Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Featuring the poetry of Tim Peeler


Tim Peeler is another contemporary poet I admire greatly. He has graciously given me permission to post the following poem as an example of his work. Tim is the second in a series of poets whose work I'll be periodically featuring. (If you visit his website, you'll discover who owns the hand on his shoulder)

Tim, thanks!

Poem for George Harrison

Think will you
of the gray morning mist,
the cat coiled on a carport chair,
the bark of coyotes by the distant river,
the heavy groan of the garbage truck, urging
the highway stoplight to blink red, then green.
Think then
of spotted horses edging into the meadow,
steamy nostrils flared-
Yes, it's a big picture, so
think of a mountain, black and broad enough
for a backdrop, quiet and royal in the dawn,
where light collapses in long blue shadows-
Think of a song;
then think of the sun.


Tim Peeler
(c)2005

Read more about Tim Peeler, including information about his publications at his Website

Here are a couple more of his poems published in Thunder Sandwich

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Galveston- A collaborative poem



(Note:Ginger requested that I post this poem about the Galveston Hurrican, mentioned below in my note about Katrina.Philipe and I wrote this, not as a haibun, but with that form in mind, using poetic verses rather than haiku between the narrative. True haibun is usually also in present tense)

Galveston

The roving eye of the worst hurricane in history, set aim for Galveston on September 8, 1900, overturning homes and uprooting trees in its wake.

I lay out my afternoon tea cup,
set my pot on to boil.
A tree crashes my roof, upsetting.

Clay Braughn, the youngest of the rescue volunteers , reached Claire Thornton's home four hours after the tides first spilled over shore, sending half-dressed survivors slogging for higher ground. He hadn't wanted to come on this mission, but had to prove he was no coward. Not like his son of a bitch father before him. His legacy.

I search through the remnants of my
mother's china, now scattercrashed
to the wood floor of this house
my grandfather built.
Its once sturdy roof weeps
water onto the sofa
where my mother soothed
soft cries, my father lit his cigars,
and my last husband flaunted
his whore before taking
the next train to Houston.

He rammed the door with his axe. Clattering, footsteps, then silence. The roar of the wind seemed to mock him. Another elm toppled in the grove. Is anybody there, he called. In town they said Claire Thornton danced barefoot in that same grove at night, hair swirling behind her.

He bangs at my door,
that same door I closed once,
not to open again, especially
to brash young men thinking
me foolish enough to come running
with uncombed hair and my face
unrouged or powdered.

Leaves hurled themselves at the windowpanes and mud sucked at his boots. Bile slid from stomach to throat as he broke the hasp with his axe, knees trembling when he fell through the door.

He stares at me, this intruder
glassy eyed, fists tight.
Has he never seen a woman stoop
to gather her china before?

A chunk of wood crashed through one window, rain close behind. He reached down and grabbed her arm but she jerked free. Don't you understand , he shouted. The storm will blow down your house.

He speaks of storms come
to destroy me. but
what does he know of storms
I have already survived, of kisses
given, then taken away, hands reached
through lonely nights over smooth sheets
touched by no husband's back
and no mother to smooth my damp hair

He grabbed at her again, but she ran into the next room, lock falling behind her. Axe lifted to chop again, water bubbled over his boots and the house shuddered along with him. The axe tumbled from his hand as her laugh slipped through the door. Stay here and die, crazy old loon, he screamed and ran for his horse. A buggy wheel flew by, bounced off a tree and headed west. He thought of his father once, then mounted and followed.

He thinks of death as the enemy,
but I welcome this stranger
roaring across tree tops and land
to find me, embrace his sweet song,
wait eagerly, until walls tumble
and lonely nights claim me no more.

Six thousand men, women, and children were killed in the storm. All of Galveston was destroyed. When asked about Claire Thornton later, Clay Braunghn said no-one was home. He was commended for his bravery.



