Category Archives: Poem
like it’s popular to be tan and you white as death
think how time could earn you a darker shade if spent it out red
and blistered for a slip span
just in time for the popular to shift -and you damaged
pulled out by tide
washed up by tide
bleached of all know how and want –
like so much sand
idling for want of a horizon
best to pulse courage ain’t rely on borders so far
you can pinch its strait
-with one pull unravel
best to pulse courage
a gravity shaping the tide and you and all you stand on
I’m gonna use soccer as a metaphor for poetry Now poetry is like soccer in some ways and very different from soccer in other ways but it will be useful as a tool for talking about poetry Soccer is a team sport and there are lots of people to blame Poetry is a singleton sport and you have no one to blame but yourself Both require heart Both require a combination of conscience thought and gut level reaction Both require discipline and practice Both can be sooooo very satisfying when you win and kinda nasty when you lose not as nasty as a fight to the death, but then we are civilized, are we not? Most people write poetry and don’t really care if it is good or bad You are not one of those people It is good to care about whatever you're playing at When you play soccer you need to be serious about the game But can a player be too serious? Yes, they get so frustrated that they start missing shots that would be easy for them if they would just relax a bit (not all the way, just a bit) They lose focus and start grumbling about how wet the field is Or sweat got in their eyes When you play soccer there must be some ‘play’ to it You must be playful Same with poetry You must be playful with it sometimes If it is not for fun then what is it for You must find a balance between seriousness and playfulness Either extreme is OK but you will never be very good at the game Now soccer breaks into two parts Craft and Heart The craft of soccer is how well you get your foot around the ball How well you can turn a ball How well you know where the other player is and how well you can guess what they are thinking The craft of soccer is what you improve through practice And practice is very important You make your mistakes in practice and you learn from them You watch other players in practice and you learn from them You think about your game at practice and you learn from it You do not think about making your foot get around the ball If you are thinking about exactly how to position your foot you will miss the shot You tell your foot “Get the ball” and then you think about something else, if you over think the process you will take too long What’s funny to me is that when you do this in your poetry you call it a ‘blurt’ The way your foot goes around the ball is best known by your foot The way your words go around your poem is best known by your hand not your mind All poetry that is good is a blurt Now about Heart Practice can take you far but it will never take you to a win For that you need heart What does it feel like when you are right in the grove And the ball is lined up perfectly and the goalie is asleep and you have that perfect shot And you know, even before your foot hits the ball that it going to be perfect You feel this in your heart and you must let the heart get to your foot It is the most satisfying feeling in the world It is perfection Its what all the practice was for and it is more You asked > How do you know what your reacting to when you write > something? I would say that you probably don’t know what your reacting to in your mind But in your heart you know And you feel that you have lined that sucker up perfect And you kick that poem right past the goalie into the net (computers are great nets for this sort of thing) I know something I’ve written is good because I can feel its in the groove And I really can’t see the meaning myself until much later But I know its good ~ SCORE! Take that sucker, go home and tell your mama she dresses you funny (or whatever you say in your head, because they will give you a card if you say it out loud) Now if you want my input on craft Then you must tell me that you want it No problem, just kinda boring But hey, that’s what practice is for So Good poetry has good craft and good heart Craft is something you can practice and improve Heart is something you are born with I have seen great heart in you and that is why you can’t get rid of me so easily I will talk to you about your craft but the heart is so much more interesting When I go to a soccer game I never blame the craft of the players, that’s their problem I just figure they didn’t have enough heart I think you want to do good poetry right off the bat Without practice (I was the same way about piano, remind me to give you some of my music) And that’s OK but your craft will not improve very quickly that way Poetry must flow from you on a regular basis if it is going to improve There is no perfect poem There is just perfect poetry craft I also think you want to hide your heart because sometimes your work is very cryptic I have to work hard to unravel the meaning, but hey, I love working hard to unravel your meanings because they are usually worth it and I love the challenge You work makes me think (I always refer to poems as ‘work’, because its not the poem it’s the process, the crafting of the poetry that I like) So here’s the wrap up Practice your craft by writing a bunch of stuff as often as you can in small black books Pry your hands off you heart and let it run free in your words say all the stuff you’ve always wanted to say but were afraid Let’er rip
Fearlessly I walk the precipice between wake and sleep.
It’s a path many cannot walk for long
before tumbling down one side or the other.
One never chooses which side they’ll go, it chooses them.
Night after night I play hard to get,
teasing them both
wondering which one will win –
which side will prove strongest tonight?
I must write this moment under my skin for safe keeping.
Then, when I am alone,
I peel through the days layers
Like a voyeur, I peep in
so no one else can see
the pleasure this brings to me.
He beckoned me from my walls
of stiff, stale air
to join him in his lazy run
down a path violently cut with his rippling liquid fingers
a long time ago.
Those same fingers
now gently tickle my flesh
as I carefully dip my foot in his shadows.
His gentle grasp –
snaking tendrils wrapped around my ankles –
send chills rushing up my leg
to whisper his secrets in my ear.
I inhale deeply and step in further.
He tugs at my waist and begs me to lie with him. I can’t resist.
I lie down and his body cradles me
Pulls me into himself…completely surrounds me;
A tender rocking as he carries me.
Whistles and trills now carry a bass note –
muffled and muted
and finally gone.
Reluctantly, I arise from his wet embrace
the evidence of his touch still shining on my skin
liquid silver dripping off my fingertips.
A smile on my lips.