Post It Note Poetry 2014—Week 4

The final week of Post It Note poetry yielded just two poems. A total of 11 poems written for the 28-day project. Pitiful. I was up to my imaginary cajones in class work and could do no more than this. I did write some other, longer poems throughout the month…poems that in the beginning were meant to be short enough to fit on a post it, but in the end blossomed into longer poems. I want to tweak them and ready them for submissions.

My biggest disappointment was that I never quite got the hang of writing a tanka. I made attempts, but they were all either pretty lousy or became the seeds that sprouted into the aforementioned longer verses.

I did learn a lot from this years post-it project.

I seem to be in a Thoreau-type phase and writing a lot about flowers and fruit. That’s my short stuff. My longer stuff has been either self-reflexiive (poetry about poetry, or writing) or dark, weird, bizarre.

I’m looking forward to next years project. My after project includes cleaning up some of these longer pieces for possible publication.

Monday, February 24th, 2014

wild eden

wild eden

fertile, verdant path

meadow grass, a green blanket

yes, we will bloom there

we will thrive like wild eden

beneath trees thick with

sweet fruit on the boughs.

Tuesday, February 25th, 2014

websie man

a man in the park who thinks of his life as a website

off the bus & sidewalk scramble,

beating feet & hauling ass.

man coming in opposite direction—

passes an old lady: “Next!” he shouts.

passes a young man: “Next!” again.

Passes a pretty young woman,

backs up until he faces her again:

“Previous!”

moves ahead in the crowd once more

clicking the forward & back arrows

in his mind.

Post It Note Poetry 2014—Week 3

I somehow managed three poems the past week, however, this week is not looking very promising as I’m working on both another essay and a class presentation for college. I would like to get a couple more poems in for Post It Note Poetry before the month is out, but we will see.

Saturday, February 15th, 2014

pen poem

Ink vs. Blood: Or a New Way of Looking at an Old Cliche

The one spills blood;

the other, ink.

One helps people kill;

the other, think.

Both hand held;

Both sharp, both taper.

But one mars the flesh;

the other, paper.

A sword may be handy

for some warrior’s defense.

But I’ll make of words a weapon

with the humble, mighty pen.

Sunday, February 16th, 2014

moths

Lamentations for Moths in Hell

promising pain

weaving mistakenly

blinding light

calls us forth

siren of light

resplendent terror

alight on the lip of the burning

with gauzy, smoking wings

dive into webs of bright trappings

screaming psychically

cyclically harsh

warnings to our kith and kin

too late to save from

fantastic torture

inside our inner folds

the pain congeals

replenishing our wounds anew

bright, hot attraction

promising death.

Tuesday, February 18th, 2014

eros_poem

Flirting with Eros

dazzled as fire—

one cloud over and a sky

away from you.

I have never yet

remembered which fever, I,

your prisoner, embraced more:

the blush at a smile or

the kiss that melts universes.

 

Post It Note Poetry 2014—Week 2

A Lameoid Week

This week was so busy and stressful for me on so many levels. Running around plus school work. I don’t see any improvements in the coming two weeks either, as I have to tackle a challenging philosophical essay for my Critical Theory class. I have been writing poetry…and I’m trying to tweak them and get them to the point where they are Post-It Note worthy; some have meandered on longer than a post-it poem should. I hope I can contribute more than one poem next week. I’d like to try to write a tanka. I’ve never written one before. I know it’s a 5-7-5-7-7 syllables-per-line poem (the rule has been broken, I know), I just want to get the method of writing a traditional one before I start breaking the rule. You know the saying: “Master the rule first, then  break it.”

My lone poem for this week was a haiku…and I’m fairly happy with it.

still life, with plums 

her small, sun-browned hands

lift up the basket of plums,

a fruitful harvest.

plum_poem

Post It Note Poetry 2014—Week 1

February is the beginning of Post It Note Poetry month. Post-It Note poetry is a group of poets dedicated to writing short poetry on post-it notes, taking photos of them and sharing them across the social media platforms of Instragram, Twitter, Facebook, etc.

There are really no rules to it: as long as it’s verse that fits on a post-it note, it’s a post-it note poem. Poets usually write and upload one poem per day, but you don’t have to participate that much if you can’t do it. In fact, as a college student, there are a few days where I can’t get any poetry written for it. But, I’m going to make the attempt to do at least a few every week.

My goal for Post-It note poetry this year is EXPERIMENTATION. I want to play with new ideas and new forms. Free form, or free verse, is my favorite way to approach a poem, but I’ve been known to write the traditional rhyming poems, and I even wrote a sonnet once.

