‘The good and the bad have mixed into one fluid’…. makes the world so much harder to understand and trust
Aging doesn’t guarantee wisdom, indeed
Aging doesn’t guarantee wisdom, indeed
‘father was a rolling stone’… went an old song
Choices, choices…… oh why choices?
Don’t walk away from this one
Words are simply captivating.
Splashing in the bathroom
to a sorrowful knowing.
Her eyes are closed against it.
His baggage rustles.
“Come kiss me good-bye,” she says
he leans and offers
a perfunctory pucker
upon her sour morning lips.
“I’ll call you tomorrow
to tell you whether I’m coming home,”
“Call me today
to tell me you’ve arrived.”
“I can do that,” he agrees
moving down the hallway.
Eyes clamped closed again,
she hears the firm crunch of
doors and humming rumble of the engine.
As the car leaves,
she leans into her pillow,
wondering at the words,
he didn’t say.
ONE of the enduring memories of Peter Pan’s How to be a Nigerian is, for me, his fascinating sketch of the Nigerian radical. If the Nigerian poet had been roaming the streets at the time the book was written, a place, I am sure, would have been found for him within the pages of that book. At any rate, living in these peculiar times when it is easier to write poetry than to read it, in work after work, I find him staring at me – as it were, daring me to attempt fitting him into a composite picture of a poet. To begin, let me use the definition of poetry as the grids on my sketch pad.
From Wordsworth’s view of poetry as ‘the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings’ whose origins lie ‘in emotions recollected in tranquility’, to Okigbo’s own view of poetry as ‘melodies/silences heard in retrospect’…
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Do read this post please, even if you believe in God like I do.
(my comment-response to a post which stated that God must exist because life cannot be a formation of random acts)
and then when the actions or realities add up to poor leadership or poor decisions by God — we are faced with having a lesser intelligence ‘in charge’ or an evil entity. those are the choices. even in the balance of things, and also in future fallouts and endeavors, it is pretty easy to map the strings and consequences of poor ends. (most initiated by evil men and also NOT countermanded by any benevolent deity or paranormal force) in that, most assuredly those observational and clearly relevant realites converge to a reason that states: IF “someone” is in “charge” —“they” are either stupid(ignorant and making mistakes unknowingly and unmeaning.) or evil.
in the grand scheme of things …. to judge one’s “God” as not such a great character is a…
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Good use of words….
This poem stands out, differently; in a refreshing way
“On my way to being me”…. Very original
Waterfall cascading over the rocks below,
Thundering down with fierce fast flow.
Washing away the debris and grime.
Cleansing and nurturing that which is mine.
Tumbling over to spill and deluge.
For the evil within there can be no refuge.
A rainbow of colours bent on exploding.
Dispersing all the grief stored into eroding.
All is now flowing free
I am on my way to being me.
I love the personal twist
Have you heard the tale of Janet Bell
who never felt so free
as when at her piano
and she played incessantly?
She always smiled and sat up straight
and played in F or C
for she would play in nothing but
a joyful major key
She tossed her hair and played with flair
and people would decree
that she should carry on forever
oh so joyously
She played so well, Miss Janet Bell
until one day, you see
Something awful happened
that I think you would agree
would make her sob and want to stop
her playing completely
the piano was tuned
and what she knew to be C
and everything was strange and out of order and dark and wounded and and wrong wrong all wrong and miss janet bell screamed in fright but her fingers were like glue to the keys and…
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Do you have any favorite poems memorized? Or do you intend, down the road, to memorize works that really inspire you?
This a great article from The New Yorker on the history of memorization of verse and why we all should continue to do it in the present:
After reading the article, I am making a concerted effort to fully commit to memory both Because I could not stop for Death by Emily Dickinson and The Kiss by Anne Sexton; because they are my poetic heroines, these are two of my favorite works of theirs, and I had completely memorized both works at one time in the past. I do have Kubla Khan by Samuel Taylor Coleridge memorized (and have since adolescence), because it has an Indiana Jones feel, and the images continue to be very vivid to me to this day.