A collaboration between Philipe Nicolini and Pris Campbell
(c)2003


Published in Verse Libre, summer, 2003

Art: Photo of Great Storm Statue commemorating the Galveston Storm

Flash Poems

Three interesting approaches to multimedia poetry.


from The Iowa Review

Sexual poem in Beehive
(in the 'select' box, click on 'hyperbody' from the drop down menu)

From Poems That Go

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Accessible Poetry-An article by Joan Houlihan of Boston Comment

Click on the title for the link. Personally, I've grown tired of reading poems writ by poets who seem more interested in showing their ability to manipulate the language than to write a poem that, as Ted Kooser says, helps the reader to see the world in a new and different way; to communicate, but to communicate in a fresh 'non-trite' way. The 'accesibility viewpoint' isn't in much favor now, despite two Poet Laureates lauding it. Billy Collins has been ridiculed on at least one major blog for dragging poetry back into the dark ages. Read the essay. Judge for yourself. Comment, if you feel moved to do so.

Friday, August 26, 2005

The Pact

Each Spring, when the leaves first attempt
to wriggle their way through stiff stubborn
branches, the lost girls float high beneath
the ice of Lake Okawalla.

Their eyes track the skaters--
those pirouetting birdlike figures
in thick woolen mufflers, the daring
ones skirting the thinning spots that gleam
like opals throughout the warming lake.

Rabbits and deer shy from lake's rim.
They've seen the gray, unblinking eyes, heard
the moans in the night, listened to stories
of suicide pacts, stockpiled pills, told and retold.

They lift their heads instead, watch the stars
and moon shiver-dance across the dark sky
until a dawn sleet crowns thorns onto the trees
and tears finally melt rivulets into the crackling ice.

Pris Campbell



Inspired by a reading of the book,
The Lake of Dead Languages, by
Carol Goodman.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Ship's Lantern


(click on photo to see the detail)

This photo was taken at the Sandwich Glass Company museum in Sandwich, MA, on Cape Cod. I don't know if this museum still exists, but I hope so. The museum presents glass pieces that date back to when glass was still blown and imbued with the human touch. I like to think that a lantern just like this one lit some sailor's way as he made his way across deck on a Schooner late at night, or gave light for the Captain to enter the day's events in his log while the ship tossed on the seas underneath him. If there are indeed other lives, I'm convinced that I sailed on one of those ships back then. I feel so married to the life of the seagoer.

I just read an interview with Ted Kooser. He was talking about poets taking ordinary things and letting people see them in a new way, a way it didn't occur to them to see before. For me, this lantern brings the scent of the sea, the rushing waves, and sailors dressed in their woolens, braving the unknown for one more adventure before land holds them fast again.

Pris, holding fast as our own adventure rushes towards Florida.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Spammers

One measure I just googled and found a stopgap measure to help users of Blogger.com to avoid spamming comments.

In your administrative box, go to Settings/Comments/then click 'yes' next to Turn on Word Verification. This requires that several letters be copied in order to post a comment. A new feature recently added.

One problem. When I tried it, I couldn't read the first set of darn letters. If that happens, hit 'back arrow', then hit 'comment' again. You'll get a different set of letters. I could read the second.

Sorry for just one more step, but I've deleted two spam comments already this morning and two yesterday. They're increasing.

Pris
A thursday p.s. this is the first morning of three now that I've opened the blog not to find spam posted. Let's hope this continues to work!

Shall We Dance?

This image is courtesy of the old ArtMagick site. Degas loved to paint ballerinas and this, in my opinion, is among his best.

When I was young, I dreamed of being a ballerina and that dream lingered all the way into my late twenties, manifesting in my imagining myself on the stage whenever I saw a ballet. Our small town was able to afford a combination tap/ballet teacher for only a couple of years when I was in grammar school. I loved both and still remember some of the tap steps. I also loved the feeling at the end of that first year when I was allowed on my toes in the ballet slippers. I was a swan. I was transformed. She left at the end of that year, but the moment remains.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

War in Iraq...will we ever learn??

Click on the title. You'll likely need fast access. The presentation has sound. It was sent this morning by an online Vietnam Vet friend. He asked the question, 'Will we ever learn?'. I wrote back, 'apparently not'.

Hit back arrow to return to this post.

P.S.
Just added: See Michael Parker's Blog for today. Senseless and outrageous killings...but let his post tell the tale! He provides links for any of us willing to take some small step. Get involved??



