Saturday, September 26, 2015

Visual Poetry: (Anti) Body Love

Ah, the ever-present flight of the modern-day female.
Part satire, part bitter truth.
I feel like burning a few beauty magazines.
Maybe I'm a feminist, but I blame the media for the young, intelligent girls who skipped their school lunch today.

**Each panel is approximately 6 inches by 8 inches.  Includes collage, marker, various papers, gems, sequins and acrylic paint.  They are meant to be displayed in the order they appear.  Although they are meant to stand alone...I merely was inspired to add descriptions below each one for the purpose of the blog.  But as display, they would not have any accompanying poetry.**

(The full display can be purchased for $75.  Email me at if interested)

"The Critics"
Magazines, news articles, tabloids, even television.
The perfect women, everywhere!
So thin, always thin and ever sleek...those female beauty machines.
As long as you look plastic, you can do anything!

"Effortless Perfection"
Make-up, body cream, cosmetics galore!
Power bands, body-shapers, you can wear one.
An hourglass figure is out of style,
lets bare bone, forget muscle, and who needs a brain?
Forget Shakespeare and grad school,
now lets all look the same!

"Body Love"
Are you hungry, are you lonely,
as the strangers knock at your door?
Are you worthy, are you respectable,
a perfectly manicured camera whore.
Are you happy or are you tired
of the face in the mirror?
Is it worth it, have you made it,
the no-name woman of the year.

I Think I'd Have to Agree...

Poem Not to be Read at Your Wedding
by Beth Ann Fennelly

You ask me for a poem about love
in lieu of a wedding present, trying to save me
money.  For three nights I've lain under
glow-in-the-dark stars I've stuck to the ceiling
over my bed.  I've listened to the songs
of the galaxy.  Well Carmen,  I would rather
give you your third set of steak knives
than tell you what I know.  Let me find you
some other store-bought present.  Don't
make me warn you of stars,  how they see us
from that distance as miniature and breakable,
from the bride who tops the wedding cake
to the Mary on Pinto dashboards
holding her ripe red heart in her hands.

I once glued those same, cheap plastic neon stars to my ceiling.  I thought it might help me sleep, at night, to lie awake and count the stars.  I love stars...I love the sky...and what better way to see it from the veil of your blanketed bed mid-winter than to create your own?  I remember how, one by one, they began to fall from the ceiling.  My false sky unglued itself.  Intermittently I'd find those stars, always a different size each time, floating amidst my sea of blankets.  And I don't think I ever remembered to wish upon even one.

I guess, in a way, what I'm saying is that I agree with this poem wholeheartedly.  Nothing I have to say of love is wedding-speech worthy.  Weddings are big white-washed dreams...and so far as I've ever known, whitewash chips away like pieces of led paint...each little dent upon the facade of some life you've half-created just another drop of poison to remember when the complete foundation caves.  And when natural disasters occur, I've never heard of someone fighting swift waters in rowboats to save wedding dresses...have you?

Makes you wonder what's real, and half-imagined, and only wishful thinking in this circus we call life.  Weddings being the biggest kind of wish of all!

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Sometimes I Feel Like I Wrote It Myself...

And, sometimes, no matter how well you are with words.....the right ones just never quite arrive on time.

Her Kind

Anne Sexton1928 - 1974

I have gone out, a possessed witch,
haunting the black air, braver at night;
dreaming evil, I have done my hitch
over the plain houses, light by light:
lonely thing, twelve-fingered, out of mind.
A woman like that is not a woman, quite.
I have been her kind.

I have found the warm caves in the woods,
filled them with skillets, carvings, shelves,
closets, silks, innumerable goods;
fixed the suppers for the worms and the elves:
whining, rearranging the disaligned.
A woman like that is misunderstood.
I have been her kind.

I have ridden in your cart, driver,
waved my nude arms at villages going by,
learning the last bright routes, survivor
where your flames still bite my thigh
and my ribs crack where your wheels wind.
A woman like that is not ashamed to die.
I have been her kind.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

"Night Without Stars" by Nancy Eimers

A Night Without Stars
by Nancy Eimers

And the lake was a dark spot
on lung.
Some part of its peace was dead; the rest was temporary.  Sleeping ducks
and geese,
goose shit underfoot
and wet blades of grass.
The fingerlings like sleeping bullets
hung deep in the troughs of the hatchery,
such cold,
such distances.
We lay down in the grass on our backs-
beyond the hatchery the streetlights were mired in fog and so
there were no stars,
or stars would say there was no earth.