I also believe…
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Hmmmm time really changes very little
Heil! This held my imagination
Oh mother earth….. The beautiful rich pool rotting away
A stagnant pond lie in an empty glade,
Where greens and blues of life did fade,
No life stirring a single drop,
Just empty and stale from bottom to top,
The trees and grass around it dead,
Long ago the last animals fled,
And deserted this empty broken pond,
Fowl and fishes did too abscond,
From this worthless derelict pool,
Where emptiness, death, and sicknesses rule,
The endless vitality soon forgot,
And this still stagnant pool was left to rot.
Proud to say, I am married to her. Oh lucky me.
Nice piece…. I liked it very much
He started out with so much space. The room was huge from want of stuff. But when you’re born what do you own, except your life and mother’s love? From there he went on to gain things, some toys and friends to help him grow, and words to help him understand the world the kind old sun did know.
At school his head was filled with facts and dates that marked the world’s mistakes. He played some games and took some tests. He went on dates and wore a vest.
The boy grew into a young man, his life shaped into hatching plans. He traveled far and wide, found love, lost faith, bought time, and picked up tips on how to live from people he’d remember later when he was older, and alone, back in his house, with wife and children running wild, loud music on, windows throbbing, his pulse…
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I rarely reblog a piece for just one line…. I just did for this line: “Nakedness involves unveiling the truth, laying it bare before the world and defending it.”
Nothing is more intrinsically naked than a baby’s soft, round bottom. Following thoughts of the 2013 One Word, Naked, I am unable to avoid the topic of abortion. And it is timely, as today, January 25, 2013 is the 40th Annual March for Life here in Washington D.C.
So much deception and confusion buries the simple fact that abortion takes a life. Lies about viability, safety, cost, options and more, prevent many women from making a truly informed decision. But truth is available. I recently learned about a couple of resources that I believe are important to share.
No one can accuse Carol Everett of being ignorant or uninformed. After having an abortion, she found herself later working in a clinic. She has experienced both the personal pain of an abortion and the lucrative income it can provide. But God demanded her attention in a startling way, and she walked away…
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From the big starry constellations above
One night thieves went to a certain hermit.
“We came to take your things,” they said to him viciously.
Without losing composure, he said to them, “Come in and take whatever you like.”
They emptied his poor hut of every last thing and left hurriedly. They forgot, however, to take a small flask that was hanging from a beam of the roof. The hermit took it down and, running behind the robbers, shouted for them to listen and to stop.
“Come back, brothers, to take this too.” And he showed them from afar the small flask.
They were amazed by his forgiving nature and returned, not to take the flask, but to offer repentance and to return all of his things.
“This is, indeed, a man of God,” they said among themselves.
Having just read aloud Shakespeare’s The Two Gentlemen of Verona, I want to see if I can see God in it, or at least the three parts of humanity, made in God’s image. Julia must be the heart, Sylvia the mind, and Proteus the body. Valentine could also be a heart (duh), but Julia’s is nobler.
Proteus is the body out of order (heart should come before mind and body) because he is directed by his earthly senses. His rationale for betraying his lady, Julia, and his best friend, Valentine, is thus:
“Julia I lose and Valentine I lose.
If I keep them, I needs must lose myself;
If I lose them, thus find I by their loss:
For Valentine, myself; for Julia, Silvia.
I to myself am dearer than a friend,
For love is still most precious in itself,
And Silvia – witness heaven that made her fair!…
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Night is night but day must break….. A bold piece denouncing a cowardly act.
The silent tears she cries
Night after night
Looks down at her scars and bruises
Questions herself “Why? Why me?
I know I do not deserve this!”
