Thursday, December 28, 2017

Rumi, Poetry Thursday

And don’t think 
the garden loses 
its ecstasy 
in winter. 
It’s quiet, 
the roots 
are down there 

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Poetry Thursday

These Poems
~June Jordan

These poems
they are things that I do
in the dark
reaching for you
whoever you are
are you ready?

These words
they are stones in the water
running away

These skeletal lines
they are desperate arms for my longing and love.

I am a stranger
learning to worship the strangers
around me

whoever you are
whoever I may become.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Quote Thursday

Be content 
with what you have; 
rejoice in 
the way things are. 
When you realize 
there is nothing lacking, 
the whole world 
belongs to you.
– Lao Tzu

Thursday, December 07, 2017

Poetry Thursday, circles

The Circle
~Hazel Hall

Dreams—and an old, old waking,
An unspent vision gone;
Night, clean with silence, breaking
Into loud dawn.
A wonder that is blurring
The new day’s strange demands,
The indomitable stirring
Of folded hands.
Then only the hours’ pageant
And the drowsing sound of their creep,
Brining at last the vagrant
Dreams of new sleep.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Poetry Thursday, the journey

Rise up nimbly and
go on your strange journey
to the ocean of meanings....
Leave and don’t look away
from the sun as you go,
in whose light
you’re sometimes crescent,
sometimes full.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Poetry Thursday, on gratitude

At times our own light goes out 
and is rekindled by a spark 
from another person. 
Each of us has cause to think 
with deep gratitude of those 
who have lighted the flame 
within us.
~ Albert Schweitzer

Monday, November 20, 2017

not a news round up, just one piece

I have been struggling at my new job with princess, that's what I call her now [first she was the cheerleader, but it became clear that her real identity was princess, mean princess].

She alternates between mean girl and injured bird.

It can be annoying. Sometimes it is entertaining. But when it interferes with my work, it is just frustrating.

I had a knock down drag out with her the other day. I was the only one participating as she did a full body shut down. The look of emptiness in her eyes and closed up shop in her stance were remarkable. I have never known anyone who could shut down all emotion like that. It's almost admirable. Almost.

My final salvo to her (my boss who was supposed to be mediating had barely shown up in person, so I was now ignoring her) was this, stern voice, piercing look, all raw strength: "You need to decide if you want me to be on this team. Let me know because I am happy to start looking for another job."

It was an instinctual response to the complete helplessness I was feeling. In true form, I felt helpless and showed all power and control. No wonder people are baffled by me ...

Afterwards, I worried that it had not been the right move to throw the power in her court. But it turns out, so far, that it was just the right move. With the power, she has no idea how to scheme. She was trying to scheme from the position of aggrieved (no one knows, probably not even her) what she has to be aggrieved about, but there you have it.

Hand her the power and she is both delighted and confused.

She came to work the next day as the perfect coworker and team mate. She invited me to lunch. I decline, but nicely, because I had work to do. Who knows how long it will last.

For now, I am going to bask in this piece because this one made me feel again like it was my fault. And hope someday I will find *more of* those people who are not afraid.

Here you go, to all my strong women friends and family... be yourself:
"You’re not too much. You probably haven’t shown the world nearly enough. We need you to be your strong, imperfect, direct, funny, brash, hilarious, sometimes intimidating self. We need you to surround yourself with people who don’t need to diminish you in order to feel more secure. We need your ideas, your vision, your leadership, your presence… all of it, 120 proof. If we need a chaser after being around you, that’s up to us to figure that out."

Friday, November 17, 2017

not Poetry Thursday, extra, for the trees

 ~Catherine Barnett

Mostly I’d like to feel a little less, know a little more.
Knots are on the top of my list of what I want to know.
Who was it who taught me to burn the end of the cord
to keep it from fraying?
Not the man who called my life a debacle,
a word whose sound I love.
In a debacle things are unleashed.
Roots of words are like knots I think when I read the dictionary.
I read other books, sure. Recently I learned how trees communicate,
the way they send sugar through their roots to the trees that are ailing.
They don’t use words, but they can be said to love.
They might lean in one direction to leave a little extra light for another
And I admire the way they grow right through fences, nothing
stops them, it’s called inosculation: to unite by openings, to connect
or join so as to become or make continuous, from osculare,
to provide with a mouth, from osculum, little mouth.
Sometimes when I’m alone I go outside with my big little mouth
and speak to the trees as if I were a birch among birches.

I have been watching the trees turn for the past few months. Every once in a while, I don't just admire from a far, but I collect. Sometimes I pick up perfect specimens and other times I pick by color or variation. Mostly I have been capturing in photo rather than collecting. But I had the idea that I would put them in my thanksgiving cards.

Some of them have now gotten so brittle, but I think I will include them anyway.

