Robert Lee Brewer’s prompt today is to write an And Now For Something Completely Different poem, trying something you’ve never tried before. I’ve been delighting in deconstructing the shape of the poem this month, making sculptures of poems, inspired by the work of the brilliant CAConrad. Playing with lines has led to a certain new freedom in the placement of words and the structuring and de-structuring of sentences in poetic form.
So for my completely different poem, I decided to play with a couple of phrases one of my children said several years ago when he was just playing with the sounds of words as they came out of his mouth, and see what happened if I just followed the rabbit trail of that into the weeds.
It’s hard for me to unhitch the horse of the brain. Sometimes when I get a good flow of nonsense or newness in a poem or a sentence I am writing, my brain suddenly lights up with ideas about where to take it, how to do it again and differently. Kind of like the friend who was always interrupting the flow of imaginary play with a, “Guys! I have a great idea! How ’bout if we. . .?” Which was well and good and often provided hours of fun, but sometimes it was simply interruption upon interruption and it pulled us out of the essential imagination zone. My brain kept being that friend as I wound my way through this poem. I would get into a series of sounds and suddenly brain was inserting words that added sense. I’m actually kind of happy with the tension that created, the veering from sense to sound and back again.
1. Noticing the roadside plants as we walked along the road just before dusk: aster, mustards, bedstraw, chickweed, roadside penny cress, sorrel dandelion, purple and white violets, wild daffodils
2. The garlicky bite of penny cress, the bitter tang of dandelion
3. Vespersong: Field sparrows and red-winged blackbirds, robin, titmouse, chickadee, mockingbird. . .
4. Kind and thoughtful neighbors
5. Quiet contemplative time
May we walk in Beauty!
“My turn shall also come: I sense the spreading of a wing.” —Osip Mandelstam, Russian poet and essayist
“Be wary of any influence in your environment that dismisses or judges your enthusiasm. Without it, you would become anaesthetized to life itself. Anyone who demands this smallness of you is in danger themselves and may have contracted this insidious, deadening monotone. Enthusiasm is the vitality of spirit, expressing itself through us, and its grace in our voice should be welcomed and cherished. The word originates in the early 17th century, from the Greek enthousiasmos meaning ‘possessed by god.’ Now, more than ever, the world needs your enlargement, your weirdness, your fiery crescendos of rebellion from boring.” —Toko-pa Turner
“Grief is normal. It’s not like you’ll have a life someday with no grief. Life is all about loss, but grief is the medicine for that loss. Grief is not your problem. Grief is not the sorrow. Grief is the medicine. The people that have grief cultural awareness are always turning all of their losses into beauty in order to make more life instead of just trying to get through it and then forget about it.” —Martin Prechtel
“The only weapon we have is our bodies, and we need to tuck them in places so wheels don’t turn.” —Bayard Rustin
“There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are the messengers of overwhelming grief, of deep contrition, and of unspeakable love.” ―Washington Irving
“Gratitude is not a passive response to something we have been given, gratitude arises from paying attention, from being awake in the presence of everything that lives within and without us. Gratitude is not necessarily something that is shown after the event, it is the deep, a-priori state of attention that shows we understand and are equal to the gifted nature of life.” ―David Whyte
“Our strategy should be not only to confront empire, but to lay siege to it. To deprive it of oxygen. To shame it. To mock it. With our art, our music, our literature, our stubbornness, our joy, our brilliance, our sheer relentlessness—and our ability to tell our own stories. Stories that are different from the ones we’re being brainwashed to believe.
“The corporate revolution will collapse if we refuse to buy what they are selling—their ideas, their version of history, their wars, their weapons, their notion of inevitability.
“Remember this: We be many and they be few. They need us more than we need them.
“Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing.”
―Arundhati Roy, War Talk
“And this brings us back to the Hen Wife—that figure of magic who dwells comfortably among us, not off by the crossroads or in the dark of the woods; who is married, not solitary; who is equally at home with the wild and domestic, with the animal and human worlds. She is, I believe, among us still: dispensing her wisdom and exercising her power in kitchens and farmyards (and the urban equivalent) to this day—anywhere that women gather, talk among themselves, and pass knowledge down to the next generations.” ―Terri Windling
“Birds have a fascinating evolutionary history winding back to the dinosaurs. Except flamingos. Flamingos resulted from a child’s drawing brought to life by a birthday wish.” —Jarrod Andersen, The Cryptonaturalist