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Last year, I was very faithful to my intention to write a poem each day for National Poetry Writing Month. I didn’t make much headway with it this time around at first. Some combination of lack of discipline, sleep, and inspiration left me with a few jagged, unfinished lines across a few days. I didn’t feel as badly about it as I thought I might. It just didn’t seem to be happening.
Then, NPR’s afternoon show, Tell Me More, announced that they’d be featuring poetic tweets each day. Something clicked for me, and I have really been enjoying finding the essentials, boiling down some experience or complex mood to 140 characters or less. I gave myself the extra challenge of using every character if I could, inclusive of the hash tag: #tmmpoetry.
I could see doing much more writing like this @spiritrockssexy – letting the little bursts of creativity out where there is little room for explanation. I cheated a bit, perhaps, as a few of these seemed to call for titles in addition to their 140. Some of these poems feel like just a beginning. Still, this is an interesting way to find the opening lines.
I was pleased to find this first one (sans title) was posted on Tell Me More’s Muses & Metaphor 2012 page:
Today, while anticipating you in summer
took to the fern print blanket.
sang first time this month.
remembered the reinless hum of wanting.
bought raisins and radishes.
Green Earrings, essential
(Inspired by: Fire in the Hole – Sara Isaksson & Rebecka Törnqvist)
Two voices, harmony
a lifeline drawn in French kiss tension
piano, honey-stark, sets free keys
shaven to breathless brilliance
A churning stomach digesting stories
misses truth by the volume of its growling.
My frantic eye missed the prism
hard muscle tribal tats
under cargo pants, bikini shaven
square hips, a blonde girl swoosh!
a cartwheel through gender playground
ginger hot I watch
sweet like petals
a hand a shoulder
a still center
a third heart
privy to their union
our silky wonder
Just past Jackson Rd.
horses, goats, and green replace
hardwares and fire trucks.
No Trespassing Park is worth a quick defiance.
Take off the faded blues
business casual, glitter
or let little black dress fall
What do you see in life, naked?
I Should Look Again Tomorrow
Grey failings, lanced through to center
judged even by the sweet empathic eye.
So apparent is my never-vibrant purple,
It has taken me days to write anything at all on the passing of the wonderful Levon Helm. At least, here is a tiny first try.
Phoenix of the holler and hip
electric American dirt
your voice has outgrown the reel.
Travel well, backbeat healer.
I began this blog last night. It was going to be something very different. As I woke up on this warmish, misty Ostara morning, it was as though all the things I was poised to worry about in writing had put themselves in order. Whether coincidental or a function of syncing spirituality with the seasons, I do feel balance on this Equinox.
The making of the new chant CD has happened in about as opposite as fashion as the last one as possible. The kirtans and other spiritual songs on Live Devotion came quickly, jumping into my head as I worked, drove, or sang other songs—anytime, and when least expected. A few rehearsals, one long day in studio, and it had arrived. I already knew that what we were affectionately calling “Studio Devotion” would be a more traditional recording experience, but I didn’t think it would be a year in the making. Given that a lot of the year was pushing past emotional obstacles ad absurdum, I am happy to say that the gestation period for what will officially be called This seems just about over. I would like to release it well – with some traditional and innovative promotion and viable distribution. I’m open to suggestion from all quarters on how that may best happen. In the meantime, it is a wonderful feeling to be just about through with recording and mixing and to feel the emergence of new spiritsong on the first day of spring.
A recent blog by my friend LauraLynn Jansen inspired me to reflect on “What is yogic?” Today, I believe it is the practice of remembering, of coming back to center, and living a life that allows all sorts of activities and interactions to be the instrument of balance. Music, when I lose myself in it, does this work. Lately exercise – especially swimming and biking – are just as much music to me, just as much a journey toward Center. I am undertaking a sprint triathlon training, also inspired by LL. I keep finding more and more depth in meeting the challenges. I have considered the workout to be a form of meditation before, but it is new for me to think about fitness as art. The metaphor of Oneness meets the day-to-day.
April is coming, and that means NaPoWriMo. It may make me very busy, but springtime is emergence is yoga is staying in the flow of writing.
I am feeling like a fully erotic being again, after too long a hibernation.
