demanding, cadence

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 


The Three C’s (Only Me)

Nope, not clarity, cut or color.

Cat, chiropractor and car.

The first two words were never something I imagined ever saying in conjunction.

The third, well… I’ll get to that.

Here’s a not-so quick kitty update.

Blu’s back is messed up and has been since we were on our regular morning cat leash-walk and encountered an unleashed large dog this past summer. The vet had been asking if he’d had a fall. Turns out he did; from my arms, after shredding my chest. He hit the ground hard, sort of on his side, but jumped up and ran straight home. He was there was waiting at the door to be let in when I caught up. It took me forever to remember that because he seemed fine for quite a while after.

Anyway, the cat chiro is a bit of a drive and requires wrangling that selectively wily Blu cat in his carrier. Illogically, the carrier is where he likes to sleep in the daytime. Somehow, all I have to do is silently think, “It’s almost time to get going,” and he lumber-sprints. This pending trip, the little booger bolted and wedged himself under the basement stairwell.

I had the fore-thought to warn my hunched-over self, “Ok, when you get him, just don’t stand up because you’ll bonk you head.” Grabbed him, rolled him up in my ratty don’t-care-if-you-shred-this-any-more-than-it already-is-holey sweater, aannnd… stood up. Quickly, moving with significant force and speed, which resulted in stars and swearing and a lumpy bluish front forehead bump.

After being blind-folded and jostled up the stairs, he took being pushed into his bag rather mildly. He even rested quietly while I changed out of my not-to-be-seen-in-public top, but, then, began thrashing while I put my shoes on.

Shoes are another trigger. He associates them with leaving the house, now. Sir Harley is fine in the car, until it begins to move. Then, it’s 20 minutes of whiny-boy crying and me apologizing, asking for forgiveness. Explaining, I really do love him and that’s why we’re doing this, again.

I got a little turned around on the way there this time which added an extra 5 minutes travel and yakking. Luckily, we were going to be early. Arriving just on-time at our destination, all is quiet again as soon as the car’s set in park. I call-in to let them know we’re waiting.

The vet briefing is over the phone, and then someone comes out to take him in. I really dislike this COVID necessary scenario. I want to be with him and see how he reacts and ask a million immediate questions. Instead, I’m stuck in my car along, sitting sandwiched between two other pet parents.

It’s a little chilly, but I turn the car off.  I’d cranked the heat on the way and wearing a ridiculous-looking but ridiculously-warm bright red, branded but free, puffer coat.

I’ve reached the necessary age of Michigan Non-Vanity, adopting the Who cares how I look? I’m not shivering! way of life I probably should have years ago. I suppose the fact that it’s 36 degrees in December, categorized as only ‘chilly,’ proves I am indeed, somewhat adaptable.

Quote for the Week:

Shoes and Pockets

It mostly takes sorrow to understand what it means for life to change in a minute or less; a blink of the eye.

I recently made my first volunteer trip without a notebook. Actually, I had a notebook, a specially made one, at that. I never had the chance or made the time to pick it up at night, in the morning, or during the day. I was that busy, that engaged, so much a part of the experience.

A few times, with a few spare seconds, I’d text myself notes without actually capturing the story. I only took one phone call on the job as well. It’s a number I always answer with one eye closed, as if grimacing and half-sight would lessen the possible bad news or make whatever I’m about to hear better. That day, I wasn’t fielding a crisis call, just an interestingly timed hello that coincided with a break between events.

My usual crutch, this time imprinted, spiral bound, soft-covered, had no place to ride. I made sure I packed pants with plenty of pockets, but it was just too wide; not easily rolled, cumbersome. So, my business card coordinated journal only left my shallow suitcase to be unpacked and repacked a few times as sleep accommodations changed. Accommodations changed four-times, but still, the pages remained blank, and my pockets remained full of emergency preparedness, and my shoes became varied.

Advised to bring along, the most comfortable, non-open-toed footwear owned, as a seasoned volunteer I brought along three. The most comfortable travel shoes, the broken-in but not broken-down lightweight running shoes, and the heavier, clunkier, dingy white walking shoes I’ve had for years. The travel shoes for the trip, the lightweights for indoor, the heavy-weights for potentially wet or muddy conditions; I thought I had it covered. After the first 4 hours of unexpected continuous circling on concrete, the day before the venue opened, my feet already disagreed.

Even the most comfy shoes can become the wrong ones in a given situation. When your absolute comfort zone becomes absolutely uncomfortable, it’s time to take the next step and step-out. Switching often was the recommended cure. I redefined “often” to suit my schedule: 8:30 am – 4:30 pm, and then 5:30 pm – ?, and because an extra pair of shoes wouldn’t fit in any of my pockets, either.

That’s how I came to be leaning slightly against a tall cushioned stool on my third night as Press Room, Cooler and TV Monitor, and how I came to be fully sitting as often as possible on the fourth evening. It’s how I arrived at a greater understanding of shoe references in folk-lore and axioms, and challenge their worth.

In the midst of high profile questions and cameras, gratefulness, humble humility and recognition of greater things were common themes. Often repeated, regarding a tragic event or overcoming odds, one phrase floated. Seemingly hovered near the ceiling, drawn in with deep breaths, and released again and again, made known by succession – it really was remarkable.

The common implication that life can change in a minute or in the blink of an eye usually refers to the unexpected – something bad. Nursing painful feet, cramping calves, traumatized thighs, I’ve exhausted-but-clear-headedly come to the conclusion it can go the other way. From good to bad or from bad to good are the really the only two options of change available. These are the roads thoroughly traveled by artists, musicians, poets and dreamers; everyday people – the ones who make things happen and keep life running.

So, maybe it’s time to stop expecting the other shoe to drop, and graciously accept another pair.

Perhaps it’s time to preemptively trade the moulded cradle effect of the same shoes we’ve been wearing over and over to allow our standard stance some breathing room, stress-reduction and sore spot-regeneration.

I’m not recommending a challenging cliché. I’d really rather you didn’t attempt to walk a mile in my shoes.

I’d rather you dance a few feet, run a mile or appreciatively stand still in your own shoes.

I do suggest changing them often or finding a new pair; a shoe-in process proven to combat the painful bondage of repetition.

Then, be sure your pockets are deep enough to hold all the happiness that comes your way.

Ephesians 6:15: For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared.


Quote for the Week:

To be happy, it first takes being comfortable being in your own shoes. The rest can work up from there. Sophia Bush


Enjoy this week’s discovery links:

Stop Waiting for the Next Shoe to Drop:

How to Find Shoes that Fit:

Sophia Bush:

if the shoe fits wear it 06 17 2014