Tag Archives: navel glazing

False Verse

I have two kinds of poems in the pile: those based on a truth, however faint and hiding behind paint and glitter to make it more interesting, and those based on nothing. Often the nothing verse is technically better because I wrote it in school, carefully, for a grade. One of my nothing poems that I’ve lost now was about a beach in Rhode Island, where I’ve never been, and the professor, an acclaimed poet, said it was good. When I revealed the lie (because someone said the color of the water was wrong), he laughed and gave me an A. I felt good about that back then; I don’t now. (I wish I still had that pome however.)

The reason my poetry was often based on lies/nothing in the early years is because I hadn’t done anything yet. I hadn’t gone anywhere. There was no drama in my life, no big heartbreak. The poetry professors agreed with me that poetry could be fictional; only other students thought this was breaking some rule. I never questioned my own stance back then, since the professionals were on my side. And yet… and yet…

I’ve changed my mind, at least with respect to my own work. When I reread my old poems, I immediately know which is which. The false verse is hollow and dead on the page, no matter how “good” it is. It has no emotional resonance to me, no layering. But when I read one of the truthy poems, I feel the truth again, however old and buried. I know exactly what inspired me to write that pome. Of course I don’t know what someone else would feel reading it (maybe nothing ~ maybe they’d feel more reading one of the false verse poems), but the point is that I know.

I haven’t written false verse since I began writing poetry again several years ago. No matter what I write about now, something in the pome is true, even if it’s just one line or one emotion. These aren’t just words strung together for a grade ~ they actually mean something. Also, the old pomes I poast here for my loyal blogfans are the true ones only. No false verse for you.

Happy May! ❤

Paused

I am the desert:
My skin is swept with sand
Across a shelf of stone;
My hair is spiked with thorns.

Daylight bakes me into crust;
I release the warmth at night
To a spangled, velvet sky.

I wait for candy-drops of rain,
When scarlet will erupt
From shriveled fingertips.

[Revised from 1989 version]

~*~
The Daily Prompt: Pause

The Search for Nuance

The search for nuance
Came up nil–
Not a single folder spilled
Out a poem or post
In all these years,
Not even a ghost;
No evidence I ever
Used a subtle, filmy
Delicate negligee
Of a word,
A mysterious trail of lace,
Leaving a coy, flirtatious trace,
Instead of my usual
Bludgeons of bluntness.

But it is this, dammit, I scream:
Can’t you see?
My shrieks echo ’round the mountain,
But Narcissus long ago
Fell into the stream,
And everyone else has
Packed up their picnics
And gone home…
It looks like rain.

It’s time to stop yelling, Paula;
Whisper your pain
To the slowly swirling clouds.

~*~

The Daily Prompt: Nuance

Regarding Elegance

People have described me in many different ways (some not fit for print), but no one would call me elegant ~ and I’m OK with that.

silly-hat

 

This isn’t because I dislike elegance ~ quite the contrary. Elegance holds great appeal for me in many ways. First, I love math and logic, both of which, at their best, are often beautifully elegant. There’s nothing more intellectually satisfying than to work out a complex equation by discovering a clean, lean, streamlined solution. Elegance!

Second, the pure aesthetics of clean and simple design also turn me on. I adore a bold artistic statement of monochromatic décor with a splash of contrasting color. The uncluttered ivory bedroom with a single red rose in a crystal vase on the dresser is the height of elegance ~ gorgeous. Remember when it was all the rage to B&W-ify your photos and add back one accent of color? Loved that elegant look.

Third, I totally admire the olden days of elegant dress. James Bond in a tux is the ultimate male, sipping champagne in the casino and then slipping out back to slit someone’s throat. He adjusts his cuffs and returns to baccarat, white shirt pristine and every hair in place. Same goes for his female counterpart in her long black gown with diamond stud earrings and ruby lipstick that never gets smudged.

But I am not that woman. If I ever get fancy in an elegant black gown with lovely black heels and my hair done just so, then I will fling on  a sequined rainbow shawl, wheeeeee! And my lipstick will get smudged right away on a cupcake or from using my teeth to open the plastic wrapper on a new deck of cards or from smooching a kitteh, who will proceed to shed half its furs on the dress.

