20 May 2016

Fragment Friday - Five Poems for May

Spring and green grass to roll in!

The Fox Bead in May

By Hannah Sanghee Park

The kiss is, strictly speaking, a passing
of of   twice: a bead from her mouth to his,
then back, ad nauseam, and the boys who lived
and died for it. The lovely girl amassing

ninety-nine spirits, and in high spirits
for consuming her highest amount. Once
the hundredth boy arrived she starts her hunt
in her haunt, a hill’s field filled with fitting

Artemisia absinthium.
And every day they kissed to swap the bead
and for a month he waned and wans

and when he learned the truth about her tongue,
he downed the bead: her true form a nine-tailed
fox who could have turned human, had he kissed on.

The Logic of Spring

By Alexandria Peary

In another poem, called The Logic of Spring,
        a mechanical drawing of a tree 
that I've passed a 100 times
         on my way to a different problem. 
I glance backwards, and the stack of the day
multiplies, glancing backwards several times, 
the dog-eared corner with the graph paper sky of that morning
        and the logic of spring. 
Right before I wake, I hear the riposte of mean jays (blue dots
        that drag the pink banners of answers off the tree
with words in gold italic latin)
        from the fog pumped in by the machine
set on my lawn. First thing in the morning,
(page numbers in all the dish rags hanging around the sink)
         I part the buttery curtains
to see beyond the doric columns sitting on my porch & the
         hibiscus twig 
that someone has set the stump of such a tree—gray
         smudges and still intact line breaks
with flashing pink splashes— 
outside my house while I slept.
Seems unbearably cruel until
I realize that in the flapping fog I finally hear its questions. 
Are you so easily distracted
         by pieces of a poem 
attached to a tree?
         in which as the situation changes
you catch glimpses of yourself 
         a series of emoticons.


By Karen Volkman

In May’s gaud gown and ruby reckoning
the old saw wind repeats a colder thing.
Says, you are the bluest body I ever seen.
Says, dance that skeletal startle the way I might.
Radius, ulna, a catalogue of flex.
What do you think you’re grabbing
with those gray hands? What do you think
you’re hunting, cat-mouth creeling
in the mouseless dawn? Pink as meat
in the butcher’s tender grip, white as
the opal of a thigh you smut the lie on.
In May’s red ruse and smattered ravishings
you one, you two, you three your cruder schemes,
you blanch black lurk and blood the pallid bone
and hum scald need where the body says I am
and the rose sighs Touch me, I am dying
in the pleatpetal purring of mouthweathered May.

Karen Volkman, “May” from Spar. Copyright © 2002 by Karen Volkman. Reprinted by permission of University of Iowa Press. Source: Spar (University of Iowa Press, 2002)

Springtime in the Rockies, Lichen

By Lew Welch

All these years I overlooked them in the
racket of the rest, this
symbiotic splash of plant and fungus feeding
on rock, on sun, a little moisture, air —
tiny acid-factories dissolving
salt from living rocks and
eating them.
Here they are, blooming!
Trail rock, talus and scree, all dusted with it:
rust, ivory, brilliant yellow-green, and 
cliffs like murals!
Huge panels streaked and patched, quietly
with shooting-stars and lupine at the base.
Closer, with the glass, a city of cups!
Clumps of mushrooms and where do the
plants begin? Why are they doing this?
In this big sky and all around me peaks &
the melting glaciers, why am I made to
kneel and peer at Tiny?
These are the stamps of the final envelope.
How can the poisons reach them?
In such thin air, how can they care for the
loss of a million breaths?
What, possibly, could make their ground more bare?
Let it all die.
The hushed globe will wait and wait for
what is now so small and slow to
open it again.
As now, indeed, it opens it again, this
scentless velvet,
this Lichen!

Lew Welch, “[I Saw Myself]” from Ring of Bone: Collected Poems of Lew Welch. Copyright © 2012 by Lew Welch. Reprinted by permission of City Lights Books.
Source: Ring of Bone: Collected Poems of Lew Welch (City Lights Books, 2012)

The Burning Kite

By Ouyang Jianghe 
Translated by Austin Woerner

What a thing it would be, if we all could fly.
But to rise on air does not make you a bird.

I’m sick of the hiss of champagne bubbles.
It’s spring, and everyone’s got something to puke.

The things we puke: flights of stairs,
a skyscraper soaring from the gut,

the bills blow by on the April breeze
followed by flurries of razor blades in May.

It’s true, a free life is made of words.
You can crumple it, toss it in the trash,

or fold it between the bodies of angels, attaining
a permanent address in the sky.

The postman hands you your flight of birds
persisting in the original shape of wind.

Whether they’re winging toward the scissors’ V
or printed and plastered on every wall

or bound and trussed, bamboo frames wound with wire
or sentenced to death by fire

you are, first
and always, ash.

