Monday, October 29, 2012

IMUNURI Prompt: Line Drawing

by Lauren Ari
This week, try this process for creative writing.

First, start in a quiet space. Give yourself time free of distractions. You might meditate or ruminate for a little while about what questions or stories or content is feeling energized for you.

When you touch pen or pencil to paper, make a drawing instead of writing with words. Allow the drawing to happen. You might scribble fast or trail out a line slowly. You might make shapes or lines or dots. It could be abstract or figurative. The main this is: allow.

When the drawing feels finished, write your words on the same piece of paper, over the drawing, or around it, coordinating with the picture or clashing with it.

If possible, scan or photograph the poem for your post; otherwise transcribe and post the poem.

keywords: poem, your handle, drawing

Friday, October 26, 2012

Another me

Another me

lives on A and 8th in the East Village
and has talked to Bill Hader on the street
twice in the last two months. My sister, Marge,
raises an eyebrow and humphs her interest.
I teach her to eat soup dumplings, pigeon

eggs, pho… She pretends to like my setter,
Dwayne, who’s old now. Only daddy loves him,
though. Monday, Marge flies back for her retest,
and I wish her luck. She’s playing the game
I gave up for a career in magic.

My medical coverage—Ala ka-zam!—
Gone! And my law degree—Presto! Change-o!—
License to astound Junior—and bill mom.
Like a hanky, I’ve potential to grow.
Or, rather, like Dwayne’s favorite toilet trees.

Performing at kids’ parties, I feel no
regrets. Tots in strollers make me sigh, though.

Monday, October 22, 2012

IMUNURI Prompt: Place

Choose a place as the subject of a poem.

Because this is a wide open prompt, here are some extra considerations, requisites, and options you can use or reject:

• Choose a place that starts with the same as your first or last name.
• Write your poem in a style particularly appropriate to the place.
• Avoid mentioning the name of the place in the poem.
• Choose a place you've never been.
• Write the same number of lines in your poem as there are letters in the name of the place.
• Create a picture of the place, or relating to it, to include in your post.
• Look up your place in Wikipedia, and find a passage to include as an epigraph.
• Write a narrative poem set in your place that names at least two characters.

labels: your name, poem, placematters

Sunday, October 21, 2012

No, THIS be the verse

(after Philip Larkin)

A life as tired, wracked and wrecked
  (as a parent's life will bend)
would seem a stream you'd not expect
  to reach a fruitful end.

As loss of sleep from infant wail—
  then teenage Ragnarok—
gives way to 3 a.m. travail
  awaiting key in lock.

You could predict a murderous tide
  in every family den
and epidemic fillicide
  and few grown women or men.

Yet here we are, among the years,
  to raise our deepening cup
and say to mom and dad, "My dears,
  you've really fucked me up."

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Relocating Teeth and Other Things

Over the past six months or more I've purposely been dislocating my teeth in my upper bite from where they've been seated in my mouth for the past several decades. It's as if I've been dislocated in my nervous system prior to this and now I'm going through another kind of dislocation in order to re-locate.  I have guides assisting me in this re-location. There are always guides available for location, dislocation, re-location. Have you noticed?

If I had a story about this it might go like this:

Once upon a time, there was a girl whose mouth and all her teeth were none of her business, but of course they were, but they weren't because there are people in the world who used to think that children had no say in what happens to and with their bodies. It's as if the common assumption was shared that there are many people in the world that seem to know what is going on in other people's bodies, teeth, and other personal manifestations of their existence and there are others left out of the conversation.

In this world of that time, people are thinking in ways that things either fit into something called 'right' or something called 'wrong.' Different words can be substituted here, maybe words more fitting to the times and also possibly to the role of the people involved. The minds of people have been made up by things that they don't even see or know about. When the word small is used synonymously with insufficient, certain judgments prevail and those who are in the position of holding the conversation, directing actions accordingly move within the limitations of their perspective. Such is life. Such is life?

"Your daughter's mouth is too small for all her teeth."
    "What do we do about that?"
"We can extract some of her teeth. Not all her teeth are necessary."

From here on out in the story, I notice I don't want to make the rest of it up. I was party to having some of my baby teeth extracted and later four more adult teeth were extracted from my mouth. Was this something other than 'good' or 'bad?' Where could, would, did, does this story go?

Several years ago my system tested for opening up my bite, as my teeth had settled on touching down in a specific way such that my nervous system was getting stuck whenever I bit down or closed my jaw. Do you know how many times a day the bite settles? Too many to count basically. A bite appliance was made for my teeth so that my jaw could move freely and not just get stuck in that one position. I had been grinding my teeth, which was evident from the looks of some of my teeth.

My body responded positively to having this bite appliance made. This time around I asked my body and listened to what it was saying. Resting in this way over a few more years, again, my body called for another adjustment, this time the upper bite was asking to be shifted from the inside out. Now teeth in motion, upper and lower in some kind of consort. A different story was in the making after 30, almost 40 years of another way. A story without needing a story, perhaps?

