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Capriccio

2 Apr

Capriccio 

 

When I was a child I urged time to move. To become a hummingbird and flit and fly 

as fast as it can. There I am sitting in my Grandmother’s den: if only time could spin 

faster and faster. Then sitting in class–any class, all the classes, every lecture I’ve ever 

been forced to sit through. Then suddenly the capriccio of life, I’m standing at my Mother’s  

funeral urging time to become amber, to preserve me as long as it can, to let me gaze 

out of the caramel lens and to achingly hold every moment in my mind like it was glued 

to every individual cell in my brain. My professor in college told me this would happen 

and like a kid I kept reading Plath, and Dickinson, not thinking that time would ever 

accelerate to the point that I would beg it to slow to the lazy trot of a worm in the garden.

 

capriccio 

\ kuh-PREE-chee-oh; It. kah-PREET-chaw \  , noun;  

1. a caper; prank.  

2. Music . a composition in a free, irregular style.  

3. a whim; caprice.

Reverberate

31 Mar

Reverberate

Out of the chaos there could have been the calm of a lake in the middle of the night
or the sound of the distant rustle of tall grass in the middle of a field

but my chaos could only emerge as the racket of imaginary birds pecking at the
imaginary ground of memory I will say this: even the birds knew when to sleep

but I chose insomnia persistent unreal and plastic I made it up until it became real
here’s the day when I think only of my Mother and tomorrow is the day I let

the memories of childhood roll over me like sheets of ice pushing me to the day
when it all echoes in my thoughts back then no chaos except the word the only chaos

I know is the chaos of death and I do not go back to that forest unless my brain
catches the light at the right angle reversing itself and letting the words reverberate

like time travelers until the only words I can remember are words from the past and
even then where did the words star? Stardust, maybe, or some ancient cloud in the

distant universe where I have begun to stash all of my bad dreams a planet where
I can send my chaos which doesn’t exist into a ship into the orbit of a distant

world where it will sit and sit until I discover it one morning eating toast (I never
just eat toast) or looking into the margins waiting for my notes to echo into my mind

and pull back the planet into my mind. Here the chaos was calm, for awhile, here
I thought of nothing to do with pain or hurt, I remembered my Mother the way

a daughter does, no more no less. Here I will be sitting, unassuming to what is about
to reverberate in my life. Again. Always again. Though with longer spaces between us.

 

reverberate 

\rih-VER-buhrayt\ 

verb 

1 :

to reflect or to become reflected

2 : 

to continue in or as if in a series of echoes : resound  

   

The sound of footsteps reverberated through the hallway.

“We take some comfort knowing that the guy who ran the backhoe-mounted pavement breaker that created weeks of ear-splitting din was able to feed his family and make his house payment. The money reverberated through the economy and left behind a roadway that will last long after we’re gone.” — From an editorial in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, February 20, 2014 

Catharsis

28 Mar
ca·thar·sis [kuhthahr-sis]  Show IPAnoun, plural ca·thar·ses  [kuhthahr-seez]  Show IPA .1.the purging of the emotions or relieving of emotional tensions, especially through certain kinds of art,as tragedy or music.2.Medicine/Medical purgation3.Psychiatry.a.psychotherapy that encourages or permits the discharge of pent-up, socially unacceptableaffects.b.discharge of pentup emotions so as to result in the alleviation of symptoms or the permanentrelief of the condition. [Source: Dictionary.com]

Catharsis 

Even during the day you feel like you must explain yourself, at night it makes sense 

you open your journal, the internet, your cat’s ears–whoever you pour your heart 

out to. It evens out. You tell no one all day–maybe your therapist but that doesn’t  

count–but lately, even during the day, you feel the need to explain. 

We all emerge in the morning with our coffee our cars our desire to accomplish  

something even if it’s finishing this cup of lukewarm caffeine. But lately, you are 

telling everyone everything. Late one night you learn that even catharsis has its 

terms. No amount of telling will unbury forgiveness like a treasure, will give you 

the peace you need. Catharsis demands commitment to the cause. So here you are 

at 2 pm still trying to explain, years later, that really you were always doing your  

best being your best uncovering nothing. Recovering nothing after all these words. 

 

Besiege

27 Mar

The Unending Michigan Winter of 2014 

 

The snowflakes began innocent 

Christmas lights distracted  

us all from the terror 

of the winter that would never end. 

 

January felt familiar 

like a friend you want to ask to stay 

just a little longer 

but not much longer 

 

February’s Valentine to us: 

I-275 littered with frozen wheels 

unable to stop unable to start 

We were all snowpeople by then. 

 

And now it’s March 27 and it’s  

raining ice pellets onto my car 

I’ve forgotten what warm is 

the cold besieges me 

 

My tea can only do so much

I give in to the unending winter: 

Another sweater, another cup

of resolve to never leave this beautiful place.

Perspicacious

26 Mar

Perspicacious (per·spi·ca·cious) adj Having strong insight into and understanding of things. “She showed perspicacious judgment.

