Sunday, April 28, 2013

As Spring Buds

Inspiration for this piece:  I was sitting outside this afternoon -- notebook open -- searching for some form of inspiration.  The first found me in the form of bees, big giant buzzing bees.  I posted that piece via twitter (@rmpWritings).  Just as the unnerving insects spurred my retreat indoors (safely behind the screen door leading to the deck I'd just vacated), music began to drift through the air from some neighboring home -- a tad loud, I must say.  But still, the tunes were recognizably welcomed, though they made me think of summer more so than the recently budding spring that has finally decided to grace us with her presence.  So I stole some images from two of the songs that played and well you can see above what it yielded.

A note on form:  At first, having just written an haiku, I stared at the first line of this piece thinking that is were I might again go.  Unfortunately, it did not feel complete.  So I expanded the piece into a choka, also known as "long poem,"  although I kept this one rather short.  It follows the 5 - 7 - 5 pattern until the end where it ends with a couplet of 7 - 7.

Behind the image:  Maybe it is because I've been too lazy to type up my poems (who knows), but I have been using my phone to take snapshots of my notebook.  I did the same with my previous post.  Of course what fun is it to just post an image of a page with my scribble on it.  In order to spice it up a bit, I have been toying with the image -- adding effects, borders, and whatnot.  

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Loss & Rebirth

A note on form:  This piece follows the form of a monotetra.  Mono = each stanza ends with a single set of rhyming words.  Tetra = I like to think of the two ways:  (1) it is written in tetra meter; (2) tetra means four and there are four lines to each stanza.  You'll also notice the last line of each stanza has a special structure; the first four syllables are repeated as the last four syllable.  Even though I chose not to write this piece in iambic tetra meter, I still like the sound of the form with its final repetition in each stanza.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

When the Last # is Laid to Rest

When she was young (but not too young)
they came -- took her and her family away.

"You there."  (her finger mimics pointing
left)  "You there."  (she points to the right)
"You there."  on and on they're sorted


"We asked when we'd see our family.
'On Sunday,' they said."

come Sunday

"They walked us past the crematorium.
'There is your family,' they gestured."

she mentioned the showers --
they didn't know more than water
could escape those heads.

"My cousins were brought to the same
camp.  Four sisters, the only family I had

she was determined to live
"day by day."

her goal -- to drink a glass of milk
again.  Seems silly, but to hear her talk of it
was like the Holy Grail.

"Did you ever try to escape?"
an eighth grader asks.

"No.  They were going to move us.
There were these girls I worked with;
they had a plan.  They wanted me to go too.
I said 'no.'"

the importance of family
rang in her "no."

"I wanted to stay with my cousins.
I could not leave them."

"When did you know you were free?"
another child asks.

"We lined up like always -- to be counted
before we were allowed to eat.  The guards
didn't come.  We waited.  Some of the kitchen
staff came out, said not to eat; it was poison.
We waited still, no one came.  Eventually,
someone tried the gates.  They were open.
Then we knew.

she got her milk -- a trade for cigarettes
(the soldiers said would kill the germs in them)
the milk tasted better.

Eventually, she found her way to the states --
sponsored by family -- on a student visa.

"I met my husband in night school.
I used to have long gorgeous ringlets." her
hand brushes her bare shoulder.  "he sat behind me
and would stick his pencil through them."

she speaks now to students;
not travelling too far from home.

"I used to visit with my cousin, she's here too.
But she can't drive anymore and I can't sit in a car
for more than 20 minutes -- pain radiates in my back
and down through my hip and leg.  I was struck
on the back while in the camp.  It wasn't so bad then,
but age seems to have aggravated it."

age she's lucky to feel.

her message is to love all regardless,
to cherish family.  she talks so her message
will live on in the young.

"It's important they know.  Eventually,
there 'ill be no one left to tell our story.
We need to do so now."

her words are haunting, you can see it in the eyes
of the young, but her point is clear
when all are gone it is the young who must
remember so such evils cannot rise again.

Inspiration for this piece:  Earlier this week, I had the honor of listening to two Holocaust survivors talk about their experience to a group of eighth grade students.  They had two very different experiences, but still they survived a time when most of their faith did not.  The quotes are paraphrased, but nonetheless hold close to the words spoken.  I barely touched on the experience conveyed, simply pulled bits and pieces.  It pales in comparison, I know.  Maybe I'll come back to it and fit in some of the other details (the bombing, the singing run, the feet wrapped in newspaper for shoes...).

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Persephone (Mother Nature's Call)

winds whisper in secret tongues
tickling the ears of dormant trees;
at last expelling remnants of sleep
buds burst -- blooms blossom
dusting bare limbs in pastel hues;
stunning "welcome home" festoons
for a daughter's long awaited return.

