I dreamed last night that marauders had gone into my parents’ home (they were still alive), poured gasoline on them and set them on fire; my beloved (deceased) son, Adam, too. Then, the dream transformed and my mother and I were traveling the country in a truck, staying in filthy hotel rooms. We traveled for ten years together, living roughly and on the edge.
My mother disappeared on me and I was suddenly in the bed of an old boyfriend. I desperately wanted to make love to him, but while I was on my trek he had had children with another woman. There were children throughout the house, children of multiple nationalities. The other woman entered the room and yelled at us.
Before I left the house, my old boyfriend told me to get the mail he had been collecting for me. There were acceptance letters from numerous publishers for the book I had been writing of the ten years on the road. This made me excited.
The dreamed turned back to the burning of my beloveds. I was completely distressed, needing to ask them questions, needing my mother’s love. I woke myself up, confused and sad that the only people who could answer my questions, who could answer my questioning heart were long gone.
This is a tried and true writing exercise that I use often to get the juices flowing. Pick a beginning phrase and complete the sentence. Many writers have used the litany to create memorable poems that juxtapose seemingly unrelated things, unified by the opening of the sentence.
I am posting the unedited text. Try your hand at this exercise to “wake up” the mind.
I woke up remembering ice and snow.
I woke up remembering nothing of my dream.
I woke up remembering how it felt to write by hand on lined paper.
I woke up remembering that I wanted to be a painter.
I woke up remembering the boiling pot.
I woke up remembering the wrongs you did to me.
I woke up remembering to put the cat out.
I woke up remembering how it felt to write a poem.
I woke up remembering solitary confinement.
I woke up remembering your long eyelashes.
I woke up remembering frost on glass.
I woke up remembering fields of poppies.
I woke up remembering the shots from the firing squad.
I woke up remembering cannon fire.
I woke up remembering ashes of the dead.
I woke up remembering the carnival calliope.
I woke up remembering myself as an embarrassed third grader.
I woke up remembering the faults of others.
I woke up remembering pieces of broken china.
I woke up remembering the multitudes of clowns.
I woke up remembering the sideways smirk of the politician.
I woke up remembering the lace my grandmother tatted.
I woke up remembering your unprovoked anger.
I woke up remembering mysterious lights in the sky.
I woke up remembering smoke at dawn.
I woke up remembering fleeing the encampment.
I woke up remembering this writing exercise.
©2016 Clare L. Martin
“Approaching Sunset” by Zeralda LaGrange
Thirteen Anhingas and a sturdy Brown Pelican perch in a cypress tree. The thinnest line separates water from sky.
I look into the photograph as if it were a mirror.
I have seen the snakebird sail flawless lakes. Sink below water to sideways-spear small fish. Serpentine necks gloss the surface of a presumed danger, in the place where water holds everything secret.
Weighted bones and flags of wet plumage. Oil slick, ink-bodies
scrawl verse across the sky—
The photographer notes a language. Stilled in the capture, the semblance of harsh, croaking calls. The caul of ensuing night entraps them.
Each bird: a point in the continuum, a tributary of exchanges extant in the Seen and Unseen.
And so it is with me.
© 2016 Clare L. Martin
*Renegade Writers prompted poem, from a February session held at the Lafayette Art Association Galleries, Lafayette, Louisiana and led by J.K. McDowell. The poem is an ekphrastic response to a photograph by Zeralda LaGrange.
See if you can find a poem in text from a news source today. ~Clare L. Martin
“And when we hear
we will learn
about the secret
life of black holes —
We will hear
when a black hole
eats a neutron star–”
Clare is here.
Gravitational waves open ‘a window on the universe,’ scientists say
By Todd Leopold, CNN
Updated 1:28 PM ET, Thu February 11, 2016 | Video Source: CNN