napowrimo poem 15: my sleepless terza rima

prompt: write a poem in terza rima, the form invented by dante and used in the divine comedy. it consists of three line stanzas with a chained rhyme scheme – ABA, BCB, CDC, DED, EFE and so on.

a sleeplessness
fills up our last night
with it’s bittersoft caress

sharp mind blank white
dreamwatching the stars
as they turn up ancient light

look, you see mars
up by the blood moon
through our rusting wrought iron bars

we pile sand dunes
shape the endless clouds
day will find our bed too soon

morning comes loud
we should rush to go
but seek the last warmth allowed

we cannot know
what spirit seeks us
if we accept tomorrow

but let’s not fuss
let’s hold with both hands
tender miraculous us

this strange love lands
in the quiet black
our primal body demands

we don’t look back

random SPRING music round-up

today for the first time since december, beyonce’s ‘drunk in love’ came on a playlist and i skipped it.

to honor this completion of a small complicated era of obsessive listening, i thought it would be nice to share what else i have been tuning into. what you will see below is mostly pop, which is my favorite music for spring, and other seasons.

these are not critical reviews, it’s not even really a set of recommendations. it’s just what i like right now as i procrastinate on a piece of writing:

1. sam smith, nirvana – been listening to his EP and everything else i have been able to find on spotify and youtube. his voice is perfection, his live performances show it isn’t a fluke or a gimmick – it’s really that pretty. he reminds of my friend mike in the sense that they both evoke the cool of boy george with a bit more husk to their spirits. the songwriting is solid – just a pleasing experience. highlight: the dj premier remix of ‘latch’.

2. latasha lee & the black ties – found the lead singer a while back through an indie black women singers list posted on forharriet, but i’m really diving in now. she reminds me a lot of amy winehouse and a little bit of one of my favorite people, my friend janine. the group is giving us modern subject matter through a timeless sonic lens that both samples melodic lines from and gives funky reference to the temptations, the jets, mint condition, sam cooke – they’re just wonderful, her voice is time traveling. highlight: stuck in my mind.

3. feist, metals – somehow this album came out and i missed it, even though i wore “the reminder” out. but lynnee found it and it’s so magnificent. her songs are complex but sound simple and spare and emotive. so good. highlight: the circle married the line.

as a mood album, i’m enjoying beck, morning phase. this album picks up the journey he began with sea changes, which is just a soft transformative soundtrack.

i also want to mention these songs/folks who are good on a playlist, though not necessarily blowing me away: imagine dragon (though if you add kendrick lamar to ‘radioactive’, i’m blown away), lorde (excited to hear her when she’s 35), pharrell (the best song off g.i.r.l. imho is ‘brand new’ with justin timberlake), aloe blacc’s ‘the man’, jessie j’s ‘who you are’ (and nothing else so far except her cover of ‘we found love‘), mr v’s ‘go downtown’ when i need to blush, and the national’s ‘graceless’ when i need to feel human.

oh and guilty pleasure: shakirihanna’s ‘can’t remember to forget you’ (just ignore the silly video).

who y’all listening to and loving these days?

napowrimo poem 14: what is this togetherness?

prompt: write a poem in which every sentence, except for the last one, is in the form of a question.

i feel very together in my life right now. the virgo influenced poetry of it:

is the detritus bagged
& stacked out in the alley
is the compost tucked
deep in backyard bins

are the clothes all clean
& folded & stored
is the walk in my bones
the clay mask off my skin

was the book by the bed
consumed all the whole day
is the work on my table
my joy beyond wealth

is a feast all prepped
from the earth & the sea
these are sunday songs
this is loving myself

napowrimo poem 13: that springness

write a poem that contains at least one kenning. Kennings were metaphorical phrases developed in Nordic sagas. At their simplest, they generally consist of two nouns joined together, which imaginatively describe or name a third thing. The phrase “whale road,” for example, could be used instead of “sea” or “ocean,” and “sky candle” could be used for “sun.”

in the motor city crisis zone
a glacial age falls finally away
and in that gorgeous absence
we let the firefly season lift us up
we glorify the sun
which will give us every single thing
and then hold us with reckless wonder
until the first snow

napowrimo poem 12: transcendence/bird

prompt is a “replacement” poem. Pick a common noun for a physical thing, for example, “desk” or “hat” or “bear,” and then pick one for something intangible, like “love” or “memories” or “aspiration.” Then Google your tangible noun, and find some sentences using it. Now, replace that tangible noun in those sentences with your intangible noun, and use those sentences to create (or inspire) a poem.

tangible noun: bird
intangible noun: transcendence

fright, passivity,
mourning, and beauty
are interwoven
with transcendence

transcendence has many vocalizations
it is the rarest warbler
oft perceived as a monster
recovered from near-extinction

considered sacred
thought of as thief
symbol of virtue
harbinger of war

female transcendence is muted
tho we migrate great distances,
defend our territory a whole season
camouflage provided by our plumage

we scavenge or mate…
among many socially monogamous species,
extra-pair copulation (infidelity) is common
…we are anomalous

this relationship is mutualistic,
cooperative honey-gathering
and we are the honeyguides
we are transcendence, deified

napowrimo poem 11: drunk in love

prompt: write about wine-and-love.

