Tuesday, April 30, 2013

National Poetry Month Day Thirty

word group: voices--ancestors--wind chimes--stone

ancestors voices--
wind chimes
in the stones

National Poetry Month Day Twenty-nine

word group:

THE STRANGER

A stranger in this world
the child does not understand
love is a gift.
He believes it is a birthright
all children possess.
So, in the only language he knows,
he sends out a cry
that beckons warmth and sustenance.
All of us
must answer the calls
of all children
so the light of nurture
can lead us
through these black tunnels
of violence.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Focus--focus--focus

A writing workshop leader once told me that in order to succeed as a writer you had to have "singleness of purpose." Over the 30 plus years since then I have come to see how true that is. I learned the hard way because I had no focus, but things are becoming less blurry lately.

Yesterday I heard that my short story "Rose" has been accepted for publication this year by persimmontree. I am proud of this accomplishment and happy to say this makes my fifth short story to get published. I know I've written here about my genre jumping but yesterday's good news helps me see where I need to concentrate my writing. It's a sign! It shows that through my concentration in the past when I took online flash fiction classes I was able to produce a number of solid stories over the weeks of those classes. And now the payoff is coming in more publications. I also received a "not quite for us" rejection this week but with a request to send more work in the future. That kind of rejection for a writer is a stamp of approval.

So I am setting out to write short stories and flash nonfiction. I hope to have 2 chapbooks completed by November to enter in the Rose Metal Press chapbook contest. I also am making a commitment to submit more of my flash fiction and poetry to journals and online venues.

I feel validated finally and cannot risk spreading my writing too thin. That only slows down production and inhibits the possibility of publishing. With enough short stories published I can now legitimately submit queries for a short story collection. I am proud of myself and I don't mind bragging! It just feels so good.

National Poetry Month Day Twenty-eight

word group: wings--rustle--echo--sky

Echoes across thousands
    of countries
the rustle of  bird wings
   sing secrets
we must comprehend.
A pewter sky
   cries polluted tears
filling the oceans
   with unwritten questions.
The silence
   echoes the barrenness
      of answers.

National Poetry Month Day Twenty-seven

word group: insomnia--cargo--struggle--sleep

I need sleep
the elixir
for tired bones
a weary heart
the burdened cargo
of too many ideas
I struggle
to find that peace
that eludes me
it's like
trying to catch fireflies.
Yet other days
I pray for insomnia
so I'll have more hours
     to write
         to read
             to just be.

National Poetry Month Day Twenty-six

word group: relentless--questions--imminent--brave

On this partly cloudy day
when everything is washed
in gray shadows
the destruction
of our world
is imminent.
The proof lies
     in detonated bombs
     gun slinging teens
     babies shaken
     not stirred with love.
Relentless
to find solutions
I ask brave questions
but the scarcity
of answers
is a deafening silence
and the afternoon
shadows
cloud my brain.

National Poetry Month Day Twenty-five

word group: past--magnolia--marble--wind

WRITING MEMOIR

late afternoon sky
is mauve and blue marble
as I stroll the forest
wind is a mourning song
magnolia petals
coat the path
soft
slippery
with each step
I come closer
to the past
till I'm buried
in its ghosts
and demons
so deep into the forest
I believe
I can never come out.

National Poetry Month Day Twenty-four

word group: garden--voices--silver--leaves

The midnight garden
drenched in silver light
is home to ghosts
thin as tissue paper
but their voices
bold
brash
bounce off the leaves
echo against tree trunks
upright
or stretched across the path
barricading the way.
You climb over
the cylinders of rough bark
trying to grasp
the ghosts-
like old love
they slip away
quicksilver and without substance.

National Poetry Month Day Twenty-three

word group: divorce--dormant--weed--blooms

She strokes the white pages
of the divorce decree
as if touching the words
can make her understand.
Denial is not a dormant
creature-- it lives
powerful in the heart.
The weed-like character
of lies, deceit, absence
take hold in
muscles,
veins,
bones
and don't let go.
Until she releases them
of her own will
and hope blooms
like April daffodils.

National Poetry Month Day Twenty-two

word group: cat--purr--winter--lap

Winter ice
sheets the windows
blocking light
and memory.
on her lap
a black and white cat
purrs so loud
white lace curtains shift
and her whole body
vibrates like a harp.
She strokes the thick fur
and gazes
into almond shaped
green eyes.
But there's no entrance
to memories she seeks.
Only her own reflection
expressionless
unknowing.

National Poetry Month Day Twenty-one

word group: chaos--senses--dissolve--change

The 6 Senses

She had a vision
     of chaos that raged
        inside her heart.
She heard the throaty
     songs of nightingales
        as they vanished from her garden.
She tasted the salt
     of desire on her tongue
        as it dissolved in time.
She smelled the scent
     of lavender
        and nights of lucid dreams.
She felt the kiss
     of midnight dew
        on her naked skin.
And sensed the winds
     of change
        just before they blew the world away.