Upper Peninsula, 1994/2014

At night, sleeping soundly in the brown and white camper my father  

spent hours setting up just right 

I memorized the sounds of the pruned forest: 

leaves rustling like time travelers 

the distant lake lapping on the shoreline like  

a soothing remedy to loneliness 

loons with their long mourning conversations 

Later, as I try to translate these sounds of a place I call home 

and not home I perspicaciously retreat back into the  

sleeping bag, back around the campfire, around the stories  

the park ranger recited night after night after night– 

back to that time when the forest was just a forest 

when my Mother snored late into the night 

and all of time stretched 

lazily before me.

Red Doc> by Anne Carson

14 Apr

Let’s talk about Anne Carson. Or, let’s talk about her presence in my life. If you’ve been reading my posts you’ll remember me mentioning some books a professor once recommended me. Before becoming a Librarian…and sometimes while I’m a Librarian….I used to wonder “what SHOULD I be reading?” instead of “What would I enjoy reading?” And I would ask my professors to give me recommendations. A great idea if I had actually read any of these. A missed opportunity but the point is, back in 2005 or 2006 a professor recommended a book by Anne Carson. It wasn’t until I took this professor’s class on hybridity that I actually read the book she recommended, which was, “The Autobiography of Red.” We were talking about bestiaries and hybrid forms and I totally got into the novel/poetry/whatever. I love when Geryon says he’s a philosopher of sandwiches.

I’ve also read “The Beauty of the Husband” (right before I got married of course) and “Men in the Off Hours” (I remember loving it). So, you could say I’m a fan. I am a fan of Anne Carson, the poet, who lives in Canada. Or did, or, whatever. I missed her speaking in Ann Arbor specifically because I was too nervous that seeing her speak in public (in person!) would ruin my idealized vision of her in my head.

On to the book. When I heard that Anne Carson had a new book out I was so excited! I rushed to Amazon, bought my copy, and waited. And then I got it and I got nervous I would hate it. And then there was this nice interview with her in the New York Times online and then I thought: I definitely need to read this. And then I read a couple of other books.

And then I read it.

The NYT ruined the form a little for me when I found out that it was simply because poor Anne Carson doesn’t know how to use Word properly. But then I thought, well, it’s a happy accident and it was unfortunate that you had to learn about it and can’t try to decipher her decision to write the story like this.

Next: the whole thing felt like a big 70s mod-lit experiment or something. But then I thought, get over it, it’s just because you don’t read a lot of stuff like this. This is what brilliant women write!

And then Anne Carson did what she always does: she writes words that were meant for me and this exact moment in my life. Just like I had been hoping.

I’m going to say it now: Spoilers from here on.

I haven’t exactly been shy about it, my Mom died about 3 months ago. And I’m not going to sugar-coat it, it’s a very big loss to lose your Mother. I know it sounds lame, but I keep hoping I’ll pick up a book and it will tell me what to do next or how to feel next. “Red Doc>” didn’t necessarily do that but it proved to me that there is always something greater than myself working in my life.

While in a lot of ways this review isn’t going to deal with what the book is majorly about, it deals with the loss of Geryon’s Mother. The loss comes late in the book and it hit me hard. I don’t usually cry when reading but then…

I got to this passage: pg 143

“TIme passes Time does not pass. Time all but passes. Time usually passes. Time passing and gazing. Time has no gaze. Time as perseverance. Time as hunger. Time in a natural way.”

and then, pg. 145:

“He brings lilacs from the bush by the corner of her house to which she will probably not return this time. Or ever and he leans his face into them.”

And then I couldn’t stop tearing up, pg. 154:

“In later years this is the one memory he wishes would go away and not come back. And the reason he cannot bear her dying is not the loss of her (which is the future) but that dying puts the two of them (now) into this nakedness together that is unforgiveable.”

Though, not really biographical in my life–I had  a lot of closure and forgiveness with my Mom at the end.

Carson writes on pg. 160:

“He’d almost forgot about the rain. Unloading on the roof and squandering down the gutters. Rain continuous since the funeral a wrecking      rattling bewildering   Lethe-knuckling mob of rain. A rain with no instructions.”

“Listening to rain he thinks how strange all its surfaces sound like the’re sliding up. How strange his mother is lying out there in her little soaked Chanel suit. The weeping has been arriving about every seven minutes. In the days to come it will grow less.”

pg. 162:

“Mothers ashamed and Ablaze and clear / At the end / As they are / As they almost all are, and then / Mothers don’t come around Again / In spring.”

I get it. This isn’t a very good review. But, I hope you take my reaction to reading this book AS a positive review. Much of poetry isn’t just about dissecting and tearing apart, much of it is the reader’s response to poetry and how the words affect the reader. Ann Carson has written a very interesting narrative about what happened to our red friend G in later years. She has flown through genre and plucked the loveliest flowers from each and designed a book around them to delight, mystify, and bewilder. Anne Carson might be the most innovative poets writing today. “Red Doc>” is worth a read but only after you read “The Autobiography of Red” first and only if you promise to let yourself be carried in Ms. Carson’s river of myth, poem, and icebats.

Hello world!

29 Sep

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