there there blurred morning
pouring too soon through
that sliver of window
and onto the mussed bed

hush please whisper

my night eyes north stars for you
now ink an early face
your mouth so soft, bruised
and pressed upon

murmurs to my neck

we knocked the stemmed glasses
from the table’s edge
you sweep up the shards
from the floor, laughing

we need no words

in the light, you are my intoxication
you the spinning room
the rose d’anjou
on my lips

now drink me again

napowrimo poem 10: Here Now

prompt: write your own advertisement-poem.

this was a challenging one, there isn’t much i like to pitch or sell. but i have lately been convinced of the value of landing completely in the present moment and letting it unveil everything. so here’s a pitch for here and now.

this Here Now
is the only place we know
we offer up parched cupped hands
take all we can
slip our scarce time into the slot
watch our tears come down and
so much laughter

this Here Now
is a subtle taste, oh let it grow
let us offer up our flesh hearts
feel all we can
let this hour press life through us
let us revel in this moment
now, and after

napowrimo poem 9: a song of song titles

prompt: take any random song play list (Spotify) and use the next five song titles on that randomized list in a poem.

my song titles:
nirvana (sam smith)
who you are (jessie j)
lost queen (pharrell)
brand new (pharrell with justin timberlake)
i’ve told you now (sam smith)

hook:
i don’t know who you are
but i adore you
i loved who you were
and who you will be (x2)

vs 1:
really i am in my own world
you in yours
yours which i could never know

and i’ve told you so much
i’ve told you now
that i could never let go

enough to explain how i can feel
this and that
how i can feel the ego

1st bridge:
and every single thought
and the ancestors
and the warnings
and i can feel forgiveness
and i can feel boundaries
and i can feel myself
a lost queen

hook:
and i don’t know who you are
but i adore you
i loved who you were
and who you will be

vs 2:
and maybe you are the prince
of some erotic city
because i blush when i write of you

how can i feel such nirvana
at your fingers
i am the record, you know what to do

whorls and whorls and whorls meet whorls
the epic scape of sounds
makes dreams come true

2nd bridge:
and you know where it is best
i repeat best i repeat
i am the record and you know best
i repeat i repeat
where it is best
best best best best
until i feel brand new

hook:
(and/no) i don’t know who you are
but i adore you
i loved who you were
and who you will be (x2)

3rd bridge:
until i’m crawling across the wood
until i’m seeking your scent
until i hunt you down like a stranger
a clairvoyant
a voyeur

(cause/no) i don’t know who you are
but i adore you
i loved who you were
and who you will be (x2)

napowrimo poem 8: rewrite of audre lorde’s now

prompt: rewrite a famous poem, giving it your own spin. i selected audre lorde’s Now as the poem to rewrite, because i am foolish and ambitious.

Woman power
is
Black power
is
Human power
is
always feeling
my heart beats
as my eyes open
as my hands move
as my mouth speaks

I am
are you

Ready.

my magic
is
black magic
is
human magic
is
always dreaming
my heart’s next pulse
as i lean back onto ancestors
as i arch forward into vision
as my mouth sings

i am
are we

ready?

birthing is divine work (doula reflections)

i got to be a doula this past weekend. i do this work rarely, for loved ones. well…sort of rarely, as i think of all of my work as having elements of doula in there – seeing power in others, calling forth intuition, supporting, listening, turning people towards each other.

but then there is the very tangible specific thing of being a doula to a person full of a child that must come out of the body.

i won’t tell the story of this birth, it is the parents’ story, but i’ll share my reflections.

i love the dynamic between people who have loved each other for a long time and are bringing life into the world. there is a preciousness, a knowing of each other. so much is allowed in the process, and so much happens in their looks, nuanced by years.

in every birth i have witnessed, there is the full breadth of human emotion and behavior available – the fear, doubt, pain, rage, love, exhaustion, hope, sacrifice. and with the actual person through whom the life is coming, there is the deeper calm, up under the pain, that breaks through every time. each time i see it i am amazed at the letting go of the past, even the very immediate past, and realizing the only way through is forward.

i love the skin to skin moment, the hungry way a parent touches and looks at a baby who was just inside the body, and is now on top of it, covered in all the substances of life. and the baby, screaming at the incomprehensible space around it, needing to hear through all the noise that familiar drumbeat of heart that has been the whole dark world for over nine months.

the tenderness i feel for the parents and the babies is good for me. i am a virgo, i can be impatient and judgmental with humans. to see then that there is this foundation of experience we all share, that we came into the world tiny, vulnerable and perfect…it is restorative. and to remember we were all created by people who knew some things and didn’t know others, and there is no right way to create and sustain life. but there are many many right ways to love.

grateful to scott and emily for letting me be a part of their miracle.