Installment Plan Poetry Marathon, Week 17

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.


Back at Logue Library at Chestnut Hill College for another session of poetry writing on April 28. It was a sunny warm day, just beautiful.

I arrived at my desk around 8:30 AM. School is still in session, but the library is quiet in the morning and I have also noticed Fridays are less busy on campus, if parking is any gauge.

Before I went in, I took a few pictures for an outside portrait of Logue Library, now that the weather is a little nicer. The building was finished in 1961, as you can see from the cornerstone. It’s also constructed of granite blocks, somewhat unusual around here, as most stone buildings are made of the local stone, Wissahickon schist. I think this building was done in good materials, solid, and made to last.

If you want to see some pictures of the original building on campus, St. Joseph’s Hall, look here. I was there a couple of days ago to attend some art presentations and I took some pictures. It’s really something to see, that building, I think.

Back to the library. I wanted to open the window next to my spot. I was puzzled for a bit, but then I got it – push the little button to release the catch, then push out. Fantastic. I was proud of myself for figuring this out.

Window open. There are bird songs in the air. Plus, I like to hear the students laughing and talking outside. I sat for a while and noticed all the sounds I could hear: the birds, the students, the whine of an airplane’s engine far above me, a door slamming, the drone of a mower in the distance, traffic, music from the dorm next door, the buzzing of the light fixture, the tiny hum of my computer… all part of the scenery just like the blue sky.

So, I settled down to work. I had gotten up early this morning, about 5:15, and went out for a walk. That experience was still with me and influenced my work, I think. I felt calmer and less hurried in this session than I have in a while.

I did my usual pattern today: wrote new poems, then reviewed last week’s work. I did something that I think I’ve mentioned before – I have a lot of sheets of handwriting practice (I’ve been on a mission to improve my penmanship). I write out phrases and words that I hear in whatever TV show I might be watching at night. Looking these sheets over I was struck by a few interesting phrases and inadvertent juxtapositions of words.

So, I typed out a whole list of ones I found interesting and then I rearranged them into little poems. It’s like doing snippets, in fact. Anyway, I got a whole list of them. It was fun, too.

OK. Here are a couple of poems.

The first one continues my reflections on sound in my surroundings.

3.
The room so quiet
a luxury of silence
and it’s all for you
as much as you want
this volume of space filled
with nothing
Overflowing. Take both hands
pull toward you
and again
as many times as you do
it will renew itself
for you.
Sit
in the healing presence
of enfolding absence
in the generosity of alone
in the relief of being
in silence.

Here are a few of those handwriting-inspired poems. I’ll do this again.

a.
I must speak to my family
So many stories I can’t talk about.
Compulsive lying helps me focus.

b.
I missed you so much.
You did not notice I was gone.
Don’t make me chase you.

c.
That girl was
special ordered
leafy thin fashion perfect

d.
cake on a plate
silverware rattles
breakfast is on the table

e.
ghosts
working their way into his dreams
fish floating belly-up in guilt

And here is a longer handwriting-inspired poem.

10.
Marriage cut down on the traveling
paid off the role-playing end-game
convinced me that I wanted orange
never to answer the door after midnight
and it’s Friday and I need ninety grand
yesterday.
Has anyone seen my suitcase?
It was a gift from my husband.

As I left the library I saw the softball team warming up for a game. I went down the hill and watched a couple of innings. Perfect weather for a game.

OK. More next week!

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22 thoughts on “Installment Plan Poetry Marathon, Week 17

  1. Your handwriting is exactly like two of my sisters’. But neater. What kind of husband gives his wife a suitcase as a gift??? Is he trying to tell her something,

  2. Sounds like you had a great day. I enjoy your new snippet source (TV) and your creations from them. Today my favourites were (a) with the line about compulsive lying and (d) with the rattling silverware (made me wonder if that was your awareness of the sound effects…I often consciously take note of those and placement of cellos, drums, songs….ie soundtrack)

  3. “A luxury of silence”. I can relate to that. It is a pleasure indeed. I love the new version of snippets and the resulting work is great. The last poem has suspense and intrigue. I want to know the rest of the story. Cliffhanger!

    PS I think your handwriting is looking great! Given that’s all hurried note-taking, it’s all uniform and legible.

  4. Thank you on all counts. Especially handwriting (I have less confidence in my mechanics than the results at present!). The penmanship book says to sit at a table with correct posture and these are all done on my lap. Plus I have learned how different it is to write with a fountain pen. So thank you for your encouragement. As for tv snippets, it is like eating popcorn. You can’t just do one, it’s addicting. And the silence. Ahhhhh, is what I feel.

  5. compulsive lying helps me focus……….oh Claudia, you are a wonder! I so look forward to your blogs, daily…….you must be tired of compliments!

  6. Thank you, this made my day. I really enjoy doing the blogs and having someplace to say and show all these things I think and do. And knowing that any of it interests someone else, well, to me, that is a gift above everything else. Thank you. And I’ll have to say, no, I don’t get tired of compliments, oh no! Keeps me going, those bits of encouragement. Thank you for yours.

  7. Yes, thank you, I have been thinking about it. I feel I’ve used up the words and phrases as they are on the paper (not that I used them all but I’ve gotten very familiar with them after looking over them and “worn them out”, if it makes sense) and the idea occurred to me that it is time to cut them up. I’ve got to recommend this handwriting thing as poetry fodder, totally surprising to me since all I wanted to do was practice my new penmanship! The ink is not waterproof that the fountain pens use, so I’ll have to consider that, but otherwise, handwriting in art, whether I mean it to be read or not, is catching my attention.

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