Sometimes I start to write an elegant poem, but it always dissolves into something silly. I can write angry and/or sad and stay with those emotions, but whenever I catch myself trying to be elegant I can’t resist tossing a handful of glitter in the air.

It’s not my fault ~ I’m just made that way.

~*~

The Daily Prompt: Elegant

Skimming the Surface

I like working. I like jumping into an all-consuming project where the hours just fly by and I forget about lunch, forget to check my phone for messages, and 5:30 comes before I even realize it. I’m not one of those Monday haters. In fact, work saved me, not just financially, but emotionally when I went through all my crises of the past 15 years. It’s been my rock. But I didn’t realize I missed working full-time until I began again. When I stayed home with the kids and la-la’d around, skimming the surface of the days, I thought I liked my life that way. But I prefer working, having a place to go every day, and a reason to get up and get ready in the mornings. Several years ago, when I was first divorced, I met a man online who lived far away. For whatever reason, he fell for me and offered the possibility of a future where I could be with him and no longer had to work. That held no appeal. It seemed a regression to a superficial life, where I sit at the table and see what’s on the surface, but am not allowed to look beneath… and who knows what lurks under there. Despite everything, I’m happy now. That may seem a surprise, since I complain a lot, but that’s what bloggery is for. I can’t very well go on and on about hey it’s a nice day and nothing went wrong, the sky’s blue, and I don’t have a headache. I’d lose my 12 fans!

This isn’t what I meant to write. I was thinking to say something about how I’ve been skimming the surface of a lot of books lately and not finishing them, which is why new ones aren’t appearing as fast on the sidebar there (unless I get halfway I don’t think it’s fair to say I read it/star it). I have no idea what happened, but I guess we’ll go with this. My 15 year workaversary is coming up at the end of the month, so it feels appropriate.

~*~

Via The Daily Prompt: Surface

10 Years After

Exactly 10 years ago today I flew to Maui with my husband and children. I still have the children, though they are adults now ~ two beautiful daughters, smart, kind, good people, successful college grads, and fully employed. I no longer have the husband.

Sometimes I think about an event and say to myself aha this is the moment my marriage really ended, even if it hobbled along for years after that. Hindsight is so awesome, right? There are times I believe my marriage collapsed in in 2001, 0r 2004, or on this trip to Maui in 2006. But who knows.

I’ve visited Maui twice (and the Big Island on another vacay) and loved it so much. What a gorgeous piece of paradise. But as my regular readers know, I don’t enjoy extensive traveling, and so I probably won’t go back again. It’s a long plane flight (for me) and it’s expensive. Takes a lot of planning. Etc. I don’t like to leave Gatsby either. It’s important to me to spend at least a little time with him every day. I feel something’s missing when I don’t.

As I age, a new feeling has begun to coalesce: I can like things, even love them, and not ever have to own them or experience them again. Forex, a house. Sometimes I think, oh gosh, I’ll never be able to afford another house and I “should be” sad about that because isn’t that the American dream, to own a house? But I ponder that more and realize, no, I actually don’t want the burden of home ownership again and I’m happy I’ve had it a few times, when I was younger and had more energy (and when my mother was around to help)… that’s enough. Living in an apartment is easier.

The couple times I did stand-up comedy were fun and I’m glad one of my friends highly encouraged me to try it initially. People seemed to be a bit puzzled that I wasn’t going to do a third routine, but all I wanted to do was prove (to myself) that (1) I had the confidence to go up there in front of a live audience and (2) I possessed a bit of talent to get a few laughs. I accomplished these objectives. I had no need to continue.

A serious destination vacation, such as a trip to a beautiful island, is also something that shall have a happy place in my memory box and not be an item on my “bucket list” (such as it is). What lurks on that mysterious list anyway? When I figure it out, you’ll be the first to know. 😉

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A Lurve Pome, More or Less (Mostly Less)

I’m glad I never got to know you–
You thought I lived too far away.
The commute is horrendous:
Orange County to Ellay.
No one wants to do it;
You’d have to be insane.
No one is that desperate,
Certainly not you,
Handsome, successful…
I looked up your schools,
Well, everything really–
You’re quite googleable.

