Lots of writing going on here and submitting too, to lit journals. Looking forward to brushing my teeth and going to bed. These late hours of writing are a solace and a sin.
I don’t usually post poems on this blog, but this poem was previously published in an online journal that unfortunately doesn’t exist any longer.
SCATTERING ASHES INTO THE GULF OF MEXICO
Storm-light cracks the rain-whipped windshield.
We are numbed by the beat of the blades & grief.
Your childhood was a shattered peace; memories cut on broken hearts.
When your father left, life derailed into a crushing wreck.
Strangers you called “uncle” streamed after the bars closed.
You soothed yourself with lies. You showed her mercy, love.
Your mother wanted to be drunk when she died. She reeked of urine.
You gave her vodka on ice. It kissed her like morphine.
Your inheritance is a collection of rings; none made of gold.
She bequeathed mysteries for your mourning.
In slashing rain, you seek a point on the storm-dark horizon to take you
into a sweet memory of her, but she is obscure, inscrutable.
You offer ashes to the thunder & wind.
That death is our singular future gives you peace.
Assured the moon will still pull these gulf waves
even when no one loved is left living.
(First appeared in Southern Hum, Issue 3, March 2006)
OFFICIAL BLOG RENEWAL POST003-1016
I wrote a new poem last night/today titled REUNION. I feel it is in final form and will be sending it out very soon. I am prepping material for my anticipated feature at Casa Azul in Grand Coteau, LA in April (National Poetry Month) of 2010. I know it is a ways off but I want to generate new material for this reading. I rarely read a poem twice publicly. It is a commitment I have made to myself and my short term goal to produce new work.
I am listening to Radiohead KID A and feeling naturally buzzed on this fine music. FYI: my modus operandi often is to write the night away, but it’s not a workable plan for every night. But if I am fired up to write I have no choice to obey the muse.
OFFICIAL BLOG RENEWAL POST002-1015
In 2004 the death of my beloved child prompted me to look deeply at my life and how I could live truer to my self from the point of Adam’s death onward. What meant the most to me beyond my own and my family’s health and well-being was to be the writer I was born to be. I dedicated to Adam my pursuit of writing with impassioned effort. I began to write daily, reverently and passionately. My commitment to write everyday was charged with the notion of being my true self, doing rather than thinking or talking about being a writer.
I approached my ambitions with professionalism and perseverance. In the past I worked in sales and marketing, and in public relations. I thought to bring these skills to my writing career as I sent my work to potential publishers. When I went to “poetry socials” I carried a leather portfolio (nerd-alert) which contained my poems. I sought out other writers on the local scene and made a few tight connections. I pressed forward to create opportunities for myself to share my work publicly in many forums. The embrace of my writer-self was wholehearted.
When writing, my creative energy was manic, but reigned in and tempered by my determination to make a successful go at creating a body of publishable work, as well. I produced mass quantities of poems, half-eaten scraps and some whole, worthy efforts. Many pieces are laughably juvenile but I persisted and did not perceive these efforts as failures. I held the belief and still do that I am learning a skill and improvement is desired and necessary. I truly believe I will get better and better with deep sustained effort.
As much as a desire to develop professionally is the motivation to deepen as a human being that drives me to write. I am carving a path outwardly and going deeper into myself, which is the true reward of being an artist. Artistic growth is highly desired. As I live superficially I often disconnect from my self and do not acknowledge the inner worlds. Writing out my life (in quasi-confessional poems) has given me the tools to cut through the dross and release the voice within. I defy labels which would classify what type of poetry I write. I write free verse, but some forms. I firmly believe that all of my writing is experiment, but not necessarily experimental.
In the five years that have passed since I began on the path of living a writing life, I have had remarkable experiences and successes, and have been blessed with rewarding and nurturing friendships with likeminded writers. I am on a path and I do not allow much of anything to divert me from it. I have chosen to step off for a time here and there but the groove is well worn. I’ve heard it said that if a writer is not writing, they are writing in their head. It could be true, but I hold myself to the principle that if I am not writing down what’s in my head, I am not writing.
