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.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Seventeen Days Later, the Poet Returns to Peel Some Fruit

Peeling the Clementine: Lunch in the New Millenium

Peeling the clementine to the soothing strains
of the mandolin, or is it a lute, I think
God is in this fragrant peel. He is scenting
my fingertips. Slowly sectioning the fruit, I reflect.
Smooth, cool, slightly variegated, this tiny orange
is a short fat worm filled with vitamin C. A healthy treat.
The lute plays on. Bach in E minor. The baby spits
at the old gray cat, limping on the scarred-wood table.
No soup for you sunken-eyed ancient one.
Silver Elmo spoon to teeth. Plastic Elmo bowl to table.
The baby plays chopsticks opposite a public radio virtuoso.
Noodle-Os wrap around her tongue, soft beige snakes.
Yellow Campbell’s broth runs down her chin.
May it be the only clear liquid to ever do so. Kenehara.
Salt over my left shoulder. Spit. Spit. Spit.
All I want for my girl is a bowl of fine soup,
a silver spoon and the symphony of plastic bowls colliding.
In this world of body counts, Crayola-colored terror levels,
this is the blessing I will wish for on every birthday candle,
every falling star, every twist of an apple stem.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Poet in motion

Sexy, but domestic. Jillypoet with a hand saw. Jillypoet finding the perfect Christmas tree and feeling the raw edges of the rusty saw cut through the first sappy fibers. That is how I described poetry in my last post. And that, dear readers, is how I spent my Saturday. Traipsing through the woods for hours looking for a good Christmas tree. Feeling the guilt pile up on my gray wool shoulders as we passed by tree after tree, declaring each not right. Who tells a tree it's "not right"? And then, the joy. Pure poetry. After two hours in the cold cold sunshine, we found it! And I finally got to use the saw! Sexy, but domestic!

Sexy, but domestic. Barbara Walters is droning on in the background. I'm just too lazy to turn the TV off, but as she droned about Angelina Jolie & Brad Pitt, this phrase caught my ear. Sexy, but domestic. Don't we all, us moms of the millenium, dream of this? When we wake in the morning, we rub the sleep and the cheerios from our eyes, glance in the mirror, and measure ourselves on the sexy/domestic scale.

Today, a bad hair day, I was off the charts domestic. On the sexy scale, not so great. I almost finished the inside Christmas decorations. The tupperware boxes have their marching orders...basement. It was one of those days when each blessed moment came with a caveat--when will this bliss end? Kid 1 & kid 2 ate double helpings of a dinner I made from scratch. A small voice whispers, "Full bellies, but yes, the other fork will fall..." Kid 1 shared cinnamon toast crunch with little kid 2. "They're angels in footy pajamas tonight, but what will they be wearing tomorrow?" I fully expect things to go back to normal tomorrow.

Until then, and until I crank out a new poem, here are some words from Epicurious. I've never watched the show, but one day when I was cruising through the channels, I caught the beginning of the show with all these words! I DVR'd it until I got the chance to copy them down. Here they are...

egg roll
ice cream
Indian pudding
Irish soda bread
coffee cake
Uzes sauce
red fish
rum cake
rice wine
ile flottante
imam bayildi
icebox cookie
oyster mushroom
onion rings
upside-down cake
ugli fruit
star anise
shoofly pie
sticky rice

Oh man! I could write a poem a day with these words and never finish writing! The comfort foods resonated with me the most. Right off the top of my head...shoofly pie, sherbet, upside down cake, icebox cookie, icing, utensils. OK, OK. I will write a poem tonight! Stay tuned...

Thursday, December 07, 2006

jillypoet writing, writing

OK dear readers. I have been in blog limbo long enough. I can’t say why, definitively, I haven’t written, but clearly, since my last post was pre-turkey day, and no, I did not cook the turkey this year, I have been remiss.

To commemorate my return to blogdom, I am doing a meme in response to Poetry Thursday’s prompt. I’m not sure what a meme is. It reads like a me! me! kind of thing. You know, “It’s all about me… “ Our pastor likes to sing that occasionally.

Anyway, here it is. First the actual questions, then my actual answers. And just so you know how dedicated I am to this polka-dotted blog of mine, and to my dear polka-dotted witch friend who made me realize I had to get off my “bleep” and write again, my head feels like it’s about to explode and my 1-year-old is asleep, so just who is going to call the paramedics?

PS: I have news! My poem “The Thing About Summer” has been published in Literary Mama! You can see it all this month at http://www.literarymama.com!

