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.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Patchwork Thursday Poem

Hey! It's Patchwork Thursday. Since I didn't have enough "other people poems" to work with, I used a poem each from five of my favorite poets: Julia Alvarez, Sandra Cisneros, Ana Castillo, Lucia Perillo, and Judith Ortiz Cofer. There is a definite feel to this poem, a haunting, sort of sad tone. Yet, the feminine strength which is one of my favorite aspects of Latina poetry is also present. * (For more info on women poets, check out Poetry Collections by Women.)

It may sound easy, this casting together of disparate lines of other people's poetry, and maybe it is for some, but for me, it is a careful process, much like creating a collage. You can snag a bunch of found objects, slather some glue on them and call it finished, but to give a piece feeling, emotion and cohesion, sometimes you need to sit with all the parts, move them around, and even, sometimes, let them fall where they choose.

If you would like to offer a poem for other poets to work with, leave a link to your poem in the comments section here. If we have at least four poems offered up to work with, next Thursday I will post my new patchwork poem and you all can leave links to your patchwork poems!

No Exit - A Patchwork Poem

There is no exiting unscathed: a delicacy, we say,
by a dozen senoritas
who died a death of voodoo.
How charitable to call it fruit, when almost nothing
improves my bad reputation.
I was born under a crooked star,
and become one with the molecules.
I ask the impossible: love me forever,
a slender girk with a basket
inviting all the demons that reside in dark damp
say-your-last-prayers roads.
Give her instead the kind of nourishment
to be born woman in a family of men.
The delectable stink of danger discovered,
the men lured away to the cities
and only a girl like Eve could be so blank a slate.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Winter Poem

We live inside the cold
even as we tear our clothes off
from the heat. It slithers
away from warmth, the cold,
in great, writhing arcs,
even as icy daggers form
on its backside,
a demented rattlesnake fleeing
what it needs,
shaking and singing
a sad song,
the whole frozen way.
A trio of gray squirrels
wave their voluptuous tails
in passing.
A school of trout
woolen in their winter scales,
part, as the lone predator
slides below the thin ice
of an abandoned pond.
The snake licks its wounds,
dissolves in a hot bath
of its own, lonely blood.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Patchwork Thursday

Need something to liven up your Thursdays? Why not try a patchwork poem, or a cento!

Each Thursday I will post a patchwork poem culled from some of my favorite poets. Then, if you'd like to participate, add a link to a poem of your own in the comments section. The following Thursday, paste a link to your poem. You can see my first attempt, Me and My Shadow, here.

To keep it simple:

1st & 3rd Thursdays of the month, post a link to a poem all your own.

2nd & 4th Thursdays, post a link to your newly created patchwork poem!

If you'd like to participate, email me at jillypoet@verizon.net and I'll include you on my sidebar.

A Cento & A Fun Poetry Challenge

A cento, also known as a patchwork poem, is a poem stitched together from other people's poems. A while back, at the collaborative poetry site, we offered lines of our poetry to each other to piece together bold, new poems. It was a refreshing challenge, a really nice way to play with other people's words, yet create something original. Collaborating opens new worlds. It's good like that.

If you would like to try this, place a link to a poem you'd like to share (along with your name, of course!) in the comments section of this post. Keep checking back to gather your poems & lines. Next week on Patchwork Thursday, you can post links to your centos. Be sure to credit your muses!

Here is mine:

Me and My Shadow

She keeps a long knife in her robes.
I thrust
to parachute behind
an old woman's bosom,
haughty and high.
Perhaps she followed the trail of birds.
Her hands are severed crow's wings
in some teary farewell scene.
My hands in phlanges. I haven't even accounted
for all their weak weight,
like electrical wiring. Nor have I mentioned
my breasts don't feel
like a child unravels in dreams.
All the while, she sharpens her blades.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

January is the cruelest month

From window no sound
squirrel tails, branches twitching
ground sighs, waits for snow.

Dried leaves wave on branch
tip of umbilical cord
grown new life outside.

Ochre, tan, dull brown
moist tree bark, wet moss faded
nature is tired.

Cold eyes blink, white-washed.
Will they remember color?
Spring three months away.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Friday 5

Over at Poefusion, there is a wonderful challenge to liven up your Fridays: Friday 5. If you are a word lover, this is for you. The current words are: vellum, moss, reminisce, distorted, fiction. I'm not sure if they are current, in fact, I think they may be last Friday's words, and there may even be NEW WORDS today. Check it out!

