Tag Archives: poem about writing

Broken Concentration

 

Broken Concentration

The words packed tight within my mind
seek the empty page.
They fly like hummingbirds and hawks
escaping from their cage.
But when all my empty places
I seek to fill again,
too many words rush in at once,
creating such a din
that nothing can be made of them.
I cannot restore order
in these alien syllables
that flood across my border.

I did not think these previous lines.
They just crept up on me.
I place words here upon the page
and thereby set them free.
They have no place within my head
where I had plans to write
a solitary
 love poem.
Instead, they spar and fight,
one trying to beat the others
to the front line of my mind.
Love words elbowing their way,
lined up in back of “pined.”

So “heartsick” steps on “passion’s” toes.
“Adore” runs out of steam
trying to reclaim the place
where words like it must dream.
I no longer know the purpose
that I set out upon
I fear the mood is broken,
my concentration gone.
The thought that any love poem
will come is now absurd.
Minutes ago I was in love,
but now I have been cured!!

 

For the WordPress prompt word broken.

Tomorrow will be the last day for the WordPress Daily prompt.  Please comment HERE if you want to try to help me to change their decision.  Whether you write for the daily prompt or just enjoy reading those who do, please help us try to stop this change for the worse. This is an extensive rewrite of a poem written over three years ago under a different name.

Agave Marias

 

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Agave Marias

Two sides are battling for possession of my life. One pushes me ahead, urging, “Do, do, do, and you will be of value,” but the other twines a hand around my ankle and pulls me down to earth and whispers, “Be.” The “Proud Marys,” I have named these contrasting women who emerge one at a time from my center, but since I have lived in Mexico for seventeen years now, perhaps Maria would be a better shared name. A name is all they share, for by their own natures one is an outward person: a doer, a liver of life, a socializer. The other is inner: a reclusive watcher, dreamer, thinker, artist and writer.

Some people know how to balance these voices, but I don’t. And so I live on a little seesaw of made and canceled plans, meetings and random days of alternately reading, writing, watching movies or wandering around my house attending to my ever-lengthening “to do” list. What is life, I wonder? Is it your accomplishments? I have lists of those I seem to have less and less willpower to sit down to and finish. It’s like I have to sacrifice the satisfaction of ticking things off a list for the promise of a different kind of life.

I don’t think I’ve every really felt I had significance other than as a doer of things: artist, writer, committee chairman, decorator of houses, organizer of my friends’ lives. Yet during all of this activity, I always suspected that all around me people were leading lives that were more fun than mine, more satisfactory. If I gave more, did more, accomplished more, I thought I would attract this ideal life to me.

A tour guide once explained to me the importance of the agave plant in Mexico. For the Mexican of the past, the agave was what the buffalo was to the American plains Indian. Different parts of the agave plant were used to make rope, housing, clothing, food, dye and last but never least, mescal—the finest of tequila-like alcohol. So perhaps I should call my Marias the Agave Marias. Between them, they furnish me with all of the necessities of life. One says organize, proceed in a linear fashion. The other says, “Brainstorm. Go with the flow. Let process win over need for a perfect product.” So I let one Maria lead me through my mind and put it all down on paper, now and then letting the other Maria pop in to clean things up a bit and organize. Agave Marias, furnishing it all.

Childless, have I instead created all of the possibilities for myself within myself? In refusing to give birth, have I hoarded all of the possibilities of my genes within myself and is that what has led to this slightly schizophrenic seesaw of existence-—one day running off for an entire day of activity, the next staying home behind walls? One side wanting to be Cinderella at the ball, the other side wanting only the security of my own hearth?

I was married for fourteen years and before that lived with another man for three years, I’ve also had female roommates, but most of my life has been lived alone. There is some part of me that only exists in solitude and when I’m too long away from her, I miss her. Without her I feel superficial. It is from this side of my Agave Maria that I draw all of my real nourishment—my creativity, my soul. The other Maria is my reward—the finished product, the publication party or the book tour.

All of the seed I hoarded has given birth to these different entities within myself. Failing to produce offspring, I have become my own offspring. These children, my Marias, journey out from me but always return to the wellspring. I go to the party but come home to snuggle into bed for the entire next day, venturing out only for popcorn and a different CD. Or I sit on the side of the tub for two hours with my laptop on my lap, writing a story which takes me into a wonderful world of my own creation.

It is Christmas, and in the background, a chorus sings what to my ears becomes, “Agave Mar-eee-e-e-e-aaaah,” and the beautiful notes convince me, for a short time, that I am the mother of creation, the one Maria that all of Mexico celebrates, tattoos upon their chests, dyes into their T-shirts, puts on decals and bumper stickers, commemorates in stone or plaster or clay or wood in every house. She is the spirit of duality in all women and in all men: flesh and spirit, of this world as well as heaven, of the utilitarian and the creative, human and divine.

All of us are Agave Marias, learning to collect ourselves and pull all sides of ourselves in to ourselves to appreciate them. We are our own mothers as well as our sisters and daughters and friends. Within all of us are these Agave Marias, like sisters absolutely indispensable to each other who are nonetheless competing for our attention.

“Honor them by listening to each,” Mother Maria says to me and suddenly I realize that there are more than two Agave Marias within me. This third motherly Maria seeks to reconcile the others and whispers, “Look deeper. There is always one more. All welcome. All part of life.”

 

The daily prompt was Narcissism. Since I had already written on this topic in April, I chose a slightly different slant on this prompt, concentrating on the different sides of myself in a slightly nacissistic manner. My original Narcissism poem, published in April for NaPoWriMo is HERE.

