There was a beautiful sunset, the kind we get in Texas, all sky and cumulus clouds outside the window of animal emergency a few Fridays ago. Once again Joey and I were back for fluids to cope with an episode of bloody diarrhea. While there, I read Nic Sebastian’s Baobab Girl, a short collection I downloaded a long time ago before I got a Kindle and last Friday, I finally read it.
Sebastian’s Dark and Like a Web is one of my favorite short collections, and this one didn’t disappoint either. Baobab Girl takes the reader all over the world through experience, myth and legend. The language is pure delight: fresh and often startling. Lines like “Ivar’s silver eyes / are moon-lure, his voice / honey of ash sap” have played in my head for days as has the imagery and story told in “Under the Yew.” These 12 poems are to be savored and at some point reread.
Great poetry transports us, and this collection certainly did that. As I finished the last poem, the vet came into the room to tell me Joey would be fine. I was startled. I had almost forgotten I was in the EC with a sick pup and night falling all around.
Posted in books, poetry
For days unmentioned
I dreamt the speaking guitar.
Darkness poured forth
the physical radiation
of solemn hours,
the wild air, the last waltz,
the compass of words,
the utter simplicity
–Erasure poem made from Poe’s “The Fall of the House of Usher”
This is inspired by Dave Bonta’s erasure project based on Pepys’ Diary. He’s been at it for a while coming up with some interesting stuff, and so I figured I’d give it a go after rereading his post about his working method. I grabbed a Poe collection that was nearby, flipped to a page from “Usher,” made a copy and started working. I used a highlighter to find the words, typed the poem, played with line breaks, cut some things out and then crossed out everything that wasn’t used.
Later I tried this with one of my creative writing classes, and they really enjoyed it. It was the kind of thing that inspired a lot of gripes, complaints, and this is too hards, but by the end of the period most of them were surprised to have enjoyed it and more importantly surprised by what they found lurking in the pages of their books.
For my part, I enjoyed working within the rules and how it pulled me a bit away from my own head, words and thoughts. This might get addictive. Stay tuned.
After reading Where the Butterflies Go, I was interested to read more of Heather Grace Stewart’s poetry and so next up was Leap, a shorter collection than Butterflies and interesting for the way it moves between the real and online worlds. There are a number of poems in which the author seems to be wrestling with what it means to live in such a socially interconnected time, but as with her other collection my favorites are the poems inspired by parenting since that’s the focus of my life right now. It’s good to read poems that capture parenting and the way it changes marriage with such insight, wisdom, humor and well, yes, grace. A good read all around especially “Autumn Will,” “Beautiful Chaos,” and “Valley.” I look forward to reading her third collection Carry On Dancing, which is coming up soon in my reading pile.
Posted in books, poetry
Pilgrims lost their way and wept, hearts broken
at the plundered tomb of their slain goddess.
Forests withered; deserts grew. Clouds stood still
for summons from a silent rain goddess.
Did you tremble before rocket engines
that ended your long lunar reign, goddess?
The old arthritic masters paint you vain,
so I near missed you dressed so plain, goddess.
Myths tell of deities for all things of
sky and sea. Come fly, oh airplane goddess.
Gasoline, butane, ethylene, your names
burn bright, oh my fiery propane goddess.
I’ll sing the verse, the chorus, chant. I’ll keep
the lonely beat for your refrain, goddess.
Another goddess poem that kind of references this one, this one, this one, this one, and this one. I wonder if the other two goddesses will get their own poems some day.
I first posted the couplets on Twitter. I’ve been doing that with some of my old ghazals too and seeing how (or if) they work as tweets.
in eastern trees
wing down to the pond
winter stars emerge
sandals & shorts
slitted eyes watching
from the tree
Posted in small stones
phoebe licks my face
behind a cirrus scrim
the dog star
drifts up the night
grackles rise and fall
leaves in the wild slipstream