Pris

Pretty Boy Floyd

Woody Guthrie sang about him. Larry McMurtry, author of The Last Picture Show, and Diana Ossana co-authored a novel about him, entitled 'Pretty Boy Floyd', of course. I just finished it and here I sit feeling sad about his death. Some men can do that to you, bad or good. I do highly recommend the novel. I didn't expect to like it, especially, but I like McMurtry, so I read it. I couldn't put it down.

Pretty Boy Floyd went to the top of the Most Wanted List after Dillenger was killed, but he was still considered a Robin Hood, loved by three women and the people who met him. Click on his name in the post title to read more about his life. I'm posting this to see if a poem comes about him. If one does for you, I'd love to see it.

(a poem in progress--another draft up)

Pretty Boy Floyd

Flies still buzz-bomb that spot
where the G men gunned you down.
Hungry, tired, frost on your clothes.
Like bagging a whipped deer.

The grass never greens
in the place where you fell
and your blood, they say, tints
the bushes with red every Spring.

You tipped your hat to robbed ladies
offered candy to babies, but
two-timed women waited till
their nails grew and curled
for one more glimpse
of those pretty boy looks.

The Okies still claim your ghost
roams the hills, gun under one arm.
You croon out dreams of bigger
bank rolls, sweet loving kisses
and picket-fenced white houses
doused far too soon.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Discovery, by Rene Magritte


Over the years, people have decorated their bodies..paints, piercings, tatoos. Do you have a piercing other than your ears? What about a tattoo? If so, which and what is the tattoo of, if that? Where is the tattoo or piercing on your body? What or who inspired you to do it?

This and other paintings by Rene Magritte can be found HERE.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Backyard At Dawn



The clouds were out over the ocean, three and a half miles to the east. A full moon was behind me, still high in the western sky. A few lights were on in the neighborhood here and there, this Sunday morning.

Weird Art

In randomly browsing for 'Weird Art', the image to the left on
THIS SITE appeared. I like it. Other interesting images on the same site. If you could pick one art related search name to put into your browser, what would it be? Have you tried it? What did you find?

my shadow glues layers
of sadness into the thick brush
where spiders play and dog rut
for rodents and timid cats
to chase home, leaving us
stuck in the waning sun.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Questions , always questions...

Didi Menendez posted on her blog.....I had to answer these questions for my profile for the project I am working on. She says, why don't you guys answer these questions on your blogs too?

3 Songs from the soundtrack of your life:
A Whiter Shade of Pale- Procal Harum (sp?)
Lying Eyes- Eagles
Father and Son- Cat Stevens

can't help it..had to add
Brown Eyed Girl-Van Morrison (thanks, Charlie)
Two out of Three Ain't Bad-Meatloaf
My father's Eyes-Eric Clapton
The Blower's Daughter-Damien Rice (thanks, Steven)
Bach's Double Concerto
Brahm's Piano Concerto
Dvorak's Cello Concerto

Favourite book[s]:
Anything by Alice Hoffman, Sue Grafton, Tom Robbins--mostly anything offbeat, too.

Favourite film[s]:
Love Actually, The English Patient, Closer

Favourite poem[s]:
Impossible question

Favourite quote
Is that a banana in your pocket or are you glad to see me? Mae West

The Beatles or Marvin Gaye?
The Beatles.

Favourite comfort foodAnything my friend Barbara cooks when she comes to town..mostly unusual made-up vegetarian

What fuels your drive?
My friend, Joe..he always says I can do it.

What Inspires you
Music. Art. Love.

Bio:
Pris Campbell lives in the greater West Palm Beach with a crazy dog and an absent-minded husband. She writes poetry and is co-writing her second romance novel. When she can't be creative, she turns into the Incredible Hulk and destroys things.

If you decide to do this, post a comment here or on Didi's link.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Break Day


I spent a lot of time on yesterday's post. Today, I'm pampering myself in hopes this darn cold goes away. SOON!

Pris

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Advice From Jack Kerouac

Some from the above link...

Remove literary, grammatical and syntactical inhibition
Like Proust be an old teahead of time
Telling the true story of the world in interior monolog
The jewel center of interest is the eye within the eye
Write in recollection and amazement for yourself
Work from pithy middle eye out, swimming in language sea
Accept loss forever
Believe in the holy contour of life

God's Messenger

It's that sort of day--the kind when birds
fly straight for the sun, when mice run
in circles till their tails twist into knots,
and squirrels argue endlessly atop telephone poles.

