H is for Haiku

HI figured we all needed a break from mental health for a day. So, since April is not only A-to-Z Blog a Day Challenge Month, Poetry Month, BUT also NaPoWriMo (National Poetry Writing Month), I’m trying to write a poem a day, following these prompts. I’ve done a few, not in order, however, but whenever my muse taps me on the shoulder and drops a few good lines into my lap. Enjoy!

April 1/Day One (which I just wrote today, April 12):
Write a lune, a poem with a 5-3-5 structure (either words or syllables):

I, too, run here blindly
Trusting my feet
Since cataracts cover my heart

April 3/Day 3
Write a poem that is a fan letter to a hero or celebrity. Martina Navratilova’s autobiography, published in the summer of 1985 gave me hope and courage when I felt very alone.

Dear Martina Navratilova,

Love. Love.
That’s the score, right?

Add.
Add-in. Add-out.

Out. Let.
Long.

Rush the net.
Backhand.

Overhead
Smash.

Summer.
1985.

I learned a new language.
Reading you.

Thank you.
Sincerely.

April 4/Day 4
In the spirit of TS Eliot’s The Waste Land, write a poem about the cruelest month.

March is the cruelest month.
I am drenched
In fish and scales–
Watery.
Nearly asphyxiated
Then. Pulled
From the warm
Sloshing where I could
Hear your heart swish,
my own steady with
your beat.
My surrogate,
You cut the cord
And left me to
To nourish myself,
To find breath
On my own.
With gills.

April 5/Day 5
We were supposed to write about heirloom seeds—I wrote about weeds and how what we see isn’t always what it seems. Heirloom seed-like-ish.

Monsters skulk at the garden’s edge
Ten feet tall and hairy

Momma said I shouldn’t cry—
He wasn’t really scary

Dangers lurk in the fertile ground
And nourish dormant seeds

Fallow fields lie quiet now
But soon there will be weeds

I’m currently working on a Family Portrait poem so I can cross Day 2 off my list and move on to Days 6-12. Stay tuned for another mental health break in the not to distant.

Shadows, Poems, & Projections: Just a few haiku

It’s one thing to say I’m going to start writing the truth, as I did in my previous blog. Actually doing it? That’s quite another matter, but here’s a first attempt. When I write these haiku, whom am I speaking to? Who is the “you” in my poetry? As I was reminded in one of my classes last week (rather inelegantly, but still), whenever we point our finger at someone else, we are really pointing back at our shadow selves, those parts of ourselves we are at war with. We are always projecting our fears and hopes, desires and needs onto those around us. And so it is with my poetry. Sure, these may be inspired by a particular person. There’s a muse, to be certain, but on deeper reflection, I am “you.” You are me, and to paraphrase the Beatles, we are all together. Goo goo g’joob.

I loved the way you
Swept the door open and bowed,
Welcoming me in.

We had a language–
an undercurrent, riptide.
I drowned in your words

You bequeathed to me
This gift of desperation
Exquisitely wrapped

Stop outguessing me.
Just walk your way, and I’ll run
mine. We’ll meet midway.

You do walk alone.
Were you breathless, keeping up
With my racing heart?

I’ve been your hostage
Since I read that first poem–
Enslaved by those words.

I am the blue sky
And you are the deep green sea
Breathe the air between

New Year Haiku

Sitting, staring, contemplating
Sitting, staring, contemplating, notebook in hand.

During the holidays I had the luxury of time, during which I was able to write some new haiku. I’m always amazed at how a few moments of contemplation can result in words, images, and phrases arriving and coalescing into something more, how an hour or two staring into space or at the sea creates the space in me to realize metaphors and make connections.

I want 2016 to include more of these moments, stolen away from the pressures of daily life. I want 2016 to be a year of more poetry.

This ache, unyielding,
Spreads through my bones. Malignant
Love, metastasized.