Moon rises, reflects
The watercourse way, fulfills
Over under through

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Water Tower

It is, what is called a water tower.
It stands alone on a green field on the east slope of my mountain.
Now with brown-gold legs, higher up ferruginous sides.
No longer any cattle here, no reason for water service.
This well rusted watering can looks across to rolling coastal foothills.
A little green ball crowns the tower’s cap.

^^^^^     *******     ^^^^^     

mountain water tank
man’s labor left to picnics
four leggy shade tree

^^^^^     *******     ^^^^^

Monday, October 15, 2012

rolling pin

written in downtown LA at sunrise

i wake inside a rectangle

write on lines, type in lines

go online

how to aver linearity and the quadrant
while boxed in by the grid?

i wedge down inside the grid line
i dive down in
i go down into the black ink, the river of darkness
i flow down this line to the 90 degree juncture
to the squeezing point
where thought has dominated nature
my nature thinking feeling nature human nature
this right angle is
wrong -- a strong mindvirus
i gather the qiforce of the flowline behind me
within the dark water canyon of black ink
black solder
it is easy to break, these lines
but i don't want to break outside the box
i want to morph the box itself
the box itself wants to morph:
who wants to be a square? 
a rectangle? 

the grid line ripples, wanting to move out of this strange strain
this kink in the flow
i take my rolling pin (tool of my foremothers)
and start the rolling process, rolling out the weak link
the weak juncture, the strange pinch
maybe 90 degrees is bees knees to the knee
the elbow, the crotch of the branch

but mostly round is stronger
cylinder tunnel uterine cervix globe sphere
oval arch vortex bubble flower petal bronchiole
elephant ear meander ocean earth
mostly round is stronger

so i curve my round fingers around this round rolling pin
this curving branch  this fine tool of the grandmothers
and i do as the corner asks, and roll it out, curve it round
spring it back to its curved sense
the grid smooths out, the black ink river, steel river
wave form morph shimmer back to its curved sense

still hefting the imaginal powerful
the rolling pin's fine smooth cusp in my cupped palm
i think to turn out the window into the LA dawn, 
will i still see buildings, just round instead of grid?
will the roads turn back to rivers, the cars canoes

or is there some other thing





Prompt: Superpower Shimmer and Morph

Mary Cowan, Shimmer [Painting]
Take something assumed to be true about something, and turn it inside out. Upend it. This week, you have super powers. So does all creation.* Enter the fabric of creation, and in the poem itself, change it. Make the change that matter or creation is already wanting to make, to bring about more life-giving wholeness, and encourage it. Nurture it. Name your superpower of morphing in the title of your poem, just to be extra clear. Keep it simple as you change the world - there can be many ripple effects. 

Labels: poem, shimmer, poet's moniker

* Actually, the planet always and everyday has superpowers anyway. I know, I know, all praise creation/the evolving bigbangiverse. Go with it. We are dramatizing the fibers of how the universe is evolving, and becoming more aware of our part in it, and that's a very good thing. 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

after "soundz" by zefrank

My parents always told me that I would clunk and kick against the wall at night while I slept. Now that my own 6-year old sleeps in the room next door, I know what they meant. Two or three hours after she's in bed and my wife and I lay down to sleep, we hear a clunk and a kick through the wall. I used to think it was the first notes of the song her feet make, touching the floor, padding through the hall to our room, where the vocal starts, high and plaintive: I had a bad dream, I’m thirsty, I heard a sound, or whatever variation the new night might bring. But now I know the sound is only a clunk and a kick, a brief stanza echoing her dreamscape through the meat of her body and the web of our home.

gong sounds clear as mint
long, round blessings in one room,
inside here, this tube

(The inspiration here.)

mountain lion and fall light (from an email to aimee on wednesday at 7:57 am on 10-10, waning moon)

got food poisoning on monday, still feel wacked a bit from it. my friend is getting prepped to be shortlisted on the heart transplant list, helping her, trying to remember to pray from my gratitude and presence  instead of worry from my place of fear. had a weird dream last night i was talking to her and she was giving all her money to help bury others in her family. her family was being meaner than usual (which is a feat), and i roared and made a sound that was almost inhuman and very relieving (stress relief through roaring in a dream, thank you lion people, thank you cougar people)...

in the dream, the sound comes out of my whole being, verberant. true. i open my mouth and the mountain lion starts (now, a siren in the distance coming closer can’t touch it). it goes on and on, as if though mountain is in me, and i am just a tube a pipe organ of gruff shimmer loud rage. in the dream i worry will this hurt my friend this loud sound that goes on and on longer than breath could last. she looks present but unafeared. in the dream others are more present, less reactive. finally the sound coming through me ends, and my fibers and cells feel relieved. 

in the dream i decline war reminiscence with a uniformed man who wants to smoke a cigar together (?? I think I might have been a vet in the dream) and i am hanging out with a memoir writing group my recuperating friend is it turns out actually leading in some kind of hospital/hospice/care home. i don't know how to walk in the careful helpful orderly way they are, i don't open the door for the next person far enough then do but the wrong way too far. i don't fit here. i move too quickly, thinking to slip through. there is no slipping through here where everyone has falcon eyes and attends with care. someone makes a randy joke and light laughter ripples. this is a group in tune. i am in the center but in the outs. they belong through becoming a larger being. i skid past. the light is coming slantwise, fall light, through the windows to the left.

what i remember, beside roaring, is the sadness, and the light.  

