Tag Archives: Poetry?

This Tree Is Not a Metaphor

I wish editing were as easy as gardening.

Wait…

*Does some actual yard work*

…scratch that.

I wish editing were like hiring someone to pluck unruly overgrowth from your plot.

WARNING: Mangling of Metaphors, Shameful Similes, and Tree Torture Ahead—Proceed with Caution!

*

I have, on occasion, taken a side-long look at my collected literary efforts and sighed–gusts monsoons would envy.  In those glances, I have seen the colossal effort it would take to shape them into something even vaguely resembling sense. Instead, each year I write a new, rambling incoherent piece like a prolific procrastinator of pandemic proportions. *

Do you remember my promise that I would provide the critique of my work following winning a review at last year’s writer’s conference?

*crickets chirping*

Well, you are all still waiting. Because the biggest take-away from that evaluation is that my story is starting in the wrong place. Book one of a three-books-at-least series, is mis-planted. It isn’t a weed, exactly, but it is a sprawling volunteer in my literary garden. It is like the tree in my backyard–it is a moss-encrusted mess!

Tree - 2 Weeps
Ask not for whom the tree weeps–it weeps for demolition!

It isn’t a bad tree. Yeah, sure, it has oozing cracks running down two sides, but it is lush and otherwise verdant. It’s just planted in the wrong place and threatens to split in several directions. And like my over-grown novel, it has got to go.

Tree - 3
Crude attempt at foreshadowing!

 

Faced with massive edits and rewrites, I say: “Bring on the shredder and let’s make some confetti!”

It would be so much easier to chuck my writing aspirations and plot a life without creative expectation. To slash and burn every word I’ve placed in a holding pattern, using up the data of an entire computer until I have to buy a new one to store version 15.2 of the same damn novel.  At least, that’s how it feels. It’s either that, or actually sit down and try and straighten out the mess I’ve created.**

Tree - 6
Taking a little off the top! Good thing they aren’t barbers.

 

Trees are unlike writing, as it turns out. They are actually pretty easy to dismantle. At least the guys from 1, 2, Tree made it look easy.

I watched them turn probably fifty-year’s worth of growth into so much mulch in less than three hours. I admired their editing talents greatly. ***

I did learn something from watching them. They didn’t start at the base of the trunk, trying to tackle it all in one go, but a piece at a time.

 

First a little here. Then a little there. And, before long, Cal, the stump man, was there grounding down what little remained.

There’s part of me that wants to do this. Instead of taking pruning shears to the 150,000-plus word opus, I’d chainsaw that forest of typographical nightmares and run-on story tangents and turn them into wordy wood chips!

Hacking Good Time
A metaphorical depiction of me grinding my words to digital dust.

 

But that isn’t what I want for my novel. I don’t really want to render its multi-syllabic magnificence into so much mulch. But, trim its excess maybe? To make sure it won’t crush my house in the next strong breeze to come through our neighborhood? Sure.

Reason to Worry
Because no matter how well you fill up the cracks, a story isn’t done until it’s one seamless effort!

Now all I need is a studly team of guys on standby who will cart away the bits that fall away as I work.

Dont Call Him Lambert
Don’t call him Lamont!

 

A big shout-out to Jacob, Jeremy, and Mick at 1, 2, Tree for very considerately not dropping anything on my head while I took pictures! I’m sure the temptation was overwhelming.

Asterisk Bedazzled Footnotes:

*I will also assault you with assonance.

**Looking at un-edited work without protection is like staring into the sun…while masturbating—you’ll go blind and you won’t have any fun while doing it.

***I so was NOT ogling them. I’m old enough to be their…well…aunt, at the very least. And an aunt does not ogle young men no matter how bulgy-their muscles are.

 

———————————–You Read This Far Poet-Tree Bonus—————————————-

I think that I shall never see

A poem lovely as a tree.

—From “Trees” by Joyce Kilmer

*

I think that I shall never write fiction

That isn’t pruned of coherent diction.

—From “This Tree is Not a Metaphor” by Me

 

 

 

Passé, Blasé, Just Plain Manqué!

Aging ain’t pretty and, sometimes, it gets downright ugly. You are forced to evaluate yourself for flaws and failures. Blogs are no different from people in that respect.

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Cake on Fire CLip art kid
Flaming Cake courtesy of Photobucket.com (wherein the word ‘courtesy’ means ‘stolen.’)

Facebook’s insistence that everyone in the world wish you a Happy Birthday resulted in people I haven’t spoken with in years contacting me last week when I became a quinquagenarian.*

In one exchange, an old friend asks me how I’ve been doing and I oh-so-subtly direct him to the wonders of my blog. His response?

“…Blogs are so passé…”**

*Ouch*

I don’t know about you, dear reader, but I put my heart and soul into what I write. This off-hand dismissal of my craft resulted in the following poetic interlude—performed in the key of é.

Critique Not-so Enchanté

My writing is passé,

Or so you say!

Perhaps you are no devoteé?

Or maybe you are just a protégé without caché?

I may sometimes, How do you say?, write a hit out of the park!

(Parquet?)

Sometimes it’s a swing-and-a-miss—or manqué.***

My writing may even skirt the edge of cliché!

But always, I churn the brain frappé

To scoop out a little grey cell pâté.

A luscious, literary canapé!

