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Heart, Soul, and Rough Edges — A Gypsy Journey of Words and Wonder

Archive for the category “Poetry”

"Only Traces"

More rhymes.

Only Traces

To find your dreams
within the pages of a magazine
would seem impossible
if not obscene.

Cut out words and pictures, they say
that represent your future
come what may, anything
to keep the fear at bay.

To peruse the air-brushed faces
and wish for far off places,
I languish here still, looking for illumination,
finding only traces.

(1st Poetic Muselings Summer Poetry Challenge

The Poetic Muselings (Michele Graf, Margaret Fieland, Mary Jensen and Anne Westlund) are having a poetry contest to see which one of us can write and post the most poems between July 15th, 2014 and September 1st, 2014. The author who writes and posts the most new poems on the Poetic Muselings Group Blog will win a writing book of their choice from Amazon.com.

There will be opportunities for reader participation. So watch this space!)

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Because It's Tuesday . . .

Office desktop

Because It’s Tuesday . . .*

and almost time to read what I’ve supposed
to have been writing,
poet that I am . . .

 and

Because It’s Tuesday . . .
and no great insight bled from pen to parchment,
demanding ink
— nothing new to share —

 and

 Because It’s Tuesday . . .
and my doctor just said I must learn
to be selfish and fill the well
— or I’ll be the late Care-Giver of everyone else —

 and

 Because It’s Tuesday . . .
and the emptiness isn’t paying
the dividends it did for so many years
— that account is now bankrupt —

 and

Because It’s Tuesday . . .
and I must nourish my body as well
as my soul’s soul, I went radical
—  cleaned house and started a shopping list —

 … instead of writing the poem I need to share —

Because It’s Tuesday . . .

* Yes, I know it is (late) Wednesday on the West Coast, not Tuesday, but . . . that’s how it really happened . . . before . . . and I just got back from a cross-country trip . . . and . . . and . . . and . . .

A Token for the Train

I love writing in rhyme, and I have a large number of poems lying around that rhyme. I’m especially fond of this one, which I’ve worked over a number of times.

 

 A Token for the Train813235889_2877218121_0

 

I clatter down dim staircase

to seek shelter from the rain,

duck beneath a turnstile

as I’m kind of short of change.

Platform’s crowded with commuters

who all mutter and complain.

 

Lights first dim and flicker,

fade to black as rumbles sound,

faint at first, volume increasing.

Bodies crowded all around

push me one way, then another.

Cries and caterwauls abound.

 

Folks scurry for an exit.

but I forget which way is out.

I bumble, blind, in darkness

while folks wander round about.

There’s a thunk from on the train track.

Guys beside me scream and shout.

I hear a high-pitched whistle

then the echoing refrain

from the screech and scream of metal

as it protests from its pain,

squeals and squeaks of brakes engaging

while they work to stop the train.

 

The slap of footsteps echo.

A man’s jumped down to the track.

Listen to his grunts and groaning

as he pulls the jumper back,

heaves him on the platform.

My head’s spinning; things go black.

Someone hauls me upright,

electricity flicks on,

train doors close; it leaves the station.

Now the crowds of folks are gone.

I scamper up the stairway

to the street where I belong.

Chiaroscuro hits virtual shelves

Chiaroscuro Poetry Book

In March I announced the upcoming publication of my poetry e-book Chiaroscuro. I am excited to announce that it is now published and available for purchase.

Chiaroscuro is a poetry book about the contrast and balance between light and dark. It’s a journey through a crumbling world that leaves a gritty taste. It shines light on the edge of awareness where dark magic wars with childish innocence.

You can purchase Chiaroscuro directly from SynergEbooks; it’s also available on  Amazon.com and B&N.com.

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Inspiration through Participation

My favourite poetry book

My favourite poetry book (Photo credit: Nick Kenrick . enuf protesting)

This being National Poetry Month, I challenged myself once again to writing more poetry. Last year I wrote a lot of new poetry, but didn’t make the goal of a new one every day. I followed one community’s challenge, and some days the prompt simply didn’t work for me or I tired out.

This year, I am following not one, but five challenges. The Poetic Asides blog is doing it’s annual Poem A Day challenge. I discovered the NaPoWriMo (National Poem Writing Month) blog which posts daily prompts. The 30 Day Challenge page on Facebook is another to write a poem a day. I also joined the A to Z blogging challenge, which means blogging every Monday through Saturday in April with a consecutive letter of the alphabet. And there’s the challenge on the Sims game forums again this year, but for a poem a week instead of one a day.

