Category: poetry

Poetry Day: Move

shovel

MOVE

Do you want me to move you?

Show me

just a little of who you really are-

I will make a shovel out of words-

and dig down beneath your soul

so I can lift it out-

intact

and present it to you

from every side.

When you see it

all together like that

and not in the scattered,

broken pieces

that you think now define you

as no longer complete-

as damaged goods –

then

you will see what I see

and this sad home

that you have made in your head

will be too small-

forcing you to move

to more suitable accommodations.

POETRY! Saffron

cadiz

Saffron

Red threads
saffron’s
hot soft smell
bruised on finger tips
Wraps my senses
Drags me over the ocean
Autumn cool and fighting bulls
Children’s feet and hands
pounding out flamenco beats
On starlit stone streets
with blue and yellow tiled bridges
Clouds of rolling language kiss my ears
as people pass the venta
Arab blood stallion stills to watch me
Tossing its ivory mane in greeting
Paco’s finger’s flying
each note plucks my soul
Thirty eight years gone now
since my feet touched Spanish soil
each moment stored for safe keeping
deep within my cells
Some days, they wail
like cante voices
calling me back to Cadiz

Wild Hope

I’m nearing the final pages of my manuscript and there’s a small war going on inside me. Where is this one going to land and what happens if it ends up some place that wasn’t my first choice? Pouring my morning coffee into what I affectionately call “the bucket”, an oversize mug I made for my son that he left here “to use when he’s home”, I was running through scenarios of editors with machetes. That, naturally, made me envision scathing reviews on Amazon balanced precariously with a reader base that comes to your aide with pens flaming and me standing, like a mother, pleading with both sides to just get along.

Before I needed a case of Tums to face my laptop, I stopped and did what my friend, Nancy, tells us all to do when we forget that stress is a choice; just breathe. Books, like the children we bear and raise, reach a point when they naturally move out into the wide world and cut their own path, whatever that might look like. Stories, books, music, poetry, art; anything we give creative birth to is going to come out of us kicking and screaming and when it hits the air outside of us, it then belongs to the world. It will be treasured or abused. It will be scrutinized or ignored all together. It will touch some people deeply and it will bore others who were looking for something bloodier, sexier, harder, softer, shorter or longer or slightly more beige.

While we are pushing our creations out of the tiny orifice that only artists can locate, we can hold onto the wild hope that it emerges with all fingers and toes. We can hope that it becomes the fully formed, three dimensional, memorable, moving vision that was planted in our mind by a passing horny muse that put its mouth to our ear and in a deep voice, whispered it to us one night as we were falling asleep.

Wild Hope. The phrase reminded me of the album that former pop princess, Mandy Moore, birthed into the world back in 2007. Prior to that, I only knew of her from the snips of music I caught on car radios or from an adolescent’s playlists pre-9/11. One day though, I heard a piece of her music that made me follow it to its source and bring it home with me so I could hear it again. The words were luscious, the orchestration and production nearly flawless. Her voice on that independent album embodied that moment, somewhere in your late 20’s, when shit gets real. The curtain falls down exposing the powerless little wizard you assumed had control over your emotional life and you found out it was just you, making some stupid choices and some surprisingly good ones as well. Beauty.

The title song is perfect and there were many other gems on the collection. I found a YouTube video an hour ago; Mandy Moore-Wild Hope-In The Studio; a diary of the making of the album. At the 5:20 mark, she says, “There is nothing like the freedom of having the absolute control to make the record that I want to make.” She had won a hard fight to break free from her recording contract that was forcing her to barf up mainstream elevator music and this would be her solo flight.

Inspired to hear it start to finish, I went searching my CD stacks. No luck. Someone “borrowed it” (read: stole it and it’s never coming back). Fine, this is the age of instant gratification. I’ve got Spotify. I’ve got iTunes. I’ve got those other weird programs on my Windows laptop that I’ve never used before. I’ll find it, download it and be listening before my bucket of coffee gets cold. Guess what? It’s not on any of those sites. In fact, I had to order a new copy of the CD, from the U.S. outlets though, because the European version is usd$51.oo. Seriously.

Well, that sent me into panic number two this morning and I still haven’t opened my manuscript file to begin my climb to the last pages of the book. Why have they taken the downloadable files away from us? Has someone kidnapped Mandy and the ransom is forcing her to return to a candy filled Willy Wonka factory to turn out teeth and ear rotting junk food music? Is there a telethon for this where I can send a donation? Am I avoiding ending my book by obsessing over the missing Mandy Moore Music? Hell, yes.

