Hundred Feet Tall

(for San)

images

You’re a hundred
Feet in the air
Quarantined, parting a sheer curtain
Waving to me
In a vacation-bound station wagon
We were heading West
You to motherhood: I was looking for you
And thirty years, forty, fifty doesn’t matter
I’ll still see you
There, up at the hospital window
White gown, flaxen hair
Your porcelain hand gently moving
Yes…
But incredibly your eyes
They sink into me the most
Looking out
With a love a hundred feet tall

Poetry Month

Found this digging through my files today, the first day of National Poetry Month. (click on picture to enlarge)

Poetinthehouse

Yellow Bird

oil by E. Sivas

E. Sivas www.pixshack.com

 

As with all dreams

Fortune and ill alights

When you call it back

From its far-flung adventures

Amazing some with your gentleness

Others your gentile brutality

The room both lit and filled with witnesses

Darkness and echoing emptiness

Something comes your way to carry

To peck to bring no one knows

But the bird

Gallery

Fishing (twice told Irish folk tale)

  The family no longer fishes. This has to do with history and the blackness that came to the potatoes. The family was starving; there was no food. There was rot in the fields. The English bastards would not help, … Continue reading

Seeing

A dress.

Blue and black, gold and white.

Scan 1The eye of the beholder.

Light is seen in different ways, of course, but the same kind of light or color can be witnessed according to one’s field. In this way, who you are is found in the eyes.

What of color? It can’t be corrupted, right? Well..

The physicist notices the waves of light’s length. To the psychologist, the physiologist the notice of color is a matter of the synapses, of our neurological responses found deep in our eyes seeking marriage with the brain. Unfortunate few, frayed nerves, rickety nervous systems suffer limitations when absorbing color.

Color in nature is boon and bust; it offers nature-lovers awe when beauty fills their eyes, however, the hue and tone of a beast, of the flora and fauna is camouflage; it’s hiding place and its survival.

Understanding black, blue, ochre social historians and linguists unravel threads, tied to the shawl of community and culture. The art historian fumbles with skeins; seeing over time how, say, muted earth tones take on the patina of dream. For that artist, color is a turning of the inside out, bringing what lies beneath, atop, surfacing and glistening like blood, like stars in a dark sky. The intangible becomes wood, dark loam; a canvass of sea.

I’ll tell you how the sun rose a ribbon at a time

– Emily Dickinson

AWP: Go?

As the annual Associated Writing Program conference inches closer I contemplate attending, again. I came across this blog entry I wrote a few years ago for a site dedicated to the conference.

**

I go.

But: For introverts and malcontents, like myself, competitive and conspiratorial introverts, conferences are a test of wills. I find the entire enterprise to be exhausting on so many levels I often chide a higher-ranking myself in mid-conference stream for having fooled a lower-ranking myself once again in attending. You’re never alone when you’re schizophrenic, I might say jokingly to myself while humming Ian Hunter.

And then there are the people. I love people, don’t get me wrong, but I’ve come to adopt Dostoevsky’s stance “demands of the particular,” which states — “the more I love humanity in general, the less I love man in particular.” Heartstrings trill until someone plucks with me. I see an arch nemesis; a hectoring former professor trailing neck-scarf, their own tomes artfully arm-pitted; the jilting agent latte whore or the plainly insane publisher borderline plushie who inched your manuscript across the glass desk with the tips of her manicured fingertips as if the leaves were a dead carcass – and I lose my mind.

The hoards don’t help either. All sweaty and earnest swinging bulging, hemp book-bags. All the theorists in fancy eyewear, all the writers in torn cardigans.

I go.

Because I’m a writer. And there is nothing lonelier save perhaps a svelte long-distance runner than a writer sans his or her community of ink-stained neophytes and blithering zealots. I go because writing is the most important thing in the world and it is an art that is maddeningly elusive and achingly beautiful. I go to commiserate, to conspire with dead poets and novelists, to sing, to mingle in some circumscribed manner; and learn, learn, learn. I am not done yet, and even so acknowledge: the only way to grow and know is to rub up against that which produces friction. I go for this heat.

I have attended writing conferences for many years now and yes there are many instances where I find myself in a stuffy banquet hall nodding over my cooling Styro’ of coffee glancing at the dais and thinking: I could have given this presentation. But I go. And I go now, unlike in the past, knowing a lot more about myself, and why conferences are a test for me.

A few years ago now, I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder II, a disorder of hypomania and depression on the spectrum of autism, Asperger’s and other bipolar disturbances; some days a little ebullient, on others, bluer than blue. Couple this with my Jungian personality type — INFJ — of the introvert (where energy is reaped through solitude, a good book) who feels his way through the world by way of intuition, feelings and judgment and conference-dread makes sense.

