[Poetry Tuesday] Light Fashioned Me

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light fashioned me human
gave me memory

Again, I had skin, bones, blood
a name
but my heart stayed frozen
by that long, cold journey
from dark to light,

even as I burned
as green as leaves newly open
in heavy golden air
that spilled all summer over roses
blooming in Technicolor
on tissue paper trees

but Winter lived just beneath that green
and I huddled beneath my skin

Now, I do not know anymore
what I am…

and when I wake
it is to find smooth sky
mirroring broken fields

the world turned
as shadowless as
the dark side of the Moon
as small
as our horizons
that ring us
as we reach out
to touch the white fire
that exists only
in our greatest visions


poetry tuesdayThis is something old. The sister piece to a poem I had published in my college’s literary magazine during my undergrad years.

It uses the cut-up technique popularized by William Burroughs. That’s one of my favorite ways to write poetry.

Yes. I have a magnetic poetry kit. About five, actually. And I love them. If I’m not using that, then I’m taking old magazines (if I can get my hands on them) and cutting out interesting words and phrases. Or I’m writing down bits and pieces of poetic language on regular notebook paper and then cutting it up and rearranging it.

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In the Moment (Death as a Reminder)

Last night, I went to the movies with my husband. I watched families with children buy tickets and get in line for popcorn as the younger ones bounced through the lobby with the kind of breathless excitement that belongs only to those under the age of 10

Today, I will clean my house. I will cook – for just the two of us, as Thanksgiving is one of those interim holidays where we don’t like to travel and celebrations with friends have already taken place – and work on one of my household projects, organizing my office or painting the second-hand coffee table. We might go for a walk in the evening and play video games together as night settles. I might stay up late scribbling stories that may never see the light of day.

Tomorrow, I will order flowers for a funeral. Not someone close to me, but a neighbor of my parents’ who died yesterday, leaving behind a wife and a just grown daughter who’s starting a master’s program. I remember when she was running around the neighborhood with the other little girls on the street, heading off to play ball games or camp with her family.

All this to say, I’ve been contemplating my navel. The holiday season always brings out that side of me. Add in a death of someone I know (9 years ago, it was my uncle) and it exacerbates the contemplation.

I’ve been making promises to myself to be more in the moment.

Being in the moment can be hard, especially when the kind of work you do on a daily basis consists of projects that must have timelines before you start. My brain is a regular time traveler, jumping forward three and six months or more to determine delivery dates before returning to the present.

But the moment is what matters. The moment is all we can be sure of. The future – the next year, the next month, the next day, even the next hour – is not guaranteed.

And it’s easy to forget that, especially when you’re young and healthy and you have plans. But life is what happens while you’re making plans.

I’ve been working on taking life as it comes. And I’m using this death as a pointed reminder.

It’s a reminder to slow down. To enjoy the moment. To enjoy even the things that are tedious and tiring – like the daily commute. To appreciate time with my husband, playing with our cats, texts with my mother. To enjoy all the little, seemingly ineffectual things that are part of my daily existence.

I thought maybe you could use the reminder too.

 

Qui-Gon: “Don’t center on your anxieties, Obi-Wan. Keep your concentration here and now, where it belongs.”

Obi-Wan: “But Master Yoda said I should be mindful of the future.”

Qui-Gon: “But not at the expense of the moment.

Star Wars: The Phantom Menace

 

 

 

 

[Music Monday] I Left My Heart in the Sierra Madre

music mondays

I’m a sucker for survival horror motifs, especially if they have a good soundtrack. This October, I fell into replaying Dead Money, the DLC from one of my favorite games (Fallout: New Vegas), for the haunting melodies that accompany the player-character as you weave your way through the maze of a decaying villa, beneath a blood-red sky, with your ultimate goal being a vault, inside a casino, that’s been locked away from the greater world for over 200 years.

The theme of this tale and, one could argue, the theme of New Vegas as a whole, is a song by in-game starlet Vera Keyes.

