Installment Plan Poetry Marathon, Week 16

You may be familiar with my Poetry Marathons – I’ve done them since January, 2015. I take a week, several times a year, and devote it to poetry – writing, editing, all poetry-related activities.

This year 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.

On April 20, I returned to Logue Library at Chestnut Hill College. After chatting with the student worker at the front desk (I was interested in the outcome of her job interviews; I’m glad to say she landed a job she was very happy with), I went to my desk on the third floor.

The library was silent at this time of the morning – added to the gray mild day outside the windows, it made for a perfect environment for concentration.

I had decided to do three things today: write new poems, review last week’s output, and to work on putting together the book I am planning to compile from the first 13 weeks of the Marathon. I know I had earlier decided not to do this last bit during Marathon time – but I thought – what is Marathon time for but all things to do with my poetry work? There is no quota of poems to be written or edited or even considered.

The Marathon is not about goals or accumulating. It doesn’t have to be so rigidly defined that I feel I’m following a syllabus. Or that I have to do things the same way each week.

Nope. I’m eager to write and I’m also enjoying the process of creating another volume of poetry. That’s where I am now so that’s what I’ll do.

So, I remove yet another brick from the wall of incessant usefulness and productivity that has been an obstacle to enjoyment all through my life and replace it with a little box holding a fountain pen and a fancy-paper notebook with a few poems in it. I think that’s a good day’s work right there.

OK. Back to the library. Before I got to work, I took a few pictures of something I enjoy about all buildings, including this one – the repetition of forms. I have made only a few pictures, and they are views you have seen before. But I encourage you to examine them this time in a different way, and to look around and notice the rhythm of ordinary objects all around you in their everyday working arrangements.

I’ve turned them black-and-white, because I think it really shows up the forms included.

All right, here are a couple of poems from today.

7.

Her gray suit
a little tight in the skirt
Black leather high heels
scuffed at the back
No one notes these details
She’s moving faster
than they can be taken in.
The hem of her jacket
held up with tape
Her lipstick melting in her purse
She shouts at the bus
as it passes her
even though
it’s not the one she wants
She is not a person to notice
daffodils blooming in the rain.

And this one – I took pictures of trees yesterday on my trip along the Green Ribbon Trail in the Fort Washington State Park, meaning to use them as inspiration for paintings. I used a few of the photos for poems today – here is one of the results.

3.

Started off standing straight
like everyone does
then
pushed off balance
some parts damaged and
others removed
without my permission
in a hurry.
Came to being bent down
Acute-angled to almost fallen over
Redirected and
reached for the standing straight
Come over, say hello.
I’m not much to look at
but
you are
looking at me
aren’t you? Yes, you are.

Thank you so much for reading. See you next week, I hope.

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9 thoughts on “Installment Plan Poetry Marathon, Week 16

  1. The second one made me think of how I talk to my plants…it’s nice to hear a tree talk to me! And this I love, wonderful:

    So, I remove yet another brick from the wall of incessant usefulness and productivity that has been an obstacle to enjoyment all through my life and replace it with a little box holding a fountain pen and a fancy-paper notebook with a few poems in it. I think that’s a good day’s work right there.

  2. Thank you on all counts. I have a fixation on trees – I’ve been painting so many of them in the last year and I don’t know why, but I just keep enjoying them as personalities, I guess. And as for the brick thing, well, I’ve always been very dutiful (even making up rules if there aren’t any around…) and that has had to stop getting the way of…enjoyment, I have decided. One brick at a time and rebuild with something new.

  3. I love the lesson of the tree that has been contorted and bent by its circumstances but asserts itself despite or maybe because of that. Definitely a life lesson in that.

  4. The flood plain along the Green Ribbon Trail is full of these trees and I could spend hours examining them for just this reason. Every one wears its story on its body.

  5. Thank you, these trees in the flood plain, they put up with a not so healthy environment for them, always too wet, and so they grow oddly, but strong. I like their spirit.

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