Here are my offerings for the first week:

Saturday, February 1st, 2014

under_skin

Things that get under my skin

—ink

—splinters

—paper cuts

—shards of glass

—you

~~

A bit of a new experimental style for me: list poetry.

Sunday, February 2nd, 2014

photo 1-2

a taste of cherries

blood-dark, delicate and round—

sweet as a kiss and a sigh,

explode on my anxious, tingling tongue

like the skies on the 4th of July.

~~

Here’s where the benefit of Post-It Note poetry comes into play. Other poets make gentle critiques of your work. In this way, we all grow as poets. We become better writers overall. That’s a good thing. Another poet gave me a few suggestions which were great. At the time I wrote this poem, I could not come up with a decent rhyme for “tongue.” I was completely brain dead or something. My fellow poet’s suggestions helped me make my poem better. Here’s the revised version:

blood-dark taste from when I was young—

sweet as a kiss and a sigh,

explodes on my anxious, tingling tongue

like the skies on the 4th of July.

~~

Pretty neat idea, huh? We support one another and we share our work with one another and the world. Next up:

Monday, February 3rd, 2014

drinkpoem

drink

i want to live life

like it’s an open bar

drink deep

and get drunk

on every moment

with no regrets.

~~

And yes, hangovers would come under the heading of “regrets.” This poem was inspired by a piece of trash, a cardboard word fragment of the word “drink,” that I discovered lying on the sidewalk outside my apartment.

Tuesday, February 4th, 2014

word trip

word trip

a blank page

in an empty journal

a lonely highway

a dusty road

an unpaved pathway

in an uninhabited land.

where thoughts and ideas

notions and dreams

gather together

begin a journey

on a marvelous quest

from the mind to the page.

~~

A poem to show off my Hobbit moleskine. Could not resist. It’s my precioussss.

Thursday, February 6th, 2014

shock pink

Daybreak & Dusk, or, When the Sun God Sits on His Two Earthly Thrones 

over a shock-pink

horizon

someone gazes—

a freeze-frame moment—

a beginning or

an ending.

~~

Tried to capture the mood of two individuals viewing the sun from different perspectives simultaneously; they are worlds apart: one of them is seeing a sunrise, the other a sunset.

~~

That’s all for my post-it note poems this week. I’m working on a few new ones for next week.

Books and Reading: My Best Reads of 2013

358709

Being an English  Literature major means that I’ve begun to read some very interesting novels.

My World Lit professor this past term was very fond of European avant-garde works. We read a lot of banned books and fiction written by authors who went against convention, and in some cases, the party line, to tell their stories. I want to share a few of my favorites with you.