Fine. My coffee is cold anyway. My book will go out and some people will love it and some will use it to line their guinea pig cage; though if you’re going to trash it, I would prefer it be kindling for a beach bonfire. So much more romantic, you know?

So, here’s the song. At least you can hear this one. I’ll just have to wait for delivery of the CD that I found online at a record place in Chicago. I’ll get back to writing and while I wrap this manuscript up, I’ll hold onto my own Wild Hope that everything will be all right.

Clarissa, Inner Wolves and Digging for the Roots

6VYMD00Z

This morning, I am in search of rich language, like loamy, nutrient laden, black and vibrant soil where I can dig my hands down deep and find the root of the story. Like a dear friend who needs no invitation; moving easily to my cupboards for cup and spoon and pouring from my coffee pot; at home in my home, I found Clarissa Pinkola Estes. I should say that I found her again. In 1995, she came into my life because I couldn’t resist her book titled, Women Who Run With The Wolves.

I have a thing for wolves. Who doesn’t? Well, apparently people with guns in Michigan, and Montana, and people who see wolves as some kind of competition in their testosterone laden quest to piss on every tree and own every inch of soil for miles around. I believe they are jealous of wolves and their easy mastery of life in the wild and so they encroach on wolf territory, hunting them down like rabid vermin instead of learning to co-exist with such magnificent creatures and examples of family loyalty.

The draw to Clarissa’s words, for me, was how they cut through the dance around what women should be and put a spotlight on what we truly are. She wrote of women’s native magnificence and our family nature.

She wrote of the nature of our cravings, our need for creating; be it in a kitchen, a science laboratory, an art studio, a bedroom or the creation of a home nest where our brood is safe and nurtured. I don’t read her words everyday though they do seem to find me again whenever I need them most. Her words are like the person you see, after years of absence, and an unexpected smile breaks across your face. They are like long awaited warm sun heating your cold arms, heralding a hard earned spring.

She moves me. She inspires me. She fucks my head up something fierce with side hikes down forest pathways that I have never dared to walk before. It’s time to read that book again. Somewhere in its pages, are the roots I started digging for on this particular morning. I just know it.

 


 

“Be wild; that is how to clear the river. The river does not flow in polluted, we manage that. The river does not dry up, we block it. If we want to allow it its freedom, we have to allow our ideational lives to be let loose, to stream, letting anything come, initially censoring nothing. That is creative life. It is made up of divine paradox. To create one must be willing to be stone stupid, to sit upon a throne on top of a jackass and spill rubies from one’s mouth. Then the river will flow, then we can stand in the stream of it raining down.”

― Clarissa Pinkola Estés, Women Who Run With The Wolves: Contacting the Power of the Wild Woman

http://www.clarissapinkolaestes.com/works.htm

Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes

From her website: Clarissa Pinkola Estés, PhD, is an internationally recognized scholar, award-winning poet, Diplomate senior Jungian psychoanalyst, and cantadora (keeper of the old stories in the Latina tradition.). Dr. Estés is  managing editor and columnist writing on politics, spirituality and culture at the newsblog TheModerateVoice.comand a columnist at The National Catholic Reporter online.

Marvin Gaye Schools the Writer…

Last night, I stumbled onto this video of Marvin Gaye singing the vocal track for “I Heard It Through the Grapevine”. I’ve been madly in love with this song since it first hit the radio in the autumn of my freshman year in high school. Now that I’ve heard it this particular way, I’m not sure if I want to hear it orchestrated, harmonized and produced ever again. It is perfect, exactly like this.

Hearing a song this way is like reading a short poem that rips away the protective rib cage of logical thinking and puts its burning hand right onto your exposed and fragile heart. Single singer A cappella is to perfectly written Haiku poetry, as a symphony is to a great novel.

We hear the original pain and the hard truth of the writer’s drunken 3:00 A.M. confession in each carefully chosen word and musical note. If the singer has embraced the zeitgeist of the creation of the piece, they can breathe life into the song. They can take us with them on our own Ghost of Christmas Past journey to the moments in our  lives when the words hit home with a vengeance.

This should be my goal in every poem and every story that I write; that whatever comes out of my pen will be better than the silence of the blank page.

I have my work cut out for me.