Pulled by your tides and
Seduced by your moon, I float
Free in your salt sea

Dreams of you send me
Beyond the curve of the earth
Spinning through night skies

Wash me, erode me–
Rough surf, relentless pounding.
Can’t swim in these waves

I hope you don’t mind,
Ersatz inspiration, you
Are my makeshift muse

I want to be as
relentless as the ocean
pursuing the shore

Anxious attacks me–
All soft syllables, she bites
With ferocity

We could be breathing
Side by side. Instead you chose
Only to exhale

There’s new light on the
horizon. Nighttime will slip
Away into dawn

Some days I forget–
Even deep scars fade with time.
Blood and tears both dry.

I googled your name.
A thousand not-yous filled my
Screen. Damned imposters.

We are all blind in
Our refusal to really
See one another

Choosing blindness won’t
Render you invisible.
My vision is clear

Uninsulated
This fear electrifies–my
Body, conduit

Just a Few End of Summer Haiku

Here is my entire haiku output for August and September. Not much. Not many syllables. Haven’t felt inspired. Except for these few haiku. Enjoy.

I have stopped writing
Poetry for you each night,
My reluctant muse.

What if we just breathe
together? Inhaling the
essence of ourselves

Marriage should not be
reduced to a tally, two
columns, keeping score

Today we untwist
One last thread, our gradual
great unraveling

Still unspoken, the
Honest truth sticks in my throat.
Captive to these fears.

Our story landed
Hard on my heart–opening,
Tenderizing me.

Inhale these words—breathe.
Let me carve our script inside
of you, a rough draft

Overdue Haiku

I haven’t been writing much haiku recently—but I have managed to eke out a few in the past several months. Now is as good a time as any to share them. I’m working on a longer blog piece—my intention is to finish out the alphabet that I started in April, and I’m currently working on V. It’s proving to be somewhat Vexing—but I plan to finish it before school starts again in July. In fact, I’d like to wrap up the rest of the alphabet: V, W, X, Y, and Z before I resume my studies.

In the meantime, enjoy these, please.

We can’t finish what
we started. The pieces of
our pasts too puzzling.

You gifted me this
path. A bittersweet gesture
Since it leads nowhere.

You’re my Proof of Life
photo, ignoring this, our
relentless torture

Here’s tonight’s lesson:
Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha
It’s like this. This too

You left just silence
On my altar–some off’ring
Bloodless sacrifice

Open that tightly
closed fist–you can cradle worlds
in an open palm

Paradox
Loosen your grasp. Let
me go, and in the release
find deliverance

Rise with me–spiral
Up. Let us float heavenward
Toward hope and bliss

Sink with me–spiral
Down. The depths await. Sometimes
Hope simply won’t float

This grief well runs deep
Dowse here to discover my
Tears’ artesian spring

True happiness lies
In the letting go, in the
Absence of desire

I paid your ransom
With deposits from my soul–
Some installment plan

Even in silence
the Muse inspired. In her
quiet presence, grace.

I’d steal your kisses
If I could–a thief in the
Night. Unexpected.

I have read about
the tomb of longing and find
I am trapped inside

One awakening
Or many? Dwell in the now.
Breathe deeply. Again.

I’ve electrified
The fence around my heart. I’ll
post High Voltage signs.

Drown me. Hold my head
Under your water, gasping,
Breathless. So alive.

Ignite me. Touch your
Match to this tinder, my dry
Fuel needs a flame.

Once, someone asked me to explain my poems. This is what I said:

For me, it’s all about what is churning inside of me at the moment, feelings that I can’t make sense of or get a grip on I can somehow, magically or through this alchemy of words, distill the feelings down, make them manageable. The reader brings her own feelings to the same words and the meaning changes–I love the ambiguity and the not knowing. The mystery and the freedom to interpret and wonder. I started focusing on the power in each word, the impact that just the right word could have, double entendres and deeper meanings. I’ve started bringing this consciousness to my regular writing though it’s much easier in 17 syllables than in a book length manuscript and it makes it richer, deeper when the words can have meanings on so many levels. I feel like I go on a personal journey writing these, and then when I release them to the universe I see them  differently again. Layers.