  1. The Master and Margarita. Mikhail Bulgakov.
    • This novel features the devil in Moscow. A thinly-veiled satirical critique of the arts society in Marxist Russia due to Lenin’s rule of “creation for support of the Communist Party” which discouraged anything that wasn’t pro-Communist. This novel is a hoot: it features not only the Devil, but his comrades are a shady jester, a human- sized smart-mouthed cat, and one of the creepiest and weirdest thugs (Azazello, the fanged man in the bowler hat) that I’ve ever encountered in fiction. True to much modernist fiction, there are subplots a-plenty, including one of the writer’s account of Pontius Pilate, a black magic theater which goes awry, and a love story between a married woman (the Margarita) and an author placed in a mental asylum for “going against the grain” (the Master). Margarita will do anything to return to her lover’s side, including making a deal with the devil. A funny and insightful novel full of hidden symbols that expose the hard life for artists in Soviet Russia.
  2. We. Yevgeny Zamyatin. 
    • Thought by many scholars of European literature to be one of the precursors to dystopian fiction, and inspired other books in the genre, such as 1984 by George Orwell. I read this book for my research essay in World Lit on the advice of my instructor, one of the professors I came to admire my first term and who came to know me well enough to know that I would like this bizarre, futuristic science fiction story. We is such a critical expose of Soviet Russia that the book would not be published there until the 1960s. The story takes place in the One State, ruled by a totalitarian figure known as the Benefactor, and aided by a KGB-type secret police called Guardians. The citizens are known ciphers and given a combination of letter and numbers for names. Imagination and dreams are considered mental illness and individuality is punishable by forced lobotomization or death. The protagonist, spaceship engineer D-503, finds himself in turmoil after meeting the revolutionary woman cipher I-330, whom he is sexually obsessed with, despite her rebellious ways. I have to say this is now one of my favorite science fiction books of all time.
  3. All Quiet on the Western Front. Erich Maria Remarque.
    • One soldiers intimate account of the horrors of World War 1, this novel was one of the first books targeted in Adolf Hitler’s book-burning campaign after he came to power. It was banned in Germany and elsewhere throughout its history of publication, sometimes for the rough interpretation of war and for language that today we would consider mild. Still, you won’t view war the same way again after reading this novel.
  4. Steppenwolf. Herman Hesse
    • A truly bizarre novel that serves as a critique of the bourgeois society. One of the many novels I read that focused on individuality and freedom of expression. Reading this novel is a treat that has to be experienced. Harry Haller calls himself The Steppenwolf, a wolf of the Steppes, a self-styled gloomy loner who is uncomfortable in society, yet suffers from intense loneliness. He believes that if he can’t find an end to his suffering before he reaches middle-age, he will commit suicide. Then he meets an oddball assortment of characters that put on a Magic Theater just for him (with the warning “Not for everybody. For madmen only”), to show him how to not take himself so seriously. Does it work? Read the novel.
  5. The Street of Crocodiles. Bruno Schulz. 
    • A  beautifully surreal, magical, and bizarrely painted portrait of childhood and memory. The ugliness of industrialization is the underlying message in this Polish masterpiece. This is not a long book, a little over one hundred pages, and if you needed to teach a lesson on what an unreliable narrator is, this is your book. Told through the eyes of a little boy, this story follows his life with his merchant father, who is dead at the end of every chapter yet alive again at the beginning of the next one. It is a tale of trauma and grief seen through the memory of a child. It is a weird, and wonderful little book.
  6. Ragtime. E.L. Doctorow. 
    • Doctorow gives us an unabashed glimpse of life in 1920s America. Early labor movements and American socialism are covered, as is the topic of race relations and the mistreatment of African Americans. Unfortunately, the film is not as good. It focuses on the racial story, but sidesteps the struggles for worker’s rights and the early feminism of characters like Emma Goldman. Nothing wrong with telling the racial story, but the other elements of the book make for a much more complete account of the complexity of the era and its subcultures, early activism and immigrant flavor in a burgeoning melting pot.
  7. Ferdydurke. Witold Gombrowicz. 
    • By far one of the strangest books I have ever read, and I’ve read a lot of strange books this past year. This is also a rare book, you might be able to get a used copy from Amazon, but you’d spend less for a new one. The plot of Ferdydurke (Polish literal translation: Thirty Door Key) is the main character’s denial of adult responsibility and the return to the devil-may-care individuality and irresponsibility of youth. The story begins when 30-year-old Joey is “abducted” by his former schoolmaster and sent back to school. He boards with a socialite family and becomes obsessed with the wealthy daughter. He has various absurd and fantastical adventures with one of his classmates. All in an attempt to deny responsibility. This book is full of funny weird prose, and plots, subplots and insanity. Two seemingly unrelated stories are tucked in, chapters 4 and 5, about  A Child in Filidor, but looking beneath the surface of them, they definitely are part of the whole. This  book wants to kick you in the ‘pupa.’ What does that mean? Read it.
  8. Past Imperfect: History According to the Movies. ed Mark C. Carnes. 
    • When you watch a Hollywood film that is “supposed” to be about an actual historical event such as Patton, Bonnie and Clyde, or Glory, how do you know if what’s on the screen is what really went down? This book of essays by historians, which was sort of a textbook used in my Film and American History class, explains the importance of knowing the difference between historical fact and creative license. Each essay breaks apart a historical film and tells you what really happened and what the producers added for “entertainment value.”

I recommend these books to any reader’s “to-read” list.

What good books have you read this past year?

2014: The Year of Getting Serious Again

Happy-2014-free-wallpaper

First, to Everyone who reads this, Happy Holidays! I wish that all of your wishes come true during the next year and that you live life to its maximum capacity. Always.

This past year has been rewarding and challenging. I graduated with my associates degree, lost one job and got another with the same employer (lost student assistant job at St. Petersburg College when I graduated and got hired back on a few months later as an OPS writing tutor), started new university to go for the bachelors degree, moved into a new apartment  in the downtown area, and gave up my car (it was a piece of shit anyway) for the benefit of walking for exercise.

I was busy writing many essays for my junior year at the University of South Florida, so my creative writing efforts suffered a little. But those essays helped me improve my writing, and I hope all future academic witting will do the same.

For my resolutions in 2014, I don’t have many. I’m keeping it simple and doable.