Wants a way out
But it too naïve and thinks its love
She stays punch after punch
Kick after kick
Insult after insult
Because of the thought of “love”
She doesn’t realize her value
She gets up after every knock down
Thinking it’s the last
But the next one comes in just a blink of an eye
Her kids watch
Her friends know
They see that she is physically drained
No longer laughs
Is no longer herself
She tries to deny it
But it is so evident
She is unhappy
But puts on a mask
Thinking it will all be ok
“Is it really love when my only gain
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Nice bit of writing
Dawns always feel fresh
A cold morning today. Diamond frost scintillates in the low light. Breath billowing out in clouds. Chill in the air. But a beautiful dawning. Gentle rush of the waves,and cry of a gull. Colours enhanced in the clear air. Snowy headlands merge into blushing sea. A fresh awakening.
“Smiling is an act of charity”
No longer can I feign
In the pain of this routine;
Important matters matter not
When the priority is to entertain.
When will we seize the slumber?
Guard injustices at our door?
When will breezes bleed from thunder?
As whims whisper evermore.
Yet smiles to all outsiders,
For such expressions are of charity,
Forever remains a hope inside that
All will awaken, from this insanity.
sleep is like death, only it breathes
How often we hear
The extent of our lives that we spend
Unconscious, and asleep.
We do nothing in this time
But let our minds go.
We can try and fight our falling lids
But it is a battle we cannot win.
Even when our lives become
And we just need more time;
Our lids still fall
As we cannot even function if we do not
How ironic it is
That we must spend a third of our time asleep
To spend any of our time at all.
You just might have a good idea about why you don’t really know me here
So, good news.
I recently got a job writing.
Well, not like a “job” job.
It’s not paid, and lots of others write for it as well, but, hey, they liked my sample and picked me for their team.
Funnily enough, the sample I sent them was “I’m Not Good with PDA”.
I didn’t know how it would go over when I submitted it, but apparently the editor likes my writing style.
I became far more excited than the situation warranted when I received my congratulatory e-mail.
In other words, I freaked out and jumped around my room silently, as I didn’t want to alert the others in the building to my oddities.
One problem – I left my door open.
The girl across the hall happened to be walking by just as I was in mid-celebration and saw the whole shin-dig.
She laughed awkwardly and quickly walked…
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Another piece worthy of your time
We had been warned. The stories about Professor Graves made us afraid. I sat down where I usually did: left corner of the room. We’ve been told to get to class on time. If we came to Graves’s class after he shut the door he would publicly humiliate us and kick us out. That word got around fast –for once everyone in the class arrived fifteen minutes early. We waited in complete silence seated.
He walked in rushing to his desk: a middle aged man. Perhaps he was 60; there was no way to tell. His hair was white with dark roots. He had his round glasses on and a cup of coffee from the College cafeteria in his right hand. In the other he carried papers.
“Hand these out will you” he told Natasha. We had always passed the papers on, Natasha simply followed habit.
“Would it really bother…
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I love this writing
In an old age, when people much like today were only germs of the future, when God was still touching with his Holy feet the rocky surface of the Earth—in this old age lived a King, dark and ponderous like midnight with a young Queen smiling like the luminous noon.
Fifty years had passed since the King was at war with a neighbouring Kingdom. The neighbour King had died and left behind his fortune to his sons and nephews, the hate and division of blood. Fifty years and the King had lived alone, like an aging lion, weakened by fight and suffering—a King who had never laughed in his life, not at children’s songs, not at the amorous smile of his young loving wife, or at the old funny tales of knights aged by battles and needs. He felt weakened; he felt he was dying having…
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Nice, I love this….
Huge…… I hope you get the serious joke.
I am a temperamental child who feels he is entitled to marry his boyfriend, abort his fetus, and smoke pot.
As I watch the inauguration of our new president, with words coming from his mouth, I cannot help but stroke my own.
My heart races, pulse quickens.
Red, White and blew. . .
Our task before us, to come together.
To come as one and into a new age; delivering the message given to us by our commander-in-chief.
He who, manipulates, prods and commands.
He is speaking to me, “Freedom. Come. And be free with me.”