Why should leaves be perfect or retain their color or not get brittle?

I feel like there has a been a war against the leaves raging for the last week. Aggressive leaf collecting, herding, blowing. They don't rake. They ride lawn blowers. Leaf blowers. Leaf. Blowers. Seriously? 

I am lazy about yard work, it is true. But I also think if nature decided to blow the leaves off the trees that there might be a secret plan. I think the leaves should stay on the ground like a blanket. As the cold settles in, the leaves huddle together, covering the roots, keeping their trees safe.

That's what I think.

And, yes, I do name everything. Every. Thing. Every. Thing. 

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Poetry Thursday

~John Freeman

means nostalgia, I’m told, but also
nostalgia for what never was. Isn’t it
the same thing? At a café
in Rio flies wreathe my glass.

How you would have loved this: the waiter
sweating his knit shirt dark. Children
loping, in tiny suits or long shorts, dragging
toys and towels to the beach. We talk,

or I talk, and imagine your answer, the heat clouding our view.
Here, again, grief fashioned in its cruelest translation:
my imagined you is all I have left of you.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Nano update

I thought there might be more time to update the blog while I was working on this nanowrimo. WHY? Why did I think that?

I also tried to start a gym routine while doing nanowrimo. And working FULL TIME. Working full time for the first time in over eight years.

Yes, I am delusional.

I have not yet made a three day week to the gym.
I have not yet made two days walking to work.

I HAVE added words to my count EVERY DAY.

It's a victory of sorts.

I am still on track to get to 25,000 words by Thursday... mostly.

It turns out sometimes I have to stop to do research.

Keep thinking good thoughts for my verbosity. Rewriting and revising is going to be much harder than free writing, and free writing is not always as easy as it was in the first few days.

Thursday, November 09, 2017

Poetry Thursday, fall

~Hart Crane

With crimson feathers whips away the mists,—
Dives through the filter of trellises
And gilds the silver on the blotched arbor-seats.
Now gold and purple scintillate
On trees that seem dancing
In delirium;
Then the moon
In a mad orange flare
Floods the grape-hung night

Thursday, November 02, 2017

Poetry Thursday

While Loveliness Goes By
~Anna Hempstead Branch

Sometimes when all the world seems gray and dun
And nothing beautiful, a voice will cry,
“Look out, look out! Angels are drawing nigh!”
Then my slow burdens leave me, one by one,
And swiftly does my heart arise and run
Even like a child, while loveliness goes by—
And common folk seem children of the sky,
And common things seem shapèd of the sun.
Oh, pitiful! that I who love them, must
So soon perceive their shining garments fade!
And slowly, slowly, from my eyes of trust
Their flaming banners sink into a shade!
While this earth’s sunshine seems the golden dust
Slow settling from that radiant cavalcade.

Wednesday, November 01, 2017

Nanawrimo, commitment

Doing this!

If you don't know what it is, look here.

I am committed.

I may continue to be here only for poetry. Or I might get inspired to share more.

I may share some here.

I am more than excited.

I kept saying, quietly to myself, I will start writing any day.
I said, quietly to myself, I will start by writing on the blog.  Anyone still coming here knows this not true.

Then, one day, the catalog for adult school fall courses came in the mail.

I flipped through it, not thinking of anything in particular to take.  Just the idea of having something else besides the new job to occupy my time.

Then, I saw it ... a writing course, then another, and another.

It took a long time to decide which course to take.  I will admit the deciding finally came down to Thursday night instead of Tuesday night because Tuesday is trivia night.

Yes, priorities.

In any case, I rationalized that I needed to start somewhere. As I have been trouble deciding what it is that I want to write - is it fiction, historical fiction or a memoir.

I have shied away from memoir this entire time. But the memoir class is on Thursdays.  Tomorrow will be the last class in fact.

The cons first: it's 2 1/2 hours long. I admit I am sometimes (read possibly always) a bad student because I am a teacher. I am critical of others' teaching styles, particularly when said styles are not very effective.  I am the kind of teacher who likes to think, at least, that I am listening to the wants and needs of my students and making some attempt to meet those needs.

So long class with terrible or even mediocre teacher: bad news.

On the plus side: not on trivia night!

Other pros: only four classes which end just as nanowrimo starts!

Also a pro - I needed a reason to write beyond myself because I was not self motivating.

So, after class one, I wrote the first chapter, or at least the first part of the chapter! After class two, I wrote an outline for the book!

After class three, I was riding a little magic carpet (I got to read my tiny little first part of the chapter, and it didn't suck).

After class four: skies the limit. Writing every day.  Getting at least 1600 words in per day; or maybe more like 1000 words per day M-F and more on the weekends.

The point is, bad class still helped me because it got me writing, got me thinking about the outline of the chapters and helped me to figure out what kind of a feedback group I would like to form.

