Category Archives: Poetry

Late Post

Have you ever listened to a song that you’ve heard and sung along with multiple times and then one time, at one moment–it clicks? Songs are written to convey something, but that doesn’t mean listeners always get it, especially not right away.

Tonight I was listening to Tom Petty’s “Learning to Fly” and I got it. I don’t know if it was the snow, the bonafide snow that falls so quick and so thick you just know, that in a few hours, your world is going to be a new place. You quite literally will be transported somewhere else where a dark road in the dead of night is an interstellar flight to a winter wonderland. I don’t know if it was that, but I think that promise put my mind in the right place. That place was to understand the meaning of the song, at least as I see it.

Well I started out down a dirty road
Started out all alone
And the sun went down as I crossed the hill
And the town lit up, the world got still

I’m learning to fly, but I ain’t got wings
Coming down is the hardest thing

Well the good ol’ days may not return
And the rocks might melt and the sea may burn

I’m learning to fly, but I ain’t got wings
Coming down is the hardest thing

Well some say life will beat you down
Break your heart, steal your crown
So I’ve started out, for God knows where
I guess I’ll know when I get there

I’m learning to fly, around the clouds,
But what goes up must come down

I’m learning to fly, but I ain’t got wings
Coming down is the hardest thing

Learning to fly is about learning to be happy. Good comes and good goes, but being happy, not euphoric, not ecstatic, is something some have to learn to do. There are no wings, there is nothing that can put you up there. It’s just you, learning to be happy.

This reminded me of Arthur Dent who, to fly, had to simply forget to fall. As you throw yourself at the ground, you must be distracted by something as you plummet towards the ground. What does this say about happiness, if the symbolism follows through? That it can’t be forced. One must learn, that as they fall, to look for the distractions. I’m not sure if the two tie together, but for me, there is a simple lesson about happiness in both.

You can learn to fly, or you can develop a knack for missing the ground. Either way, be happy. Happiness isn’t the euphoria of our best moments, but the acceptance and enjoyment of the moments in between.

 

Though this isn’t about writing, this is something I felt compelled to share. I hope your Saturday brings you a wingless flight or forgetful fall.

Publishing, some other stuff, and a Poem!

I lied. I said I’d share my work this month but then my friend Sabrina started talking to me about helping her get published. SO I did some searching on query letters and then I thought, well where will I submit to and blah blah blah.

So here’s the thing: the best way to get published is to get published first (I know, I know) and win prizes.

I am submitting to OWFI’s annual contest this year. I also found this great site: http://writersweekly.com/this_weeks_article/004256_09122007.html. Maybe, if I win some sort of prize I can fund a drinking binge submission to paid contests.

I’m also going to try to write a short story and some poems for publication. While I do that, I’ll finish my novel. THEN I’ll start querying agents. Hopefully, I make some progress. I’m looking forward to making a lot of progress on it this year.

But the thing is, I have to start writing shorts and poems in speculative fiction, which I almost completely do not do. I have some “I love science fiction” or “I’m a book nerd” poems but nothing… really in the genre.

I do however, have this blog and the 50 followers whom I dearly love. Thanks guys, you’re the best.

I also recently got reblogged! I know, super cool, right? Check it out: SingleInACollegeTown.

Also, I ordered a treadmill that will be here Friday which means that all my reading/tv time will ALSO be exercise time. This, to me, is the lazy way to exercise. But hey, it’s good for the brain and energy and living forever.

I dredged up this painting I made and a poem:

 

DSCN0404

 

 

Where Crimson, Blue, Green, Yellow, and Lilac Come Together

The sky is a clear white, as if the oxygen forgot
its favorite blue and left naked this morning.
Crimson, lilac, blue, and green grow
as living things in places they don’t belong
while my yellow hangs not as a ball in the sky
but as rays shaking around me.

Life laps, touches down and picks up again.
Lilac, soft, sweet tweeting.
Blue, leaves and paper and paper rustling.
Yellow, a lively violin playing.
Crimson, a soft, steady heartbeat.
Green, steady humming.

My yellow is aglow, the touch
of spring after a long winter.
Blue is the splash of salty water on lips.
Green is the caress of grass.
Lilac is calm in a storm.
Crimson the blush on cheeks.

Sharing is Caring: Poetry Time!

I thought that I’d share some of my writing this month. In the past, I’ve written a lot of poetry but with my novel taking center stage, I’ve let that go. That’s not so cool. I’ll have to get back on that today. Until then, I wanted to share some of my older pieces.

Pictures to be Lost II – During undergrad, I wrote a series of poems dedicated to memories I couldn’t get out of my head of boys who were done and over. It was cathartic to get them out (and no they’re not all, boo hoo he’s a meanie). They’re just memories rather than “love” poems. This one, I can vouch  is not sappy. The others might be.

This Dead Metaphor – This follows that idea of getting rid of something that won’t leave your mind, like cliches (dead metaphors) you use in first drafts (which consequently is a something to watch for during revision).

Still Life – Sometimes, your world has a more interesting story than one you can make up. Case in point: this poem about a fellow student who lived the zombie life (go to class, sit in chair, get bag ready before the end of class annoying everyone, leave).

The Checkerboard Street – Inspired by a photo, this is one of my best poems that just came to life without much work.

So, enough with the past! I’ve moved up and on. Let’s see what I can dredge up…

The following was from a prompt that I found somewhere in a book for English teachers.

My mind is like…

A book with some of the pages missing.
Information stands, stark and lonely,
Ready to be pulled out at a moment’s notice,
But not always useful.