The mercury explodes in Sam Sander's garage
when the temperature roars over 120 degrees
and Mable Jenkins breaks her big toe-
her pot of cold cucumber soup wriggling
and protesting withdrawal from her fridge
till it slips loose from arthritic hands.

It's a day when frustrated lovers lie separate,
panting on sweat-drenched sheets, and long-married
couples grump about old fissures and decide they should
have married their childhood sweethearts, after all.

On such a day, a day ripe for miracles, a day
prime for Gary Cooper to ride in on the twelve o'clock
special, a vagabond appears,tells anybody
who'll listen about dire deeds forgiven
and roads paved in gold, roads leading
anywhere and everywhere but here.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Communes circa The Seventies (Thanks to Michael Parker for Inspiring me to do this!)

(Clicking on the photos shows them full size)
********
Communes were very different in the Seventies in Boston from the Sixties concept of Drugs, Sex and Rock and Roll. Oh, a few people smoked pot here and there, but it wasn't mainstream and not as a group. Communes had by then become experiments in alternative living and were taken seriously as such. The people living in them were older and had jobs. They were stimulating to be with, being fellow seekers.

I lived in a commune of eight people for six months, then moved to a smaller one. This shot is fuzzy, taken with no flash, no tripod, and no light. I'm the only one dressed in the photo, to the far left:-) Different communes had different feelings about nudity. The two women living here felt comfortable going to and from their baths nude, the one guy in his skivies, the others in robes. In the second commune, a woman who posed as a model at the art school at B.U. often wore just a sarong under huge swaying breasts. I admit my modesty. My nudity is reserved for the bath and other private occasions. When we did the nude male calendar, one of our models lived in a huge commune where nudity was also taken for granted--except with Jack. His female love (she was 40, he was 45 and dropping out of the business world) saw his being a model as one way to overcome this, so we posed him all over the commune one Saturday morning, as other members came and went, with no more than a casual, 'hi Jack'.:-)

******

This photo was after the move to the second commune and was taken before leaving for the People's Revolutionary March in Concord, Massachusetts. We weren't marching against the Vets. We were marching to bring our boys home. Ford was now in office and would be in Concord the next day. The night before the confrontation with Ford, we camped,thousands of us--the six of us lying like sardines sideways in a two man tent. There was a big concert in the hills that night, too. Phil Ochs sang 'I'm Not Marching Anymore', one of his last concerts before his tragic suicide. Other singers I no longer remember. I'm not in this photo. The man to the far right was the love of my lifetime(or so I thought at the time) and commune mate for 3 1/2 years before we left on our boat trip.
***

In the communal main living area with friends in for a meal. Two were Psychology Interns from the VA where I worked outside of Boston. The woman with blonde hair pulled back was the intern I supervised, now in private practice outside of Boston. This was Mexican meal night. We all chipped in with the cooking and created a feast. I took the photo.
*****

Two other commune mates, Eva and Vortek. We'd taken our 22 foot sailboat out to one of the islands off of Boston Harbor. That's Boston in the background. Eva had escaped Poland right before the Communist takeover, leaving behind the man she was in love with. He was one of the Resistance leaders and couldn't leave. Vortek was in love with Eva and so he escaped and came to be with her while she was still living in Manhatten. They eventually grew to love each other, but I was always convinced her heart still belonged to the man in Poland. Eva was going for her graduate degree at Harvard and Vortek worked as a foreign car repairman.

*****

What can I say??:) The type of clothes often seen. This guy was over helping us make paper ornaments for the Christmas tree that year.

*****

And, finally, a trip up to the Berkshires for the Boston Symphony Concert and camping with R, my then love.

*****

This is me, cleaned up and hair curled, at a party with several of my work colleagues, two other Psychologists at the VA and a female intern. It was interesting being part 'hippie' by night and weekend and hard-working normal looking psychologist by day. Everyone at the VA knew I lived in a commune. No secret. It bothered a couple of the older, conservative nurses at first until they got to know me, then it was no big deal to anyone.