I’m Baaack! For NaPoWriMo and the 2015 A-to-Z Challenge

I know, I know. It’s been far too long since I last posted. But I’m back, at least for the month of April, to once again participate in the A-to-Z Daily Blog Challenge. If you remember, I did this last year as well, writing a blog a day for 30 days throughout the month of April.

I’m also planning to participate in NaPoWriMo to celebrate National Poetry Month—which is also in April—by writing a poem a day for the month. If all goes according to plan, I’ll be posting a haiku that ties into whatever the daily theme is for my blog.

I haven’t yet decided if I will blog on a theme for the month or leave it open to my daily whims. Some themes I’ve been pondering:

  • Running
  • Writing
  • Menopause

If I go with Running as a theme, here are possible topics for my first few days:

  • A is for April (my running buddy, not the month)
  • B is for Brooks (how is it I can identify the make and model of so many running shoes?)
  • C is for Clothing or Why Does My Closet Smell Like That?
  • D is for Data (How far? How fast? How many calories? Don’t make me run without my Nike app)
  • E is for Eating Everything

If I go with, oh, say, Menopause instead, I could write about these topics:

  • A is for Hot Flashes
  • B is for Black Cohosh Smells and Tastes Terrible
  • C is for Cold Compresses
  • D is for Don’t Touch Me! (I’m too hot)
  • E is for Estrogen, Please (don’t make me grovel)
  • F is for Fire (as in I’m on Fire, again)
  • G is for Get Away From Me (it’s too hot to be this close)
  • H is for Heat (is it HOT in here or is it me?)
  • I is for Igloo (or yes, I DO keep my house that cold)

Or I may just write about whatever pleases me in the moment. Tune in later this week to find out what I’ve decided.

Writing and running
Finding inspiration through
My perspiration

Procrastination Poetry: July Haiku Wrap-Up

I should be writing a paper for my Gender Development class—six to eight pages “telling your story of how your gender identity has developed across your lifespan thus far.” Alas, I’m procrastinating. Funny, how the assignments I think will be easy turn out to be the most difficult. Instead of writing about my non-gender conforming ways, I thought I would share some of my July haikus instead.

I’ve not been terribly prolific—not quite back up to one a day, but I have managed to cobble together a handful of decent poems this month. A few have to do with running—since I ran my first half-marathon a week and a half ago; some to do with writing, and most to do with life in general.

Enjoy!

How hard must I wish,
To conjure your words from air?
Eyes shut. Hands open.

(I know, I already put this one in a blog, but I really like it, so it bears repeating)

We dwell here between
Words, beyond voice, in this our
Violent silence

Early morning run–
Lightning fast feet, pounding heart.
What’s ahead? Behind?

Catch and release these
Vivid fantasies. Unhook,
Swim fast, silver flash.

On the precipice
Staring into the void–what
Happens if I leap?

Some Sundays digging
In the dirt is more sacred
Than going to church

How many poems
Must I write to get to your
Chewy soft center?

These words, my breadcrumbs,
A crafty trail I’ve contrived
For you to follow

An itch I can’t scratch
That’s what you are, embedded
Deep. Unreachable.

Nights like this your words
Arrived on moonbeams, dancing–
Spinning into memoonbeam_1

Super moon rises–
Feel gravity’s pull and the
Tsunami’s release

Super moon rises
Between Mt Baker and the
Endless sky. Listen.

Seven hundred miles
Logged since January–I’m
Running for my life!

Distill it down to
Seventeen syllables: Life
And Love. Poetry.

Thirteen point one miles
First ever half marathon
One step at a time!

Facebook lives or Face
Book lies? What deeper truths lurk
Beneath these facades?

Do you ever walk
Alone or lonely, keeping
Pace with your own heart?

Haiku’s Slow Return

They are coming, the words, the syllables. Slowly, five-seven-five. Here are a few of the latest:

Muse
How hard must I wish,
To conjure your words from air?
Eyes shut. Hands open.

