A Monday is a terrible thing if you're stewing about all that you haven't done. But I was able to push out a poem. I'm not saying it's good. It's just a poem. Be gentle. Here 'tis:
I realize all I have
Is the part when I let go
And find myself staring
At the wind’s circumstance
Leaves lifted up like skirts
Or the river’s silver-white glance
I wait, I wait
Soon the weighing down will come
Reminding me of time and loss
It’s blue that cheers me
Your pale eyes remembered
Or in the evening come the moon
Blue or full or even new
In vacancy I view as grief
Could I be bear
To prowl to find that quiet place
And curl up there
Quiet that floats in evening mist
And tells me to forget the rest
Here's the first prompt for the month. I'm sharing this one, but I don't promise to share any others. DAY #1 Prompt: “I remember.”
1. Take five to ten minutes to write “I remember…” lines without stopping. Name specific scenes, moments, descriptions. You might want to try writing this by hand rather than by computer. See the sample poem below for some examples.
2. Consider copying this list and cutting it into separate lines and rearranging them, or rearrange them on your computer document. You could choose your most descriptive or striking or surprising top 10, 20, or 30… Do what you want with these lines to make a poem.
--Keep the “I remember” at the beginning of each line, or don’t. Random and optional word list: test, pleasure, stall, move, path, trace, give, unique, sturdy.
The person who mailed this prompt says this prompt idea came from the book A Primer for Poets & Readers of Poetry, by Gregory Orr. She sent the prompt to me and all the folks who signed up to write yesterday (for today). She said in her note, "...that way we could think about it in our subconscious," and boy, she was right. By the way, I'm hoping all the poems are not this depressing. If you'd like to get an email of my daily poem why not use my contact page to sign-up and let me know. I'll add that once I stepped into this remembering process it resulted in me remembering a bunch of things I really didn't want to - but that's the way it is with memories. You can't turn them off once loosened up. I'm posting day #1's poem here but that doesn't mean I'll post them all here. Well, anyway, just for today, here it is..a poem.
a small wading pool with triangle corners
my grandparents’ hydrangeas
the black and white movie
of driving to the hospital at night
nosebleeds that wouldn’t stop
how my teachers talked about me in 7th grade
appendicitus at eleven
how my mother dressed me like I was a paper doll
like I was her hobby
skating on new asphalt
new surfaces of survival
**LINK to my fundraising page for the Center for New Americans
I call myself writer now and it took me a long time to do it, not that I haven't written my whole life, not that I'm a bad writer, but that the permission hadn't been set in my own brain. I finally got there and that's okay, but when I began calling myself a poet it felt false because of how I had previously defined it. It was the same problem all over again. It was a definition I had constructed that didn't include me. I think we do that - define things so narrowly it's hard to shift into a different mode. And we all have a bit of imposter syndrome going on that taps us on the shoulder and makes us feel uncomfortable, unworthy.
So about this being a poet. Besides writing poetry and having a big pile of poems going back years, and besides writing every day, how can I feel more comfortable about my own definition of myself? Well, I thought of a way. I signed up for 30 Poems in November, a fundraiser for the Center For New Americans. A poem a day - and honestly I'm almost doing that anyway - but it allows me to step into poetry in a more formal way. It's like making a contract with myself to commit to being more present as a poet, to have more intention at least for 30 days. A side benefit is that I'll be connecting with other poets who are of a like mind; who whatever their motivation regarding writing is, they too want to support immigrants. I definitely do. We all struggle but those who come here with no connections are struggling to become part of a community. They're more than a little bit lost. They need connections to food, learning, health providers -- so many things, and CNA does such good work to support them. If you'd like to receive a daily poem from me in November, I invite you to use the form on my website to send me a request. And if you like, make a donation to the Center For New Americans. I'll be here writing poetry. I can do it. I'm a poet.
A blog is a great concept, but honestly it's not the kind of thing you can do every single day and also write 9 short stories in 139 days (just under 5 months if you're counting from today). Plus, I'm adding in writing a poem every day. Here's the official challenge: write like a demon, like it's a limited time we have on earth, like it's a pandemic...hello, it is.
Time doesn't wait - it just goes on and on and we, whether we're measuring our days with coffee spoons or charging around the planet saving lives, inventing new things and creating our own jet trails; we are ones doing the doing (or not). So, just saying, enough. I may come back to blogging, but for right now I've got work to do and that is the work of writing and not just an hour or two a day. My butt is in the chair. It's the perfect time to lean-in and do everything you always felt you were meant to do. Just saying. Oh, one more thing - I posted the titles of the stories on my banner. Try not to steal them.
When I'm done it will look like this...
C. D. Finley
Opinionated, wry, sometimes corny, observational humor mostly about writing, but you never know.