Inspiration for this piece:  I'd think it obvious, but the brilliant pastels of pink, purple, and yellow decorating the limbs of trees as spring begins to awaken all around.  I also happen to be a fan of the myth behind the season; an interesting story of how Persephone, the daughter of Demeter and Zeus was kidnapped by Hades and eventually set (semi-)free.

Monday, April 15, 2013


my heart opens in a breathless sigh
with the first magnolia bloom;
memories of you seep through my veins
like the lush floral fragrance wafting through the air;
before the smile fully flourishes on my lips
the first petals fall like tears pooling at my feet;
sweet memories tainted by loss suffered far too soon
blow away in the wind as the last petal drops.

Blossoming Pink
(image by rmp, that's me)

Inspiration for this piece:  Today, I stared at the beautiful blooms blossoming on the magnolia trees all around here and felt the ting in my chest - the memories longing to break free.  I'm still searching for the words to express the current emotions rolling round, but I decided to dig up this piece, which was written just over a year ago.  My mother enjoyed watching the magnolia tree in the front yard bloom.  This is the fourth spring where I watch them open without her and I'm still waiting for it to get easier.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Blue Light (Special): WaterColor (Spectrum)

Hidden beneath the broad strokes
lies the expressionless face
a self-portrait
of / by a four year-old
whose world  in blue hues
spins in eternal disconnect
eye contact extinct while
verbal skill live in habitual hibernation

Darkness overlays in broad strokes
the internal aura
a self-portrait
of / by a three year-old
whose mind absorbs all  in brilliant blues
while shut off from the world
patterns held tightly within
words encased like diamonds in coal

Hidden beneath overlays of darkness
lies an autistic child.

Inspiration for this piece:  First came the blue bulb on my desk meant to be lit for Autism Awareness (see image below for more information).  This object sparked me to reflect on a recent piece I wrote.  When writing Crystal Clear Clarity (on the Non-Verbal Spectrum and Worth Every Word), I had wanted to post a picture of a watercolor done by the little girl who inspired the piece.  Unfortunately, I did not have access to the picture at the time and so posted it without.  With these two things hovering, I decided to snap some pictures of the two framed pictures I have in my office to include with a poem still to be written.

While taking the second image, I saw something with my "poetic eye" (see Tumor Vision for more on this --"I so long for the artist's hand / to outline what only my eyes seem to see").  I saw a face that started me off on the adventure that is this poem.  )I do wish I had the ability to sketch out the face for others to appreciate what I see.)

Hidden Beneath
(image by rmp, that's me)
(painted by unidentified preschool autistic child)

Darkness Overlays
(image by rmp, that's me)
(painted by unidentified preschool autistic child)

On unearthing titles:  Oddly the last time I talked about unearthing the title was for the poem stated above.  This particular title falls within the very rare 1%.  I had the title well before the poem.  I have definitely gotten a bit more creative over the past year or so with my titles.  The first half obviously came from the blue light on my desk.  I added "special" for two reasons; I'd explain them both, but I think the double meaning is obvious and if not, oh well.  The second half came from the student's artwork which is watercolor.  I added "spectrum" for two reasons; I'd explain them both, but I think the double meaning is obvious and if not, oh well.

Monday, April 8, 2013

(Smush) Like a Bug

you stole my heart before I knew
the truth behind the lies you spewed;  
no longer will I be subdued!  
be gone with you! be gone with you!  
I thought our love was free to fly,  
but I was wrong - you can't deny;  
you tied me down with every lie!  
I will not cry!  I will not cry!  
though every part of me's in pain,  
I won't allow the tears to rain  
to satisfy your heart - so vain!  
I shall restrain!  I shall restrain!  
now go before my wrath takes flight
and squishes you with all its might;
it has a healthy appetite!
die parasite! die parasite!

A note on form:  I find the monotetra to be quite a fun form to read--not necessarily one to write, though it does have its moments.  (Though not fond of writing in rhyme, it does give off a nice ring.)  While I'm not 100% sure whether the intent for the form was to be written in iambic tetrameter, I decided to give it a whirl (to the best of my ability).    

Friday, April 5, 2013

Crystal Clear Clarity (on the Non-Verbal Spectrum and Worth Every Carat)

She's a diamond mine
full of precious gems
hidden beneath a thin
fragile surface tun-
neling next to impos-
sible, constantly col-
lapsing in on its-
self — [(/ trapping within
all \)] she longs to get out.

words escape — glistening
pink diamonds so rare
you cannot help but
gather them to you
string them together
dangle them from your ears
letting them linger there
so fine and perfect.

Unsure of when next
a jewel will grace
her sweet lips, you hold tight
every priceless note
and each delicate sound
of exquisite beauty.