OFFICIAL BLOG RENEWAL POST001-1014
Each success, no matter how small, in practice of what I love is a lightning strike against the dark. And I have been in dark, metaphorically dark and literally extinguished places. I’ve been around fires a blazin’ too and they can be happy places!
Ah ha, yes. Well.
I am a poet/mother/wife living with bipolar disease. I have been blessed with clarity and stability in my medical situation for a few years with the effort put in by my strong team of caregivers medically, in the healing arts, and through the support of loving family members who have stood by me. I had recurring traumas and “breakdowns” in my life which robbed me of many things. I was unhappy and clinically sick for most of the 1990s.
I’m gaining back my life, which could have been lost, had I succumbed to the disease and died. (And yes Bipolar kills. Look up the suicide rates of bipolar people, people!) I have been gaining back my sense of self and finding healing through writing. There’s a link between mental illness and creativity. My interest would be: poets who have bipolar disorder. This is a hot topic and I expect to weigh in on it from time to time.
I’ve always been a writer, writing up to this very sentence, poems, plots, plays and peddling pure phiction.
I am a lifelong resident of Louisiana, and a graduate of the University of Southwestern Louisiana, now called University of Louisiana at Lafayette. I majored in English and minored in Philosophy—the perfect match of disciplines for a budding poet. I published a few poems in college, got married, and only sporadically wrote for a few years.
When I feel the aura of a poem coming on to me so clearly, I am moved by words yet forming, as if words could ride air and pass through my skull, form the syllables in my mind and mouth, and I get up from whatever I was doing and write something. Writers write. Thinkers think. Thoughts fly away until you put the thought-words on a piece of paper or enter them into a computer—then you are a writer, for having written it. Congratulations!
Pre-Poems/Free-Writes— the mystique of this airwave/brainwave/of what was working in my subconscious/some feathery slip of a thing flits from its dark hiding place and dawns in the mind.
I was a lazy writer, in the sense that I did not demand it of my self. I wanted to learn how to do it my way. Not in a conventional class room. I wanted to be in my environs living and drawing my poems from the right here that I am living. The within: my domestic life, sex life, body life, mind’s life, and my natural life as a creature on this planet with other creatures, domesticated and not.
I am in the pursuit of the image. It is my starting point in all writing I do. What is the image? Observation is the key. I am also an amateur photographer, so for me it is usually a visual stimulus. A description must encompass, not describe too much but rather show in deft and artful language the essence, the charm of it.
Is it startling? Is it sustainable? What I mean is does it having lasting qualities to live on in the poem if we construct an environment for it to thrive? Will its meaning inspire other meanings which may or may not conflict with the intended meaning. Does this matter? If it is what it is and you want that image/those words, then you choose. Poetry is making choices. Words-connections-shaping-breaking-exploding and putting the poem back together, or not– are the choices of the artist. Read poetry, get inspired, and learn to make choices. Major choices are definitive; some choices allow a little wiggle.
That’s what it is about.
I am building around a central image, not always, but habitually. Images come from things and we get to know things through our senses, sight, smell, taste, hear and touch, so images come from the basic 5 senses—this is basic knowledge of what is concrete and what it abstract in the study of poetry but it is crucial because by utilizing these tools you can transform, imagine, ignite passionate responses, and through words you can bloodlessly crush people in a way they like to or would rather not like to be crushed.
So when I return I will speak of why I am in pursuit of the image as it is stated at the top of the blog.
I welcome comments for friendly and heartily espoused discussions. What I have written here is brief and leaves many questions to me but I wanted to holdback so questions could be put to me and any other readers for discussion.
I sent a book, a manuscript of a book, to a first book contest today. My chances are slim to nil but I did it anyway. I see flashes of brilliance in my work but that quality is uneven. I am too careless and hurried with the work. I think what I sent is publishable poetry; in fact 29 of the 51 poems in the collection have been published. My main concern is that my work falls below the standards which must be upheld in a national, prominent competition.
With that said, I will say that I am happy to have sent a check to the sponsor of the competition, to be able to support poetry that way. I am going to proceed with the realization of my first book. I plan to research more markets for it and submit it widely. I think that should be the course I take.
My poem “Premature” will appear in the Oct. 2010 “Desiring Motherhood” issue of Literary Mama, we are very happy to announce.