Congrats to Alyks and Knowledge Knut for winning our April Poetry Month giveaway: one will receive a copy of "Intaglio" by Sophia Kartsonis, and the other will receive a copy of "Manifest" by Cynthia Arrieu-King. We'll be contacting you to make sure you get your book. Happy belated poetry month. Hope it was productive.
Good Morning Tasters,
We want to hear from you. The Real Beauty Project has drawn some criticism. And before I respond, I, being Poppycakes, would like to hear what all of you think.
Tasters, This video is well worth your time. Treat yourself. It's a slice of pie for the heart.
I have good cause lately to consider such things: women that we love and slices of pie for the heart. I was letting my job's changes, missing my niece's baptism and birthday because I had not one weekend to spare, all get in the way of planning my wedding. I was letting the delayed wedding plans get in the way of how lucky I am, how rare is this opportunity to gather so much of what I love into one place and revel in just how good that feels. Weddings give us the excuse to celebrate the crazy quilt that is our own found prints, patterns, rich fabrics and solid cottons of our posse. It gives us a chance too, to elevate color choices, the extravagance of cake, the music that moves us, to necessity. It is the one day where the frivolous dresses up the imperative and in its lace and ruffles, its ribbon and tulle, that which is otherwise known as "what we love and what holds us back in its love" marches out in all of its finery.
But I had gotten "stressed-out" that overused cliche meaning my own poor prioritizing and time management and ability to access what rich resources lay before me. And my groom, Tasters, he is a million kinds of wonder to me, but sometimes the wonder manifests in: I wonder what goes on in his beautiful, aggravating head?" Wedding plans were such a moment. I needed my she-posse, my sisters and sisters-by-choice, one of which happens to be Ms. Mamacakes, another Brightcakes and Ms. Marycakes, and absolutely our own dear Sweetcakes. I sent a group email explaining that I was lost and felt nearly hopeless in terms of moving ahead. Within hours, appointments to handymen were made and by yesterday afternoon, thanks to Lady Brightcakes, I have work scheduled on this needy home, I had invitations selected, the messiness of the menu brought down to one strategic buffet, a calm-down phonecall and a reminder that I have the best pie-case of Ladycakes in the whole history of crazy brides.
Marycakes, far off in Indiana has been sending in links and suggestions. Brightcakes: the handyman and a gorgeous walk in our spring-garlanded woods, and Sweetcakes: nearly twenty-years of friendship and each day of it even better than the last.
I forced myself through a pile of grading and today, with four hours worth of sleep, I drove into school behind a big yellow schoolbus #23. I dreaded the awkwardness of having a pack of little boys--third grade or so--looking back in the way that adults driving alongside us rarely do. And they did look over and they smiled and waved brightly. I smiled and waved, too. This delighted them, so that several intersections later when their bus turned right and I continued on, they waved wildly and one boy, dark-haired, with the kind of glowing, open-hearted mischeif to him that reminds me of my nephew, blew me kisses goodbye and in light of all the ways that the world reminds us of its brutality, a small boy's kiss traveled the distance along Riverside Drive and there was nothing to do, but take my right hand from the steering wheel, kiss the first two fingers and blow a kiss right back to him. Some days are briliant-Spring-yellow: firebright forsythia, daffodils and shower of white blossom dripping over the driveway. A busload of happiness. Today, thank you my good Ladycakes one and all, made it possible to savor such a day.
If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe. - Carl Sagan
Tasters, a writing exercise: Make a pie. But first, make the universe.
Here are ten words to include in the pie and/or universe:
Do, do share with us here at Sweetly Disturbed.
And check it out, Sweetcakes and Poppycakes will be blogging each Friday with some new freinds over at try101.org
(Scan of a 19th-century book in public domain. Image courtesy of wikmedia user:Chordboard.)
