush, I
thought as a clod, I understood as a stone,
but when I became a man I put away
plain things for lustrous, yet to this day
squat under hooves for kindness where
fetlocks stream with mud—shall I never
get it clear, down in the soily waters.


Denise Riley

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

My Poetry Today

Image of the Day:  Little red squirrel in my Asian Dogwood tree, squeaking continually. 


I joined another on-line poetry group today, but have not been able to write a poem of the day.  Trying to think of what I want to write about. 


Read some prompts from various books:  Wingbeats and The Daily Poet.  Read some poems from a Crab Orchard Review. 


Got an acceptance to Pittsburgh Poetry Review.  This week, I've gotten rejected from Tahoma Literary Review and Devil's Lake.


Submitted my manuscript to Black Lawrence Press's Open reading period. 


Checked on Duotrope--who's open and who's accepting/rejecting.  Was interested in one press, but bothered by some of their requirements about telling them how I am a poet.  The beginning of the month is always a good time to review what's going on.


Watched my submissions on Submishmash.  Slowly, slowly. 


Feeling that I need to be writing in my daily journal much more often than I am.  Feeling that I need to read much more poetry than I am.  Finding inspiration.






We Return Sparkling
 by Felicia Zamora
       
Spun                this tendency to whirl, tendency to fall
gossamer. Thread what must pull back: my muscle mimics
your muscle gorges energy & loves nothing, loves nothing.
Axis of spine, gravity possesses                              imprints
Brief on lungs, vocal cords, belly: a charcoal sketch
against the light                              silhouette wipes
in the turn.        We burn out of & skin another universe
encases this                headache inching outside the head. Our
once watery lungs                      the revolving lure of sea
brine in our nails, ocean of aortic sack—feel us beating: waves.
A sky is a sky is blue veins. We return                sparkling
& out of breath              tethered to gorgeous rules.


Saturday, April 30, 2016

Last Day of April Last Day of Poetry Month

Unfinished
 by Sharon Olinka
        
Your dream voice emerges.
I'm getting ready, love. Warmth
of your mouth. Sunlit orange
butterfly wings. And weight
of your belly against mine.
As if you never fell.
Your cane, painkillers.
Finally, talk of a wheelchair.



Years later, I fell
on my face and hands.
Permanent damage.
Weakened left hand.
Somewhere, if you still breathe,
your mane of hair
white now. Almost eighty.



In this city of dust
my plants drink, never get enough.
With my good hand,
I do what needs to be done.
Carefully lift a cup of water
to each plant on my patio.
Caterpillars ate
my passion flower vine.
There was one
butterfly. I never saw it.




Thursday, April 14, 2016

Poetry Poetry Poetry

April in MaineMay Sarton

The days are cold and brown,
Brown fields, no sign of green,
Brown twigs, not even swelling,
And dirty snow in the woods.

But as the dark flows in
The tree frogs begin
Their shrill sweet singing,
And we lie on our beds
Through the ecstatic night,
Wide awake, cracked open.

There will be no going back.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Poetry Swoon

One Hundred Love Sonnets: XVII

By Pablo Neruda 1904–1973 Pablo Neruda
Translated By Mark Eisner
    
I don’t love you as if you were a rose of salt, topaz,   
or arrow of carnations that propagate fire:   
I love you as one loves certain obscure things,   
secretly, between the shadow and the soul.

I love you as the plant that doesn’t bloom but carries   
the light of those flowers, hidden, within itself,   
and thanks to your love the tight aroma that arose   
from the earth lives dimly in my body.

I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where,   
I love you directly without problems or pride:
I love you like this because I don’t know any other way to love,
except in this form in which I am not nor are you,   
so close that your hand upon my chest is mine,   
so close that your eyes close with my dreams.


Pablo Neruda, “One Hundred Love Sonnets: XVII” from The Essential Neruda: Selected Poems, edited by Mark Eisner. Copyright © 2004 City Lights Books.

Source: The Essential Neruda: Selected Poems (City Lights Books, 2004)

from the Poetry Foundation

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Adaptation

Crusoe in England

By Elizabeth Bishop 
     
A new volcano has erupted,
the papers say, and last week I was reading   
where some ship saw an island being born:   
at first a breath of steam, ten miles away;   
and then a black fleck—basalt, probably—
rose in the mate’s binoculars
and caught on the horizon like a fly.
They named it. But my poor old island’s still   
un-rediscovered, un-renamable.
None of the books has ever got it right.

Well, I had fifty-two
miserable, small volcanoes I could climb   
with a few slithery strides—
volcanoes dead as ash heaps.
I used to sit on the edge of the highest one   
and count the others standing up,
naked and leaden, with their heads blown off.   
I’d think that if they were the size   
I thought volcanoes should be, then I had   
become a giant;
and if I had become a giant,
I couldn’t bear to think what size   
the goats and turtles were,
or the gulls, or the overlapping rollers   
—a glittering hexagon of rollers   
closing and closing in, but never quite,   
glittering and glittering, though the sky   
was mostly overcast.