The wild, scary, beautiful storm kicked up by taking on 30 poems in 30 days is still very much alive in me. Expeditions for love, for cord-cutting and letting go, and for spiritual center run through it all. So much is going on in ideas and emotions that it can begin to bring on a kind of paralysis. I am not allowing that to take hold for long. There is too much to do. All of my projects – Robin Renée singer/songwriter, Robin Renée kirtan, The Mutant Mountain Boys, and various other creative drives are all clamoring for time. Plus, some character named Devo Dan keeps bugging me to work with him. ;- ) The many hours’ drive to and from Ohio this weekend for Mountain Boys rehearsal and kirtan at The Yoga Place was a welcome time for contemplation and decompression.
Writing daily forces me to get through my own crap- the lies it is convenient to tell myself- and I eventually have to get to something real. This is where I want to live. It is the middle of the well from which these creative impulses seem to spring. I can’t say that I wouldn’t welcome a stable ledge on which to rest in this period that feels like a long project in unconditional truth-seeking. Right now I am tumbling in the midst, and I choose to be ok with tumbling for now, capturing bits of the experience along the way.
April 21, 2011
The New Trees Take Their Places
Evergreens stand over the yard’s back edge
And there is happy naked dancing for all seasons.
Summer will contend for the witchiest season of them all
With festival love and people who really like drumming.
I wonder what happened to the pissed off trees
And shame-riddled women clutching towels to hide themselves,
persecuted Pagans and the winter that never goes home.
No such luck for the erstwhile King and Queen of Angst.
Some of those folks never lived here, and the rest have flown back
to their lovely realms.
There must be words spoken
like tsunami, earthquake, and revolution.
I wonder what happened to those words.
They must have moved beyond the property line,
but they are remembered daily.
Evergreens stand over the yard’s back edge
Holding gallant space for solid ground,
Keeping watch over quiet growth and loud passion,
And there is happy naked dancing for all seasons.
April 22, 2011
Face the sticker-splattered wall,
part mural part disdain.
I would have endured.
Finding empty letter,
noting missing friendship ring
would have been too hard.
You’ve done me the favor.
April 23, 2011
The bit part
One toe in the drink
A pen still mightier
The listening corner
The open ears
A reverent envy
In the side of
Whatever it takes
To dive in
April 24, 2011
Toes recall wild grass,
Bare skin, sun, and air make love-
Nature’s Easter prayer.
April 25, 2011
A Different Ring
Regarding the ring:
You must wear it well
as you wear shifting speech.
Once your head is turned, flowery protest? Useless.
White gold or semi-precious, I don’t know. I’ve not seen
your finger or your face
in almost long enough.
Who would I be to stand
in the laced path
of the marriage of crisis to victim?
On the New Hope bridge,
you asked for my blessing on a ceremony.
It was another love, declared before meat-eating
Straight-acting, and the face of tradition
Took you on, a code of opposites.
Teacher, point your own way home.
Who would I be to stand
in the overgrown path
of separation, mind from knowing?
Bodies- yours and mine
are not to touch again.
I take up scissors to cut the barky vine
can’t help but drop them still
thinking “Have it your way.
See you next life, then.”
I remember, to those who leave
I wave goodbye.
Somewhere in the dredged earth
is the reason to thank you
with a smile.
April 26, 2011
Which pointed buds give way to splayed white flowers,
Which dots will soon be leaves-
On the outside, there are teachings.
Inside, the chair before the desk-
Which wall needs waterproof steel blue paint,
Which bent-page piles most urgent.
Love released, received among proud dandelions,
First order of business.
April 27, 2011
If Found, Do Not Return
left for traveler
willing to give up
for hollow-handed love
or for king’s horse
of sight gag.
April 28, 2011
Chocolate, Wine, & Porn
First thing I see are bed covers unraveled, like they’ve just enjoyed the ride, then there’s you, crimped brown hair, as avant garde undressed as in leopard print and vintage clogs,
I wonder if you’d let me really see you this way were I not imagining your story and you were not hiding in the arms of academia. I may be deep in the house of mistrust still
at least I imagine you, alone with dark chocolate, red wine, grainy porn, still-no-silicone video, hairy, hot and real. My brain stops here, I want to know what you do by yourself
and what with, times I’ve known you there is love and doors that close
on making love, sudden, no warning, no formula to break barriers.
Still, I believe you, once mistress of three classic pleasures, exciting
and dulling nerve endings, in your endorphin cocktail haze, lover,
may you have remembered me.
