The Healing Fragrance of Thanks

Dear Friends,

I picked the smallest trio of gardenia blossoms from my bush, placed them in a silver vase and sat them on my desk.

Beauty permeated my home. Fragrant beauty.

If you know this flower you know the potency of its fragrance, the unmistakeable trademark of its sweet, sweet smell. They say that our memory of smells stays with us the longest. Perhaps while others fade, slowly for some, quickly for others, the memory of Noxzema, fresh cut grass and Confederate Jasmine linger the longest. Find a place to embed or root deep down in our souls.

But I say, the memory of a generous act may rival the glorious fragrance of my beloved gardenia.

And so it is was when I  planted the seed of a dream. And  the winds of friendship picked it up, carried it off and watered it gingerly. Carefully. Diligently.

Friends who are strangers. Making the sweetness even more delectable.

Thank you. Saying it feels right and proper yes, but healing. In a come-full-circle way, the sending back of gratitude when a kind and generous gift has been received feels like closure. Gathering up the seeds of generosity and sending them back out to land on fertile soil, elsewhere. Out there. In the world.

Thank you friends at Tweetspeak Poetry and TSPoetry Press. Thank you L.L. Barkat and Tania Runyan. Thank you friends, known and unknown. Thank you for gathering the momentum, funds, and steam behind the gift of 180 copies of  “How To Read A Poem,” published by TSPoetry Press and written by Tania Runyan.

When I think of my gardenia which bloom every summer I will always remember your friendship and generosity.

I know we have given a gift which has and will touch the hearts and souls and minds of the class of 2014 of one school in one little zip code town.

There is mystery in the giving. There is trust in the release.

Poetry has a job to do, perhaps. Poetry has an opportunity to release its fragrant offering into the lives of one graduating class.

The gift of poetry and the gift of faith, joined together in this one beautiful act of friendship and generosity.

May you smell the sweet fragrance of my thanks. May my gratitude be known and remembered by each participant in this act of generosity.

Imagine with me the possibilities. Dream with me of the places poetry will go.

wishing you poetry, always,

elizabeth

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Hiding Out In The Poetry Section of Barnes and Noble

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Hiding Out In The Poetry Section Of Barnes and Noble

You always knew you liked to touch and feel
It’s the eyes of the fingers that transmit the most
Information
Via the tactile sensory processes

And so there is something far too abstract
About a place called Amazon that sells books
Many of yours come from there
Conveniently delivered to your doorstep

So don’t complain
But you can’t run away from a world that is throwing
Daggers your way
And hitting a perfect bullseye
Everytime
Into the arms of Amazon

But you can slip into the quiet
World of books
Row on row
Air saturated in Columbian coffee beans
And the sound of the old school musicals
On the intercom system
So loud you could not dose off
If you had just taken an Ambian
Before crossing the threshold

No it is sensory overload
There in the corner by the bathrooms
Life in full swing
Grand Central Station has nothing on
This purveyor of poetry

To your right is T.S. Eliot and right in front are
Wendell Berry and Billy Collins
And Maya Angelou and the whole section is so small
You want to weep
Because you know that poetry placed right beside the bathroom
Is more than ironic
It seems cruel and condescending
But why state the obvious
When you are discussing
Poetry after all
That part you should have left out

The genre needs no defending
Don’t even go there
You have come to hide
And there is not enough real estate
To even hide
Much less cry
So you read and keep your eyes dry
Because if you soil the book
You’d have to buy the book
You adhere to old mores of retail protocol

So you wonder about this height of irony
This fact that
You have just ordered a book from Amazon
From your phone
Delivered to your Ipad
From the poetry section at Barnes and Noble
And you think to yourself
Life is odd, today
Ridiculous and strange

So you wander to the periodical section
And eavesdrop on the lady who is caring for
Her husband
With Parkinson’s
You can’t meet the lonely in the halls of Amazon
So you learn of his pain and hers and where she is from
And where she is going
And how no one has ever heard of a man having shingles for
Four years
Not you, not her, and no doctors
And you want to weep again and she looks away and tells you how hard it is
But she’s making it
And you talk to her, struggling to determine who needs whom
The most

And suddenly your problems

Are left for a minute
Back in the poetry section
Beside the bathroom
Where the air
Thankfully smells like coffee
And the poets get two small sections of books

And life today doesn’t seem fair
But it is good
And you try to rate your pain
And wonder how she’ll make it through the days
Of shingles and Parkinson’s and doctors
And she was from Michigan
(Might as well have been Siberia)

And poetry’s problems pale in comparison
So you buy a magazine
Swing through the door of the big book store
And go home to read “Love, Etc.” by Barkat
And you weep

Tears, mingled rivulets in three’s
One for the man from Michigan
One for love
And one for pain
Both the present and the future

Grateful that your tears
Cannot ruin the titanium cover of
“Love, etc.”
At which point you are sick of irony

Slaying Dragons

Slaying Dragons

Sometimes we, the royal one, and I
We need paradigm shifts.

Crave, no hunger for, new normals
Feel the burning desire, the fire in the belly
For radical, get with the program plans
Or better yet, write new ones.
That color wild and bold and tempestuously
Outside the lines
White-out replacing old with new
Marking gloriously fresh borders
In pen, not pencil.

And with
Ear to the ground, we hear
Pounding
Hooves and heartbeats,
Like wild bulls, joining wild horses
In a throwing-the-dust-up maddly in the air,
Frenzied
Stampede.

And depart for a good long while
The dog-in, dog-out
Cat-in, cat-out days
To raise
The roof
And the wrist, the ventrical vessel for the overflow of
The fiercely beating
Heart

Pick up dragging feet, or dragging pen
And maybe even an imaginary sword
With the sharpest blade words, not metal
Can make

Foot in stirrup, mounted on horseback
Maybe even two feet
Planted firmly there

And for once and for all

Slay the dang dragons

Who will find themselves pitifully piled up
In the corner, shaking with fear
And trembling
Cowering at the sight

Of one bold and brave
Writer, warrior, woman
Friend.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Dedicated with love and admiration to the following three women in my world: Amanda Hill, Maggie Wynne, and L.L. Barkat. Slay on.

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