Greetings Tasters, These days are partakings more language than lemon meringue. Poppycakes, mindful of the white foam of wedding gown, is trying hard to eat less since the gym is like a lost city in her mind, something sunken and inaccessible. It isn't really so, but she is Apriling another way just now and soon, soon, the pool out at Chez Poppycakes will be open and perhaps the morning swim can re-begin. For now, it is all work and plans and the poor daily poemings of this month get skipped. So pre-grading, pre-Sweetcakes phone pow-wow where we discuss our next adventure (stay tuned!) I am going to load up the last several days of glass frog poem.
The thing is with this process is that it reveals every wart (no frog pun intended) and to write off a prompt each day and to post each day's portion of poem is to show the unkissed frog that is the poem and to rarely strike a princely note. I mean it's rough, the roughest of rough drafts because writing requires a certain writing frame of mind. Stolen moments can create interesting pressures and effects but they can also make for writing that feels like pre-writing.
But when there is no time, the only process is to create raw material. To do otherwise is to put off the process. The most valuable thing a writer can acheive is the ability to allow ugly work out in the air. It sounds counter-intuitive but it means that the editor that crosses out each sentence before it is even written, must go on holiday. And it means that to create the clunky, awkward first draft of a thing is valuable. It creates material. No clay, no sculpture. Clay alone: glorified mud. But it provides so much opportunity for beauty because it gives the hands a place to cut in, carve away, polish, refine, smooth. Without it, there is only air for our hands to mold and whatever we create, it looks to the eye that there is nothing there.
Like the skin of the glass frog. And with that I bring you the next five stanzas (gulp). The prompts that I sometimes rather loosely drew from: 6. Post 7. A sevenling poem. (This was fun and produced the kind of haikuish effect I desired.) 8. Instructional (I barely did this) 9. Hunted, hunter. 10. Suffering. I chose to tackle this one in the epistolary form, try to move from facts about the actual amphibians or the various literal nouns that the glass frog brings to mind and into some poems where glass frogs are more figurative.
post climate change
post fungal attack
post so many lost magics
a frog-shaped window
the size of a nickel
how could we make
up this thing?
The clouds outside
the frog cover two trees
in smoke leaves, mouselline.
The clouds inside
the frogs: white eggs, round clouds
shone off a glass pond.
The heavens hung outside & strung inside us.
Little visible universe, what’s clear to us
is trouble. Little world inside a world,
clearly both in trouble. Limbed snowglobe,
the city inside you is ours. What plagues
wander wafty through your rivers
and alleyways, show in you, grow In you,
matter on a glass slide. Diagnostic Divinator,
what your body foretells is too clear. Little laboratory,
you are test tubes and beakers, your life
on display, in despair, the clunky bioindicators
shown elegant and guileless there.
Little world in a world, trouble,trouble toil
and trouble doubles in the cauldron
that boils us quiet, everything hidden
inside our hides of disguise. Only our heart
revealed, worn inside the transparent sleeve of you.
What hunts down the glass frog
is fungus and broken weather.
Hunted and haunted, the hunter, ourselves,
the hunt learns the frog’s hopscotch,
in a half-moon swivel, hops back on us.
Dearest Visionary, I call you Whispertine.
A word for what seeing the entire workings of someone makes me think. Whispertine, fragile, stubborn as prayer in the face of the futility of the thing. A Minnesotan scientist found you rainforested in Cost Rica and enchanted, shaped his life around your species. I know what it is to follow a whim extravagantly, but there is with your dainty-architecture, something touching. A cocktail of terror and sincerity. What it must be to be so revealed. No pithy metaphors for what windows into our souls, no open heart, the lung hangs like a bota bag, we peer inside you and fear our own glass organs, champagne flute-thin, too delicate, tender to mishandling and crying to the touch. We suffer your unarmed suffering, feel for the unwilling intimacy our look-through-you brings. Ours is a painful secrecy, hidden in our hides, we fear such openness. What rushes inside us, as powerful and demolishing as entire seas. But we do understand the path of your wanderings. To live in forest of clouds, your hide a sieve for every weather, to live at the heel of paradise, to only come down for love.