National Poetry Month Day Twenty

word group: red--sky--ember--ash

Beneath the umbrella
of a red sky
and the full yellow
ball of the sun
the Indian woman
danced around the fire
her arms arced
toward heaven
her bare feet
thumping on dry earth.
She danced in circles
as embers burned
to cold ash
and her cries
lifted like a prayer
in curlicues
of silver smoke.

National Poetry Month Day Nineteen

word group: attend--nurture--bowl--cup

AVEDON

The Queen of Avedon
attended the birth
and was surprised
to see a faerie emerge--
tiny, delicate
with wings like lace.
As the mother slept
the Queen took the fairy child,
suckled and nurtured her
and kept her in a cave
in the dark woods
to raise as her own.
At the age of one
the faerie child fit in a teacup.
At five in a wooden bowl
carved of beech wood
and used for collecting
exotic herbs.
When the faerie child
was sixteen
her true mother
came upon her in the woods
and recognized the faerie
as the baby that disappeared
from the palace--
the baby whose mother
had searched for her
for sixteen years.
She picked her up
no bigger than a chipmunk
and carried her home
in the perfect bowl
of her trembling hands.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

National Poetry Month Day Eighteen

word group: chalk--rainbow--sidewalk--fade

The girl with blonde pigtails
greets early summer morning
in sneakered feet
shorts and sun blouse.
She hauls a bucket
of sidewalk chalk
to the corner
beneath the dappled shade
of a maple tree.
Amid the caws of crows
and sweet songs of sparrows
she draws a giant rainbow
on the concrete squares.
She stands back
hands braced on slender hips
and admires the bold colors
of her masterpiece.
The next day
a hundred footprints
and midnight rain
have faded her rainbow
even before
she finds
her pot of gold.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

National Poetry Month Day Seventeen

word group: humbled--face--cry--laugh

the string of lies
humbled her
sunlight touched her face
but she didn't feel
the heat
she heard it laugh
at her
that yellow globe
in the crystal sky
she walked inside
closed the door
and pretended
it was midnight

Monday, April 15, 2013

National Poetry Month Day Sixteen

word group: wall--ancient--dawn--dusk

In ancient days
from dawn to dusk
she walked
tracing the stones
of the high wall
with a trembling finger.
She dreamed of what
was behind those walls
that trapped her
like secret sins.
One morning
beneath a mauve
streaked winter sky
she found
a fingerhold
and ascended.
She smiled
like the old moon
and escaped
into the delirium
of the unknown.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

National Poetry Month Day Fifteen

word group: archway--silence--pause--return/go

Through the stone archway
     pocked with age
She wanders silently
     beneath the gaze of a full moon.
She enters a courtyard
     paved with ancient rocks
between them grow rigid grass
     and a history of stories.
Each footfall in the silence
     echoes against the stories
as if those long gone
     sing into the night.
In the center she stills
     listens and feels sweet air
as the cries of those long gone
     have returned home.
She waits till silence settles
     and the secrets return to the cracks
in the stone walls
     where no one ventures.
    

National Poetry Month Day Fourteen

word group: children--beach--moonlight--whale

heels press into damp sand
breakers grasp my ankles
with frozen brine
moonlight sashays on the waves
I squint
at the horizon
and pull into focus
a blue whale
its blowhole
spouts a shower
of hope
spraying life into the ocean
I pray this life will go on

National Poetry Month Day Thirteen

word group: land--heartland--music--heart

In the heartland
     wind plays music
          through wheat fields.

Crows explode
     into summer sky
          too blue to look at
          with bare eyes.

But if I close my eyes
     and let the music fill me
          allow the wind to kiss my skin
like fingers on a harp strings.

This land beneath my feet
     becomes my soul
          and my heart is free.

Friday, April 12, 2013

National Poetry Month Day Twelve

word group: loon-silhouette-guest-lake

Against the tissue paper moon
the loon's silhouette floats
on the lake.
Her cry is solemn,
haunting.
She's an unhappy guest
on this winter night--
her babies
have moved on.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

National Poetry Month Day Eleven

word group:  barefoot--evening--shadows--king

evening shadows
blend with barefoot prints
hiding them from the stalker
who seeks to cut out
her cold heart
with sinful words
sharper than the knife
she holds in both hands
slipping into the shadows
of her shame

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

National Poetry Month--Day Ten

word group: snow--mountains--trails--tears

SPRING TEARS

along mountain trails
she walks alone
hunched into the raw wind
arms braced at her chest
bare feet leave love notes
in new fallen snow
her tears freeze on ivory cheeks
so she never forgets
what happened last summer
when this mountain
wore a lush blanket
of green
and the sky shouted
happiness
like the lone wolf
who watches her
cry--
his teeth bared

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

National Poetry Month --Day Nine

word group: autumn--skeletal--ballroom--frost

Late autumn
skeletal trees dance toward winter.
The ballroom floor is strewn
with pine needles
and leaves
that crunch like old paper--
the words of lovers
faded, erased.
Morning frost
dresses the limbs of the dancers
in bridal lace
their innocent arms
hold up gray cloud curtains.
I hunker under white fleece
not wanting to face
the crisp messages
of death in this dawn air.