Remember when I wrote to you
On Plenty of Fish
And said I wished
You’d forget your rule
About distance
Just this once?
Of course you don’t!
But you said I was pretty
And a good writer too.
High praise, I thought,
Coming from you,
Even if it was
Polite bullpoop
Just to get rid of me–
Someone in your industry–
And you did not want
To make an enemy.
It was very civilized,
And I hope you’re doing well tonight,
Not that you need good wishes from me
Or anything else
Obviously.

I refuse to get nasty
And slide into snark
About the fifty miles by car,
Even though
People get together, I’ve heard,
From different states and even
Other countries, but then again
They don’t have to merge
Onto the dreaded four-oh-five.
I get it, I really do, my friend;
All’s fair.
You’re a busy guy–
You don’t have time
To make that drive;
Even if I had met you there,
You would have had to do it
Eventually.
You knew that,
And declined
For your peace of mind,
But sweetly,
Unlike the usual crude galoot
Galumphing about these sites.
I soaked up your drops of praise
Like a thirsty desert daisy.
Rejection made sense, and
You’re nothing but logical,
Which I have to respect.
And I do.

But then today
After yet another near-disaster
Of epic proportions
(Is there any other kind?),
And an anxious, sleepless night,
What do I find?
Facebook has bought a clue
To my old stalking of you
And suggested we be friends.
How about that?
Would you like to see
Pictures of my cat?
Perhaps you’d enjoy
My episodic complaints
About parking spaces,
And I could comment on
Your erudite opinion of the day.
We could be lovely friends;
How clever of an algorithm
To match us up
Once again.

I jest of course.
No worries — you’re safe!
Though I was happy to gaze
Upon your kindly face
That Facebook presented:
The gentle smile
And twinkling eyes.
I always thought
You looked kinda hot
In that plain grey tee–
Arms crossed,
Not showing off, but…
Anyway, what is it now,
A decade old?
I’ve seen a current photo
With less hair
And more flesh,
But still appealing
Nevertheless,
On your company site,
Where I just happened to click
After googling because
Everyone else is so awful.
And you know what?
You’re probably awful too.
Despite the nice rejection,
I know this, or suspect.
You’re likely not insane
Like the guy last night
And most of the others
I somehow attract
Like flypaper for freaks
(As a friend fondly puts it),
But you would not have
Enough time for me,
Mr. Busy Guy,
Guaranteed.
And it would
Ultimately
Break my heart.
How do I know
In advance?
Trust me, I do:
I have had this dance.

So, I am glad
I do not live in Ellay,
Or you behind the curtain;
It’s better this way.
Better to think of you:
Handsome, aloof,
Successful and kind.
And if you remembered me
(Which of course you do not),
You’d say ah the pretty one,
Yes, I thought she could write,
Has she sold a screenplay?
HAH!
Sold a screenplay?!
I’m dying!
We’d clink our glasses
And we’d laugh.
I’m sure you have a wonderful laugh,
Never mocking, not sarcastic,
No “New York sense of humor”–
Code for being an asshole,
Not you.
You would be… a nice guy.
That sounds boring.
Who says this anymore?
A nice guy, pffft!
You probably wouldn’t be one
In reality,
Or I would break you bad
Like I apparently do to all men
Over and over again.
Yet in my dreams,
You will remain
That sweet guy who
Said I was pretty and could write,
The nicest guy I never met:
You.

Jenga Stack of Pain

Jenga

I’ve just finished Remember Mia by Alexandra Burt. It’s a fabulous book, so beautifully written, and I highly recommend it. More and more I enjoy stories that aren’t told “straight.” I want to figure things out with the protag, knowing that what s/he tells me might not be correct at all. Facts get mangled, dialog is misremembered, perceptions fade over time. That’s the way we live our lives, isn’t it? We try to interpret the shadows best we can, and sometimes we hold onto ideas that are terribly wrong.

Last night I fell asleep while reading the book and dreamt I’d finished it. I woke up unable to remember the ending and became a bit upset. Had my memory become that bad? But no. I had about 20% left to read. Whew! The story is so engrossing that I got tangled up in the mommy emotions to the point where I thought I couldn’t bear it. There are some thoughts I simply can’t entertain. But I did finish, for real.

