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.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

My 100th Post! And an IMPORTANT poetry note!

My 100th post! My 100th post! Hooray! Hooray!

First, before my poem, some "housekeeping." Polka Dot Witch and I will be launching our new poetry writing & critiquing blog soon. Please visit Fertile Ground for more information. Get your hands in the dirt!

Next, please visit my previous post http://jillypoet.blogspot.com/2007/09/october-is-scare-up-poem-send-it-month.html Anyway we can get poetry out there in the world, is how I look at it! Dana, formerly of PoeTry ThursDay and Sublimation mentioned that October is random acts of poetry month in Canada. More on that later, when I can investigate and provide you, faithful readers, with accurate information.

NOW...on to my poem. I wrote this one in a completely different manner than I usually write. I don't know if it's the weather (way too warm for fall in the northeast) or starting school, or what. This poem started out with a "key." But, it soon evolved. The "juicy" prompt at One Deep Breath helped. And here it is. Comments and critique welcome, encouraged, even. I kind of like this one and want to make it better. Thanks!


Sandwiched between loaves
of meat, buffetted by copper pans
of bundt cake and oozing sweet preserves,
Betty Crocker never told.
June Cleaver rarely held a knife
in her hand. Carol Brady ate poy
with her fingers on the island.
And yet. And yet. Women need to know.
Can you really ever unlock
the secret to a pineapple?
Open the door to slip of sharpened knife
through rough-hewn bark,
skin unwilling to yield.
The perfect cut is a myth.
Melons garner the same reaction,
offer up the same silent curse
while clamping curved legs
of hard tan rind
closer together
holding tight to cresecents of precious flesh.

Cradled between soft slick seeds
cantelope juice runs free,
shimmering fruit refuses to be balled and left
to bleed pale clear sweetness
across anyone’s hands.

Slicing the bounty,
who’s to say what is sharper
the blade, the juice, the fist that holds it.

October is Scare Up a Poem & Send It Month

This just in...

October is hereby declared Scare Up a Poem & Send It Month!

Just pick a postcard, any postcard. Scare up a poem. As in, write it! Scare your muse into action. Write about a scary experience. Scare your reader. And send it! Please link here if you would like to participate. Um...comment here? Yes. Or maybe link & comment. Then, email me with your address if you would like a poem. But if you WANT one, you have to SEND one! And it doesn't have to be me! Tell your friends! Tell your enemies! Post it on your blog! Send a scary poem to the one person who would never expect it!

By the way, I was inspired to do this scary, frightful, evil, harrowing, haunting project by none other than Poetmom, who very kindly posted the postcard poem I sent her this summer. She had the idea first. Props to January!

Monday, September 24, 2007

Juicy, just juicy


Do you love that word?

It just runs down your chin. Ripe peach, bright orange nectarine. Even crisp Empires spurt and spill natural apple juice when they're pulled straight off the tree.

Slice through melon
lean into dry cutting board
bathe in clear sweet juice.

Strawberries in bowl
ripe raspberries circle round
by noontime all juice.

Two-year-old can do!
Socks on feet, bananas peeled.
Juice will take first spill.

Inside hard tan rind
cradled between soft slick seeds
melon juice runs free.

Slicing cantelope
who’s to say what is sharper
the blade or the juice?

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Traveling Poetry Show travels on...

Welcome fellow transient poets! The Traveling Poetry Show has circled its wagons here at my blog for this Thursday celebration! Imagine hundreds of faded circus train cars, filled with lion tamers, acrobats, gypsies, painted ponies, zebras, elephants & elephant riders. Imagine each rider, emerging from his painted rectangle, reciting a poem. That's the Traveling Poetry Show. Don't need a ticket, just come on board! I know, I know. I mixed my metaphors. Cut me some slack, I just became a soccer mom.

As I was preparing to write this post, it occured to me that I forgot what Polka Dot Witchy's prompt for the week was. So I poured myself a glass of white merlot (which by the way is red) and sat down to check her blog. Are you catching on? Before I poured the wine I had to UNCORK it...

In case you forgot, here's this week's prompt...


What are you holding back? a passion for something or someone? creativity? secrets? a kind gesture? an awkward conversation? joy? confidence? your lust for chocolate? the truth about someone? about yourself? What would happen if you uncorked it? Would you feel relief, fear, embarrassment, exuberance? Maybe you could consider (this one hurts my brain so I can’t use this angle) whether you are the cork or is an external “something” keeping it in?
You may want to interpret the word quite literally. Tell a story about enjoying champagne or relaxing with friends over a glass of wine or drowning something out by drinking directly from the bottle. Consider the cork itself: its purpose, its origin, its transformation.
Uncork whatever you want and pour it out into your next poem.

So go ahead, post away. If anything gets caught in spam, well, I will try to figure it out.

As for next week, you all can take a hike!

Actually, more like a walk. When thinking about a prompt, I spied a book on my shelf that I have been meaning to read, Walking in the World by Julia Cameron. It's a creative guide of sorts. I remember that I was pregnant when I bought it. The first chapter talked about daily walking practice. I thought, yes! I should walk for exercise. I should walk for inspiration. Then I remembered that the first poem I ever published came unbidden to me almost verbatim while I was walking to college one day. Just came pounding to the rhythm of my steps.

This week, I urge you to take a walk. Best done alone so you can think, so you can hear the rhythm of your steps, the rhythm of the world around you. Of course, alone may not be possible. But, that's ok. You're the poet, make use of the world around you, no matter how populated it is!