Life Now
Hot flashes, fever
Spontaneous combustion.
Sweep up my ashes.

Knowing
They knew no better
Trapped as they were by their times.
How will we be judged?

Dreams
It occurs to me
This is just fantasy. Still.
Possibility.

X is for April Haiku Review

I cannot believe that April is almost over and I’ve spent another month writing haikus (and daily blogs). Again, so many of these haikus defy explanation—I will try to give some insight into as many as I can. Some, though, just pop into my head fully formed. Others I get pieces of and have to then work out the remaining syllables. Occasionally, I will sit down with a topic in mind—generally these poems turn out to be the ones that sound the most forced, the least authentic.

So, as promised, here’s a haiku that begins with the letter X (which is the letter for today’s blog):

X—a crooked cross,
Sideways marks the spot, and, drawn,
Erases me gone

X can stand for so many things—ex, as in former. A place to stand. A place to dig. A spot. A signature. X’d out, as in erased.

My heart’s flame burns white-
hot blue tongues arise, dancing,
Seek your oxygen

Poetry sparked and
Ignited passionate fire–
Stark truth doused that flame

This one came directly out of Jake Ballard’s mouth on Scandal one night a couple of weeks ago, after Olivia tricked him into sleeping with her so she could get her hands on his phone. I just wrote it so that it lined up 5-7-5:

Tell me you felt it
Too. Tell me I’m not crazy.
Tell me you were there

The Little Woman and I were born under the same sign—we’re both Geminis, so when I read my horoscope in the morning, I’m reading hers as well:

Every day I
Read my horoscope and yours–
Astral projection

This year I seem to have a huge amount of pent up energy that I keep trying to expend through running and writing and now, school. So I wrote these:

I’ll sleep when I die–
Til I’m exhausted, weary.
Sounds good in theory

Wet sneakers pound through
puddles, toes shriveling, cold.
Insidious rain.

I woke up on Easter morning and this came to me, fully formed. It is one of my favorites:

Whatever tomb has
You trapped–Push away that stone,
Step into the light

I woke up another morning just wanting to write a haiku in Latin. I’ve never even studied Latin, but there it was, this desire I think to break out of the limits of the language I know, the desire for more meaning, maybe. I had to resort to Google, and it’s not exactly the right amount of syllables, but good enough:

Verba volant
Cor ad cor loquitur
Clavis aurea

(spoken words fly away
heart speaks to heart
golden key)

I struggle often with what to write, what parts of my story, my life belong to me and what parts of my story belong to others. I’ve written blogs that have upset people in my life—these haiku deal with finding that line, that balance between speaking my truth and revealing someone else’s:

Truths stuck on my tongue
Peeled off, now forced to drain through
The nib of my pen

I beg forgiveness
again for speaking my truth—
Is my story mine?

The scales tip toward
truth, and compassion falters–
Elusive balance

How does the writer
tell her story, pen her truth?
Dull the sharp edges?

Truth wants to vibrate
up and out in minor chords.
A sharp dissonance

Warrior woman
Draws her word sword, aware it’s
Double-edged, dang’rous

More on writing—this first one seems pretty self-explanatory. Here’s a whole series of haiku on writing into silence. Sometimes all I want from my writing is a reaction, feedback, someone on the other end to acknowledge my words. I don’t need cheers and accolades always (though occasionally that sort of feedback is awesome), but it’s difficult to write into silence, day in and day out. I don’t care for it much. My frustration seems pretty clear here:

Some days the words must
be pried piecemeal from dry earth
dusted off, washed clean

Looking for Divine
but finding only silence–
The great unlearning.

I have to escape
great silences, vast chasms
echoing within.

I can’t keep birthing
Words into silence. These are
Boisterous children

I’m pushing my words
Into silence and meeting
Resistance. Friction.

Your silence echoes
Through my canyons of desire–
Freshly gouged and deep

My words like wafers–
communion offered, received,
Ingested. Some Truth.

