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.

Monday, April 30, 2007

Just came in from the bus, should be playing outside, instead am writing a poem

Last post of NaPoWriMo. I'll have to do a proper tally, but I think I wrote almost 20 poems during the month of April. Now to type them, give them all life. What I learned on NaPo vacation...It is very fulfilling to buy big stacks of poetry books at used bookstores. No, no, Muse, not that. It is very fulfilling to sit down at the moment a good line strikes me and write. Just type it as it comes. Orange juice in a toddler flood on the kitchen floor, be damned!

Here is my poem for the day. I will be spending the better part of this Monday trying to find the write words to describe how the sun looks at this very moment, after the rain stopped and the clouds just disappeared. Like a giant floodlight. The light at the skating rink during midnight skate. Unreal. Sunnier than sun...

After the Rain

Wet cats melt your heart.
Strong men standing on roofs
turn to Atlas before your eyes.
Lawns left untended are greener,
you might eat their blades
by mistake, plant bulbs with a spoon.
The sun is a lamp with new filament.
Have you always been so beautiful?
The mailman floats in on Pan’s wings.
As you shower in stray raindrops
remember Eden. Cover what you must
with cool, wet oak leaves,
leave no fern unfurled.

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Friday, April 27, 2007

When Barbie Was My Muse

Oh man. Here I commit to NaPoWriMo, and I haven't posted in two days. I've still got poems in my head, but, man, teaching and mommy-ing take it out of me. So...in other news, I met Denise Duhamel! Woohoo! I went to a reading at my alma mater and I was, gasp, early. Only because I had the time wrong. My husband taught the last 15 minutes of my middle school art class (8 girls, hee hee hee, that's revenge for any little wrong he's ever done me!), just so I could be on time.

Well, I was sitting on the outside edge of an aisle and I was one of only three people there and she said Hi! To me! I was cool, man. I said hi back. The reading, of course, was great. And, of course, I brought 1 book and bought two, so she signed my books. And we got to chat a little. She was very kind, very funny, very gracious. I hope to be so cool when I am a famous poet. And, best of all, she liked my hair!

It was a night out, a night listening to great poetry. In honor of all this, and in honor of Kinky, Duhamel's book of poems about Barbie, I am posting two Barbie old poems, written when I was a post-grad, non-wife, non-mother. No villanelle for me this week.

Still Life: Woman In Barbie Mask

When I wear this mask
I feel like a princess,
an American dream
girl, an apple pie, a white
picket fence, a brilliant
ivory, piano-key smile.

And then I take the mask off.

For my legs have grown crooked,
my hair is in tangles, and someone
has bitten off the toe of my left foot.

On Becoming the Woman I’ve Always Wanted To Be:
An Ode to Barbie

I tripped on one of your plastic shoes today.
I was wearing it.
It was a narrow fit,
too small, too red, too pointy,
too made for someone with a blond plastic head.

But I wore a pair of them out anyway
hoping some Joe, or better yet some Ken
would ask me out.
No luck.

Later, I stopped at the salon,
still wearing your shoes.
I have your hair now.

The beautician said three Barbies
and one Skipper gave their lives for
my transformation.

Still no Ken.
Not even a Joe.

Because I needed a car to go with
the hair and the shoes, I stole a Corvette.
Another narrow fit, and those damn little
shoes tripped me up again.
My little plastic pump slipped off the brake.
I wrecked the Corvette on the interstate.

Good news, though.
Officer Ken said I looked like someone he used to know
and let me off with just a warning.
We’re going out tonight.
Now all I need is a little dress.

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Tuesday, April 24, 2007

NaPoWriMo - Poem 15

Lucky for me, my husband rarely reads my blog. If you happen by, dearheart, remember, poets lie.

Planting Seeds Before You’re Married

I used to look in the mirror
and see a whole new woman,
more beautiful
than when we started.
No Venus,
no sweet magnolia,
I was never one to shrug off
a compliment
about my looks,
even when it arrives
from my subconscious.
Back then you lived
in a house full of broken men.
Hungry gardener,
I had my pick
of bleeding
Some nights
and glowing,
petal-soft in your
worn Dead Head t-shirt,
I would think about stopping
by the living room
on my way back
to the bedroom,
see if your sad, sad
perpetually rocking,
hockey watching roommate
would see me
smell me
reach out
from the roots of his armchair
for me.
I never did.
What would the girl in the mirror
have done
with a lily-white wedding gown?

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Friday, April 20, 2007

Teaching My Son Honor

I am continually surprised at how much this VT tragedy is affecting me (is it effecting? I, a poet, with a master's degree, am never clear on this one!) Here is my 11th poem of National Poetry Month. I have been trying my best to write a poem a day. Do poems in my head count?

Teaching Jude to Honor

Sent my son to school
in maroon shirt
orange vest.
He does not know
he is honoring the dead
he has never known.
Send myself to school
in maroon and orange,
my honor disguised in flowers
and crystal beads.
What if a crazy man opts
to shoot everyone in maroon today?
This is what we are left with.
Fear of dressing.
I seal the popcorn snack
with extra ziplocs.
My son will have a moment
of silence at noon
and no crazy man will know.

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Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Bad (luck) comes in threes

Timeline: How the Tragedy Unfolded

It was a love triangle of sorts,
a man, a wife, a fish.
While news of America’s deadliest shooting spree
droned on in the eleven o’clock hour,
my husband massacred the goldfish,
my orange bubble-eyed lover.
The black goldfish floated to the top
after the dinner dishes were rinsed,
an unexplained loss, his reputation
for gathering and holding a home’s death
in the color of his fins
proven true.
To console, my husband, fish master,
brought in the buckets and hoses.
Outside, sirens wailed, firemen rushed
past, en route to drain another basement flooded
by a surprise Spring nor’easter.
“None of us thought it was gunshots,”
the college sophomore said.
But within seconds the source of the sound
became clear, when a gunman entered the lecture hall,
shot the professor before turning his guns on students.

Inside, grief counseling began with a sharp intake
of breath, water rushing up and out
of the tank, out with the bad, in with the good.
Scrubbing algae, stink of fish death
off the glass walls drowns
out the tinkling notes of the television’s death toll.
Too late, a wayward fish swims upstream,
headlong into the syphon.
“I’m not sure how long it lasted.
It felt like a really long time,
but was probably only a minute or so.”
Dumb luck sucks his beady eye
out of it’s socket.
Red lights flash, another house flooded,
another party of rescuers dispatched.
Before he can be netted and iced,
friends of the goldfish eat his hanging eye.
Nature takes care of its own.
The people of Blacksburg struggled to find order
in the wake of the shooting.

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