Begin again in the night
Let’s sway again tonight
Your arm on my shoulder
Your cheek against mine
Where can we go
When will we find that we know

(Instrumental break)

Where can we go
When will we find that we know
To let go
Begin, begin again tonight

Emerge

sun edited

 

bare am
I beneath the
sun, tracking whispers of
water and wind to the shore, where
I shed worries, fears, my sham selves,
merge with water, swallow
light and find I
am laid bare

 

____________________

It’s been a while. I won’t even give the count. Needless to say, I’ve been writing and reading, and writing in other people’s sandboxes, and writing for work. And just not…blogging. But the words are there.

I think I need to make a Halloween resolution to share those words here more often.

The Lost Son

I was looking for something to write about (that wasn’t fiction).

And Song Lyric Sunday crossed my Reader.  I’ve never participated before, but it looked fun. The theme for this week is “Lost.” My mind immediately went to “Figlio Perduto” (“Lost Son”) from Sarah Brightman’s 2000 album La Luna. (This album lived in my CD player for about a year after it came out.)

The song comes from Goethe’s poem “Erlkönig,” which tells the story of a father riding through the night, on horseback, with his son. His son sees the Erlkönig (Elf-king), a strange and malevolent figure that, just as in other tales of the fae, tries to tempt him away from the mortal world and, when temptation doesn’t work, takes the boy by force.

When the father reaches his destination, he finds his son dead in his arms.

It’s a classic story of Death wrapped up in the tales of fae.

This version of the ballad is translated into Italian by Chiara Ferrau. And it’s performed to Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7, 2nd movement. (And if you’re interested in another literary take on the tale, you can find “The Erl-King” in Angela Carter’s The Bloody Chamber.)

lost son figlio perduto

“Figlio Perduto”

Muri die vento
Notte è scesa
Padre e figlio sono insiem

Con un cavallo
Vanno avanti
In questa grande oscurità

Ma ad un tratto
Il bimbo trema
Dalla paura
Freddo si fa

Padre oh padre
Tu non hai visto
Re degli elfi
Eccolo la

Figlio perduto,
Vuoi far un gioco?
Gioia ti porto
Vieni con me

Padre oh padre
Hai già sentito
Cosa mi dice
E che vuol’ far’?

Figlio perduto
Se tu non vieni
Io userò la forza che ho

Padre oh padre
Re degli elfi
Mi sta toccando
Male mi fa

E il bambino,
Con occhi chiusi
Lui non si muove
Perso è già

Figlio
Figlio perduto
Se tu non vieni
Io userò la mia forza

Padre oh padre
Re degli elfi
Mi sta toccando
Male mi fa

E il bambino,
Con occhi chiusi
Lui non si muove
Perso è già

… perso è già

[English translation:]

Walls of wind
Night has fallen
Father and son are together

With a horse
They proceed
Through this intense darkness

But suddenly
The boy trembles
With fear
It gets cold

Father oh father
Haven’t you seen
The king of the elfs
There he is

Lost son
Do you want to play?
I bring you joy
Come with me

Father oh father
Did you hear
What he said
And what he will do?

Lost son
If you don’t come with me
I will use the power that I have

Father oh father
The king of the elfs
Is touching me
He hurts me

And the boy
Eyes closed
He doesn’t move
He’s already lost

Son
Lost son
If you don’t come with me
I will use my power

The Escape

wyattryan_unsplash
photo by Wyatt Ryan via Unsplash

 

At sunset, we stop for snacks and potty breaks and to throw the old ragged leather ball until he’s run off the excess energy and is ready to fall asleep in the back of the car, on top of everything I could cram into the Fiat.

There are 10 missed calls and 30 unread texts on my phone and I really should have blocked his number but I want to know if he says something that should make me worry more than the bruise he left on my arm.

I turn my phone off, reach for the road atlas in the glove box and, to the sound of soft snuffling snores in the back, open to a random page, drop my finger on a random city and point the car in that direction.

 


For this week’s 3LineTales Challenge.