Pen and Ink

 

Pen and Ink

The pen that stands, clipped and inert
in the pocket of your shirt
has no power on its own
so long as it is left alone,
but once held upright in your grip,
free of cap and free of clip,
it forms a partnership of sorts
that spews out pithy, smart retorts.

It snaps the present into line
with words that, effortless, combine
in sentences that, once unfurled,
have the power to change the world.
I ask you, who would ever think
that two joined objects—pen and ink—
could form a perfect synergy
to spew out jokes or tragedy?

Guided by a hand like yours,
a pen can open many doors.
A simple point, an ink-trailed line,
could link your heart with one like mine.
Unclip it now. Uncap its point.
Let paper now that ink anoint.
Let words turn somersaults and caper.
Let words flow from your heart to paper.

Let ink flow rampant from its cage
to dance across the naked page.
No telling what it might report
as words go wild and cavort.
“I” and “love” and “you” might do
a sort of line-dance or soft-shoe.
Words just might and words just may
leak out and give your heart away.

The prompt word for Tourmaline’s One Word Photo Challenge is pen.

Neap Tide

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Three years ago I published this poem with no ending, asking commenters to construct an ending.  There were a number of excellent solutions, but unfairly, I never published one of my own, so I’m giving myself the additional assignment to finish the poem  since it also makes use of today’s prompt word of  “tide.” I’ve made many adjustments in the original poem and added the last stanza. 

Neap Tide

Borne, then born.
Clothed, fed, shorn.
Housed and cuddled,
Brain filled and muddled,
schooled, polished, allowed to roam,
to make the world into a home.

In my third quarter, now sedate.
Content to let my life abate.
Find worlds inside and there abide,
to let what happens be my guide.
To try to live with less precision.
To fear less the world’s derision.

Why so hard to be oneself?
Easier when on the shelf.
Now as I pull my world around me,
memories and dreams surround me—
my solitude a crystal jar
that lets me ponder from afar.

The current of my life, its tide,
reaches without and pulls inside
the things that help me try to see
where my life has taken me.
I contemplate and sometimes share
the truths that I’ve discovered there.

You come to read and judge each word
as wise, amusing or absurd.
You give new insights to what I’ve said—
poems not completed until they’re read.
Less in the world, ironically,
more of the world’s discovered me.

 

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If you’d like to see how others  ended the poem three years ago, go HERE.

The prompt today was tide.

Let There be Light

Sometimes, to get to that authentic part of ourselves where poetry resides, we have to illuminate some dark corners.

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Let There Be Light


My mind is a growling dog.
While I stew and fuss,
fulfilling lists,
she jumps the screen door,
beckoning.
Rude me, to turn my back
on the only playmate
who wants to play
the same games I do
every day, every hour,
because I fear that initial
plodding through silt
page after page
in search of the stream
of words.

Sometimes boredom
yawns so wide
that I have to enter it,
to wander its inner closet
where for decades
only cobwebs
have stirred.
In some dark corner
where I spank the dog
or search the bedside table drawers
of a lover called out at midnight,
I find the river’s source,
but then
the phone
rings and I’m off
gathering crumbs from a forest path,
leaving lost children
stranded in their own story.

Stray puppies—I collect every one,
wild orange funnel flowers
and guava
washed in an afternoon kitchen
just before the invasion
of five o’clock sunlight.
All of them I carry back
to hidden places
to rub against each other
and ignite
into the language of this place
where life goes in,
plays dress-up,
but emerges
nude,
like poetry.

 

If you’ve been following me for four years, you’ve seen this one before. The prompt word today was authentic.

Poet vs. Prosaist: NaPoWriMo 2018, Day 7

Poet vs. Prosaist

I make the words just snap in line.
The rules of rhyme and meter, mine.
One line suggests the next in time,
limited by theme and rhyme.
I step aside and words rule me.
I love the puzzle of poetry!

Your rhyming games are your excuse.
A form of literary abuse.
Your joking rhymes become the norms
while you eschew more serious forms.
If you would cast your poems aside,
You’d find where deeper thoughts reside.

The prompt today was to list all of your identities, then to divide them into ones that make you feel powerful and vulnerable and to have one identity from each of the different  sides of your personality talk to each other.

Powerful: poetartist, friend, pet wrangler, swimmer, art collector, traveler, gardener, photographer, driver, girlfriend, teacher, sister, advisor, beloved.

Vulnerable: Stepmother, friend, daughter, widow, wife, senior citizen, kid, dancer, guitar player, singer, sorority girl, hippie, sister-in-law, home owner, prose writer, advisee, student,patient, lover.

 

.http://www.napowrimo.net/day-seven-5/

 

New Faith

I really started blogging exactly five years ago today, when I wrote my first NaPoWriMo poem, having little faith in my ability to make it for the whole thirty days.

In the end, day-by-day, I did it.  A year later, I did it again and when I came to day 30, I didn’t stop.  Since then I’ve exercised a different sort of faith by writing every morning—doing  a number of writing and photo posts, including at least one poem or story, every day for the past 1,460 days. (This post will be my 4,074th one.)

The pool exercises I once did faithfully in a water aerobics class three mornings a week at the clubhouse pool,  I still do at midnight in my own pool under the stars and moon, surrounded by the blossoms that fall from the tall Washingtonian palm trees that rise like giants in the night air above the pool.

I swim with the moon,
stars strewn like wedding flowers
in this midnight pool.

For dVerse Poets Haibun Monday, Faith.