C'est la vie!

Monday, August 15, 2005

Self Portraits

Why do we create self portraits, whether through art or photography? I would image we'll find different answers from each artist or photographer asked or from those of us who take family photos only to be kept in an album. Some find this ego-centric. Others, an indulgence. Personally, I find the self a fascinating and changing subject over time and the best part.An artist most known for her proliferation of self portraits was Frida Kahlo. She had a fascinating life, carrying out affairs with many prominent leaders/artists of her time, but a life also filled with illness and pain. One of her many quotes about her paintings:

"I paint self-portraits because I am so often alone, because I am the person I know best."

Frida Kahlo's Art

But one by no means has to be ill to create self portraits. Here are a few more that I like.

Degas: Self Portrait

Series of self-portraits by Van Gogh

A quote from a site on Dali's paintings:

In all of Dali's paintings you can find a self-portrait. That is, if you look hard you will see at-least a sillouette of Dali himself.

Dali Self Portrait

Odilon Redon Self Portrait

Edvard Munch series of self portraits

Rousseau Self Portrait

One of my favorites...
Chagall Self Portrait

Jan Toorop Self Portrait

Page of Traditional Artist Self Portraits

Another page of Wonderful Self Portraits

Yousuf Karsh, Photographer

Matisse and Picasso at MOMA


I would love to see links posted in Comments to your own favorite self portrait on line, either of self, artist or photographer. I would especially love to see links to female artists, either traditional or contemporary.

This post was prompted by a note from someone this morning asking why I posted photos of myself or created haiga using my own image. I thank him for inspiring this search. While I'm not an artist, my answer would be partly similar to Frida Kahlo's: I'm much isolated and often I'm my only subject. My other answer would be that I create whatever I do because I enjoy doing it, be it poetry, comments, calendars, or photographs. Plain and simple:-)

Pris

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Bamboo and Oak

It was meant one day as his coffin,
this box of hewn oak, sanded and oiled
til it gleamed like the moon sailing high
off a black satin ocean.

He liked to plan ahead--
liked the feel of wood, smooth as a woman's
body would feel under his someday,
he once told me.

An odd one, this brother of mine,
his room jammed with time lines and lists
neatly writ on yellow lined paper:
marry at age 22
baby at age 24
house at age 26
company president by age 35


He never did come back from Vietman.
A POW, one witness said.
His time lines drifted by, mark
by mark, till, one day
I inherited the box.

Now, nights when I sense ghosts stalk my room,
I open the lid, climb in,
press cool wood against sweaty back,
imagine him, lying the same, under green,
skin taut across bone, skeletal,
scratching 'death' on his bamboo timeline.

Getting Routered

My tech buddy comes over today to put in a router so that my husband's machine and mine will be independent. After having three blue screens of death lately (I really do hate that term), it means both won't die and I'll have a backup.

I met Lloyd on the Windows Forum around four years ago when I was having horrid problems with a previous machine and had gone through two techs who knew nothing. At the time, he was co-host on the Forum and it turned out he lived about a half hour from me. Finally, when the last tech was telling me that I needed a new hard drive , with no evidence of failure, Lloyd posted that I was to do nothing. He was coming to look at the machine. He later told me that his friends told him he was crazy. I could be a mass murderer. My friends told me the same thing:-) Well, I'm still alive and so is he and he's been a good bud over these years. He helps me with puter stuff and my husband fixes his A/C. So...some internet connections DO turn out well. Here's to you, sotdr! You're great!

Pris

Thursday, August 11, 2005

That Old Gang of Mine

The aging hippie couple
at the end of my block
stack sofa, chairs, bookcases
and one table on their lawn;
set a bonfire. Their way
of making a statement
about ownership, they claim,
when the cops rush up.

They grow weed among their
flowering bottlebrush shrubs,
carry brownies packed with
their wares to the sad old lady
across the street.

She dances until midnight
in a red beaded dress, skirt swirling-
a redbird in flight. The neighborhood
dogs howl under her windowsill,
her four-legged choir of fresh lovers.
The other ones lie six feet under
in long ago graves, for now, forgotten.