Broken wire, a hurricane at each end.
Fire trucks scream across the earth.

But this blaze is a thing of the air.
Raise your glass higher, toss it up and away.

Few know this kind of dizzy glee:
an empty sky, a pair of burning wings.

13 May 2016

Fragment Friday - Mid May Roundup

Baaaa, humbug to snow flurries in May

1.  It's mid May in Wyoming, and we had snow this morning. Of course I've seen snow in July here, so not a big deal. And it melted when it hit the ground. How's the weather where you are? Getting your garden planted yet?

2.  I managed to get through the whole day without it dawning on me it was Friday the 13th. Never registered, and nothing bad happened. Are you superstitious? Any rituals you must perform, or things you avoid out of habit?

3.  What are you writing of late? I have competing writings going on in my head, poetry, fantasy novel, idea for another novel. It's like all the characters are at a bar, each one trying to shout out their points. Or that scene on Lord of the Rings at the Council meeting where everyone is arguing about the ring. I'd be the Hobbit in the corner with a headache. "I'll take the damn ring anywhere you please, just SHUT UP."

4.  On submitting to literary magazines - "I've been writing since I was big enough to hold a pencil" does not carry the credentialing weight you think it does. Just sayin'.

5.  Did you know there are apps out there that will read your documents to you? A bit robotic, but boy, do mistakes stand out. Sometimes hearing the piece out loud makes all the difference. Even reading my work out loud to myself will not catch things. But Mrs. Robo-lady does. And I detect no smirking in her voice when she reads a mistake to me. Satisfaction--maybe.

06 May 2016

Follow Your Nose!

It's no secret that I love dogs. Where Corgis come first in my heart (followed closely by Basenjis) I am always ready to support a worthy cause that has dogs at the center of its mission. My friend Lisa has a rescue Beagle, and she wants to raise awareness and money for the Cascade Beagle Rescue. So she found a rather unique way to do it. Here is the blurb from Cascade Beagle Rescue:

Follow Your Nose: A Hike for Cascade Beagle Rescue

Cascade Beagle Rescue (CBR) speaks beagle. Our mission is to take unwanted, neglected, abused, homeless beagles, and beagles at risk of euthanasia, and provide them with the emotional, medical, and behavioral support they need to be adopted into loving and permanent homes. As a 501c3 nonprofit, CBR is funded solely by contributions and donations. You can imagine then, how we jumped for joy when Lisa Goyne approached us about pairing her long distance hike on the Pacific Crest Trail with a fundraiser for Cascade Beagle Rescue.  450 miles 4 Beagles? That sounded fun!

A long distance hike has been a dream of Lisa’s for years, but as we all know, some dreams take awhile. After drawing on the inspiration of friends and family, and her own rescued beagle, Emmy, Lisa finally decided to go for it this summer. On July 28th, she will begin her trek at the California/Oregon border with the goal of reaching the Bridge of the Gods and Washington five weeks later with $20,000 raised for CBR.

Isn't that cool? Want to support Lisa? Go to her new BeagleNoses page to follow Lisa as she gears up to go on her journey. There's a link to Follow Your Nose on the right hand side where you can donate and help Lisa with her hike. Check back with BeagleNoses often for updates on this grand adventure!

29 April 2016

Final Five Prompts for Poetry Month

Blossoming into May, and the end of National Poetry Month

Your final five poetry prompts for the month of April. Choose one, choose all, or forge your own path, but round out the month with a few more poems.

1.  Write an honesty poem. This is a poem where you are brutally honest about something. It works best if you are honest with yourself. These poems aren't necessarily for public consumption, so see how deep you can dig within yourself. 

2.  Think about shoes. Love them? Hate them? Prefer to go barefoot? When did our ancestors go from protective foot covering to fancy-dancy 6 inch tall? In the future will all our shoes be custom molded for our feet? I've had the same pair of comfy hiking boots for 30 years, how about you? What shoes earn a place in your hall of fame?

3.  Turn off the television, silence your phone, and spend ten minutes listening to the outside world. What do you hear? What has become background noise? Can you identify all the sounds around you? Write a poem using sense imagery, particularly as it relates to sounds. Make us 'see' the flower in all its technicolor glory, or stinky glory as the case may be.

4.  "April showers bring May flowers" Think of a favorite - or hated - flower. Write a poem where you explore your feelings about that flower. Do a little research into the meaning of the flower, including where it grows and what it traditionally stands for. 

5.  String. There aren't enough poems out there about string. Help fill this void. Write about the world's biggest ball of string and what happens when it runs wild. Write about string holding things together, or keeping them apart. What can you do with string? Be inventive and take us along for the ride.