Well this makes sense to me anyways.

**

So I go? This year?

I’ll have a conference with my selves and get back to you, dear reader.

Through Some Distant Stirring

Unknown

 

Me and some Lone Justice
Dancing around alone
Through some distant stirring
Of long ago doors unlocked
Out of the bleak winter
Inside a gathering of shapes and angles
Bringing in with me some kind of tragedy
And seeing the unfamiliar face
Hearing that stranger’s voice
Hey where have you been? 
I’ve been looking for you
Pullling me in for a sway
This is for her
Not a love song
A moment so far from that
— a human kindness —
Hearing her voice again saying
I am afraid too
Me and some Lone Justice
Dancing
Through some distant
Stirring

(Lone Justice/Shelter/1986)

Working (addendum)

…and another thing.

Such is the life of a working writer. Just as you post something or send a piece of work out into the wide world, there’s more you want to say, or something you wished you’d said differently.
My recent post on writing being work failed to mention that the reason why a writer must compose or work at it every day is that because for every day you are away from your desk the worse it is to get back into it. The adage used to be, for every day you miss writing an hour of time is spent at your desk in an utter daze. So, away from your desk for, say, four days, expect four hours of painful hesitation and stagnation. For some, it’s not the rule, but for me it generally is.

Another thing about the work day for a writer, and by writer I mean someone who writes novels, or plays, or short stories or essays, not someone who writes for a newspaper or magazine or blogs. A writer of prose or poetry composes in a very idiosyncratic way and for a very specific amount of time. Most writers, the ones I’m familiar with, do not rise in the morning and write all day until it’s time to don the PJs — we all can’t be Nora Roberts (supposedly, she spends the entire day writing, which makes sense given she cranks out upwards of two or three books a year). Reasons for the length of time spent actually composing, not including revising or taking notes, or reading or staring off into space, is very individualized. But I like what T.S. Eliot has to say on the matter, his thinking reflecting much of my own. This was from his Paris Review interview:

Partly on the typewriter. A great deal of my new play, The Elder Statesman, was produced in pencil and paper, very roughly. Then I typed it myself first before my wife got to work on it. In typing myself I make alterations, very considerable ones. But whether I write or type, composition of any length, a play for example, means for me regular hours, say ten to one. I found that three hours a day is about all I can do of actual composing. I could do polishing perhaps later. I sometimes found at first that I wanted to go on longer, but when I looked at the stuff the next day, what I’d done after the three hours were up was never satisfactory. It’s much better to stop and think about something else quite different.

Working

2015-01-13 07.38.39

It’s taken me more time than I care to admit to, returning to working on my present project, a revision of a novel, one that I’ve promised my readers would be out this year. Well, maybe. We’ll see.

Practical and irrational reasons thwarted my attempts to get me behind my desk and at it. There were many days when I could not, and did not want to write. While writing can be quite a transformative experience for me, it’s mostly a work shift filled with a lot of angst and frustration.

For most writers, and I include myself, it is important that no matter how one feels, save an acute attack of the latest influenza or some such malady, a writer should be writing. Every day. Through the bad days and the good days. The highs and the lows. Even if it means writing little more than a sentence or two.

There’s an anecdote involving a famous writer who is said to have spent the day’s writing changing a comma to a period or some such thing only to change it back. That’s more or less the truth of it. It’s seldom a breeze, most often a struggle, getting it down right, and in some ways getting it down at all.

Paradoxically, the bad days don’t always produce bad writing, and vice versa. It’s a bit of mystery in that way. Writing comes from this highly idiosyncratic place from within, which appears to matter not the weather, or the writer’s emotional/physical state.

I was back at work today after two weeks of humming and hawing — albeit in concert with nursing my old Chihuahua through a scratched cornea — and got a few paragraphs down. One hundred words tops. Not much. The writing might not even be any good; that’s tomorrow’s assignment. For now, I got my work done. It was work.

And don’t let anyone tell you differently: Writing is work.

Again, blank discouragement. Have no heart to write any more

– George Gissing, writing in his journal. He wrote 19 novels

Lolo Gets Married

Sandra and Rowan Meadow Lolo

Sandra and Rowan Meadow Lolo

 

This poet wore her sleeves long
Talked about love the way most talk about God
Her heart, she said, was iambic seeking pentameter
Beating in a line filled with lacunae and noise
Sung her song anyway, damn sweet bird on a wire
Now I hear her voice
And I gladly roll down these leaves
My heart beating symphonic for this echoing cry
Her voice sings certainties
About what is right and just
That some things are true all along
Especially those that alight from sources deep
Inside a poet’s endless search for music in the arms of a beloved

(congratulations you two)