As I enter into revisions on this year’s poems, these are the words most often used by my mentor and editor when talking about my work.
Shortlisted for A3 Review’s August 2019 contest.
I water wilting plants, consider how the seasons tilt in this new age we’ve made, unroll the hose, watch insects rushing to wet pools. I consider my back fence, the possums, squirrels, and feral cats, the raucous crows who use it, running through dense maple leaves. I consider thirst and buy a water fountain for them;it’s said in 30 years there will be food and water riots. My hands are scented with the urgent hopes of new-planted herbs.
Profound thanks—my poem, “My Life as a Damascene Sword,” received honorable mention in Passager’s 2019 Poetry Contest. It appeared in Passager’s contest issue, September 2019.
Thinking of my father today, I wrote this memory-poem.
Reading the news this morning, I was stuck by how all the words and phrases, taken randomly and out of context, still tell a story of what’s happening in the world, though in a less linear and predicable way.
The days aren’t discarded or collected, they are beesthat burned with sweetness or maddenedthe sting: the struggle continues,the journeys go and come between honey and pain.No, the net of years doesn’t unweave: there is no net.They don’t fall drop by drop from a river: there is no river.Sleep doesn’t divide life into halves,or action, or silence, or honor;life is like a stone, a single motion,a lonesome bonfire reflected on the leaves,an arrow, only one, slow or swift, a metalthat climbs or descends burning in your bones.
As Sewing is to Torn – Adrienne Asher We mend the world, our every choice a stitch in the rough bark of life. Our hopes embroider our beginnings, and look—our hands are opening into birds within some lyric tree of sound. This is all meant for worship—our beating hearts and shouted silences leaf out into a forest filled with restoration for us all. Photo: Hannah Streefkerk’s installation at Land Art Biënnale 2010 – Valkenswaard, Netherlands
Malheur Before Dawn — William Stafford An owl sound wandered along the road with me, I didn’t hear it–I breathed it into my ears.. Little ones at first, the stars retired, leaving polished little circles on the sky for a while. Then the sun began to shout from below the horizon. Throngs of birds campaigned, their music a tent of sound. From across a pond, out of the mist, one drake made a V and said its name. Some vast animal of air began to rouse from the reeds and lean outward. Frogs discovered their national anthem again. I didn’t know a ditch could hold so much joy. So magic…
Paris – Willa Cather Behind the arch of glory sets the day; The river lies in curves of silver light, The Fields Elysian glitter in a spray Of golden dust; the gilded dome is bright, The towers of Notre Dame cut clean and gray The evening sky, and pale from left to right A hundred bridges leap from either quay. Pillared with pride, the city of delight Sits like an empress by her silver Seine, Heavy with jewels, all her splendid dower Flashing upon her, won from shore and main By shock of combat, sacked from town and tower. Wherever men have builded hall or fane Red war hath gleaned…