I remember your backpack at the bus stop, what your intent eyes knew,
your sleeping beauty on post-collegiate futon, how the three of us, that one time,
barely fit in the shower.
Want to fast-forward this stuck cassette, see what is now, what unstuck passion together might come beyond memory, beyond numbing, beyond the endorphin rush of running.
Pour me a pinot, I’ll bring the raw cacao.
April 29, 2011
Chant and dance move this night
Circular motion time intended
A love not actionable
Comes back around
A slow burn
Toward flame or fizzle
At any point
There is a straight line
April 30, 2011/May 1, 2011
Garden earth green and floral
or warm city rhythm
If we do not drop our armor
on the eve of Beltane,
we lie by omission.
I plan to wed the summer
hand-held or solitaire,
make love in the field
of clover and thorn
This has been the most difficult week so far to keep writing for NaPoWriMo. I have been too busy, too tired, too restless, too something to write almost all the time. Sometimes the basic idea and the essential words come late at night when I am not present enough to write and in the morning when my brain is awake it falls together. I haven’t enjoyed putting forth some of the pieces that are more likely sketches than real poems. Still, I feel the value in taking on the challenge of showing the rough edges and the work in motion.
I have been noticing simple themes that help lead me. The spiritual power that dancing holds (Sex Dwarf New Wave Dance Party!) and the organic emotions that electronic music stirs up have come to the surface. I am anxious to start a new branch of my musical journey writing with samples and sound libraries more a part of the initial process.
It was strange to discover myself being not quite honest in poetry. Longing to connect with one particular individual, I wrote about longing for many. What I wrote was not untrue – I do want to travel to all those places and see those folks – but in the moment, there really was a certain place I wanted to be most of all. What a cop out! Maybe one day I’ll profess my silly crush. Leave it to the making of art to point directly to these fears.
My favorite poem of the week is First Child/Old Soul, written for the daughter of a friend of mine, who I hope will be a friend in her own right. She recently showed up in my world as a college student (!) wanting to interview me about my work for one of her classes. I’ve been enjoying her poems at Sonnetess in Progress.
April 13, 2011
New wave pied pipers
pulled me back across the bridge
DJ-healers Marilyn and Robert
pushed reset and I remembered
When I slowed down dancing
I saw geese and green return
and got over the Anywhere-But-Here
Still there is the genuine longing
for unkempt love and ballsy new creation
Kansas City, Stockholm, Delray Beach and Seoul,
Dublin, Mt. Tremper, Port Angeles,
New Brunswick, New Jersey to New Brunswick, Canada
Chuck Berry’s Promised Land for all and for now.
I will dial home, touch down in Philadelphia
and I’ll dance worldwide
April 14, 2011
Phone-shaped cages and
the minds of weird geniuses:
home to angry birds.
April 15, 2011
Tangerine juice and the light on mysteriously downstairs.
No good explanations but variety and ghosts.
I try to recall what I’ve learned today
but life and lessons aren’t handed out in gold bars.
I wonder if fun for me is possible in the future
where there are old CD cases and bodypaint, taxes, sudoku and gardens.
I hear your voice still there, and your touch,
So I’ll guess ‘Yes.’
I hope there will be tangerine.
April 16, 2011
First Child/Old Soul
She emerged whole cloth
Anime & zombie cloaked
Wise in a field of sleep,
waiting for ripe fruit.
She knows the young love poems
& the secrets to rise from the see-no-evil dead.
Listen: her new voice is a healer’s rain.
April 17, 2011
yields a dull spark
where life is measured in TV news
and sitcom currency.
April 18, 2011
The Hair is a Big Shape
That my hair is a big shape,
I learned today,
and that my ribcage casts a shadow.
“The” hair “and “the” ribcage, I should say –
With art modeling, there’s nothing personal.
Stood 6 hours
an all-day mannequin to assist
the slow birth of illustrators.
Some days the dreams come,
the novella, the poems,
so vivid I am sure
all props hold still vibrancy
and the “girls” in Gary Wilson’s closet
live large in cramped quarters.
mind zeroed out
to big nothing
not like enlightenment,
In boredom, I exposed my imperfections
and the ones with the pencils
April 19, 2011
A sweet taste of memory
A walk in bitter shoes
Each inner freedom grows
To strengthen a table of friends.
April 20, 2011
A Sampled Prayer
Electric and nervous
Captured in bits
Used to be called cop-out
Now holy testimony.