My island seemed to be
a sort of cloud-dump. All the hemisphere’s   
left-over clouds arrived and hung
above the craters—their parched throats   
were hot to touch.
Was that why it rained so much?
And why sometimes the whole place hissed?   
The turtles lumbered by, high-domed,   
hissing like teakettles.
(And I’d have given years, or taken a few,   
for any sort of kettle, of course.)
The folds of lava, running out to sea,
would hiss. I’d turn. And then they’d prove   
to be more turtles.
The beaches were all lava, variegated,   
black, red, and white, and gray;
the marbled colors made a fine display.   
And I had waterspouts. Oh,
half a dozen at a time, far out,
they’d come and go, advancing and retreating,   
their heads in cloud, their feet in moving patches   
of scuffed-up white.
Glass chimneys, flexible, attenuated,   
sacerdotal beings of glass ... I watched   
the water spiral up in them like smoke.   
Beautiful, yes, but not much company.

I often gave way to self-pity.
“Do I deserve this? I suppose I must.
I wouldn’t be here otherwise. Was there   
a moment when I actually chose this?
I don’t remember, but there could have been.”   
What’s wrong about self-pity, anyway?
With my legs dangling down familiarly   
over a crater’s edge, I told myself
“Pity should begin at home.” So the more   
pity I felt, the more I felt at home.

The sun set in the sea; the same odd sun   
rose from the sea,
and there was one of it and one of me.   
The island had one kind of everything:   
one tree snail, a bright violet-blue
with a thin shell, crept over everything,   
over the one variety of tree,
a sooty, scrub affair.
Snail shells lay under these in drifts   
and, at a distance,
you’d swear that they were beds of irises.   
There was one kind of berry, a dark red.   
I tried it, one by one, and hours apart.   
Sub-acid, and not bad, no ill effects;   
and so I made home-brew. I’d drink   
the awful, fizzy, stinging stuff
that went straight to my head
and play my home-made flute
(I think it had the weirdest scale on earth)   
and, dizzy, whoop and dance among the goats.   
Home-made, home-made! But aren’t we all?   
I felt a deep affection for
the smallest of my island industries.   
No, not exactly, since the smallest was   
a miserable philosophy.

Because I didn’t know enough.
Why didn’t I know enough of something?   
Greek drama or astronomy? The books   
I’d read were full of blanks;
the poems—well, I tried
reciting to my iris-beds,
“They flash upon that inward eye,
which is the bliss ...” The bliss of what?   
One of the first things that I did
when I got back was look it up.

The island smelled of goat and guano.   
The goats were white, so were the gulls,   
and both too tame, or else they thought   
I was a goat, too, or a gull.
Baa, baa, baa and shriek, shriek, shriek,
baa ... shriek ... baa ... I still can’t shake   
them from my ears; they’re hurting now.
The questioning shrieks, the equivocal replies   
over a ground of hissing rain
and hissing, ambulating turtles
got on my nerves.
When all the gulls flew up at once, they sounded
like a big tree in a strong wind, its leaves.   
I’d shut my eyes and think about a tree,   
an oak, say, with real shade, somewhere.   
I’d heard of cattle getting island-sick.   
I thought the goats were.
One billy-goat would stand on the volcano
I’d christened Mont d’Espoir or Mount Despair
(I’d time enough to play with names),   
and bleat and bleat, and sniff the air.   
I’d grab his beard and look at him.   
His pupils, horizontal, narrowed up
and expressed nothing, or a little malice.   
I got so tired of the very colors!   
One day I dyed a baby goat bright red   
with my red berries, just to see   
something a little different.
And then his mother wouldn’t recognize him.

Dreams were the worst. Of course I dreamed of food
and love, but they were pleasant rather
than otherwise. But then I’d dream of things   
like slitting a baby’s throat, mistaking it   
for a baby goat. I’d have
nightmares of other islands
stretching away from mine, infinities   
of islands, islands spawning islands,   
like frogs’ eggs turning into polliwogs   
of islands, knowing that I had to live   
on each and every one, eventually,   
for ages, registering their flora,   
their fauna, their geography.

Just when I thought I couldn’t stand it   
another minute longer, Friday came.   
(Accounts of that have everything all wrong.)   
Friday was nice.
Friday was nice, and we were friends.   
If only he had been a woman!
I wanted to propagate my kind,   
and so did he, I think, poor boy.
He’d pet the baby goats sometimes,
and race with them, or carry one around.   
—Pretty to watch; he had a pretty body.

And then one day they came and took us off.

Now I live here, another island,
that doesn’t seem like one, but who decides?
My blood was full of them; my brain   
bred islands. But that archipelago
has petered out. I’m old.
I’m bored, too, drinking my real tea,   
surrounded by uninteresting lumber.
The knife there on the shelf—
it reeked of meaning, like a crucifix.
It lived. How many years did I   
beg it, implore it, not to break?
I knew each nick and scratch by heart,
the bluish blade, the broken tip,
the lines of wood-grain on the handle ...
Now it won’t look at me at all.   
The living soul has dribbled away.   
My eyes rest on it and pass on.

The local museum’s asked me to
leave everything to them:
the flute, the knife, the shrivelled shoes,
my shedding goatskin trousers
(moths have got in the fur),
the parasol that took me such a time   
remembering the way the ribs should go.
It still will work but, folded up,
looks like a plucked and skinny fowl.
How can anyone want such things?
—And Friday, my dear Friday, died of measles
seventeen years ago come March.


Elizabeth Bishop, “Crusoe in England” from The Complete Poems, 1927-1979. Copyright © 1980 by Elizabeth Bishop. Used by permission of Farrar, Straus & Giroux,