Just a single homesick firefly lit on a grass blade.
Just our fingers
curled and clutching grass,
this dark our outmost hide, and under it
true skin.

This poem reminds me that small moments can become so much more.  Fumbling hands in the dark, two separate beings tumbling toward each other under the dark veil of grass....two universes crossing each other beneath the lifeline of a sky on some otherwise insignificant night.

When I was younger it seemed like the lake was the place to be.  Couples would claim parking spots at the spiel-way for heavy make-out sessions and steal back into the secure teenage rooms full of movie posters and fashion magazines sometime past 1 am...just late enough to avoid the overt eyes of knowing parents....or at least that's how things were for me.

Sometimes it's nice to to be reminded that during this life, there were also other lives we lived.  Funny how time turns everyone into someone else, eventually.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

"Heat" by Deborah Stein (and My Commentary)

by Deborah Stein

hot boys, she says, are sweet in the summertime
muscles burning taut and ripped
steam rising off their shoulders and hanging
in the air, heavy swirling auras of light
and cologne, making a greenhouse in her room
backing away coolly, i say i'm not so sure
with my sour apple gum and dry air-conditioning
(keep me from her heat sticking my hand to my cheek
eternal expression of awe) I watch her try
to bloom, bear fruit, or at least create honey
to boil in the fevered friction, wailing as she rubs up
against them and then they stand, patient shiny statues
sweat gleaming just beneath their skin.

This poem really calls to me of adolescent summer affairs, a first walk along the beach while holding the hand of a boy I could never really love.  It also takes me back to long, sultry summers and city swimming pools and neighborhood cookouts.  High school boyfriends and private picnics near baseballs fields and parking lots where, people who are my age now, probably drove by and marveled the freedom to be so young again.  A time of innocence that wasn't really so innocent at all where desires of the heart were concerned.  The burn of young love was remarkable but oh, so much simpler, than lasting love that ages.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

West Liberty Backroads

The leaves held secrets,
Words that buried
The sins of a late Fall
Between the rough brown
Edges of Dogwood and Pinecone,
Each hard-edge syllable
A rough palm-clasp
That couldn’t quite reach
Into forbidden places;
Country roads and rolling hills
Carrying us into a labyrinth
Of Appalachia and dead Meadow Flox,
The sweet smell of something changing,
An invisible thing to wish upon
As each curve rose up to reach
The rusty reels of your Oldsmobile,
They hugged the road like talons,
Twisting just beyond the quick-drilled
Caves and earth-holes,
Wishing wells of dead coal miners.
The drive was always a nostalgic,
Tight-chested lip-breath,
And the pot-holes between the
lineless roads would quake
my lungs and roll my heart
around like a lost pebble
from one of those dangling
roadside rock-slides just waiting
for the right wind to happen.

Written for a prompt at  Pink.Girl.Ink.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

It's Me Again...

Me Again
by Jacqueline Dash

I who wanted to talk
of a time inside my soul
that is always my poem-in-progress,
have found only myself whenever I looked
and missed the real happening.
With wary good faith
I opened myself to the wind, the lockers, clothes-closets, graveyards,
the calendar months of the year,
and in every opening crevice
my face looked back at me.
The more bored I became
with my unacceptable person,
the more I returned to the theme of my person;
worst of all,
I kept painting myself to myself
in the midst of a happening.
What an idiot (I said to myself
a thousand times over) to perfect all that craft
of description and describe only myself,
as though I had nothing to show but my head,
nothing better to tell than the mistake of a lifetime.

I read this poem as a certain looking inside one's self.

The author ruminates, almost obsesses, the idea that most of her poetry ultimately ends up being written about herself.  The plight resonates with me.  Many times I've carried my muse to the page...and written with fervor...only later to analyze that my subject matter was, indeed, myself.

I believe if one painted, literally painted, pictures of themselves over and over...perhaps they could properly be deemed an narcissist.  Writing, though, is something altogether different.  The words we bring forth...the analysis, the observations and memories...they are personal.  They come from inside us. And so I believe it is just and accurate that we find ourselves inside them too.

I always feel as if I go inside myself before I write.  There are whole worlds inside of me...I bring bits and pieces of those far-away destinations to the page each time I write.

This poem reminded me of myself in the agonizing that perhaps my poetry is too personal.  And then I have to remind myself that this is the way we relate to one another, the way galaxies are closed between us...being real, sharing stories, intertwining lives, remembering ourselves and each other the pauses of spaces between the words we write.