Inspiration for this piece:  In searching for something to write on, it dawned on me that along with it being National Poetry Month, it is also National Autism Awareness Month.  (Note:  I am certain that if I dig further I would unearth several other celebrated entities for this month, but these two are — at least for me — the most noted of April.)  This year, I have had the opportunity to experience a new program in my school district.  On days where I need a break or am looking for a smile, I stroll into the preschool autistic classroom.  It is not always the most calming of environments, but still I find peace in sitting down with them and interacting (as best they can) with these little marvels.  They span the spectrum in abilities, each so unique and precious.  Of the original five (there are now eight in the program), there was only one little girl (who I'm lucky if I heard say two words this entire school year).  The amount to which she and the others have grown while in this program is amazing, but recently when I sat down next to her and she was unhindered to sing along to the music and even respond to my prompts was ... I'm not really sure there are words for it.

On unearthing titles:  I would say that 95% of the time a title will not arise until a poem is completed (4.9%  I may stumble upon it while writing and 0.1% of the time if is the first thing that comes to mind).  Of the 95%, I'd wager that I struggle with the majority of that percent.  This piece was no different.  Since nowhere in the poem do I make reference to autism, I felt like it needed to find its way into the title...the first thought that came to mind (given the content) was Autism Speaks.  But given its current use I was hesitant, plus other things were lingering, like the need to included the idea of diamonds and for some reason the word spectrum was stuck in my head.  And so, somehow, the crazy title above was born.

A note on form and structure:  While technically this piece is written in free verse. I did for some crazy reason feel the need to stick to a pattern of sorts; the lines range from 5 to 6 syllables in length, which I think ended up working quite nicely by inspiring the breaking effect within the first stanza.

Also in the first stanza,
[(/ trapping within
all \)] 
the use of these extra symbols is hard to explain. They were not in the original write, but added upon typing the piece here.  The poem works without them; the lines flow nicely.  But the idea of trapping them, making them an entity in an of themselves seemed right as well; those three words could easily come out and the lines would still flow.  I guess by putting them in I allow for three versions of the poem really: one reading straight through, one reading them as an aside and one without them at all.  I don't know...I don't really think it matters much what is behind it, just that it works.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Changing of Seasons' Sonata

as the sun sets on snow laden limbs
birds wait on their cue;
the maestro taps the edge of the horizon.
their voices lift into the air,
a winter nocturne floats gracefully
like a lullaby intent on laying winter to rest.

as the maestros last rays slowly descend,
the tempo shifts to a new movement--
a new chorus of birds enter
their sorrowful sound a requiem
ushering the cold darkness of winter
peacefully into its impending grave.

in the whispers of goodbye,
just before the maestro rises up,
a capriccio stirs in the feathered breasts
rejoicing in the beauty of winter's life
and celebrating the new life about to spring;
their voices ride along the sun's rays

unbound by the maestros baton
until he peaks once again over the horizon.
the vivance of the final movement
stirs a cool breeze through newly budding limbs
as the sun rises on spring's brilliant hues.

Disclaimer:  I know nothing about music; so if by chance I used one of the musical terms (that are strewn throughout this piece) incorrectly, please forgive me.

Inspiration for this piece: I was Flip(board)ing again through some photos. I came across a stunning photo of the sun setting through the branches of a snow covered tree. One of my favorite things about winter and snow is the beauty of freshly fallen (untouched) snow as it grazes the branches of bare tree limbs. Mostly during winter, my toes and fingers itch to be free to the warmth of the sun's heat. With the changing of season's, I felt like maybe it was time to actually believe that spring has arrived. I'm not sure of the origins of the picture, save that was posted on facebook as Winter Sunset, Lauttasaari, Finland.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Not Ready

my time with you is almost over
I know I should be moving on
instead I sit here clinging to us
memories that have come and gone

I'm not ready to let go
I'm not ready to be free
I'm afraid of what's not out there
that without you there's no me
so hold me a little longer
wipe away my tears
whisper you'll always love me
and steel away my fears

one day I'll look back on this moment
I'll dust it off to see the truth
you and I were just two lovers
holding tight to what we knew

(I'm not ready to let go
I'm not ready to be free
I'm afraid of what's not out there
that without you there's no me
so hold me a little longer
wipe away my tears
whisper you'll always love me
and steel away my fears) x2

A note on form:  I don't know whether the technical classification of this form would be "song" or "lyrics," but either way I don't think it matters much.  Typically, I would expect such form to be accompanied by instrumentals, but I'm not that talent...not that vocals are either.

When lyrics find their voice:  Often as I climb the stairs late at night from the basement/tv room to the kitchen), I find myself singing.  Every once in awhile, the words are my own.  Usually they don't amount to more than a phrase or two that eventually fade away into none existence.  There are those rare cases though when they stick with me.  This piece began with "my time with you is almost over / I know I should be moving on."

The recording:  First beware, I love to sing...that doesn't mean I can.  I tried to stay true in this recording to the original sound of the first two lines when they popped into my head.  There is another version in my head; I'm not sure the best way to describe it except that the two verses have a bit more of a kick to them similar to the the refrain.