Friday, July 16, 2010

Work in Progress

Here's something new I've been toying with. I think maybe the title is too heavy for the poem, but the previous title was "In the Woods," and that wasn't enough. I hate titles. Can I be Emily Dickinson and rely on the first line of each poem as the title? When I am dead and suddenly famous, y'all can chronologically order my poetry in a collected works and give them numbers. No more titles.

Knowledge of Good and Evil

I show my children the Mayapple,
lift its waxen umbrella for their eyes
to see its single flower. My mother’s
faraway warning steers us away
from three-leafed vines with a red dot
in the center. I use her firm grip
to turn my curious pair from their itch
to explore the woods beyond the path.
She told me, too, which berries
could be eaten on the border
of the forest where we scavenge
between the pin oaks, lift branches
heavy with the ripest fruit.

Maybe someday we will walk
through the shadows in the lane
of pines and my son will stop,
stoop down to lift an unknown
to me, give me a new world.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

True Confessions

It has been several weeks now since I've written any poems anywhere. I'm pretending that they are stored away in my brain just waiting for a moment to spill out onto the computer screen (because, let's face it, there's no such thing as putting pen to paper anymore). Surely there's some poem floating out there for me to write. Surely.

West Chester's Poetry Conference was good for me - I wrote three poems while I was there and edited a bunch, rearranged the manuscript that promises to never be finished, and devoured the advice and good counsel of other poets who served on panels and participated in the workshop with me. It was a jolly good time. And now. Now, I am all business and no time for writing or reading.

I'd like to take this opportunity to blame the sun. It is clearly the sun's fault that I haven't written anything. Also, the weeds in my flower garden. The caramel-colored paint on the walls in the dining room that insisted on being covered up by "Timeless Taupe," which was delighted to be stirred and rolled across the plaster (I heard it giggle while I worked). The eight games of Lexulous I inadvertently started and will perpetuate as long as my opponents accept. It is also clear that the spray park at the Kroc Center is forcing me to play with my kids in sprinklers all afternoon, thus purposefully distracting me from all poetic pursuits.

I will not be held responsible for the lack of poetry being generated today. Nope.

This obvious attempt by everything in the universe to divert my attentions away from rhyming couplets and iambs will continue throughout the weekend and at least another week. And then, the summer residency begins, and I will be surrounded by a legion of writers armed with laptops and collections of poetry to battle against the outside world. Writer's boot camp will at least inspire me to write something. Or drink. One of the two.