Pris Campbell
(c)2005

(I've written the below artist for permission to use her artwork on my website with this poem. If she declines, it'll be removed here, as well. In the meantime, enjoy the work of a gifted artist)

Autumn by Laura DiNello.
copyrighted

Her website is HERE

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Vigil



By Amy Falstrom
copyrighted

Another painting I love. View this and others, found at The 2004 International Symbolists Art Show

After-birth

Told she would die of
this lump growing in
side her--
go karmic
go spirit
go angels singing
from the realms of glory--
she buys a low
cut red shimmy shammy dress,
seduces the Jamaican lawn boy,
mails her husband's mistress
faked records;

Mr. Jonas: herpes advanced stage!!
Oh, so official.


She withdraws their savings in ten
dollar bills, spends weeks
hiding each bill separately
in the gardenias
the A/c duct
under the carpets
inside every bra, dress, shoe and book
she still owns.

The lump,
this lump, now
her baby
come full term,
implodes,
a whoooooosh
of after
birth taking her with it,
feet first, flying
away from this strict
overplushed house
away from her faux-porcelain
mouthed husband,
only
that wrinkled
hand-clenched
desperate red dress
marking her shrunken
sad space on the bed.


Pris Campbell
©2005

Monday, August 08, 2005

The Wait






Girl On The Shore by Munch
Courtesy of the old Art Magick site







(I'm reworking S1 and it's still not there, so you're seeing a poem in progress)



Tom Hanks finds Meg Ryan-
Empire State building

amd I think of when you said,
'we're magic', babe.
Billy Bob Thornton & Hallie Berrie-
sharing ice cream on the steps

and our old churn, stored in the cellar,
comes to mind.

Movies reel you back to me,
piece by piece. I close my eyes:
You/Richard Gere, kissing
me/Julia Robert appears.

You are the squeak in the leaf
I roll between my fingers each Spring,
the halo of light lingering when
I switch off my lamp, come midnight.
You are the sweat in my gown
and the silence between raindrops
on that beach where you stripped
off my suit and once took me, hard.

Any day now, you will surely
knock at my door and,
kissing my cupped hand,
say, she didn't matter, love;
she never mattered at all
.


Pris Campbell
(c)2005

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Red Boat With Blue Sails by Odilon Redon




Odilon Redon has been among my favorite artists since I first saw one of his paintings in the Art Institute in Washington, D.C. in the seventies. I simply couldn't walk away from it. Stood there, as if my feet were glued to the floor. I later received a book of his work as a gift from a friend who went with me that day and discovered a whole new world of art. Of course, the subject in this one is close to my heart.

To see a huge collection of his work, click HERE

Saturday, August 06, 2005

After the dance is over...



This shot was taken about four weeks after my six month boat trip ended in Florida in 1978. My back had finally buckled under the physical stress of handling a 22 foot sailboat for six months in all sorts of sea conditions and weather. Not yet having a new homebase, I returned to stay with my parents in Pageland, the first time I'd depended on any serious help from them since I finished college.

I eventually ended up going back to Florida with the man I'd been with in the Boston commune and boat, but this respite, this valued time with my parents and aunt in my hometown is one I'll always look back on with happiness. Good Southern cooking again, rest and morning walks for my back, then Christmas with cousins coming to town for the holidays. Here, I'm at the edge of the pecan grove behind my parents' home, a place where I loved to wander out to in the evening and watch the sun slowly drop behind those bare limbs. God, I still miss going home so much!

Friday, August 05, 2005

Queen of the Nile


Princess Vega by Claudine Helmuth
copyrighted and used with permission



On my horizon the sun releases twilight,
as the clock eases past midnight on your
side of the world

You tell me you want to make love by the Nile,
that river snake that slithers silently
from Africa, through your beloved Egypt,
into the waiting Mediterranean sea.

You will lift my gown of a hundred stars,
ease me onto your spread tunic, raise
my legs high to your shoulders, fill
my hungry spaces, as the night sky watches
and the Sphinx purrs lazily
across the dark empty sand.

Anthony and Cleopatra-
center stage once again.

~
A poem floats from my head,
disturbs the blue jay asleep in the elm,
slips through the window next door,
sending an elderly couple running
with surprised haste to a bed unshared
these past twenty years.

