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, February 29, 2008

My newest patchwork poem

Can You Believe God Opened Up the Heavens and Adam Appeared?

To count the stitches
at the moment of my birth,
she opens her window.
It’s either fable or truth and that’s based on your perception.

Thirty years fighting
the framework,
made fat on childhood dreams.
Only an arithmetic sound of rain falling
at the moment of my birth,
her view skewed by splashes of rain.

Tendrils of thread
tweedy beneath my fingers
like a cocoon of wet cotton wool.
To count the stitches,
drop stitches. Leave holes.
It is a dive into the unknown.


This poem was written using lines from the following poets: mariacristina, Gautami, paisley, Lirone, writerwoman, Scott and lissa.

For more patchwork poems, visit patchwork poetry. If you like what you see, or you want to try your hand, join us next week as we pony up poems for use in the next round of patchworking!


Tuesday, February 26, 2008

confession tuesday

It's Tuesday. It's time. It's all the truth and nothing more. Keep in mind I was the lone Methodist kid at Catholic summer camp who always did the sign of the cross backwards before she took communion. A double whammy--a methodist taking Catholic communion and a backward cross. If anyone had really been paying attention, they would've shipped me back to First United so fast my head would've spun (another religious no-no, at least in the movies...)

Here's what I confess to this week...

1. I just cajoled my sweet, sweet two-year-old off my lap so I could write. Off. My. Lap. And she is so sweet. So cute. Well, why not start confession with the kid guilt. Why not.

2. Not so much a confession as a curiosity. I have had some good publishing news in the past month or so and have kept it to myself. No book or anything, but good news as in, for instance, yesterday I received a Yes! letter! One of my poems is going to be in Thema, Sept. 08. And, even more cool, I got a $10 check! Made out to me! Aside from winning $250 in a Poet magazine contest in undergrad, I've never earned any money from my poetry!

3. I have a love hate relationship with money. Why, once, I was a featured reader in a local writer's guild series and I never collected my $50. I still have $1000 beans coming from a stint teaching poetry through arts & ed. And there are also the wayward parents of art students who haven't paid me over the years. I suppose I could chalk it up to being nice. More likely, it's finacially unsavvy. Check for me on the nearest corner in a cardboard box about 60 or 70 years from now. I'll be the old poet lady with no retirement fund, still wearing her Old Navy jeans and Gap sweater from 2008.

4. I am a thinker, not a do-er. I am a self-help failure. I have been reading Julia Cameron. She always, always reminds us to do morning pages. I always, always forget. I forget to breathe. Well, deep & cleansing. The day-to-day breathe to live I've got down pretty well. Although, once in a while I forget that, too. I have books on prayer. I forget to do that. Books on meditation. Can't manage that. I desperately want to be calm and centered, but I keep forgetting that I want it. So, I fumble along. The flaky art teacher. Funny, a lot of the parents who bring their kids to my art studio think I am easy-going. And I am, really. I just want more. More calm. More peace. I want to exude Buddha. Buddha stream from my pores.

5. Here's a non-sequitor--Every time I eat, my stomach hurts.

6. Re: #4, everytime I tell someone I will pray for them, I feel like a phony. Not that I don't pray, just that I feel like my prayers are weak. I sometimes wonder, when the pastor talks about God loving us all and wanting the best for us, if he means me, too.

7. So far, I have had a lot of religion themed confessions. Maybe I should print all of these confessions, start a folder (I am a compulsive printer/make a folder kind of girl)and do some writing. Well, as I am a self-proclaimed thinker, we shall see how far I get.

8. I need a life coach.


Friday, February 22, 2008

Friday Five

How Many Crows Were There the Day You Were Born?

One’s bad,
Two’s luck,
Three’s health,
Four’s wealth,
Five’s sickness
Six is death.

- old wives’ tale

Three days before the eclipse
I hear one pregnant woman whisper
to another, Do not look at the eclipse.
It will give your baby a squished nose
Suppose that is the trouble
with all of us fouled
humans. Inflicted with superstition,
we roll around in the muck
of our parents’ agitation,
scud silently through life
stained with the caul of careless heritage.
It is a family tree gnarled
with misfortune, twisted roots
tripping us
sure as Eve’s apple underfoot.

Knitting needles thrust through pink
ball of yarn foretold foremother’s margin of error.
Her mother never carried an acorn,
squirreled in a pocket to bring good luck.
As the guns of the Revolution roared,
another mother killed a bee,
bad luck for bee and baby.
And so on
and so on
and we all know about the apple.