Vision of sound waves
Across the path of downtown
Invisible kiss of motion
And all is forgiven.
Often while working on the daily pieces for NaPoWriMo, I am reminded of my experience of writing poetry in the Stone Age before the internet explosion. I would write a piece and many times it would feel like the page would burn my hands if I didn’t do something with it. Off to Kinko’s I’d go so I could make copies for poet friends or to send it off to the most suitable Call for Submissions. I would feel a kind of relief then, as if this urgent burst of energy now had some focus or reason to be.
The immediacy of my daily posts on the Facebook Fan Page and 365/365 more than fulfills that old urge, and is fairly confronting. I am taken aback at just how truly immediately other eyes are on these words. The commitment to write daily leaves no real time for revision, rethinking, retraction. I get to see my jagged edges, neuroses, loves, and incomplete thoughts. And so does everyone else. Really quickly. The swiftness of sharing this ongoing series of poems and the comments and conversations that come up around them is as soul-shaping as the writing.
I do feel shaped by what I write, as the inner and outer experiences shape me and prompt me to write. I have felt shaped quite literally lately, posing for a clay sculpture class. It is odd to feel sometimes like there are 10 voodoo dolls of me being molded before my eyes. I sometimes imagine that I’ll leave class subtly or profoundly different from the way I came in, and wonder about this as a metaphor for every interaction.
Here are the most recent poems:
April 6, 2011
I think I’ve found the perfect candidate
for The Fool
in my personal deck of Tarot.
The role of The Devil has been taken.
I wonder what The Goddess calls me
when I can’t hear Her over the music.
April 7, 2011
Where no orgasm is unmemorable
Where the walls embrace wide auras
Where books and beings point out the Heart of Hearts
Where God sings the wailing blues
Where there are clean dishes and enough blankets
Where there are spent toys of pleasure
Where I sleep late
I begin to notice things
Where the forest holds love without need.
April 8, 2011
He left her a message today
Said he wanted to make amends
A sound beating never forgotten
gets icy silence in any decade
I remember being made to hear
My face in a journal thinking
I’ll just write
No, I’ll just sleep
How do I get out Try to
Her story my story
Any woman’s story told
is a cutting of the cord
Our Burning Times
if there must be fire.
April 9, 2011
On the Lindenwold Train
On the Lindenwold train to Philly
you keep approaching to interrupt
an otherwise perfect spring fever.
Warm enough tonight
to feel cute on South St.
in jeans and short black jacket,
and at ease back home
where forsythia announce
the inevitable end to cold.
On my way to meet the poly people
same place we met once
at the inevitable start.
This train best get going.
Take me to my punk rock roots
and motley crew of a mockup family
so I forget how once last fall
I would have liked to catch you sleepy,
mojito in hand,
and me with knives in mine.
Luck held out for both of us.
Trees still bare.
I long to lie naked in the neighborhood
under natural cover,
but I will not rush this season.
It pushes me slowly along from last September,
when I lay trapped in a learning curve
of drinking and dreaming
your house demolition.
A musty man stinking
of B.O. and basement
I am annoyed by my impulse to answer,
glad to break the tumbling thoughts
of broken intentions,
that I find have left
I lap up new knowledge,
drops of blood to a ravenous bat.
I turn my head to breathe.
The box is open now.
There will be more weapons
forged with sparks of light.
I rest relieved
it is someplace else
your poisonous script will run.
My feet hit 8th & Market,
smooth in the rhythm of my streets.
April 10, 2011
Whatever ruptured yesterday
I remember or decide
there is no healing
without the wound
The wig display head
At the foot of my bed
May tell the stories better than I.
I may let her.
April 11, 2011
My bath, her shower.
Dreaming a bathroom conflict,
I caved. She’s first again.