No hard-boiled reporter am I, producing the latest exposé!

But I do not deserve to be roasted a lá flambé!

Mayhap you will reconsider your communiqué?

But as for me, I am très désolé.

So there you have it. A damning condemnation that not only am I unoriginal, practically staring down the barrel of obsolescence, but so is my writing medium. (Not well done!)

Turning half-a-decade makes a person stop and think! Where exactly am I headed? Have I missed my chance to reinvent myself when I haven’t even invented myself yet in the first place?

Actual Birthday Cake
Nothing snarky here, just showing you my actual birthday cake baked by my mom.

 

Have I’ve officially reached a plateau that says: “Nothing new, innovative, or fresh expected. Move along!!?”

Perhaps it is fatalism of creativity? Maybe I suffer ennui? But I will steal from a kindred spirit—a voice who calls from the realm of the dead. I will lick the pen of a poet and echo  Stéphane Mallarme :

Je me mire et me vois ange! et je meurs, et j’aime —Que la vitre soit l’art, soit la mysticité— A renaître, portant mon rêve en diadème, Au ciel antérieur où fleurit la Beauté.

(Translation)

I can see my reflection like that of an angel! And I feel that I am dying, and, through the medium Of art or of mystical experience, I want to be reborn, Wearing my dream like a diadem, in some better land Where beauty flourishes.)

                                                                                                      Stéphane Mallarmé

Asterisk Bedazzled Footnote:

*L is the new XL (I’m talking Roman numerals, people, not size!)

**My immediate response? “Oh yeah? Well…your face is passé!”

***I noticed the odd appearance of accented ‘é’ words and cleverly sensed a theme. When I saw Manqué on a list of words ending in é, I had to use it. And then, there is the neato twist: where the definition for manqué conveniently defines how it feels to turn 50!

Man·qué (mäNGˈkā/) adjective:

having failed to become what one might have been; unfulfilled.

 

___________________________🎂🎂🎂🎂🎂___________________________

You’ve read this far bonus:

For those of you who missed it before, here’s the CARROT CAKE RECIPE for the cake my mom makes.

The World Wrote Me a Poem Today

The world wrote me a poem today.
It spelled it out in leaves.
I’ll try to tell you what it said,
But sometimes words fail me.

fall-flowers

All things change, child.

Someday will bring rebirth.

The newly-minted leaves of spring burst forth—

Escaping winter’s grip.

The ice that seems forever set, cracks,

Creating meltwaters in frozen spirits.

And growing things will make the dried ground a newly-turned earth again.

But today is a different celebration.

Today we bid farewell to a season that refuses to go out.

The November sun yet burns—

a fiery match against unprotected skin—

Warding off winter’s dark heart.

*

As I walk, I listen. With my heart, I hear.
The world speaks in technicolor and surround-sound splendor.
Maple, Bay, and Beech leaves waver from green to gold to bronze—
laughing, courting the heat curling up from warm grasses.
And though they are crunching nuisances to chase with a rake,
The scraping, dragging, bagging annoyances adults curse,
Also make a playground for children to romp through with rubber-soled glee.
the-informant
The tree at the corner whispers revelations—it is my informant.
Its leaves with their crinkle-cut, potato chip edges, blacken, yet stubbornly cling to gnarled branches.
It’s crooked trunk in naked winter, points out mistakes in a grey sky with crooked-fingered impatience.
Yes, a bleak season is coming.
But for now, a sinuous black cat laps at a pool in the inky tarmac.
It darts a reproachful look before—poof—it dashes into shadows and is gone.
A current whisks red-brown-yellow paintbrush splashes in vortexes along the sidewalk.
And squirrels have no time to pander for gawking admiration.
The world speaks through wind chimes…
And invisible gusts…
And silence.
 The pathway is now a variegated landscape
Where up is down
And only in snow globes
Can worlds come apart and reform
In such a whirlwind, patchwork topography.
I am dizzy. Overcome by verse parsed in semaphore signals
Through sunlit trees the Earth speaks.

*

“The fallow season is upon us and yet the roses cling, sharp-thorned objections to change.
Milkweeds tuck their mouse ears up and listen to fall’s farewell.
Podsopen mouthedspitting seeds.
Silken tufts will find their way to window boxes
Where dead chrysanthemums mourn with heavy heads.
The time for spring will come, child, the time to rise will come.
But, for now, it is time to sleep.”

*

The world wrote me a poem today.
It spelled it out in leaves.
I’ll try to tell you what it said,
But sometimes the world fails me.

 

Camping Is To Poetry


Thank you, thunder, for reminding me

I ought to have gone to pee

Before I fell to sleep

A rush through camp to avoid the damp

Is a minor victory

If only it weren’t three

In the morning.

Back to the tent, lickety split

Quick, before the rains can test

The seams which silicon did seal

On pained hands and knees

A much better use than augmented breasts.

Now I lie and listen to the score

Descending elegies of rain doth pour

As my child and I sink to the lowest point of the floor…

I fear a microscopic leak (or four)

Escapes the air mattress–oh what distress!

But I shan’t complain in the thunderous rain

The cool night air and the lightning’s glare

Through which I cannot sleep

For now I think the ramen soup I drank

A lazy meal choice I cannot thank

Means I have to pee again.

Asterisk Bedazzled Footnote:

*Camping is to poetry as incontinence is to convenience.