During the eclipse
the sun, Earth and moon lined up,
leaving moon, poor moon, in the dark.
Pray that you were born
on the night side of the planet.
Close your eyes,
(it is safe to view with the naked eye)
and pray your squished little face off.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

from out of the depths of my yellow legal pads

Guts (working title)

I am a mother who has just left her children.
Soon, I will hit the highway,
head north,
set up camp at Fort Ticonderoga.
I am not a soldier,
But a mercenary.
I am at war for peace.
I am fighting for love,
for sneakers tied with two hands on the laces,
for two kids,
six cats,
a turtle, a toad, and a handful of fish.
I will disguise myself
as a camp follower, a suttler,
set up my white tent,
put on my dusty dress, my cinched
bonnet, bring the soldiers
hot rum and biscuits.
Not a hair
will shoot out from my cap.
I will teach soldiers’
children to draw pictures
of bridges and canons,
bloody bodies and bayonets.
I will wash the paint from my hands,
wash the paint from wounded
Indians’ wailing faces, by the shores of Lake Champlain.
I am a mother who leaves her children
almost every day.
Soon I will arrive.
Soon the war will be over,
the revolution just begun.

* This poem was written from a simple prompt at a workshop: tell a lie.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Confession Tuesday

Well, it's Tuesday, so I'm going to try the confession thing again. It's good for the soul. Or is it the muse?

1. I love Andy Griffith. The show, not the guy. Although, I think I might have liked to have Andy as my dad. He seems pretty mellow and kind.

2. Everytime I drive home, travel up the Adirondack northway, I reminisce about old boyfriends. I don't mean to. I don't plan on it. Their spirits just leap out at me from the pine trees. Insinuate themselves between my hands on the steering wheel, or, if my husband is driving, they shape-shift into his visage. Again with the old boyfirends. I know. Shallow water. Thin ice. I know.

3. I have a novel sort of planned out about a girl like me, haunted by old boyfriends. I think I wrote the notes somewhere. It came to me while I was in the throes of NaNoWriMo last year. Sneaky, trying to lure me away from my novel about the woman who follows the butterflies to Mexico. Sneaky. Like ghosts of old

3 1/2. Ahem...I should ammend this to say, although I secretly consider myself a rebel, of sorts, and a woman who stands up for herself, the "I'll show you..." type, I would never act on my old boyfriend daydreams. That bugs me, a little. I wish that I had the nerve to be adventurous, sort of live my own novel, but somewhere along the line, I lost my knack for adventure. At least, dangerous, sneaking into concerts, sneaking out of the house kind of adventure. I used to be fun. Now, I'm a mom.

4. As usual, I am ignoring my children to write. My son is standing by my side imploring me to come help him fix something that he broke. But my mother said it was ok if I finished. My mom said! (The kids and I are visiting my parents.)

5. I hate hunting.

6. I love taking my son to the lady barber in my hometown. I love that she opened a barber shop in a small Adirondack town. Just for men. It's filled with heads of deer, a bear skin hung across one wall, stuffed fish, a boar's head, a whole stuffed standing beaver, a bee hive. The coffee table is filled with hunting magazines, fishing journals and a couple "men's" publications. I love it there. Please refer back to #5--I hate hunting. But I love the "lady barber" and her shop. And she gives a killer boys' haircut!

7. I really, really wish I had more time to write. Even more so, I wish I had time to think.

8. I want to try and write a poem from this confession post. God help me! Seriously. God. Help me!

Visist the Polka Dot Witch's blog for more confessions!

Monday, February 18, 2008

Holding Her Heart In Her Hand, The Wife Discovers She Has Just Made Another Mess To Clean Up

It is a delicate floss,
the thin string between
life and death.
Heart, that bloody
hawk’s prey, pumps
to its own drummer,
until, in a flash of talon
to pale white mouse,
it stops. A beat missed
in our eternal drumsong.
Consider the hummingbird,
red blur of the feeder,
pushing his heart
to the limit,
fifty-three beats per second.
Peaceful midget,
you will defend your territory
with the heart of an eagle,
will stop short,
a hovering spark,
to coat your ruby throat in nectar,
then continue on, beating,
Consider the crow,
blackest of birds,
sleeping with a night light
on bloody lookout for owls
stealing hearts in the dark.
Skin, feather, hollow bone,
no matter the string,
no matter how taut we pull,
it is a delicate floss,
the lives of our heart.
Wrap your fingers round something
stretch to purple.
Hold on tight.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

It's Thursday! How 'bout a patchwork poem?

Never the Fish: God Speaks to Mary

Rising caked and scarred, but regal
between Scylla and Charybdis
with the barb in its gill,
she knew nothing of later events.
Be the fisherman,
Blessed Mother. Each
into the water again and again.

Worm. Hook. Line. Reel.
Mythically disproportionate,
sparkling into thousands of pieces,
emitted from the belly of the conch.
She picked pieces with her bare hands.
Men are like this.
For a solid bite pull them in slowly,
wipe the snow from your grave.
Be the fisherman.


Oh the joy of patchwork poetry. I love reading people's poems, highlighting the lines that jump out at me, then weaving them into a new piece. The poem seems to write itself.

The lines in this poem are from polkadot witch, paisley, mariacristina, writerwoman, and gautami.

