jillypoet: mom trying to write

Each day I wish I had invented waterproof sticky notes (for shower inspiration) or pen-friendly diapers to get down all my quirky thoughts that I am sure are relevant and publishable. And so God (actually another writer-mommy) sent me The Blog.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

How long has this poem been in the fridge? And who let this woman in the kitchen?

I am in total agreement with PoeTry ThursDaY this week! There is no place in your life you can't find a poem. No place! Had I but the time, I'll bet I could write a series of poems on running out of diapers, making pancakes without having eggs, cutting moldy strawberries, cursing the grocery store, and the heart stopping sight of a great yellow snake of a bus, sliding to your door before yesterday's double knots are even taken out of today's sneakers. See! Poetry is everywhere!

Today, for your reading pleasure, poetry is in my kitchen. Lucky for you, I do not know how to take a photo of my kitchen and dongle or doggle it to my computer. Toggle? At any rate, I don't know how to get pictures from my digital camera onto my computer. I could learn, but then my husband might feel under-appreciated, and we can't have that, now, can we?

Here's my poem! Thanks for reading!

Who Says a Working Mother Can’t Write?

Sister, put your apron on, pull the strings tight
and write an ode to artichokes.
Extol the virtues of cold spaghetti
and day-old doughnuts as lunch.
It’s all gestalt if you look at it with a full belly.

Don’t just tiptoe through the dust bunnies.
Take the muse for a ride on the back
of a remote control Spiderman motorcycle.
Let her fall in love with the superhero,
let the web-slinger dump her for Barbie,
let her feel her pain through your pen.

Take a seat, you and the muse, on the dusty, cat-hairy floor.
Put your backs up against the cool, cool oven,
soothe your aching hearts on string cheese and cheerios.
Chase the carbs with some Mott’s shots,
just tilt your heads back and drink the purple down.
Now, get out the broom, sweep up some alphabet magnets,
throw a poem up on the fridge.

The kitchen is always here, grab a knife and write.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Hooray! Hooray! It's Karate Party Day!

So, my little man is almost 5! Today is the big karate party. 3 1/2 hours and counting...

Looking through pictures, trying to make a collage, trying to find shots to use in a scavenger hunt, I feel that little tug at my heart. Oh, yes, this is definitely a mommy blog post today. Posted by Picasa

Here is a poem inspired by my son and our shared love of running around in the backyard under the moon and stars.

This Is What You See By Starlight

A gracious moon, neatly illuminating whole galaxies,
little suburbs even, spreading before you.

By starlight you can see space mothers tucking
tired space babies into bed, pulling

rain-washed, softly worn clouds
up under alien chins.

If you listen by starlight, stand quiet
in your backyard, you will hear a symphony

played on Saturn's rings, maybe a cool
salsa beat out upon the core of Venus and Mars.

If you reach between the stars, part them
with your hands like invisible curtains and peer inside,

you will see families, maybe one just like your own,
fluctuating in the motion of everyday life.

Their starlight is your living room lamp,
their backyard is your rooftop, their music

the hum of your one, continuous long breath.
To this space family, your children seem to be tucked

in by a worn blue sky. Your lives are as distant,
as untouchable, as a single branch on a fallen down tree.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

The Haves and the Have-Nots

Interesting prompt this week at PoETry ThURsdAy! Spend a week with a poet or poetry you don’t like, don’t normally read, or something that otherwise drags you out of your comfort zone. Ironically, the online writing course I’m taking has me writing character sketches and epitaphs. I am out of my comfort zone on all sides. Except, of course, at home. Still mom. Still very comfortable with unmade beds, Legos on the floor, hide and seek at bedtime…

As I was saying, writing out of your comfort zone. I am not a political poet. Nor do I write about people much, at least not in a political, reflecting on humanity sort of way. I guess I’m more of a personal poet. So here I am this week, making a statement about my beloved suburbs. Comments welcome, encouraged! Help me get this ready to publish in my burb’s little newspaper!