Here is my poem. It is a first draft. So glad to have my muse back!

Head West, Young Wife

So accustomed to being at odds,
the lines between fiction and non
blur when we have been apart only hours.
No need to reminisce.
I am still mad from last hour,
last night, last year,
calendars' worth of days torn off,
crumpled. Whether I rise from this desk,
roll over in bed,
stomp down the empty hall,
you shimmer in my mind's eye
a faint, ugly hologram.
In the lone wedding photo
on the white, white wall you hang
distorted, on my arm
you are no more than a motheaten black shadow,
a tired magician
no cape, no hat, no rabbit.
I stumble on the children's Magic-8 Ball.
Yes, it says, All signs point to yes.
War will rage on.
Daily, I ignore your open smile,
your ready lips,
much as a confident hiker
disregards the moss,
its clear direction.
I know north from south.
Anyway, what good is green
growing on all sides of a tree.
Such abundance is useless,
useless as the thick vellum
of our marriage license.
There is no one driving this car.
It is a wreck,
this much I know,
and I am heading west.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Winter haiku

Did you ever have a feeling you just couldn't express? I thought I'd try haiku to tease the words out, to try and put into words how this odd northern winter weather makes me feel, how snow is a comfort I welcome, how I enjoy being forced to stay inside. I'm a northern girl at heart, but I just can't get to the heart of this... grr...

Squirrels dart through woods,
rain erases snow and ice,
wet breakfast revealed.

Dear Mother Nature,
January rain feels hot.
Each drop scalds my face.

In a warm winter
rivers run, ice relaxes,
I still stay inside.

When snow melts too soon
your heavy blanket falls off,
you are still frozen.

Birds welcome warm air
fog is poor snow replacement
nature disappoints.

Heavy rain, wind gusts
neighborhood cats sleep outside.
This is not winter.

Rain on bare branches
sun turns drops into diamonds
jewels dance in wind.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Over the horizon

This is the second draft of a freewrite I did using five words as a prompt. Rather than tell you the words, I'll see if any of the words stick out too much. It needs something, I'm not sure what, so I'm hoping some reader, somewhere out there (over the horizon...) can help me figure it out!

Over the Horizon, a Lone Figure, or: I Need New Glasses

It is a slippery fantasy
the old boyfriend,
the chance meeting.
So slippery that it keeps coming
back and back
sliding into your daily life,
like a sliver of soap
or a lathered wedding band
is drawn to the drain.

Slicing the melon
you lose yourself
lose the tip of your ring finger,
imagining your lives together,
your hand resting beneath his
as you stand hip to hip
in the grocery store,
feeling the firm round prospect
of a cantelope.

Sailing the snowman lined streets of suburbia
after dropping your youngest at preschool
you are the back-up singer
in his band. Hair swinging
fingers tapping
you lean your head on the passenger headrest
rub the velvet nubs of the empty seat
whisper, Take your hand off my thigh,
the neighors will talk.

Late at night, the old boyfriend morphs
into a chameleon,
casting stiff, slim shadows
on your bed.
He is red wool, sliding between the sheets
pulling himself up under your chin.

Back in the kitchen,
love wears an apron the color of his eyes.
He drapes himself around your cooking body,
ties himself around your waist,
hangs just below your belly, between your legs.

To leave him you must become a witch,
once again. Cast a spell,
sprinkle salt on the slippery devil,
render him invisible.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Anyone want to play poetry with us?

Hello! Hello! I had such a great writing day! I met with Polkadot Witch and we talked about life and writing and then we wrote! You can check out our process, our prompts and our freewrites at fertile ground

We also have news! Every year, or every few months, I email my local poet friends and try to garner enough warm bodies to form a weekly or bi-weekly poetry group. It usually works for awhile, then someone moves away, or we all get busy, or have babies, you know...

This year, after I sent out my usual email, I thought, hey! why not a virtual poetry group? So I crossed the Hudson River (virtually) and twisted pdw's arm (not really) and we created poem.

Please join us. It's a different sort of poetry site. Each month we will read a poem by a well-known or lesser-known poet, then discuss for a week. The next week we will write from a prompt based on the poem (and maybe other poems like it). The next week we'll have everyone post links to their poems, and the final week, well, it's a poetry free-for-all.

