It’s been a long time since anyone told me what to do in a fall-in-line school-sense. Referring to tasks for education: write an essay on, create a theme poem, and that horror of horrors – edit.
Edit wasn’t well loved or even liked in my elementary, high or college schooling. (Or now, honestly.)
I loved to write and was under the impression that writing loved me. Otherwise, how could it have been so easy? Words came to me and I dispensed them exactly as channeled through my psyche.
Any type of art, once emerged and recorded, immerged to the deep. Catalystic inspiration filed, it was perfect as it was. Whatever the medium, it came out of me divined and that’s how it would stay. I learned the phrase ‘Artistic License,’ and adopted it, fully.
Young ego. I didn’t understand the art of finessing. Observing, tweaking, seeing it from another point of view – there just wasn’t room in my head. I was always on to the next creative.
April was National Poetry Month. University of Michigan LSA Institute for Humanities popped up with a program and challenge called Poetry Blast. 22 days of noon-time poetry reading by and daily prompts.
Prompts are demands. Uncomfortable commands to self- challenge. When it is no longer about urgent feelings or excited insight, it’s a struggle to combat insincerity with what may not be talent, after all.
So, 22 chances. 22 struggles. Limited outcomes, due to topic, timing. Some just straight-up, staring blanks of ‘I don’t get it.’
My total participation attempts yielded 6 submissions. Three of which, I think, are ridiculously weak, obviously forced. To my credit, I analyzed the situation and accepted the call-to summons as an opportunity. An uncomfortable opportunity to struggle, but that was the point of trying.
Interestingly, I have found my ‘natural’ cadence to be obvious and boring. Admittedly, at times, outright contrived and imitatingly trite. I’ve been working tweaks. One line in particular irked me as being too children’s picture book rhymey. Another, I fear for its honesty.
Some fall into failure, considering way-off prompt tangled-up tangents of skipping from topic to … an anomalytic abyss of deep click diving, one thing leads to another, but doesn’t fulfill the requirement.
In the same way that dusting a 15-year-old multiply-moved, semi-busted lampshade interrupts cleaning mode in favor of shopping for a new one and you end up with shoes.
Quote for the Week:
Background & Links:
Take a few minutes to listen to a poem! April is National Poetry Month, the largest literary celebration in the world. This year, the Institute for the Humanities is joining the tens of millions of readers, students, teachers, librarians, booksellers, publishers, families, and, of course, poets, in marking poetry’s important place in our lives. Every weekday at noon in April, our Youtube channel will feature a U-M faculty member reading one of their poems. See below for today’s featured poet.
2021 Poetry Blast: Read. Write. Hear
Street Poems: Ann Arbor 2021 Poetry Blast Walking Tour
YouTube: Noon Readings
compulsively feeding the
short-term parking meter interrupting life
instead of pulling away
living, long-term, no charge
ghosted self, self-affectioned
in this moment
offering an ending thought,
lightning illumination on
an unnecessary option
one foot only
one foot in front of the other
of going nowhere.
comfort chosen sluggish soles,
shuffled rough roads wearing
that path, owning only
serenely scored expensive ruts
worn deep enough for imagination
to safely ignore the danger in
just a bit longer, til
paid in full with absolutely no allowance
for aiming for horizons
this sort of thing comes faster
short and short of faith.
Quote for the Week:
Every April, I remember the lilacs and the other significant April things….
Jeff’s mother’s house bordered a field. Jeff had planted, nurtured and raised a hedgerow of thick, bushy lilacs. The first time I saw them, all in purple bloom, was magnificent.
When my younger brother was born, my parents planted a lilac tree. It sat almost in the center of our lawn surrounded by mulch and a rough rock border. The bane of my summers was weekly weeding that non-lawn island.
I would pull lawn creepers with my head tucked under the beautiful pastel branches. I always came away from the plant with a monstrous headache. We hadn’t figured out the flower allergy thing, yet.
But, I loved that bush; a little more so that my own honor planting of a red oak with its dramatic scarlet autumn show. I drove by our old house as part of my 30th high school reunion trip. It was a little more surprising than it should have been to see my thin-ish elegant oak had morphed into a thick-trunked, house-high tree. Slowly, it dawned on me that the darn tree was 48 years old.
My older brother’s birth started the tree tradition with a weeping willow that eventually destroyed our septic tank and was replaced by a pine. Planted near the end of the driveway, that pine was replaced with another pine closer to the house after the first one got run over a few times by my mother.
Anyway, about the lilac; I’d lobbied to take it with us when we moved, but it got left behind. After Jeff’s mom passed, I had hoped to get a cutting from her grove, but that never happened. Even if it had, we would have planted it at the house in Adrian, and I would have had to leave it there when I moved into an Ann Arbor apartment.
Apparently, April almost ten years ago to the day – was significantly warmer than the current one. It had only been 7 months since Jeff had passed and I was sorting through my first April without him.
April 06, 2007
amid lilacs and hats
wasps buzz, breezes blow
the sun matters now
and I am trying to be peaceful
but my heart gets in the way
it wants you here,
but it loves you gone, too.
now, both in our own little heaven
me for each moment I can manage,
you for eternity.
I carry so many pieces of you with me
to take the place of the pieces that went with you
and they’re almost a perfect match, but
when the wind blows through the little gaps,
they might as well be canyons, whistling
deep flutes, running and jumping
carrying your deep purple scented laughter,
warming like a smile, blowing tears to my cheeks
I know I need to
lift my chin
and believe with all I have, that
even as years go by, I can remember being
amid the lilacs, and I can count on your memory
always being there
Quote for the Week:
Enjoy this Week’s Discovery Links:
Lilacs: Farmer’s Almanac