The Haves and the Have-Nots: New Millennium, Suburb Style

One day, the strong men of the have-nots,
the copier technicians, furnace repairmen,
firefighters and mechanics,
are going to pick up their mid-size SUVs,
their Pathfinders, 4-Runners, and Ford Pick-Ups,
carry them across town to the have’s freshly sealed
driveways and drop their sensible loads,
park them right next to the Hummers, the Suburbans
and the Sequoia’s, see what makes a gas guzzler shudder.

Later that same day the have-not wives will pull
their own fast one. Pull on their Wal-Mart camouflage
capris, sneak into the have’s cavernous kitchens,
tiptoe across imported Italian tile, turn the shining
knobs on the convection ovens, and cook the sushi.
While the have-not kids keep the haves occupied
with brown paper sacks of contraband,
MSG, pure sugar, fake orange cheese,
the wives will pour the bottled water
down stainless drains, replace it with tap,
leave sticky-note calling cards:
Come on over sometime.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Simple pleasures

Simple pleasures. A wide and varied collection of daily joy-bringers: being barefoot in October, wearing sandals until Halloween--in the northeast, the shine of beach bronze lip gloss, orange and red leaves, red and orange leaves, that first crisp bite into an Empire in the middle of an orchard, the sweet, sweet naughtiness of letting my son have one last swim-- in his clothes, in September. Here are some poems, then a rant, and then, some more poems!

Wet through to bare skin
In September boy makes waves
Don't say no to joy.

Clothes off, shower on
hot steam your magic curtain,
step into the stream.

Family apple trip
crowded orchard, pickers buzz,
stand alone, take bite.

Among the pumpkins
a toothy grin, blond toddler.
I carved that small face!

Simple pleasures. This week's http://onedeepbreath.blogspot.com haiku prompt. I am reminded of a previous prompt, solitude. Anyone not interested in reading one mother's rant against the vagaries of the unquiet life of a mom-writer, blog on. Just change the channel. Click next blog!

OK, with the eye-rolling, head-shaking, childless writers-in- peace out of the room, I will go on. I started this blog as a means of writing more. Actually, truthfully, just writing, period. I went from an occassional poet to a pretty regular writer. I went back to my graduate school days with assignments, deadlines, feedback, and the company of other writers. The simple pleasures of writing.

Standing at the sink
hands wet, mind clear as clean glass
inspiration comes.

Even my children seemed to fall in line. Napping at regular intervals, absorbed in Spongebob or Legos, handing over to me our cozy home, silent but for the fish tank, for one solid hour, almost daily.

Cartoon chorus starts
children sleep, in crib, on couch.
Let the words begin!

Ah, then there was the big K. Kindergarten. More quiet time, or so one would think. With the advent of school comes the advent of my own little art school. Lessons and schedules and art shows to plan. Projects to prepare, phone calls to return. Days get shorter. Night comes sooner. That darn bathtime routine somehow gets longer. I think we are starting baths at 5:30 now, still end at 8. I got greedy. Signed up for another online writing course. More. More!

It's the full moon, I think. Too much caffeine. Finding my center becomes as circular a process as a dog turning round and round before a nap. I stock up on Aveda products for my bath. Surely, aroma therapy will not fail me.

In the bath, fine scents.
Toddler breaks in, plunges bowl
Lavender peace circles drain.

And so, here I am, it's nap time. At least I'm writing! And I smell good!

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Symbol of a Storm

This is a rough draft of a poem I wrote about the woman journalists claim is the "face of Katrina." As if tragedy has just one face. We all wear tragedy's mask at one time or another. In the case of Katrina, it was a full house costume party of tragedy, with everyone wearing the same mask. Anyway, I am putting this out here because I need some help with it. And my blogging poet friends are just the people to help! Thanks for reading!

Symbol of a Storm

They call me a symbol, a snapshot of despair
since it was my picture, me and my kids
putting a face to disaster. Ravaged, distressed,
brows furrowed, nostrils flared. We were just waiting
for a bus, looking for a dry ride out of a watery grave.

In the months leading up to it,
after the seventh baby,
after the oldest was hauled off to juvenile hall,
I had been wracking my brain, trying to come up with a way
to make my mark.

With no job, no husband, half my children
housed elsewhere, I was no super mom.
I considered most tattooed mother, blue-black lines following the rivers
and gulleys of my used body, but hey, I have been slick with labor
a total of 48 hours. Who needs more pain?