My sentences, like
Wine. Drink from the blood rivers.
exanguination

These paragraphs, my
soul. Transubstantiation.
Sacrifice. Rebirth.

These poems take a little liberty with the haiku form:

(Sorry–)
I just meant to tug
that one thread, not to make the
whole thing unravel

(Can we–)
Mend this ragged edge
Knitting word bones together–
Follow this thread home?

Please do not invite 
me in and then abandon
me at the threshold

What lives behind the 
sets we construct, the masks we
wear? Step off the stage.

Mudslide

Nature knows no bounds—
Follows her own path toward
wreckage, renewal

Oso Strong. Forty-
three gongs of the bell between
Amazing Grace and Taps
.

This last one also came to me one morning, after I woke up from a vivid dream and starting writing about how someone so far in my past could occupy any space in my head while I was sleeping. It didn’t seem fair. This is the haiku I ended up writing, not quite where I started, but it turned out to be a favorite:

See this hotel in
My heart? Revolving door for
Itinerant guests

 

Challenge Accepted–Blogging April, A to Z

Well, Dear Readers, this adventure has been so much fun this month, I’ve signed up to do it again. This time, I’ll be blogging every day (except for Sundays) during the month of April as part of the A-to-Z Challenge. Each day the theme starts with a letter of the alphabet, beginning on day 1, or April Fool’s Day, with the letter A and working our way to Z.

Since I start classes on April 8, I best be writing and stockpiling some blogs in the next ten days, so I’ve started making a list of topics. I’ve listed some  possible themes below. If you have anything to add or topics you’d like to see me address (or attempt), leave me a comment. All ideas will receive consideration–

Adoption – I have much to say about this topic, given that my entire family was formed by adoption: mother, brother, children.

Body Image – always something women think about, their bodies. I’m no different though I wish I were. Or Books. Bookmaking. I love making books.

Children – I’ve not given enough blog space to my children. I decree they shall have more, starting now. Or Cats—I rarely write about the cats. I’m sure I can work both into the same blog.

Depression. Been there, done that. Or Drinking. Again, could possibly inhabit the exact same blog without a problem.

Eating – I live with a foodie. Eating to live or living to eat?

Food – because I’m sure I won’t say all there is to say about food in the previous post on eating. Maybe Feminism if I say all there is to say about food in my post about eating.

God – because

Haikus? At only eight days in, that seems a bit premature, so maybe I could write about Heaven, on the heels of God. Nice segue.

Imagination.

J

K

Lesbians – takes one to know one. Maybe some fun facts . . . history of? Coming out? No shortage of material here.

Mother – don’t write enough about dear old Mom, and she’s always asking if I’m writing about her and should she hide . . . so yes to both!

Nancy – The Little Woman, wife, sugar mama, main squeeze.

O? Well, there is this video (NSFW) making the rounds on social media. I might need to address it at some point. Just sayin’.

Psychology – cuz that’s what I’m doing now.

Queers –see L, I’m sure there will be more to say on the subject.

Race. See Adoption, Children. Class on Multicultural Perspectives.

Siblings. I have one brother. I love him dearly. He deserves a blog post.

Technology—I used to have a whole blog devoted to making fun of tech. I can do it again. Or Therapy. Lots to say about that.

Umbilical cords—I will be taking a Family of Origins class Spring quarter. I am sure I will have plenty to say about the ties that bind.

Vaginas? Virginity? When I was in London in 1982, the movie The Last American Virgin was playing everywhere. I got a complex and set out to rectify the situation.

Writing. Of course.

X—reserved for April’s Haiku wrap up. I will write a haiku that begins with the letter X.

Youth. Fleeting. I’m sure there is more to say . . .

Z—on having zip, zero, zilch

I’ve left J and K blank because at this late hour my mind cannot come up with even one reasonable topic or theme that begins with either of those letters. Ideas? Leave me a comment!

Thanks so much for reading along in March as I took on this challenge—join me in April for more.