Engage your senses. What do you see? Hear? Smell? How does it feel to walk and be conscious of walking? What do you feel under your feet?

  • Other poetic prompts might be: what is the first thing you think of when your mind settles in to your walk? Follow that thought!
  • Record the walk, itself. Each step, each house, each bird song (or bird dropping)...
  • Maybe you have a particular jaunt you took with someone special. A walk away? A walk toward?

So, walk, hike, promenade. Saunter, dally, sally forth. Take a constitutional, a stroll, an upright meditation.

If you can't walk, or if you can't manage the time to take a leisurely jaunt, imagine where you would walk if you could. Imagine your path, your journey, your destination.

In the end, it may not be about walking, at all!

Next week's host is Tracie Lyn at http://www.thereddoor-studio.blogspot.com/ I can't wait to see your poems!

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Sunday, September 09, 2007

Tread carefully as you approach

War (historically re-enacted, not current & stupid...) makes my son happy. Half-naked Indians make me happy. One would imagine that our recent trip to Fort Ticonderoga to see the Revolutionary War re-enactment would have been a win-win situation, no?

Well, no. I sat down to write tonight, to fulfill my promise to Polkadot Witch and post my response to our most recent writers' meeting, and in came my sweet Jude--in tears. It was 9:07 and he couldn't sleep. He was in tears for the second time since 1st grade started. And it's only been two days of school so far. This does not bode well. I am, all kidding and writerly smart-ass aside, seriously worried. My heart is breaking for him. Breaks when he gets on the bus. Breaks at 9:10 when I imagine him settling in at his desk, one of four formica-topped mini desks, grouped into a girl, girl, girl, boy square. Breaks at lunch time, recess, all the way home.

Dropping pieces of my broken mommy-heart from my desk to his bed, I followed him, still crying, to his room, tucked him in, and lay down beside him. He talked about the time, how he didn't know an hour could go so fast. He talked about whether or not it was ok for great-grandma Jennie to be dead (she died ten years before he was born).

He surmised that maybe he didn't do enough today, and that was why he couldn't sleep. He observed that his mechanical volcano/nightlight seemed slower than usual. He noted that the cat was in the middle of his bed and was probably worried about him. He told me he loved me. He tossed. He turned. And mercifully, finally, he fell asleep.

Never has the rhythmic breathing of a child felt so comforting. Not because I was eager to write, but because I was eager for his day to be over, for sleep to relieve his anxiety.

This poem, written from a prompt using the four words: hammock, moon, ladybug & leaf, didn't seem to have much point when I wrote it, but re-reading it tonight, it somehow echoes what I imagine my son is feeling. Maybe it is melancholy.

Hammock, moon, ladybug, leaf.
My body touches each and I am alone.
Tread carefully as you approach,
the ladybug is not secured, is poised for flight.

Her children,
my children.
Always in danger of being crushed by a leaf.

So light, they are weightless.
So heavy the flame,
so heavy the smoke.
So suffocating the leaf
used to smother the fire.

Tread softly as you approach.
The moon of my backside will not rise
from the hammock today, will not rise tonight.

I may never leave
this holey suspension,
bound to earth by the feet of two trees,
held aloft by the pull of the moon.

Full moon
Harvest moon
Blue moon.

Two times I have asked, twice
my voice has risen,
round and clear
like the yellow moon that is not blue.

Tread carefully as you approach
and now I see,
now I feel,
now I hear,
you have crossed the lawn like a mower grown wild,
a beast of a machine with keys stuck in the ignition.

You have mown
the hammock,
the moon,
the ladybug,
the leaf.

I am lying on the sheared ground,
my body touching nothing (everything)
and I am alone.

After I wrote this piece, I took a moment to reflect on how it felt to write and clarfiy what I might like to do with the poem. I wrote that I might like to put this into a form such as a sestine, or couplet form. Interestingly, I forgot this, and as I started to type it tonight, i tried couplets. Couldn't make it work, or maybe it didn't suit me...I'll have to see it it print first.

Thanks for reading!

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Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Stop me if you've heard this one

I planned on posting my average writing from my stellar date with Polkadot Witch last week. Then I was reading some Mary Oliver. Somewhere she mentioned necks, or breathing, and then I remembered some repeated things I've heard lately. So I wrote a new poem. I think it could be so much better if I wasn't watching tv out of the corner of my eye while I write. What can I say. My son starts first grade tomorrow. I'm nervous. I want to simulataneously be creative and escape from the world. Hmmm...wonder if this poem has some relation to that? Any poetry therapists out there? I am definitely a firm believer in poetry reflecting life, no matter the prompt.

I Think I Must Have Been Hanged in Another Life

Everyone says this.
My husband moans,
grabs at his bulging neck
when wearing a tie.
My mother pales, shrugging
off a turtleneck.
Strangers, standing too close,
waiting for the first hot scald
down the throat
at the coffee shop sigh,
beg pardon for the scarf
thrown off sweaty necks
into my upturned face.
Is this the thread tugging
me down, down, down?
Is the subtle itch
on the bottom of my foot
a fiber holding fast to terra firma?
The cough that comes up from nowhere
a tickle really. No more than a web
in the throat, a daddy long legs
wrapping and unwrapping,
maybe even a witch’s spell.
Loosen up. Uncross wide end
over narrow, lead down through loop.
Not everyone needs neck wear.
Reach up. Untie the knot.