Truth-be-told, I also really miss being in the academic world and discussing poetry. I'm hoping poem. will fill that need, too. Not to mention it would be certain divorce if I suggested to my husband that I might want to go back to school for my doctorate in poetry (which I would so love to do), because I'm not even done paying for grad school.

There! All the news that's fit to print. We hope you'll play poetry with us!

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Something to crow about

After nearly a month of living in a pnumonia/sinus induced fog, I have finally written a poem. It's kind of a vicious circle. Feeling crummy prevents me from writing. I swear, whenever I have a sinus infection I can not think. Words come out wrong, and sometimes they don't come at all. Anyway, feeling crummy stops me from writing, which, in turn, makes me feel even worse. You can not run, when you are a writer. You can not hide. The words are always there and they must come out. Must.

Anyway. The poem. For the past two years I have glanced outside expectantly on New Year's Day, hoping to see a beautiful goldfinch or an oriole. My "year bird" for two years running--a crow. At first, I took it as a bad omen. But, in truth, crows are not so bad. They have personality. And, it is obviously a sign from the universe if the crow is my bird of the year two years running. Thus, my poem. Comments & critique welcome!

ps: Please visit the new site Polkadot Witch and I have created! poem. It's way cool!

January 1, 2008

Resolve to be more like a crow.
Be the first bird,
the first winged creature roughly
half the population sees
on the first day of the new year.
Change name from mom
to American mom.
Wear more black.
Let the roots grow in
one dark feather at a time.
Be instructive. Land often in snow
to demonstrate the subtleties of black and white.
Scare people,
a little.
Hop rakishly away,
assume the air of rogue clown.
Approach worms, dead squirrels
and handouts with hesitation.
Refuse to fall prey to rampant
intestinal disease. Do not drop dead
in great numbers so as to appear
in a sack on local news.
Live by the glow of a night light,
the moon, a lamppost, a tossed cigarette.
Errant owls may dive for your head,
devour your precious flesh.
On a day when no-one is looking
break all toes but the essential three
on each stick leg. Hop out the back door.
Claim a wide open space.
Avoid the glimmer and flash,
of your neighbor’s trash. Stay on task.
With the beak you’ve surely grown, tear
two small holes in the carrion of your wrists.
Slide the hollow wing bones
of a fallen brother or sister straight in
along the radius of your forearm.
Test your wings.
Try to fly.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Forget resolutions

A quote from Jan Phillips:

Forget about new years resolutions and getting thin and making more money. Just think about what you love, really love about being alive, about having a voice, having eyes and ears, and hands to touch what you love to touch-think about what lifts you up and makes you dance and causes tears of joy to roll down your cheeks, and commit yourself to that. Commit yourself to joy, and you will see that it brings you out, takes you to the doorstep of others, calls forth your words, your power, your wisdom. "The transformation of silence into language and action is an act of self-revelation." And as Ramana Maharshi said, "Your own self-revelation is the greatest service you can render the world."

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Happy New Year

I could sit for hours (as long as my daughter snores quietly on my bed and my son is playing outside in the snow), looking out my window at the expanse of new fallen snow in my backyard. Mini-storms erupt sporadically around the yard, white clumps falling from tree branches in bursts from quick winds. Or maybe the spoonfuls of snow are being shovelled off by house-proud birds.

The prompt at One Deep Breath this week is frost. I will not even mention the way my eyes meet my husband's. That is another type of frost altogether. I know it's not good to carry bad feelings into a new day, let alone a new year. Bad karma. I'm an artist. I'm German (way back there somewhere), I hold grudges. What can I say? I like to think my heartfelt haiku evens the score, cleanses my soul.

Two of these haiku are also appearing at Watermark's New Year Haiku Party. Check it out!

On every branch snow,
in all particles of breath
no two dreams alike.

First day of the year.
Wishes ride in on snow flakes,
ride out on black slush.

Each morning frost shines
slides icy quilt on windows
tiptoes out with sun.

Snow's dopplenganger
thinner, harder, cold to core
frost--prodigal ice.

Weightless new year snow
falls without sound from tree branch.
Oak longs to be nude.

Winter knows no date.
Snow falls, ice creeps, frost smothers
chill will expire.