A Confessional: Why I Write Imperfect Poetry ( & Prose) – Part One

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Sunday feels like a good day to write a confessional blog post. And when you tell another writer you are going to write said piece, you have some built in accountability. AKA, there is no turning back. I told Esther on Voxer that I was working on this in my head. That I was trying to get it out on paper or on a screen. Anywhere but inside of me.

I am sitting in a wicker chair. One that holds me like cupped hands. The mountains present themselves before me, like a movie screen painted and prepared for an audience. Artificially beautiful. But realer than real. And I am down the road from the church I attended this morning, as a guest. I can still smell the holy and hear the hallowed hymns. The stone and wood and worship linger in the air. My soul feels a lingering in the confessional we spoke. I prayed for the church today. It feels like a particularly important time to come clean.

I am not a great poet. I am not a great writer. I don’t know where I am in the bell curve of learning and honing my craft. But honestly, I am just a mediocre writer at best. But I have the fire in my belly and a passion under the folds of my wrinkling skin to write. Hiding out is an option. Always.

Giving up is always an option. I have an old computer which I could heave over the side of the mountain and life would go on. (Poetry is all about specificity. I would tell you just how old this Mac is but I truly do not recall….it is THAT old.) See the ellipsis back there. That is a taboo in the guidebooks of some writers.

Let’s face it. You can go other places for richer writing. Poetry, certainly, which shows more and tells less. Words that reach deeper with less adverbs. Lines which travel deeper into the beautiful. Verses which sing sweeter and lift you higher into the holy.

But my craft and my art are simply dressed in their everyday ordinary. I am honing and grooming them. Hoping for leaps of growth. Trusting that I will not remain in my writing where I reside this day.

But honestly. I am flawed as a writer. Imperfect. But I am flawed as a parent. Imperfect in my mothering. And certainly I fall short as a daughter to a mother suffering from dementia. My house could be cleaner. My food burned less often. My time spent more wisely. My morning devotions  could be longer.

But grace attends me when I write and when I breathe and live. And tells me to continue. No, encourages me to press on. Perfecting my imperfections.

My mother has dementia. Often her speech borders on faint mumbling. But I listen. I would not stop. She has something to say. And she is alive and living and wants to enter in. To tell what she sees. How this life feels and  how it smells. She wants and needs to process her living.

And so do I.
And so I write imperfect poetry. And prose
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Please join me tomorrow for Part Two.

The Shed

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The Shed

Disproportionate well-spring
Storehouse of must and thought
Archivist of these lives
Ours and theirs
Cataloguer of tools and nouns
Poetry caught in the corner webbing
Holding abundance, simply enough

Adequate, wooing me within her womb
I look within
Diminutive doll-sized dwelling
Comforter with your economy of scale
Dimensional minimalist
Tell me how you live

Show me how the scale of life
Matters, not at all
Humble symbol of the meek
I seek to place my faith
And write
My poetry
And prose

lead by God and you

Inside of these dark walls
Dank and cool

in earshot of the wind chimes and the rooster crows
I can hear the beans grow

And smell the purple basil

caught up in the seaside breeze

carried on the shore-bound wind

If I stretch my nostrils and sit beside the open door
The Queen Ann’s lace waves at me
Lavishes me with praise of day
Compress my words into their lines
And form my writing
In a spartan space

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Latin, Pooh and You

POOH

Latin, Pooh and You

My what strong genes you have
Tethered am I to you
By DNA
Born into your love for Latin and Pooh
Child of nearly another, child
Your words came to you, then, started their great exodus
Early
Dementia is mastering the art of thievery
We’ve drawn swords
Suited up for the battle
We rise up in tandem
Fight it off and hold on to syllables, dim and faded
Stammering and garbled
Eloquent elocution, always
Grammatically correct until the end

I’ve accepted the passing, in the twilight, not the dawn
Complicated
But the baton is here
(I confide often, blush at my age, late blooming wanna-be poet,
Fighting off shame)

My what strong love you have
Leaving breadcrumbs, poetic syllables
In your life’s wake
Marking the trail
Leading me beside the still waters
Leaving our time by the raging sea
See
I have learned to listen
To poetry and you
And to love Flannery and her peafowl
(I named a Black Maran after you)
Some things you tend to forget
But these are branded into the everlasting
World without end
Amen
Pooh, Latin, poetry, and Maggie the Black Maran hen

Monday Morning Quarterbacking On Saturday: Five Things I am Grateful For This Week

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Thing One

When I lived in New York (aka Manhattan) I recall, begrudgingly (aka I have tried to forget), the huge chunks of time standing waiting for the subway, the elevator in my apartment and the elevator at 285 Madison Avenue. It seemed barren. Like as a waste-land. A time thief. Endless amounts of time in transit.

So today as I shopped at Tractor Supply with my husband, I breathed in the life-style change. New York is a faint and dimming memory. Today’s outing, with smells of rubber and metal and sights and sounds of “country” this and “country” had me fully present-in-the-moment and swimming in the irony of yesterday juxtaposed to today.

Thank you, today for the siren’s song of leventy-leven brands of dog food and time wheeling the card up and down the rows searching for chicken wire and chicken pen accoutrement.

Thing Two

Oh what a tangled web. Earlier this week I was invited to high tea at a friend’s home. She was in town for four days from the UK and brought her teacups and silver, scones and tea paraphernalia in her suitcases. Grateful for high tea with three courses or was it four, what? And for friendships nurtured over tea.

Thing Three

We have squash and radishes in our garden. Backflips I tell you over spying their arrival.

Thing Four

Death almost snatched my very old lab from my arms this week. She fought back and lived to tell about it. And I have witnessed a miracle. She is old ya’ll. She cheated death this week. For that, I am grateful and amazed. Each day is a gift. Truly.

Thing Five

I am thrilled to be finding my writing friends (who are far flung all over this country) on Voxer. What a gift to discover accents and voice nuances and inflections. And little mini chats keep popping up like the gifts planted decades ago in my hundred year old yard by Mrs. Graham. Oh life. You are filled with ordinary wonder.

Thing Five and a half

People, “the book” thing is becoming realer. I just need an agent, an editor, a publisher and a million words. What the what? Help. Seriously though, the support has me teary. I should have started this post with “it” as Thing One

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Happy Weekend wondering and wandering.