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Archive for the ‘Vicissitudes of Life’ category
I am right now sitting on a train going backwards. This is not the same as sitting backwards on a train going forwards–that is, upon a back-facing seat.
This is sitting on a train that is, as it were, backtracking.
In this case, although we have all paid a substantial premium to take a train that is supposed to be faster and more reliable than the other trains on this line (in other words, we are on the Acela); we are hampered by an engine malfunction and are undergoing some kind of backwards maneuver to allow the back (functioning) locomotive to take over for the front (problematic) locomotive.
Ah. And now, we are stopped–with a dirt and gravel slide out one window and a stone wall on the other.
It reminds me today of noveling–i.e. trying to finalize and publish a novel.
Those who follow this blog may wonder–oh yeah, wasn’t she talking about that months ago?
Oh great. So, now we are moving backwards again–past cheery penguins and a worried polar bear painted on the side of a parking lot–they have big black gaps in their middles where the walls break to ventilate exhaust.
As in, yes, I was talking about this months ago.
The conductor, by the way, said that this delay would take about ten minutes, but it feels like at least fifteen. The good news is that we are moving quite quickly now; unfortunately, all passengers agree that we are still heading in the wrong direction.
So, about that novel.
Finalizing, publishing, seems to be one of those things ready any minute now, only not. This is my fault. Small corrections take an unduly long time as I just can’t bear to attend to them. (And also because I always sense that I should instead be doing major corrections.) I feel as if I’ve lost all sense of discrimination about the stupid thing–i.e. is something boring? Flowing? Awkward? Good?
By the way–we have been going backwards now for about twenty minutes and really fast too. (Since when do train conductors feel that they have to live out my metaphors!)
One of my problems now is deciding about the formatting. The paragraphs look way too tightly spaced on the page. I feel like I can hardly read them. On the other hand, when I pull books off the shelf and look at them, they seem to have similar tight spacing. Have I never noticed this before in books off the shelf?
By the way, it turns out — all passengers now agree–that we have NOT been going backwards for this last speedy half hour.
On the other hand, the train will be about an hour late.
Above is the picture I did for the novel’s cover. (All rights reserved.) I’ll save posting the actual cover till it’s ready. Any day/week/month now! (Ha!)
Lonely in a Florida Kitchen Morning
The words “low fat” do not feel like friendly greetings but name calling–hoots from the side lines of cabinets, shelves, fridge–they shout from every vantage point–”low” a descriptor of her brain state; “fat” an appellation for her personal container.
Though in her case, it’s more a heaviness of mind than body; too many unloseable layers.
As she shifts through the cupboard, “natural” clangs in. The straight faces of the boxes frankly amaze her–she, who knows perfectly well that cardboard does not shout in nature–
“Whole,” sneers the double-plasticked.
She remembers apples.
They too are body-bagged. Still, a burst of fellow feeling lifts her as she bends into the crisper to grab one, crunch.
Or rather, not crunch. But as something like sustenance syrups down her throat, her sense of good and evil is also re-affirmed.
She feels like an interloper withdrawing, she and her prize, as if she should back away, as if, like a time traveler, she should do everything in reverse. She hears at her back the silent fury of the “fiber,” the glares of the cornered cellophane–all those individual wraps of what were once food stuffs–so angry–as if she were the one who had labeled them–
And then, just as she steps back to the spare bedroom, she catches at the roof of the neighboring house, a pane of sky. How is it so perfectly blue, so blankly solidly blue? How does that happen here? Almost every day?
She goes back to the counter, reaches deep into one of the boxes. Breakfast cereal from a pseudo health-foody company, bought, she suspects, especially for her visit, or perhaps, one of her prior visits.
The oats and all the other stuff that make it–that is, what is left of oats and all the other stuff that make it–are shaped into little tan hearts. Too sweet, her mind says, as she crunches, too refined. She reaches down for another handful, and then crunching, another.
Here’s a little sketch done while traveling. I am having a hard time posting, and so although I was in part inspired by Shanyn’s wonderful prompt on dVerse Poets Pub, about looking out a window, I am not linking this anywhere as I fear I will have a hard time returning comments. The photo is of a Florida sky, but not as clear a one as that described in the piece.
There is so much we cannot fix:
a dear friend massed
with yellow glads; the green baize that masks
the upturned earth; the tumor
that takes over the torso;
more carelessly than change
(loose minutes rarely found
in turned-out pockets);
all those difficult years
when contentment was there–
there–there within our grasp had we just
the flotsam straws we gripped,
drowning rafts, that sparkle now
in the current of all that’s past,
catching against far shoals–
Here’s a revised poem for dVerse Poets Pub second anniversary. Congratulations to dVerse, headed so skillfully and generously by Brian Miller and Claudia Schoenfeld, wonderful poets in their own right, and incredibly thoughtful and energetic teachers and mentors, in their commenting and their example. They, and the other dVerse staff, both past and present, as well as the many poets who participate in the community, have helped me a great deal in my own poetry, and certainly in my sense of myself as a poet. Great thanks!
The photo above by the way is the one I took the other day of a spider web by a stream bed, knotted with water droplets, over that beautiful stone, which to me at least, looks like a heart. If you cannot see full image, please click on it.
Another day with very little free time to get new poems right.
But just happened upon something I could do right – right now at least. Go to bed! Then wake up early!
(And get everything done then.) (Ha!)
(Isn’t it wonderful how a plan to do something later frees up the present?!)
Have a nice night.
(P.S. – thanks all for the very kind comments. I will return them soon.)
I was very proud today, when my visiting daughter was looking for our ukulele, to be able to direct her immediately to an old box that was never unpacked after our last move several years ago.
Amazingly enough when she pulled the box down from the top of a closet, we saw the word “ukulele” scribbled on one flap.
Even more amazing was the fact that the ukulele was actually IN the box.
And beneath the ukulele, on top of a three games of Monopoly and one of a Scrabble, was an old sketch pad that included a series of drawings and paintings I did for a yet unpublished children’s book.
I’d almost completely forgotten about the book. It is about–you guessed it–a couple of elephants, a dog, and a yoga mouse.
They reunite above.
Join me at dVerse Poets Pub tomorrow where I am hosting the Poetics Prompt. I’d give you a hint of the prompt, but I’m not completely sure yet! Come to dVerse and check it out!!!!