April 12, 2011
and so I looked relieved at the black and white 32 oz. shampoo bottles lined up
perfectly on the ledge by the tub facing one direction with no more price labels
bathroom is not bad today save for some sweeping that gets left for Saturdays
Order is like meditation, keep coming back to same things same places, a mantra of stuff
at least that’s what I tell myself sometimes and I mostly really mean it
Then I wonder if it is the loving order or the allowing disarray that is the real problem if there is one, but I do know
that the closet goes by item type and order of color the way nature paints rainbows and sometimes bills get so-called filed, forgotten in front of what used to be the Zen space with the new guitar strings candles and exercise bra
It is lonely when brain is frayed, never any-questions-fried but as if a little mouse were working away nest-building
from the outside in
Putting it back together I look for the real Zen space, the one that is always there in my head find it for real without pretense no pretending something about putting in order is holy aligning with the knowing of mystics flawless grace notes and good sex. I remember overhearing Rose and Lissa laugh about my alphabetical albums, I look
for something to wear and am pleased by the disproportionate sight of purple
This month began with my taking on some overdue spiritual work. I have needed to release old energies – angers, fears, the psychic remnants of people no longer in my life for good reason. The first steps to opening wounds in order to heal them are scary ones, but I am appreciating the journey of the aftermath. Music, poems, passages from books that need be written are moving through me at a rate that allows me to tap what I can as it floats by and to hope the rest comes back around. Some good work was done this weekend on the forthcoming chant CD. Other ideas are at least making it to notes here and there, to be gathered when possible.
My work of release and healing began on April 1st, which corresponded with the beginning of National Poetry Writing Month (NaPoWriMo). I decided to observe the writing expedition, and the poems so far document and explore this inviting of rapid progress. For now, I am calling the collection-in-progress Cord-Cutting. I am remembering my love for language and my openness to love.
April 1, 2011
Cheese and Buttons
Phone number paper scrap
Cheese and old buttons tooth-scraped pithless orange peel
think they have won the war by a show of sheer numbers.
I am no suburbanite in hipster camouflage,
not as lost in the details as the inanimates think I look.
The carnelian in my belly
Glows out beyond the fuzzy edges, my skin.
I remember lost chips among the ticket stubs and dishes,
regain them in bursts of confident orange.
April 2, 2011
The Other Side of Chaos
On the other side of chaos the vines grow all through winter.
Ensnared by one foot, caught before struggle,
it is easy to wonder how many years
of vines alone would erase all evidence.
There are stacks of board games
for the loneliest trek
of Monopoly or Clue in a crowd.
The everyday staircase
is worthy of a panic display
And the bathtub, of quiet avoidance.
Fear of stairs and water
cannot stop the spring.
Silence is kept at bay
With fluorescent light and Headline News.
No wonder the ones who whisper stories at night
bring Pride parade molesters
and dismal surgeons unexpected from the basement.
On the other side of chaos,
tired bones still arrive hopeful.
There is breakfast.
Cream of Wheat and honey
And time today to start again.
April 3, 2011
Nervous stomach knows more
Than any other part still reasoning
Cord-cutting is a business of releasing
lead from soft muscle
What falls away might land hard
If you don’t get out of the way
Lead into gold, an old goal
And a good one
Cord-cutting, with breath and vision and incantation and
Ghost whisperer’s kinder, gentler “Get the fuck out.”
Lead falls from soft muscle
Lead into gold, coins
Tonight, to spend alone
April 4, 2011
Welcome Home, He Said
Babylon Sisters shake
Any other day, ambrosia,
Today, comfort like salt substitute
Ultra-smooth sound food,
Alone can be poems, mead, meditation, resolution
Alone can be mute, horny, & patternless
For a Brian Wilson descent
One first needs brilliance
My dull non-response to evening
Gets a break, caught
In a basket of Earth, Wind, & Fire
Seven more pages and love lost
Sorted and filed today
A meal of figs and seltzer
May be Charlie Parker chill
Or hanging on the words
Of the audiophile who will send XTC
Could be the firefly spark
Of it all reimagined
Alone can be mute, horny, & patternless
a grand welcoming home
April 5, 2011
When I meet my lovers on the edge of the brown clay shore
I will join a circle, not a crowd
The river will carry its weight in lotus blessings
And the trodden park grass will know the sound
Of three or four or five hands clasped
In holy union
The sun will warm our skin to its most sacred state
Beneath sari or skirt or handsome butch pressed slacks
The sun will reach skin that knows
Our bare feet will thank between-toes pebbles for being
And there will be a noisy picnic in the next grove over
With a swing set I would jump on were I not taking vows
When I meet my lovers by the oaks and pines
It will be summer and the air will smell of ginger and sweet tomatoes
Charcoal and soccer and the purple petals strewn on every blanket
I will look out and believe in the power of colorful friends
I will become a partner and believe in the power of confidence
Stillness will multiply ninefold and there will be a kiss and a kiss
and a kiss and a kiss and a kiss