He continues to whisper his no-nothings in my ear as I light a cigarette; drawing in his smoke as I exhale resistance and all forums of restraint.
I am a temperamental child who feels he is entitled to marry his boyfriend, abort his fetus, and smoke pot.
I am America.
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A must read for those who haven’t it
Rating: 2/5 stars.
When I first heard of As I Lay Dying, I imagined a grand romance with star-crossed lovers fighting to stay together until the very end. I imagined a more mature Juliet calling out to Romeo to rescue her from her imminent doom, and I imagined a bittersweet ending bathed in pathos and poignancy. I expected an epic story featuring several deep themes: love, loss, heartbreak.
Well, now I know not to judge a book by its title.
As I Lay Dying is actually about the Bundren family, a messy group of uncouth Southerners who embark on a journey to Jefferson to bury their wife and mother, Addie. On the way they encounter difficulties ranging from storms to broken body parts, and their ambitions are tested accordingly.
I could justify any star rating for this book, but I based my two-star rating on how much I personally…
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The prospect appear frightening
$ The amount that Jonathan Evison made for his first eight books—six novels, one memoir, and one story collection—which he says “were all unpublished, and will mercifully remain unpublished.”
$4,50 The advance that Soft Skull Press gave Evison for his ninth book, and first published novel, All About Lulu. The money was “paid out in two payments, half on signing, and half on publication.”
$ Amount Soft Skull paid to send Evison on tour in support of Lulu. Instead, Evison managed his tour like a punk rock band, couch-surfing his way through a tour of nine western cities, bringing two friends along with him. “I paid for every meal, every beer, and the rare hotel, all out…
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You Just Might Learn Why You Write Here
What made you want to write when you were starting out?
First it was a simple desire to tell stories. I used to write my own versions of famous tales, such as William Tell or Robin Hood, and illustrate them myself, too. When I entered my teens, I got more into horror and science fiction and wrote a lot of short stories. A literary education complicated things and for many years I wrote nothing but poetry. Then I got back to story-telling.
What makes you want to write now?
I think that same story-telling impulse is at work, in addition to the love of creating pictures with words and getting inside a character’s mind
What preparation do you do before writing?
Not much really. Usually I can tell when an idea has reached critical mass in my mind and I’ll just explode if I don’t sit down and start…
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A must read, if writing is your thing.
When it comes to writing and getting published, I’m not the best person to ask for advice. I’ve shot myself (and my career) in the foot more times than I can count. I have, however, survived in this business so it struck me that the one subject I can speak to with some authority is reinventing yourself. Unfortunately, from the start of my career, I’ve had a lot of experience doing just that. Here are my handy tips for survival:
DON’T GET TOO FAR AHEAD OF THE CURVE: Trust me on this. I’ve been there and done that and it rarely goes well. Back at the beginning of my career I tried to do a futuristic/paranormal. That very first manuscript had all of the elements that I now work with freely: romance, suspense and a psychic twist. I can’t tell you how many rejection slips the manuscript garnered. They all…
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This takes you to the edge of you mind
A gentle touch
Then the wind
When I close my eyes
I can see you
At the edge of the world
I wonder when you learned
Or have I always been blind
Because at one point
I had become deaf
Unable to hear your words
See your hellos, wish you goodbye
So I am standing here
With the outline of your feet
Next to mine
Reaching out, and wishing
I had been a better friend
You have forgiven me
One thought at a time is so hard to picture. How does that happen?
Head bound by feeling
Mind stocked, wrought with the muse
One thought at a time
Leaking out upon the paper screen
Like ink spilled from a well
By the drop
Faster and faster then it flows
Pulling a picture from the well
My work is not done
Tis only an extension thereof
Finding tranquility needs a huge dose of luck most times
Somewhere between the depths of despondency
And the soaring heights of elation
You might find tranquility
If you are lucky
But normal is a moving target
Never centered between two convenient brackets
Normal can be marginalized
Into an extreme position
Sometimes normal needs a shakeup
Or even deletion
Better to experience momentary distress
Moving past familiar habits
Into a new beginning
Where nothing is normal
David Trudel © 2013
Reading this and I am certain I am a writer.