Last year I ended the month with 19 new poems. This year, I have written at least one poem every day. Some days more. With nine days to go, I already have 30 new poems! What really made a difference was having so many prompts to choose from. I could combine different prompts, or choose just one, or do something completely different. In addition to just the prompts, I met new bloggers and poets, and was inspired by their poems. It was from following a fellow blogger‘s AtoZ challenge that I learned about the Elfje poetry form, which in the few short days since I tried it has become a favorite.

Don’t limit yourself. It’s by broadening our horizons that we find inspiration. 

Mary Butterfly Signature

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Poetry book news

One of my goals for this year was to publish my poetry collection Chiaroscuro. Last year I researched publishers, and compared their sites and stats. I made a list of what I most wanted in a publisher. It wasn’t about the royalty. It was:

  • clear information
  • print options
  • listed response time
  • ease of submitting (email)

I know self-publishing is an option, especially for poetry, but I’d prefer to go through a publisher for the formatting, marketing, cover book, all those things that intimidate me. It’s a process I’d rather not go through alone.

One of my top choice was SynergEbooks. I am very impressed by their website, and how much information they give in the process and what to expect, and what they expect of their authors.

I didn’t have to wait long after querying SynergEbooks to get a response. They were impressed with my sample poems. They were very upfront to answer the few questions I had, and less than a week later I was signing an Author Contract.

I am very happy to be working with SynergEbooks to publish my poetry book. No release date yet. It will be published digitally and available through the publisher website, as well as on Amazon.com and B&N.com. If it does well enough, there is a possibility for a print version.

In preparation for publication, I have created a site dedicated to my Chiaroscuro poetry book. I will be creating individual sites for each of my major projects, where you can learn more, read excerpts, and get news on their status. You can see my new author website here. I also created one for Lifelines.

Mary Butterfly Signature

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What we write about

A recent discussion among us Muselings had us musing on subjects to write about. Sice I am reading Natalie Goldberg‘s Writing Down the Bones , in which she suggests mushroomsgenerating just such a list, I volunteered to post mine — mine and Natalie’s.  Here it is:

What to write about, the list so far

Write about a favorite poem. Wrie about a poem you learned in school. Write about a poem you hate. Write about memorizing poetry. Did you feel differently about the poem after you memorized it?

Write about flat feet. Write about aching feet. Write about orthotics. Write about shoes. Write about high heels. Write about fashion in shoes.

Write about art in your childhood home. Write about art in your present home. Write about art museums.

Write about school. Write about a particular year in schol. Write about a favorite teacher. Write about your least favorite teacher. Write about your favorite subject in school. Write about your least favorite subject in school.

Write about writing. Write about the physical act of writing. Do your fingers cramp? Do you like to write by hand?

Write about pens. Do you have a favorite? Do you like pencils? Do you do crossword puzzles, and if so do you do them in ink or pencil, and why?

Write about laundry. Write about laundromats. Write about laundry detergent. Write about bleach. Write about fabric softener.

Write about a favorite author. Here a few of mne:

Robert A. Heinlein. One of my favorite authors

Lewis Carroll. I am a big Lewis Carroll fan as well, both of the Alice books and of his poetry. I love the whimsey.

Write about a favorite book: Here are a couple of mine

Alice in Wonderland. I reread this every exam-time at College.Peter Pan by James M. Barrie. One of my favorite books as a kid. I also saw the play with Mary Martin as Peter. Pure magic.

 

Bookshelves, and what’s on them.

Food poisoning. Have you had any notable encounters with bad food?

Toothpaste. Rolling up the tube. Squeezing out the paste.

TV Advertisements. Do you watch them? Do you watch TV?

The ASPCA. ASPCA ads. Dogs. Cats.  Birds.

I remember…  Pick a memory and write about it.

Choose a color and write about it. Choose a color word and write about the word.

Write about light. Write about darkness. Write about shadows.

People you have loved.

People who have influenced you.

City streets. Country Roads. Getting lost.

Grandparents.

Pick subject  you hate and write about it as though you love it, even if you don’t. How does this make you feel? Do the opposit: pick a subject you love and write about it as though you hate it. Do you feel the need for a disclaimer at the top of the article: This does not typify my personal opinion.?

Write about today. Write about yesterday. What was notable? What was different?

Write about ‘leaving’. This can mean anything you like.

Write about your first memory. How old are you? How detailed is the memory?

Open a poetry book, pick a line, and take it from there. See where you go.

What kind of animal are you? Are you an animal at all? Can you do this, or do you draw a blank?

Write about sex. Write about how you learned about sex. Write about your first sexual experience.

Write about the closest you’ve ever felt to God or nature.

Write about God, about your belief, or lack thereof.

Write about the stars. Write about the planetarium. Write about the Museum of Natural History.