My body tingles and I know
you dream of me now, just as
I will dream of you in my own turn,
waking late, soaked in my own sweat
and longings, my gown tossed,
and one star still pressed
to the center of my forehead.


Pris Campbell
©2003

Published in The Women of the Web Anthology 2005

This poem also took second place in the Poetry Board League Competition, May 2003, judged by Steven Mueske, editor of The Burning Word.

Contemplations

(this is a poem I wrote about a year ago)


I once imagined it would be you,
dancing between my thighs
during the days when I first
contemplated my mortality.

What else to think of a man
who brought me glass slippers,
and plaited my hair with sunlight
before spilling promises
as easily as cheap wine
in a brothel?

I no longer wait for hands
now repelled by bared nipples,
a tongue reluctant to explore
moist spaces, a mouth
gone mute to words about love.

We have declined into
silence, my body tumbled
to illness- trapped, with you,
here among the cinders.

Light has been sucked into
the hole where once there was us
and I mark off these charred days
with red on my calendar.

Will I escape you, I wonder;
flee to my pumpkin
before the clock strikes twelve?

Answers elude, but
when gravediggers
line up with shovels
and women perfume my feet
with sage, should one soul
bend and softly inquire
about life's greatest
disappointment, I'll say,

you, dear,
it was you.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Mama said there'd be days like this...

I'm trying to get my perspective back in the wake of yet another infection. I'm so frigging dizzy from the antibiotic this morning I can't see straight.

I NEED to find peace, but it's not gonna come from outside of me. That whirlwind is going to keep right on trying to knock me down. I'm climbing into the calm center of the tornado. I'm my own mood ring. What would Buddha do? What would Jesus do? What would Mohammed do? What would Carl Perkins do?

A poem I wrote in 2003 showed up on my website webtracker this morning...

Booted

Over the edge and fed up,
I bludgeoned him with my boots--
the same ones that walked me
to Woodstock
then sat glass-encased
with the scent of weed and crushed daisies, his

screams now embedded
with Hendrix howls
into my shrine

Pris

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

All Dressed Up



The photo in this haiga is the official class photo of one of my mother's first grade classes during the Depression era, taken well before I was born (as a surprise). This and other photos she kept rend my heart. Many of these children only had one pair of shoes, which they saved for winter (for as long as they fit) and stuffed them with paper or cloth, the soles were so thin and filled with holes.

Many children came to school with no breakfast in them and carrying no lunch. Mother tried to bring food to share with the poorest of the group, but my parents were also paying rent and buying some food for my paternal grandparents. My grandfather, first farmer,then a master carpenter, had cut off all of the fingers on one hand in an accident and could then only get occasional rough carpentry jobs, since one handed carpenters weren't in demand in days when ANY job was hard to find.

My father, born into a poor farming family to uneducated parents, had planned to get his Ph.D. in Chemistry. The Depression stopped that dream for him, too. He had worked his way through school to his Masters and there also were no part-time jobs for college students, when grown men with families needed work. He was lucky enough to be hired on as teacher at Richburg, South Carolina, and the next year be promoted to Principal. As Principal, he hired a beautful young first grade teacher, one who had been voted 'Most Attractive' in her senior college class and had enough sense to marry her at the end of that first year.

The Depression changed many lives. It destroyed my father's brother, who had made it through college at the time. His attitude was different from my father's, who always tried to make the best of a situation and not dream about what might have been. My uncle found small jobs here and there before he eventually turned to drink, dying when I was still a teenager from liver problems caused by it. He lived with my grandparents and so was supported thus by my father, too.

I learned a lot about endurance from my parents. My mother lost both parents by the time she was 18. In years when most women married as their security, my mother also finished college and made a career for herself, becoming the most loved first grade teacher in the small town of Pageland, where we settled for the duration, my father now Superindendent, when I was three years old.

And that's today's blog.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Poets to Know



Google the name, Carter Monroe. A North Carolina poet, his writing sings! Click HERE to read three of his poems published in Thunder Sandwich.

For an excellent interview of Carter by Tim Peeler, read this issue of THUNDER SANDWICH.

At least once a month, I plan to bring attention to a poet I like, via photo (if I have one) and a link to his or her website or poems online.

Pris