Visit patchwork poetry for more cool poems (and maybe, just maybe, you might like to join us next time...)!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

ahem... confession tuesday

Well, she's my best pal. She's my writing partner, my partner in anti-bad-hair crime...I guess it's time I tried her little experiment in, gasp!, confession. In honor of polkadot witch's confession tuesday, I hereby confess (hey, I was raised Methodist, I know nothing about confessing!):

1. I promised my son two hours ago that I would help him with his Valentines. I've been blogging, emailing, doing the dishes and eating cheese sticks. I did, however, make him a peanut butter and fluff sandwich, and enter his name on his Nintendo.

2. I carry guilt around like a knock-off handbag. Daily. Don't play with my kids enough. Don't kiss my husband enough. Spend too much money on books and my hair. House is messy. I ignore my cats (all seven). I think if I could get rid of the guilt, I might actually feel a little more successful.

3. Some days I dream up ingenious ways of getting in contact with my first love. You know, that might make a good poem...

4. I have recently decided I am a comfirmed hypochondriac. Or someone in the hypochondriac family. Whenever I hear about stomach bugs, my stomach hurts. Right now, I am checking my self for signs and symptoms that the enemy may indeed be inside. I live in fear of the stomach bug. I often imagine sitting on a therapist's couch and spilling my guts about this (ha ha, guts). I would like a cure. I have thought about hypnotism.

5. In the vein of the "mystical arts," I go to a non-denominational church on a semi-regular basis. They are pretty close to evangelical. They do not believe in tarot, Halloween, hypnotism, anti-depressants, psychics, etc... There is a new psychic shop that just opened up next door to my favorite coffee shop. I have considered going in for a free aura reading, but feel...GUILTY. But I just know my aura needs cleansing. I'm pretty sure it's dingy grey or brown.

6. I feel like God might smote me for just admitting I believe in psychics and auras.

7. Some days I am psychic.

8. I have never been psychotic.

Well, that's enough confession for me!

Dude! I just realized it's Wednesday. That is very funny. Maybe I should add..

Confession 9. I am getting flakier and flakier as the days go by.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

two centos, or: my two cents

Satan Speakes to God (my own title)

It matters not, in which voice life speaks.
I'm waiting now for my tongue,
some time to look
down inside you.
It is impossible to hide,
to split and fangs to grow in,
broken off like sapling twigs.
When people look at you--
a crazy bird, its song like
the dress you're wearing,
there's no turning back.
After an interlude,
bound to the waking world,
grounded firmly,
I fear the chemistry between us.
We seek solace in the tall green,
your backbone rigid like cold soldered steel.
I'm waiting now for my tongue.
I don't want my horns.

Aurora Borealis

In a fierce wind,
he slips into my bed
to gore you.
To ward off the chill
his skin wears a blanket of kaolin.
After an interlude,
through the irises of
an afterthought,
instead his thick arms reach for my body,
the whole damn bottle.
There's no turning back.

I really, really enjoy writing these patchwork poems. I love words, I love imagery, I love implied emotion. If I were a woman who sews, which I am not, I would liken this poetic process to the process of taking bits and pieces of favorite, cast-off clothing and creating a huge quilt. My cousin does that. My mother used to use my favorite old pants and shirts and turn them into pillows. Clearly, I come from a crafty line of women.

I think this recycling of loved objects is why I love collage. I have to use it sparingly in my art classes, because children seem to prefer creating something wholly new and all their own. Sometimes I can ply them with the promise of rifling through all my collections of stuff, but mostly, they roll their eyes and moan, more stuff? Bring on the paints!

I am now wondering just what to do with these poems once they are created. I am considering trying to recreate the theme, or mood in another, new poem using all my own words. I don't know if it is possible. Still, so far, I have really enjoyed the scenes these poem create. Of course, it is the language that contributes to the scene/emotion. Hmmm...

Anyway, here are the poems. Two centos, with lines from polkadot witch's "approach me carefully," Mariacristina's "Mudman," Paisley's "an afterthought," and Christy's "fashionably late." For more patchwork poems, visit Patchwork Thursday

Patchwork Thursday!

Hello, hello! It's Patchwork Thursday. Post your patchwork poem links here in the comments section for all to see! Be sure to credit all the fine poets whose work you used to piece together your new poem.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

You've Heard of the Black Dog?

Dressing the Black Dog

I've watched sorrow pass
through me and on like torrential rain.

- Karin Gottshall

Were it slick and liquid
as this, passing on like hard rain,
you might stand outside in a downpour
leaving your poor umbrella
in its stand, gazing longingly
at your electrified body.

Were it squeaky-wheel-gets-the-oil
easy, so easy
that sorrow didn't bother to take
a number, just hopped
to the front of the line
without a ticket,
you would dash out
from in front of the bus
and climb on board.

Could you simply rub your glasses
with the tail of an ancient chambray shirt
and clearly see sorrow pass on
like a shadow hunted
by clouds at high noon,
wouldn't you wear five shirts,
extra large, grand as robes,
every day, no matter the heat?

It is almost holy,
a passing like this,
a blood through hole in palm
sort of miracle.
To watch the black dog
come and go,
exit through the entry wound
is a jagged cut
worth carrying the blade tip up.