Monday, April 8, 2013

National Poetry Month--Day Eight

word group: women--market--sky--spring

AT MARKET

The woman with corn silk hair
strolls the aisles
choosing tulips, carnations and lilies.
She plucks exquisite sapphire
blueberries
and palms ruby apples
like a lover's cheek.
Sniffs melons
inhaling love.
She wanders the market
beneath a steely winter sky
buying spring.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

National Poetry Month glitch

Okay-internet down so I've lost 4 days of posting poems. But I have been writing them in my purple covered journal and will now share them with you. Here's hoping the internet stays steady and I can keep up. Technology is a wonderful thing, until it's not, like this weekend. It's why I love my spiral notebooks and purple pens so much.

DAY FOUR
word group: father--distant--noble--heart

MY FATHER

The hayseed farmer
      with noble heart
who kissed my cheek
      rubbed my feet--
is gone
      into the distant
Netherlands that house
      dead souls.
I cannot touch him
      but across the distant breach
      I feel his heart
beat inside of mine
      and he is still here.

DAY FIVE
word group: rough--sanded--amazement--years

AMAZED

Along the craggy shoreline
      torn by winds
      sanded by time
the ocean foams in
      a frothy veil.
Bubbles hold onto life
      the way we capture
days in a diary
      as if we could keep them.
Years from today
      when another woman
strolls this beach
       in search of a soul
in the symphony
      of a polished shell
she too will be amazed
      that one so small
can travel the same path
      as kings
       with no soul at all.

DAY SIX

word group: fisherman--line--heartbeat--mist

WILD FIRE

     The angry fisherman
casts his fine line
     into the belly of the lake
mist rises
     forgotten dreams
that refuse to be lured
     back to life
and his heartbeat quickens
     as dawn crackles
behind pines
     scorched by an errant fire
     kindled by stupidity.

DAY SEVEN

word group: mother--sleeping--faithful--arms

Inside the bowl of ivory skinned arms
a baby relaxes in soundless sleep.
Eyelids are a tissue paper screen
against the glare of moonlight.

The rocking chair rocks slowly
in rhythm to the mother's heartbeat.
In sync with gentle thoughts
her finger traces the downy cheek.

A faithful prayer of dark longing
rises in the mother's breath.
She prays into the night
for a happy life for her daughter.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

National Poetry Day --Day Three

word group: gulps--thirst--permissions--streams

I first read the word "permissions" as "persimmons" so I ran with that. Such is the link between eyes and mind at 5:00am

PLUCKING PERSIMMONS

In the desert of her soul
     she feels a painful thirst
every tissue in her body
     shrivels from want
though life streams around her
     an unending river
          dreams
          desires.
She cannot stretch long
     to gulp its energy.
Plucking persimmons
     from lush trees
the red flesh disintegrates
     on her palm
She has committed a sin
     and has no permission
     to quench her thirst
          in this life.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

National Poetry Month-Day Two

word group-- public--private--hidden--shared

THE MASK

She wears a public mask
     of shared smiles
     eyes like towering beacons
          a heart open like a palm
               giving
                    always giving

Inside are private thoughts
     heart closed like a fist
     bruised secrets
               tears of burnt offerings    
                    hidden
                         always hidden

                   

Monday, April 1, 2013

National Poetry Month-Day One

April is National Poetry Month. I have their 2013 poster in my office at work. I have a purple covered journal waiting to accept my morning musings that will spiral into poems as the smoke rises from my creative fires.

At the moment I have two serious, long term writing projects moving along like bullet trains. The first is the novel I've been working on for two years. It is still very much in draft form with new story lines and character changes emerging from various writing exercises and lots of brainstorming. The second is a memoir that I am writing in the form of a poetry collection. These are big projects and I plan and commit to completing them both this year. I have come to the conclusion that if I focus on these two projects, make time to write every day, and keep the goals in mind I can do this. I accept that I have to have a variety of writing to do and that I can alternate between these two projects as long as I don't let anything else get in the way.

So for National Poetry Month I will share the poems that blossom from my purple journal--one a day for the month of April. I am using the book "Writing Poetry from the Inside Out." It has pages and pages of groups of four words to use as prompts for poetry. I'll share the group I used for each poem that I post here.

Do yourselves a favor and read poems this month. Perhaps one a day.
Go to the site www.poetry.org and sign up for a poem a day in your email box. Learn to love the play of ideas, the rhythm of language and the intensity with which poets express big ideas in the smallest of poems.

Here is my poem for day number one.

word group:  weak--boards--spirit--flesh

SEARCHING
Her gossamer draped spirit
dances across the room.
Bare feet never land
on the worn and splintered floor boards.
The dream is weak--
an apparition unfelt--
unseen--
as her ghost figure
raises her arms
in hope
in faith
a heart weak
from the long journey
the search
for what rightfully
in hers.