  1. Continue to improve my health by walking. School and grocery is within walking distance from me now, as well as many other activities and entertainments that the downtown St. Pete area has to offer.
  2. Write new stories. Turn on my creative juices and get them flowing whenever possible. Write for fun, but also write for publications. Poems, too. I want to write some more poetry in 2014.
  3. Submit stories and poetry to major publications and journals. I’ve already started on this one. I’ve submitted my previously unpublished award-winning short story Parker’s Pygmalion to Glimmer Train literary magazine and three unpublished poems to Northwestern U’s Tri-Quarterly journal. I’ve started some fantasy and sci-fi stories that are pretty good so far, I just need to finish them and get them out into some slush piles. I will also continue to try and get some previously published stories reprinted.
  4. Keep my magazine going. My side-project as publisher and editor of the spec-fic ezine The Were-Traveler has taken a toll on my sanity this year. Finding time to read and respond to stories while reading 2-3 books a week for lit classes has been very challenging, but I have no desire to stop doing it now. In fact, I’m even more determined to make it work. I may ask for help along the way, but I’m definitely keeping it going. I nominated 3 stories to Critter’s P&E Readers Poll and wish I could have showered other writers with that kind of love and recognition. I’m still trying to find all those yearly award venues out there, where I can give my authors the cred they deserve. If any of my readers have recommendations, please let me know.
  5. Keep my sanity at school, work, writing, editing, publishing. This is a given. I must maintain a sensible balance to this crazy happening that is my life. Need to breathe a little in between and enjoy other things, too. Relax, take deep breaths, meditate.

That’s it. I’ll probably add goals as I go along through the first part of the year, but this is enough to start with.

I hope all of your goals for the coming year lead to success and happiness.

Six Degrees of Thankfulness…

Common Blackbird (Turdus merula)

Image courtesy of © mch67 – Fotolia.com

Another Thanksgiving has come and it’s time to evaluate the months gone by and give credit where it’s due.

It’s been a year of triumph and failings…I’m equally grateful for the failings because they’ve helped me to learn and grow.

Here’s my list of thankfulness:

  1. My friends. Especially you, Kathy, who helped me transition in my move from my old decrepit mobile home to my  chic antique apartment closer to school. You not only helped me to move, you provided me with lodgings at your place before the move, when I lost my AC in the trailer and was too hot to study and read material for my classes. Also, my former boss at St. Petersburg College and friend, Jessica, who helped in the move and provided me with a great reference so I could get re-hired at the college in my current position as writing tutor. My friend John, for walking me home from my night classes. Linda, former co-worker, for encouragement and coffee. My online friends, those of you I have not met, you are the best friends in the world for encouraging me. You don’t know what your support means to me. You keep me going.
  2. Chance encounters with friendly strangers. As an introvert (Jungian type INFJ, I just discovered), I don’t find talking to strangers to be that pleasurable, but I find myself doing it more often than you’d think for an introvert. I remarked to a lady at the store while picking up my pre-cooked turkey breast that I was up to my eyeballs in work for school and I could kick myself in the ass sometimes for going back to college at my age. She said “I did it, too. You can do it. There’s a light at the end of the tunnel. Just keep moving forward.” I don’t know who she was, but I needed to hear those words just then. So, thank you, Kind Lady.
  3. My health. Rotten as it is, I’m still alive. And there’s cause to believe it is getting better. I moved downtown not just to get closer to school, but also to get closer to shopping and all the other great things downtown has to offer. Downtown St. Petersburg is a very walkable city. I gave up my car and moved here in order to get into better shape. It’s working. Just two days ago I wore a pair of jeans that would not fit me three months ago. So yes, body, thank you for being patient with the abuse. I promise to do what I can to make it even better.
  4. My education. I know I’ll be paying for it eventually in student loan payments, but I am thankful to be learning more and more each day. I’m thankful to have the open and free use of my mind and imagination. Sadly, we have seen just this past year that there are unfortunately places still on this earth in 2013 where a woman can’t receive an education. As troublesome as America can be sometimes politically, I’m still glad I’m here. I earned my associate’s degree this year and am now working on the bachelor’s. Upward and onward. Keep moving forward. That’s the plan.
  5. Family. I know I don’t see them a lot, but I’m still glad they are there. Soon the Xmas cards will start coming and I’ll be reminded of them. I’m friends with my Aunt Leona on Facebook, so I keep in touch with her rather closer than anyone else. They are on my mind all the time and I miss them, the ones still here and the ones departed. I love and miss them all.
  6. Writing. I haven’t been writing a lot of stories lately, but boy, I’ve been writing academic papers every week. I’ve had to begin to comprise a portfolio for some of my academic work, which I may share with the online world once it’s all set up. I’ve gotten some inspiration from the Muse for some poem and short story ideas,so maybe I’ll try penning one when this  term is over.

I know there are other things I must be thankful for, but it’s going on noon on this chilly Thanksgiving day, and I have essays to write and a meal to cook and enjoy.

I wish all my friends and readers out there a very Happy Thanksgiving, Happy Chanukah, and Happy Holidays ahead in December!