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

IMUNURI prompt: Haibun

From Osho Zen deck
This week, let's try a formal challenge:
to write haibun.

Haibun consists of one or more paragraphs of prose poetry (or prose written in a poetic style) followed by one more more haiku.

Excerpted from wikipedia:

Haibun (俳文?, literally, haikai writings) originated in Japan. It was first used by the 17th century Japanese poet, Matsuo Bashō. Bashō’s shorter haibun include compositions devoted to travel, and others focus on character sketches, landscape scenes, anecdotal vignettes and occasional writings written to honor a specific patron or event.

Traditional haibun typically took the form of a short description of a place, person or object, or a diary of a journey or other series of events in the poet's life. A haibun may record a scene, or a special moment, in a highly descriptive and objective manner or may occupy a wholly fictional or dream-like space. The accompanying haiku may have a direct or subtle relationship with the prose and encompass or hint at the gist of what is recorded in the prose sections.
You can read samples here or Google haibun for more, if you're feeling lucky

[labels: haibun, your handle, poem]

Monday, October 8, 2012

Upon Finding East Coker

'East Coker' By TS Eliot    (to read East Coker in its five parts, click the link to the left)


In my beginning is my end. In succession
Houses rise and fall, crumble, are extended,
Are removed, destroyed, restored, or in their place
Is an open field, or a factory, or a by-pass.
Old stone to new building, old timber to new fires,
Old fires to ashes, and ashes to the earth
Which is already flesh, fur, and faeces,
Bone of man and beast, cornstalk and leaf.
Houses live and die: there is a time for building
And a time for living and for generation
And a time for the wind to break the loosened pane
And to shake the wainscot where the field mouse trots
And to shake the tattered arras woven with a silent motto.

  In my beginning is my end.  Now the light falls
Across the open field, leaving the deep lane... 

(from) IV. 

...Love is most nearly itself
When here and now cease to matter.

Old men ought to be explorers
Here and there does not matter
We must be still and still moving
Into another intensity
For a further union, a deeper communion
Through the dark cold and empty desolation,
The wave cry, the wind cry, the vast waters
Of the petrel and the porpoise. In my end is my beginning.

Upon Finding East Coker

Here and now  is my beginning, not mattering
where I am or where I come from, my voice
of ash and cornstalk and leaf finds its ally.
With stones, this folly and forewarned failure
of words no longer tending that which once
tasted the palette of timelessness and seeing,
I return with those twenty years, also, that feel
wasted and yet not, steeping within which may,
just may resolve the quickened art of questions.
I will have this kind of conversation, however alone
it leaves me, But a lifetime burning in every moment
And not the lifetime of one man only 
But of old stones that cannot be deciphered.
 It is these stones that rise to meet me here, good company
yet uncompromising, as must be in folly, casting shadow
of experience haste and heavy and also humble.
Wait without thought, for you are not ready for thought:
So the darkness shall be the light, and the stillness the dancing.
My day, this time, this world where I traverse and scold
as a private affair, the interior tides occasionally spilling
sometimes tarnishing, but also giving possibility to the polisher.
When should I, if ‘should I’ is the way to say it, when is it to be
plain, as uncontrived as animals coming to greet and pose
as themselves, not how we might wish them to present
only to fulfill matters that are ours, when is it to be plain?
Something is held back, reserved, calculated to create
a hidden reserve with interest, interest in and of what?
Let the dark come upon you, thus the beginning of the unraveling
and there are those who are with me here, in that here and there
that does not matter gives rise to exploration, communion,
even desolation ~ The sharp compassion of the healer’s art.
Thank you voice of voice recognized
Whether posing or not of one time and place
I find the ground of heart of heart synchronized
Mess of imprecision of feeling within this space
Fierce, monstrous, Love is most nearly itself, grace.
I’ve found something here of myself and of you
And found and lost again and again
It is that tarnish I now polish but seeing the hue
before the scour
For the pattern is new in every moment
And every moment is a new and shocking
Valuation of all we have been.
Having considered apology, I carry on
in my work of this day of words and all that I know little of.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

White Cloud

White Cloud

white clouds drift over & out
the pine scented forest
crows head home in the dusk
by groups or as singular birds
all go north
clear pitch drips
without intent
beneath the tree trunk
a squirrel has prepared holes
to be filled with pine cones