A fellow friend and blogger wrote a post about writers being a strange breed—exceptionally acute observers, attentive listeners to what’s going on inside their heads (which can make them seemed spaced out to others), and passionate and focused workers once they get started. They can seem obsessed to those who aren’t writers, and each one seems to have his or her own special set of neuroses about getting their stuff out there (i.e. publishing) and even about the old cliché, writers’ block.
I found myself resonating with a lot of what she said—especially the part about getting an inspiration and having to write it down somewhere, anywhere, as if it were a matter of life and death. Any napkin or scrap of paper will do—or even the back of your hand.
The funny thing is, though, that I don’t really think of myself as a “writer” and never have, even…
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Life surely drifts away certainly
Their is no free freedom
Always questioning my own motives,
and never quite sure if I have my best interest
I wonder if waiting through the craving for transition
will settle me, only time will tell.
I sabotage possibilities
and their natural state of uncertainty.
(I have a secret addiction to fresh gazes and constant change)
People make promises about their futures
like professional palm readers or
a holy army marching through life
husband, child, wife.
I know girls who knew they wanted to be mamas
as soon as they could conceive of the idea
and predestined papas
with one hand on their training wheels
and the other on a car seat…
I’ve made plenty of pacts with past lovers
that have blown away behind me
maybe still written somewhere.
It’s hard to take words seriously,
especially when there are so many.
Fear is beside me all the time,
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The poem is a powerful tool
This semester, I’m teaching an introduction to poetry survey course. This course helps me more than my students, probably, because while drafting the curriculum and teaching the classes, I find myself forced (in a good way) to confront my own aims and purposes regarding the art. In addition, I discuss poetry more frequently with colleagues and friends when I’m teaching a class like this one.
A question I’ve been asking is: what can a poem do for a person? In particular, what do great poems do for people? The phrase “transform us” has been suggested, but I think that word in itself is too unspecific. Transform us in what ways? How?
Here are some of the answers I’ve received, and I think they are all worth considering. I’m always looking for more feedback on this question, so feel free to add comments…
• Poems help us to imagine or understand…
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Make you think
NOTHING IS UNNATURAL AT ALL
Nothing is unnatural at all.
Not shining surf nor pounded metal;
Not rusted gearhead or oaken oar.
Golden pharaohs are degraded dust
Sealed from sands that never settle
In mountains of sediment and must.
Hear out the blazing hornet’s circuit,
Watch as all engines guzzle up blood.
Count up the towers in your sockets,
Feel how your flesh depresses, revives;
How the heart is a cylinder block,
The structured city a corniced hive.
Even the orderly nodes on chips,
Even those wires shirted and screwed:
All of them crafted from dirt and chalk,
All of them born from element earth,
All of them yellow lightning runs through—
A power plucked from heaven’s hearth.
People of mind, you run on this fire,
Sparking and seething, murder, create;
Clay molding clay, your natural roar
Calls for mechanical gadgets of use,
Tempers inherencies inchoate.
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THE RAINBOW’S END
by LeeAnne McIlroy Langton
Years from now
Your grandchildren will
See what you dream of
This last night of your hunger
During the passage from Belfast
Across a sea of storms and slave bones:
Phosphorescent corn bursting from husks,
Blood-colored tomatoes bouncing out of crates
Like giant rubber balls,
Pistachios and almonds raining silently from leafy boughs,
Lettuce heads blossoming open like gardenias,
Grapefruits the size of cannonballs
And oranges as sweet as your grandmother’s final tears
Rolling out of the trees
Swimming into the mouth of the Delta
Washed down with the precious nectar of
The California Aqueduct.
Years from now your granddaughter will
Feel that enchanted sense of deja vu
And you will try to explain to her
(Through the whispers in the grass)
That she is living the vision of the dream you had
The last night on that ship
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