Write about the movies. Write about your favorite movie. What movies have you watched more than once? Why?

The most frightened you’ve ever been.

Write about swimming. Write about learning to swim. Write about beaches. Write about sea shells.

 

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Courtship Moon

On this day of romance, we celebrate loved ones, both current and potential. My novel, Fey Moon, has a holiday similar to Valentine’s Day.

The fourth moon (month) in the realm of Dashevona is Courtship Moon. It is the first moon of summer and the traditional month for courting. Those single and at least fifteen years in age are given more leeway this month, with less responsibility. The first night of Courtship is the ritual dancing and exchange of gifts. Though some cities, such as the capital Valadilene, celebrate on multiple nights.

The Human belief is that the Earth created everyone Herself. Her courtship with the moon causes magic in the world. When their dance is strongest (full moon), magic is strongest.

moon dance

Excerpt: The song was a variation of the usual Courtship song, a familiar tale of boy meets girl. She had intended to watch and learn from the dancers, but she couldn’t take her eyes off of Cail. He did have a gift. The rise and fall of his voice put her in a trance. He didn’t stop the song after the third verse, but began singing a fourth one that was new to her.

Courtship Song

A tale I sing of girl meets boy
He labored in her pa’s employ
With wooden flute he played a tune
They danced beneath the Courtship Moon

They walked and talked, their love grew swift
One day he shared a precious gift
A golden pendant, meant to swoon
They danced beneath the Courtship Moon

A picnic meal down by the lake
Where he proposed her hand to take
With hearts that yearned to marry soon
They danced beneath the Courtship Moon

From out of darkness came a birth
And Moon looked down on Mother Earth
His heart engaged, he took a chance
As Earth and Moon resume their dance

With one full turn, from left to right
He courted her most every night
Then with a nod, they each advance
As Earth and Moon resume their dance

From birth, to marriage, then to death
Their love makes magic with each breath
An endless cycle of romance
As Earth and Moon resume their dance

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A Few Poems for the Holidays

Saint Nick’s Christmas Excess

 

 

One Christmas night,  fat old Saint NickSnow

ate so much roast goose he got  sick,

thus was forced to belay

that night’s ride in his sleigh,

rushed the gifts all to FedEx. How slick.

 

Next Christmas, when faced with a chimney,

hr muttered, “I will not be able to shimmy

down that narrow slot,

with a fire so hot.

I’ll go in the front door, by Jiminey.”

 

What Happens Christmas Night

 

Do you wonder how, in just one night,

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Saint Nick can make such a long flight?

He sends some gifts by mail,

and some others by rail,

which makes his sleigh load quite light.

I’ve noticed that Saint Nick’s a bit

too big around for him to fit

inside our chimney, Christmas night

the struggle must be quite a sight.

 

Perhaps he oils his nice red suit

all over so that he can shoot

right down the chimney. Then you’ll see

he‘ll cut his hand and sprain his knee.

 

I guess that all those aches and pains

will hurt so much that he’ll complain

that getting down was such a chore

he’s going to leave us by the door!

White Christmas

Winter wonderland of woe

all we have is snow and snow.

Piles and piles of slushy glop,

mushy, wet and nasty slop.

Wets my socks and wets my shoes

numbs my toes and shorts my fuse.

Watch it snow and wish for Spring,

no more snow and shoveling.

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Chiaroscuro


Chiaroscuro wordle

Chiaroscuro: The contrast and balance between light and dark.

Within us resides a tapestry of darkness and light. It is woven into our hopes, fears, dreams, and secrets. To understand the tapestry leads to knowing ourselves. Follow these threads of dark and light. You may be surprised at what is hidden, lost, or wandering.

This is the introduction to my poetry book, Chiaroscuro. I’m working on finding it a publishing home. The image above is a Wordle based off the contents of the book.

The neat thing about Wordle is that the visual is a representation of the content. It’s compiled of the most frequent words used, and the size of the word is proportional to how many times it appears. I was pleasantly surprised to see that heart is bigger than dark. Really, that’s the message of the collection. Heart and light survive, no matter the depth of the darkness.

Here’s a poem that just missed making the collection:

Am I Truly Living ?

I wonder, am I truly living?
I have this awful misgiving
that I’m just a blunder.
Am I truly living? I wonder.

All around me others endeavor
to take charge of their dreams, however
I get worn out just to see
others endeavor all around me.

My thoughts wander like unfocused streams
when I should be chasing my dreams.
All the time I squander,
like unfocused streams; my thoughts wander.

To exist, I need to take control
of my actions, my role
in the world; my doubts dismissed,
I need to take control to exist.

Mary Butterfly Signature

 

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