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Month: May, 2012

typewriter

while cleaning yesterday I uncovered one of my typewriters and decided to write a quick poem, partially to test the letters. They work.
and no, this poem does not have a q, among other letters.

May

Because apart
talk
rather than touch
because wait
learn.

You: a considering branch.
Me: a determined thrush.
Caribbean blue under brown.

My first underwater garden.
Purple fish the air
turtles nursed by sharks.

I know rivers
as you know stone.

What we love most
shapes our bones.

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day 2- shorten a long poem

This is a fun exercise for me, someone who can be a bit wordy, and someone who doesn’t have much time for revision. Nap time = revision (and generation, ha!) time.

This poem is many years old.

If you see any lines/images you think should remain(from earlier draft, below) please let me know!

thanks.

The Shore
on the St. Mary’s River

Shore erodes, a shy gesture
under the high tide, a weight of oyster.
Glass chimes sound by my feet.

A hundred miles from here my mother
believes she is saving us, points to her forehead,
says, “My third eye is open all hours, I can’t sleep.
I have to save them.”

Wind lifts my hair, silence folds into me.
Boulders guard the sand. A frayed
discard of anchor rope.

Some oysters hold close to life, a whole shell
attached to a broken one.
I pick them up and drop them back in the water
over and over.

and, the longer one….
The Shore
on the St. Mary’s River

Shore erodes
a shy gesture, fingers that flutter
under the high tide
and wave to the mid-day sun.

Along the coastline a weight of oyster,
cracked shells, empty. I pick one up
it swings open, drops a pebble.
Glass chimes sound by my feet,
a push of worn rock and shell
against each toe.

A hundred miles from here my mother
believes she is saving us; you, me,
every sad person in every danger. She imagines
people drowning in a deep sea, herself the only
savior, pulling them out.

She points to her forehead, says, “My third eye
is open all hours, I can’t sleep. I have to save them.”
At the end of visiting hours we ask her to rest.
Hug her goodbye, fold  her nightgown in easy reach.

Wind lifts my hair as the shore silence folds into me.
Stillness. A marriage of sun, sand and wave.
Someone has placed boulders to guard the sand. On one a frayed
discard of anchor rope, woven blue-grey,
a tiny band of metal holds one end together.

Some oysters hold close to life, a whole shell
attached to a broken one.
I pick them up and drop them back in the water.
I do not know much about saving, or whether the tide
will bring them back, but do this over and over.

prompt: shorten a long poem

I got this prompt from poets and writers and thought it may help with a few of my poems, poems that seem not quite right or strong enough for my manuscript.
First go is here.

Walking Venice

The sky is a half-forgotten legend.
In squares, birds sing up, small bits
of colored glass. Everything
damp, beautiful, moldy.

The buildings live with the dirty lap
of water by their feet. Tourist’s eyes break,
mottled as the beautiful blooming glass
fable blue like this pebble.

Tell me stories of sky. Hold your hand up
and shape the possible horizon.
Your wrist compasses the air, sketching
a map of something almost solid.

and here is how it was…

Walking Venice

The streets are not streets
they are small alleys,
Opened windows

flowers, cats, boxes, broken dishware,
draped towels. Everything
damp, beautiful, moldy.

The sky is a half-forgotten legend.

In squares, birds sing up,
small bits of colored glass
reflect their bright seeing.

Prayers and plastic, side by side,
windows speak many languages,
rarely Italian. The buildings

have learned to live with the dirty lap
of water by their feet. Tourist’s eyes break,

mottled as the beautiful blooming glass
on the island past the cemetery.
Want and desire. Shelves of mirror.

Impossible animals
totter on transparent legs, the press
of glassblowers pliers leave neat

folds and smooth ridges. We travel
today through the walled cemetery, past the broken-
winged angels, the stacked remains

and the grass-drunk birds. Hold eyes
to the sky, and ask, what is that?
Fable blue like this pebble of glass I bought

to weigh paper. Still. In the walled city
you tell me stories of sky. Hold your hand up
and shape the horizon as it could be.
I watch you trace a place I once knew, one I’d forgotten
until your wrist compassed the air. Sketching
a map of something almost solid.

May poem

I’ve taken a poetry break, but have been drawing and painting a lot.
Today, I felt moved to write another gardenish poem.

May Leaves

All climb and flower, they travel
over two months of waiting.
It rains almost every day

but enough sunlight has gathered
to give us this: strawberries under peas.
I say, ‘these are ripe!’ and my daughter

jumps and laughs. She loves
the pod split for her. A boat
in her hand she takes each pea out slowly.

She handles them as pearls,
her fingers precise. Dappled.
The wind is strong all around us,

new pale green leaves hold tight to their branches.
Maple, oak, strawberry, rose and pea, each distinct
in shape but similar in their swift movement.

Shading themselves and us, they release
so we are bathed in a constant dance of sunlight
and leaf light. There is no pencil quick enough

to capture this moment, and even the camera
moves too slowly. As slow-swift as the pea
growing from the soil, or the child who was

so recently in me. She leans into me.
My body is only here for her comfort,
I know she thinks this. I steady myself

and lift another span of strawberry leaf
to find that which has just ripened
so we may taste spring before it fades.