There are treasures everywhere, even in the field of gopher holes.  Ok, that might not make sense, but someday I will write about that, too.

Happy writing to all those participating.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Poetry Thursday, solitude

Solitude has soft, silky hands, 
but with strong fingers 
it grasps the heart and 
makes it ache with sorrow.
~Kahlil Gibran, The Broken Wings

borrowed from a friend

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Poetry Thursday

Set in Stone
~Kevin Carey

A rosary that was my mother’s
tucked in the glove compartment of his car
and a copy of Exile on Main Street
with instructions to play track 6
when he hit some lonesome desert highway.
I love him so much my chest hurts,
thinking of him riding off into his own life,
me the weeping shadow left behind (for now).
I know I’ll see him again but it’s ceremony
we’re talking about after all—
one growing up and one growing older
both wild curses.
A train blows its horn
the light rising beyond the harbor,
a dog barks from a car window
and the nostalgia (always dangerous)
hits me like a left hook.
I’m trapped between the memory
and the moment,
the deal we make
if we make it this long,
the markers of a life,
the small worthwhile pieces
that rattle around in my pockets
waiting to be set somewhere in stone.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

I think I owe you one ... Poetry Thursday

Staring into the Sun
~Jennifer Grotz

What had been treacherous the first time
had become second nature, releasing
the emergency brake, then rolling backwards
in little bursts, braking the whole way down
the long steep drive. Back then
we lived on the top of a hill.
I was leaving—the thing we both knew
and didn’t speak of all summer. While you
were at work, I built a brown skyline of boxes,
sealed them with a roll of tape
that made an incessant ripping sound.
We were cheerful at dinner and unusually kind.
At night we slept under a single sheet,
our bodies a furnace if curled together.

It was July. I could feel my pupils contract
when I went outside. Back then I thought only about
how you wouldn’t come with me.
Now I consider what it took for you to help me go.
On that last day. When I stood
in a wrinkled dress with aching arms.
When there was only your mouth at my ear
whispering to get in the truck, then wait
until I was calm enough to turn the key.

Only then did we know. How it felt
to have loved to the end, and then past the very end.

What did you do, left up there in the empty house?
I don’t know why. I
don’t know how we keep living
in a world that never explains why.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Quote Thursday - inspiration

There is a vitality, a life force, 
a quickening that is translated 
through you into action, 
and there is only one of you in all time, 
this expression is unique, and if you block it, 
it will never exist through any other medium; 
and be lost. 
The world will not have it. 
It is not your business to determine how good it is, 
not how it compares with other expression. 
It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, 
to keep the channel open. 
You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. 
You have to keep open and aware 
directly to the urges that motivate you. 
Keep the channel open. 
No artist is pleased. 
There is no satisfaction whatever at any time. 
There is on a queer, divine dissatisfaction, 
a blessed unrest that keeps us marching 
and makes us more alive than the others. 
~Martha Graham

Thursday, October 05, 2017

Poetry Thursday

Fall Leaves Fall
 ~Emily Brontë
Fall, leaves, fall; die, flowers, away;
Lengthen night and shorten day;
Every leaf speaks bliss to me,
Fluttering from the autumn tree.
I shall smile when wreaths of snow
Blossom where the rose should grow;
I shall sing when night’s decay
Ushers in a drearier day.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Poetry Thursday

Bringing joy 
to one heart 
with love 
is better than 
one thousand 
repetitive prayer recitings.
~ Sufi Proverb

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Poetry Thursday

The Endless
~Timothy Donnelly

I saw a yellow butterfly
in my opinion
the wrong way, flying across
the sound
to Connecticut

I saw a cormorant
close to the sea’s surface
as I floated on it on

my back in
the attitude of the crucifixion
minerals in my body
conversation with
the minerals of the sea

about the sun
how can I possibly
to what’s already been said
so well
by the ancients

and said with
an austerity I’ll never
it is an honor to take
a backseat to the ancients
who knew how

I was a fat white fish
under the sold-out stadium sun
like a god
but like a god
I could live through anything.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Poetry Thursday, it is all about love

Love is cure. 
Love is power. 
Love is the magic 
of changes. 
Love is the mirror 
of divine beauty.
~ Rumi

Thursday, September 07, 2017

Poetry Thursday, meditation

~Carl Sandburg

The shadows of the ships
Rock on the crest
In the low blue lustre
Of the tardy and the soft inrolling tide.

A long brown bar at the dip of the sky
Puts an arm of sand in the span of salt.

The lucid and endless wrinkles
Draw in, lapse and withdraw.
Wavelets crumble and white spent bubbles
Wash on the floor of the beach.

             Rocking on the crest
             In the low blue lustre
             Are the shadows of the ships.