When I began this poast, I wanted to use the Jenga quote for my title, but I couldn’t search for it, since this was a real book. I took my best shot… and it turned out to be incorrect. The quote (found the old-fashioned way) is as follows:

I need him to be strong–not for me, for himself–because I was able to cope, have been coping, but I just can’t add any more weight to my Jenga stack of agony. (p. 396)

This is pure awesomeness.

I was going to blather on about my own life and how I discovered strength when I thought I had none, after people told me I was incapable of doing anything on my own, bla bla bla, how I piled everything on very carefully and it’s holding steady, which is why I can’t deal with any new drama whatsoever, etc., but who cares? Read the book. It’s so good.

Story of My Life

This essay by Galen Strawson grabs me for a few reasons. One, the cover pic is a Paul Klee face, which I always confuse with a Picasso face, and my mom had a print of it for years. Not in her last house though ~ so I have to wonder what happened to it. Not that I would have wanted it, but when I see the Klee face, mom-memories rush in.

Two, Strawson starts off by quoting awesome philosophers, like Velleman, a moral relativist. Strawson shows how many rigorous thinkers believe we write our lives into a story and become a character in our narrative. He says there’s a wide consensus that we create our life-story, living it while writing it.

But then he calls bullshit on that idea. He agrees that there are Narrativists among us [looking at my blogfans] but asserts that this state of being is far from universal. Strawson claims that many of us are fundamentally non-Narrative ~ our lives are a disordered pile of fragments that cannot be put into a coherent storyline.

He presents it as a dichotomy, but while reading the various quotes I couldn’t help but think… could a person be both? Maybe I’m a Narrativist and my story, such as it is, is composed of a jumbled mess that doesn’t actually hang together in a structured arc, but even so it is a story and I’m writing it while becoming it. I don’t see why that couldn’t be a third possibility.

And to go along with that, what about a sub-possibility that I’m an unreliable narrator of my life-story? That strikes me as not only cool, but very true for me personally. This may seem initially the same as being a non-Narrativist, but it isn’t at all. I’m absolutely writing the story and continually becoming the protag, shedding skin after skin to be more me, yet there isn’t really a me because some of the jumbled fragments I chose to include are false.

When I hold up a fragment to the light, I often wonder if it will mirror what I have been assuming. I think I know things. I must know what happened in my own life, at least some of the time. RIGHT? Yes, of course. Of course some pieces are 100% correct. But perhaps not that many, or there is no way of ascertaining. If I think about that, the story begins to fall apart. Sometimes it shapes itself into a different story, which necessarily changes the composition and direction of the protagonist.

It’s probably best not to think about this at all, now that I think about it. If I look into the me-abyss, idk what I’ll find, or if it’ll be different tomorrow. It should be the same every time, dammit. But it’s not. There’s no there there.

Interesting that I find this essay when I’m talking about not writing and also that my romance writing adventure had to do with my own failed attempt to write my own romance and make myself into a more idealized heroine. When I stopped writing my real story, I lost interest in writing the fictional ones as well. Now I play with fragments and put them into pomes, rather than try to make any sort of coherent plotline.

My story’s a poem
Sometimes it may rhyme
Or else it just roams
It’s a jumble of fragments
And does not have an arc
It stumbles and bruises
Itself in the dark
Some pieces are real
Some pieces are lies
I know not which is which
And my eyes have grown tired
Goodnight

AARP Musings

Ah, I love this essay from a dear friend.

My Self Evident Truths...

As a retired Old Fart, I now have the time to do a lot of reading, including AARP The Magazine, from cover to cover.  I found an article in the December 2014/January 2015 issue that I thought would do for Old Fart Friday.  It was written by Anne LaMott, whose writing is summarized in Wikipedia as self-deprecating humor and openness and covering such subjects as alcoholism, single-motherhood, depression, and Christianity.

I am not an alcoholic, single mother or Christian, but enjoyed parts of her article inaptly titled “Have a Little Faith” but aptly subtitled “How getting older deepened my belief in goodness … and in myself” which I have excerpted below. Although I do believe in goodness, I’m not sure that getting older has deepened my belief in it.  I agree with Ms Lamott, however, that getting older has deepened my belief in myself.

I was hanging out at the…

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