|leaving utah--encountered blizzard outside of beaver, ut.|
|did i know the bowling shoes would match my dress in mesa, az.?|
|pool legs, sans tights, scottsdale, az.|
so, one more day of spring break "vacation" (decision: taking kids places is not a vacation--it's much, much harder than going to work. not to say it's not a worthwhile endeavor, but it's certainly not relaxing. or is it just me?)
it's the end of the day, so i won't go into much detail, but we've gotten to see all siblings and spend an entire day at the pool, so mission accomplished--sun & sibs. got to hold my newest nephew, marco, aka mr. bubbers/papi/chubby hubby. he's very advanced and handsome, as are all my nieces and nephews.
i barely had time to post my guest poetry prompt from book balloon today, so i'll let it double for my blog post as well. it's inspired by yesterday's post, and it uses jean valentine's poem again which i love more and more with each read.
i'd be so overjoyed to read anyone's attempt at this poem. the idea for it is rather nascent, so it would be great to see how writers respond to it.
& DEFINITELY go to book balloon, register, go to the forum and click on "go--get creative." janet mcadams has been posting a prompt for each day of april, except wednesdays when i prompt, and she has a few surprise guest poets coming up. so do it!
A Missive, A Supplication
To whom do you supplicate?
I’ve been thinking about the poem as a prayer, a cry, a missive, a plea, an attempt to speak about something we need but we don’t have the right words, in the expository sense, to ask for.
So we send a missive out into the world, “This is my letter to the world, that never wrote to me,” Emily Dickinson said, not knowing whom, exactly, in the world or universe, is listening, or what they will hear.
Prayer and poem connect on many points, but specifically in the way that they can be expressive in a non-direct, non-linear, nonsensical way that sometimes someone will understand and make their own sense of.
I love this poem by Jean Valentine, and think of it as a prayer; in the end, God knows she needs to take “Jim” into the wide front porch of her lap.
by Jean Valentine
as if at its center,
god would be there—
but at the center, only rose,
where rose came from,
where rose grows—
& us, inside of the lips & lips:
the likenesses, the eyes, & the hair,
we are born of,
fed by, & marry with,
only flesh itself, only its passage
—out of where? to where?
Then god the mother said to Jim, in a dream,
Never mind you, Jim,
come rest again on the country porch of my knees.
So here’s the prompt for a missive poem, after all my blah, blah, blahing (thanks for listening!)
A. Dear __________________, (insert a word that is god-like or ungod-like here. How about “toothbrush”?) Please___________________________. (Insert your cry for help here.) It can make sense (“Brush my soul clean/Sweep my heart with your bristles") or not sense ("Please tell me who you are/change from neon pink to clear/make the teeth fall out of my head.")
Repeat this warm-up 10 times. Here are a couple of my first attempts:
1. Dear Strawberry, please curl me up in your tongue until tendrils sprout, and I become we.
2. O pencil, please write and unwrite, write and unwrite, write and unwrite until god’s breath makes me clear and blank as a spirit.
3. Beloved bowl, please don’t mock me for overturning you and wearing you to the winter formal and pretending like you are an Alexander McQueen.
Okay, so some of those are silly, but I’m brainstorming and therefore not getting too critical yet.
B. Choose three to five lines that you like and make a stanza for each, letting the prayer extend itself to wherever it wants to go? (Who would EVER have predicted that, in Valentine’s poem, “Jim” would come into the picture, or that god would be a mother rocking on the porch with her big comfortable lap for Jim to sit in?)
What I’m trying to say here is let your poem write itself into a prayer, let the poem tell you, your toothbrush, god, your pretty bowl, ripe strawberry, or the stars above, the words that need to be said.
Then post on book balloon, and/or get on your knees & speak your prayer aloud in a dark room.
legwear: cocoa butter & bathing suit
inspiration: baby flesh/mr. bubbers
looking forward: to going back to work/routine