I had just made up my mind, cast my net wide
and decided to become the most traveled mama
when Mother Nature came rushing in.
Didn’t even knock, that grande dame, just rose
and rose like the sun gone wild, until she knocked

our door down, washed away our welcome mat.
In with Mother Nature’s bastard son, Flood,
came her wayward daughter, Katrina, and the dark
stench of lives lost, the shriek of families uprooted.
Don’t weep for me yet.

My children, little brown fish, they had a wild ride
up and down the rooftops. The stinking wet finger
of a levee wave flicked us atop our packed suitcases
until we three were soggy genies, floating above tragedy.
The people in that photo? They’re the old symbols of us.

Men in Trees...in the Suburbs

The countryside. This week's One Deep Breath haiku prompt. The countryside. Where I would so like to be right now, rather than the suburbs, rife with the sound of minivans, soccer moms bemoaning their time behind the wheel, neat leaf free lawns, carpets to vaccuum, dishes to do, cobwebs to greet (Nice to meet you. I've never seen you around here. How long you lived here?)... But hey, there are men swinging from trees outside my window. It could be worse!

Truly, there is a whole team of men, ages twenty to eighty, across the street from me, swinging from branches, hanging by cables so that at times I can just see their dangling legs, as they remove the overgrowth of trees from my neighbor's yard. Now, we have a tree in our back yard, so big it takes more than our family of four to join hands around it, and I would never, never cut it down. Even though it threatens to fall on our roof. Or so my husband says. He doesn't know I have an agreement with the tree. I admire it's beauty, extol its virtues, and the tree stays as upright as a ballet dancer en pointe.

So, they're over there, this tree gang, and they're being so careful. The branches are carefully trussed so as not to smash anything when they fall. The men are harnessed, all manner of tied up. I'll bet in the old days, or up north where I come from, tree guys climb with spikes on their boots, or maybe without spikes at all, just straddle the tree and ride the branches up. And I'll bet they don't truss up the branches to avoid a mess. So "citified" this undertaking is. Why, just now, half the top of a maple just came haltingly down out of nowhere like an arthritic old man sitting down, limb, by shaky limb.

Ah. A thump. A chainsaw. A wood splitter. Giant oak limbs hitting the ground. Men in trees. Limbs in the air. Orange leaves falling like tropical snow. Heavy branches, massive arms hitting the ground, meeting the earth with a satisfying shudder. What more could a homesick Adirondack girl ask for? Maybe some decent poetry from a reluctant muse. We'll see...

I am a native.
I drink lakes, eat fresh berries.
I come from mountains.

Tree falls on back road.
Oak leaves spread like red carpet.
Party is started.

Chickadee your host.
Orange fox leads you forward.
Welcome to the field.

Valley on two sides,
green mountains, army of trees.
Rest in the hay field.

Countryside of war,
soldiers braved your dark forests.
Boots can still be heard.

South of a small town
silent cemetary waits.
Everyone goes home.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Hooray for books!

If you have read my blog before, you know I am a believer in synchronicity. Synchronicity happens. Sometimes, I think things, and they happen. I am not psychic, just intuitive. It freaks my husband out. I have learned to live with it. And, for me, it’s an after-the-fact kind of thing. Like today’s prompt at onedeepbreath.blogspot.com It’s books! Books! I had a book weekend and was thinking how I needed to write about it!

Hooray for books! My favorite obsession. I finally, finally visited my favorite used book store this weekend. On the way there, just as we were about to turn left, I spotted on the right a huge white tent, 20 long tables, filled with books! A little country library having a book sale! Oh the joy! Oh the books! Bags and boxes of books! My plan is to make a series of linking haiku just using the titles. Ah, well. Did I mention the kindergartener and the one-year-old?

Here are my haiku about the one thing competing with cats and fish for space in my house…

Books seem to find me.
Clever titles, bold covers.
I am never lost.

It’s gone beyond books
scent of ink, cool, glossed covers.
Haven’t read in weeks.

Box holds twenty-odd
garage sale bag breaks at ten.
Never enough books.

Daily siren song
smooth straight spines, bending the truth.
Just who owns who here?

Hungry chickadee
pulling smooth books from full shelves
fed on words alone.