And this is another little picture of my life. The day before I got married (Oct 15, 2010) was a bit crazy so enjoy:

A List: October 14, 2010

flight delayed
airport lunch with my brother and his wife
long flight to Atlanta
and slow taxi to the gate

elbow through the narrow alley
people attempting to get their bags down
a woman yells—
they’re all in a hurry—
fuck her—
keep elbowing through—
have to get to Alabama

run through the airport
make it just before the gate shuts

halfway there—
turn around—
web of cracks on the windshield—
a woman wails—
she is missing her wedding

board another plane
land
wait—
wait—
wait—

a white SUV stops
he steps out
blocks of green
standing in rows
on his hat—
his shirt—
his pants—
he smiles
hug

And, the last poem I’ll leave you with is a funny one.

Ode to My Bedside Lamp

You’re a table lamp,
Some sort of fake material
Made to look silver and aged.
Your cloth shade is simple,
Tan, and aged looking.
You are the first on
And the last to sleep.

If only you could be the coffee maker,
Only turned on when it’s had fresh coffee.

Without you, I could not read at night.
When the power when out this summer,
It took three tealights to match your brilliance.

You only cost ten dollars at the dollar store.
I would not replace you with a more expensive model,
Because you do your job and do not complain.

Lighting my night side table,
You will be used and abused
As I knock you about in my morning haze.

Lighting my night side table,
I am not sure if you are happy.
Perhaps, if we left, you would chase after us
Like the Brave Little Toaster.
Perhaps not.

Wordle and Poetry

Two things today as I haven’t worked on my novel (yet). They are related to my novel.

So one is Wordle. What could this strange word and accompanying website have to say about MY writing process? One, it helped me take out my most over used word “started” by simply alerting me to its overuse. Here is a picture of Wordle’s for my first two posts:

So, what Wordle does is you either link your blog or paste your text. It does NOT save your text or publish it so it’s confidential. Now, to save a picture of it you have to take a screenshot then paste that (CTRL+V) into Paint and then crop it on up. BUT if you just want to check your word usage for editing purposes (for example, I might try to edit out the following words from my blog posts: also, going, really. I would chose those words because they’re weak words. Obviously scene and writing are good words for a blog about writing).

This helped because I used the word “started” like a crutch. Girl-hero started this, started that, started to, etc etc yada yada. If I didn’t correct this, it would get really annoying for the reader. I got this idea because I’m reading a series (great plot, poor character development) called “The Furies of Calderon” and every character frowns in every chapter at least once. THERE IS A LOT OF FROWNING IN EVERY SINGLE BOOK. Frowning. A lot of frowning. It’s a 3.5/5 for me (story is 5/5, characters 2.5/5, FROWNING -9001). SO the goal is to avoid angering your reader by overusing boring words. Don’t be surprised if your character’s names are the biggest words in the Wordle.

Now, onto poetry. DON’T STOP READING PROSE WRITERS! Yes, you DO write fiction. Yes, it IS a different genre. No, you can’t pretend it doesn’t exist.

I’ know lots of people that don’t like to cross genre. I’M A POET, they say. I WRITE NOVELS, they say. I WRITE SHORT STORIES, they say. That’s fine if you want to be stagnant. The truth is, there is a lot that other genres do for you. I recently met with someone at an OCWI meeting who said if he’s having trouble with a scene, he tries a different genre (like screenwriting) to do the scene and if it doesn’t work, there is something wrong with the scene.

SO back to poetry. I am in a graduate program for English Ed at the University of Oklahoma (no, please, don’t Boomer Sooner me) and one of my amazing professors likes us to write poetry because he himself is a poet and truth be told–you can’t teach writing if you can’t write and poetry can be a lot of fun. When you don’t take yourself too seriously, you can have a good time with poetry.

So here are two exercises I did today, the first is a simile/metaphor exercise and the second is an acrostic poem BUT WAIT there’s more! It includes art. Find some art, I really, really got into this woman’s work today: http://www.osnatfineart.com/. Try to find something you like, if not, Google “abstract art” or “art” and find something that pleases YOU.

Okay, so, this technique was designed by Kathleen Walsh-Piper and I’m taking it straight out of her book “Image to Word: Art and Creative Writing”

Writing a Poem: Metaphor and Simile (p 2)

  • First Line: give the painting a name
  • Second Line: write an action phrase based on what you see, such as “running down the lane” or “flying to the treetops”
  • Third Line: create a simile, a phrase using “like” for the painting
  • Fourth Line: give the painting another short name

I did a total of five, here is my favorite:

Osnat Tzadok’s “Wrinke in Time”

A mixture of light and space.
Breaking and swirling at an alarming pace
like birds racing to prey.
Space beginning to fray.

AND this is another of Walsh-Piper’s techniques:

Titles (p 86)

Give the painting a name. Make an acrostic poem from that name.

If you don’t know what an acrostic poem is… It’s hard to explain BUT if the title is POEM it’ll look like this:

Pineapple is a prickly fruit

Orange is a round fruit

Envelope is not a fruit at all

Milk is tasty

Got it? I suck at this but anyway, here’s what I did:

Osnat Tzadok’s “The Other Side of the Moon”

Sea Meets Earth

Saffron earth rises up
Edging ever nearer to the sea
And in a fury clashes

Marrying the blue waves
Eating up the salt
Eating up the wet
Tasting sweet, sweet victory
Savoring the long lasting moment

Embers of anger burn
And the sea strikes back
Returning its pain
To the swollen earth
Helping once more to keep the balance

Okay guys, I’m going to stop talking so you can stop reading and try these things out. Let me know what you think!