Sunday, May 29, 2011

write out loud

House is warm. Outside, it's in the 80s, and tomorrow, we will have a rare flash of 90 degree temperatures in May. Tomorrow, my father would have been 80, my dear friend who died in 1991 would have been 53. I'm too busy to feel melancholy this year.

Fifth week of the online poetry workshop I'm taking with Diane Frank. Well, the fifth week is nearly over, sixth starts tomorrow. I have not shared a poem. The seed/prompt was wonderful, was musical, was visual. I ran from it. Don't know why, exactly.

Yesterday, I crept onto Facebook, lurked on my daughter's page and saw that she had posted a photo of a new painting, slap, dash, quick, as if the painting flew out of her brush.

I'm writing a poem about her, about the painting, about another ... thing, a conversation we had that might seem funny but that is a symbol of what our children are experiencing the way we experienced "duck and cover" (that was a tiny bit before my time) or the seemingly never-ending Vietnam Conflict.

The poem is not going well, and I have a sense that I will give up and let go of writing a poem for the workshop this week, though now that I've said that maybe the poem will finally write itself, which isn't a true thing. Poems don't write themselves. I write the poems. I just need to get out of my own way (as I told myself in a text I sent to myself a few days ago) and write.


Here, part of the reason the poems are coming so slowly, are going badly, is that I am distracted. I seem to have tricked myself into applying to graduate school after all, though I had decided I would wait until my Girl herself was off to college. Doors opened in unexpected hallways, and the allure was impossible for me to ignore. Sent writing sample (that I pieced together far too quickly for my own comfort. It's a good thing I'm prolific. I had a lot of possibilities that could have made up those 10 to 15 pages of poetry), drove the hour to Columbus and met the MFA program's director during a reading and workshop he gave, received an email Monday morning after he read my writing sample with an unofficial acceptance, slapped an official application together (including about the most dreadful "description of development as writer" ever written), emailed the scanned bits, mailed the hard copy, received an official email from the graduate school accepting me....

Did any of that make any sense? The gist: unless I'm totally delusional and have misunderstood everything I've read, heard, done, said, sent, decided in the past week plus two days, I will be starting a low-residency MFA in poetry on July 23.

Wow. I smile just thinking about it, terrified though I am that I will a) run out of money, and b) completely blow it because I am sometimes an insecure idiot.

But, see, I may not always believe in me, in Lizzie, but I believe in the work, the process, in poetry, in my poetry. When I don't think of myself in my usual way, when I am able to see myself objectively as a person who loves to read and write (and teach and share) poetry, I know this is right, that I will not only be fine, but that I will have the best time of my life.

So, yeah, maybe I will be a little bit poorer, but I will also end up richer than I've ever been.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

breaking out

In the back of my mind,
I feel those little white spiders
crawling up and over each other,
spinning a wall of some kind,
good or bad? Don't quite know.

I used to find the little spiders everywhere
in the house on Fairmont,
considered them "friends."
To consider them enemies would have been to give them power.

I don't know if that sentence works.
I don't know if my fingers are typing truth
or nothing.

I am behind on a workshop poem.
I don't know if I'm stuck
or feeling reluctant.

I can't find my strong verbs.

Time for magnetic poetry?
Time to find a poem
on the Seventh Day Adventist Church sign
or in the Victoria's Secret catalogue
we started receiving
after I purchased tiny underwear
for my tiny daughter.

It's warm in the house.
My hair is heavy.
My stylist is back in her shop
after six months of working
a different job.

It's been a year since she last
cut my hair
and I tried to look like someone else.

white, downy, curls, waves, froth, frequent, undertow, belly up

No. Nothing to see here. Move along.