ADVICE

Write until you’re tired.

   ~Janice M. P.

Write till no more words 

come out of your pen.

Till the skin wears off your fingers.

Write through the banal, the tedium,

the common feelings every animal knows.

There are no new feelings.

Even love is old.

Write until the metaphors are used up,

until the symbols are nothing but stupid.

Write until there is nothing left.

Not a wish, not a thought, not a care.

Then start the poem.

PASSAGE

PASSAGE

She went to the oracle

bringing an offering

of incense, a white pebble,

a drop of blood

on a leaf of thyme.

I am empty she said.

 

            Go deeper the oracle said.

 

But I’ve seen the crystals

growing from the floors

and ceilings, I’ve slipped

into the green waters filled 

with white salamanders

and blind fishes, 

I’ve touched the walls

covered with luminous worms

and spiders with legs

as long as my arms.

 

             Go deeper the oracle said.

 

I’ve been all the way in,

she said, all the way

to where the walls

are covered with paintings

of antlered men

and dancing women,

of suns and moons

and disembodied hands.

I’ve tripped over the bones 

of wild bulls and giant bears. 

 

             Go deeper the oracle said.

 

But there is no door, 

no passage, 

leading beyond that deepest cave. 

The only way left

is the way back out.

 

         Ah then, said the oracle.

         Ah.

THE STORYTELLER

THE STORYTELLER

Oh, the wildness of the teller in her cave of bone!

She finds dragons in stumps, faces in every carpet—

 

how will she make it cohere?

Was it once upon a time, or ever after? 

 

Snakes and bears are real enough,

and mirrors trying to reflect what’s fair.

 

She searches her fallible senses

entwined with shadowed remembrances

 

and pieces a pattern, a dream, a tale— something

that might be true, or that someone might believe.

 

The smell of whisky, the texture of satin,

a whisper behind a half-closed door—

Ten Rules for Poetry, #9

10  RULES FOR POETRY, #9

Don’t keep anything for yourself:

the scent of white iris or wild grape flowers,

the empty spaces between stars,

the russet tail of the crested flycatcher

and his raucous, tuneless voice. Don’t keep 

linnet’s wings, or the hummingbird 

who bathed this morning

under the spray of your garden hose,

or the scarlet tanager, always just

out of sight in the oak.  

 

And don’t keep uncertainty. And tell us

when you mourn. When you are afraid,

don’t hold it close. When the world

is too much with you, when darkness

comes every morning, when the center

cannot hold, when everything

you love is falling away, when dust

is rising and settling on every inch

of grass and skin, when the brief 

candle flickers, don’t keep it.

 

Tell us, tell us how we aren’t alone.

 

Honorable mention Comstock Review contest, Fall/Winter 2016

NOT POETIC

 

 

NOT POETIC

~after a discussion with fellow poets about the uses of euphemism 

If shit’s not a poetic word,

then how about excrete?

How else can one describe what’s left

of things we creatures eat?

 

For water one must often “make”

urine ‘s not elegeeic;

and piss though not poetic,  

is onomatopeeic.

 

I’m sorting through my old poems and posting a few that I still like. Including this naughty one, written maybe nine years ago.

INVOCATION

INVOCATION

Sing in me, Muse, and through me tell the story

of poets in April, of twists and turns.

Driven to and fro by words and noise,

haunted, solid, cursed, concealed.  

Many things they saw:  unpeeled oracles,

flying seducers, flights of sparrows, 

long months dressed in black or gold. 

Thrumming weathers pulsed through their bones.

Even so they saved each other from disaster,

no gods or sirens seduced them.

their own wild recklessness kept them all–

children and fools, they ate the moon,

their muses leapt into their arms

and wept and laughed, and explained their lives.  

 

 

Wrote this one in 2013.

March Prompt #8: Art Mangling

ART MANGLING

March Prompt #8

90% of everything is crap.

   ~Sturgeon’s Law

Crumpling works for poems and stories and manuscripts,

for drawings and lighter paintings, too, perhaps.

Crumpling and tossing, with a flourish, into the basket,

and missing sometimes, so that the floor

is dramatically, artistically strewn. Later,

one’s lover can retrieve a piece, smooth

it out and say, “Why, this is genius!”

and the rest is history.

 

Burning is excellent. Oh, the notebooks and canvases

crackling in flame while one cackles

and takes long swigs from a bottle of red wine!

Bonfires are best. Small fires on the edge

of the driveway arose the suspicions of neighbors.

Is there genius feeding the fire?

Who knows? Who cares?

One can always claim that, in after years.