1. The first poem I remember reading/hearing/reacting to was …

The Highwayman by Alfred Noyes. I think this may be a lyric poem, if it is a poem at all. Can you believe, me a lit. major, and I don't know for sure? It was in one of those fancy bound books people buy to put on their shelves and look literary. I remember dark nights under the tall pines in the Adirondacks and my mother’s haunting voice (she worked hard to be haunting, for effect) repeating, “The highwayman came riding, riding…” Intersting, my first memory of a poem is of terror… I mean, check out Part One: The wind was a torrent of darkness among the gusty trees,The moon was a ghostly galleon tossed upon cloudy seas,The road was a ribbon of moonlight, over the purple moor,And the highwayman came riding- Riding-riding-The highwayman came riding, up to the old inn door.

To read the whole poem, click here. http://web.cecs.pdx.edu/~trent/ochs/lyrics/highwayman-orig.html

2. I was forced to memorize (name of poem) in school and …

I didn’t have to memorize any poem that I can think of. I memorized a limerick that my dad taught me with the word “pee” in it. Much to my mother’s chagrin…

Oh, yeah, “You do not do, you do not do one black shoe…” Anne Sexton. No, no, no. Sylvia Plath. I will have to look it up. And “Love set me going like a fat gold watch…” I should have done my research before I started this. These days I am so far from Sylvia Plath & Anne Sexton, both literally (both of their books are in my attic with the stairs I have a hard time pulling down) and figuratively, because I am just not a daddy-hater, feminist, head-in-the-oven kind of girl any more. But I still like their words.

3. I read/don’t read poetry because …

I read poetry because I love words. I love stories. I think the best poems are stories with just the right words. And I love “a-ha” poems. Like, a-ha! I totally know what you mean, or A-ha! I never thought of it that way before!

Sometimes I don’t read poetry on purpose because I am feeling that I can never write a decent poem again and I don’t want to be reminded of how beautiful and clever and witty words can sound if only you would string them together and bind them to the page. Truly.

4. A poem I’m likely to think about when asked about a favorite poem is …

Anything by Mary Oliver. “You do not have to be good.” Who could not love that line? Who, except some of the suburban, mini-van moms in my neighborhood, could not afford to live by that credo?

5. I write/don’t write poetry, but …

Yes. I write/don’t write poetry. No but. I write. I don’t write. That is it. I write. Then I don’t write. But poems are always in my head. Lately, my 1-year-old is louder than the poems. Except when she’s asleep in the backseat. And then, when I see a blue jay run over by a sedan and live to fly away on the other side of the fender, by God! I am writing, so watch out suburban mini-van moms, jillypoet is writing while she’s driving!

6. My experience with reading poetry differs from my experience with reading other types of literature …

I read fiction to lose myself. I read poetry to find new and exciting ways of looking at words. Kind of like why some people try new restaurants with innovative chefs, and some people stick to their favorite diner or family restaurant that always serves spaghetti on Wednesday. That is not to say that I don’t like the reassurance of spaghetti on Wednesday, but sometimes grilled squid is nice on Wednesday, along with some saki and wasabi and raw tuna. Wouldn’t raw tuna be a great name for a band?

7. I find poetry …

Everywhere. One of my favorite poems is “You Can’t Write a Poem About McDonalds.” I saw a bluejay get run over, for goodness sake, and after weighing the pros and cons of being late to pick up my kindergartener/versus pulling over during a snow squall and hauling my 1-year-old out to find the bird and bring it home to nurse it back to health, I pulled in the school parking lot and wrote a poem in a coloring book, which was the only paper I had handy.

8. The last time I heard poetry …

My son said, “Mommy, look, there’s your movie, Charlotte’s Warehouse.” I told you, I find poetry everywhere. The last time I heard spoken word, grown-up poetry, was on my local public access channel. Our library was airing an interview with a local poet. Julie Gutman. She’s a tall woman with an imposing voice. Her poetry rocks! My husband taped it for me while I was out teaching. He’s a computer guy. He thinks Jim Morrison is a true poet. That’s true love, a dude like that taping a poetry reading for me!

9. I think poetry is like …

Finding the perfect Christmas tree and feeling the raw edges of the rusty saw cut through the first sappy fibers.

Like kissing a stranger under a full moon in July.

Like giving birth to a 9 pound baby with no epidural and knowing it’s your own damn fault because you waited too long at home picking lilies of the valley.

Like smelling snow in the air.

Like hearing a whole band of chickadees and tufted tit mice and not being able to see a single bird, anywhere.

I think poetry is like the coolest thing, ever, man.

Poetry Thursday, you saved my life!