You may be familiar with my Poetry Marathons – I’ve done them since winter, 2015. I take a week, several times a year, and devote it to poetry – writing, editing, all poetry-related activities. This year, in addition to scheduling some of the regular long versions, I have decided to do one segment of a Marathon each week. Two to three hours set aside for poetry, outside my regular life. It’s called the Installment Plan Poetry Marathon.
For more background information, look here. And if you want to read previous posts in this series, search this blog under the term Installment Plan Poetry Marathon 2017.
I’m still somewhat restricted as to my travels, caring for my husband after his accident in December and subsequent surgery. I decided to do this week’s session at home, but I changed locations from last week. This time, the afternoon of January 19, I set things up in our dining area.
This room is currently serving a lot of purposes besides hosting this week’s Marathon. For instance, you can see that I have a lot of small paintings on the table and around the room at floor level – I’ve brought them out of the studio, which tends to be cooler, up here so that the paint can dry on them more fully before I put them away. The wooden tray is what I’ve been serving my husband’s meals on.
I put all my items on the table – computer, reference books, drinks (in addition to my usual iced tea, I am treating myself to a mango-orange juice, something we don’t usually have in the fridge but was left over from the weekend).
As soon as things started happening, the cat appeared and settled himself in place.
Here’s his view.
This room looks out into the back yard. I love this scene. Even in winter it’s lively, with birds always around – sometimes a fox, and very often deer will come up almost to the door.
Now, on to writing. I came to this session feeling tense and overwhelmed. The situation at my house has been upended and I’m still getting my bearings as to how to keep everything going. When I sat down to write, I really wondered what I thought I could do with the jumble inside my head. But the routine and focus of the Marathon took over. I decided to start by writing poems about what I saw right in front of me and what memories or feelings the surroundings brought up – kitchen memories, the birds outside the window. I did five poems and that was enough – I felt like a whole different person from the lady who sat down, one minute from screeching.
Then I put away the computer and went back to a form introduced to me by Jane Dougherty. I am fixed on this 10-10-10-10-10 syllable set with the end words all rhyming, and I like to work it out on paper, for some reason. Anyway, I just love the challenge of this form. And that’s surprising, because usually I resist prompts or forms or imposed structures.
I opened my rhyming dictionary and picked out two words: skirt and road. The I got to work and here are the two poems that emerged.
Cold Weather Flirt
Grab your pink flip-flops and trim your grass skirt.
If you’ve still got it, your Hawaiian shirt
fits the occasion. And swim fins won’t hurt.
Let’s capsize winter. Reverse it. Invert.
Pineapple upside-down cake for dessert.
Same Scene Overload
Fire up the engines. Let’s get on the road.
Get out of this town. Kiss off this geode.
Pushing and shoving and feeling elbowed –
that’s not for me. No, I’m mining the lode
of Gone. I’m digging for a new zip code.
Next week, who knows? But I do know one thing – I’ll be writing again. Thanks for reading, everyone.