Thursday, July 25, 2013
For Kate on her Sixteenth Birthday
She sits lotus-style on her bed,
and angled elbows
softened by a wide raspberry smile
and Jersey-calf eyes.
And though she's stunning
by the pickiest standards,
her playful, childlike demeanor says
her physical beauty
is almost an afterthought
(or a parenthetical phrase)
which serves to enhance--
never to define.
"Jump on me, Mom!"
She's almost sixteen,
could pass for a college student
now that the braces are off,
but still my little girl.
I leap onto her bed,
and she flails out her skinny arms and legs,
squealing as she flattens beneath me.
I roll over and we lie side by side,
laughing and talking
like young friends.
If I could have chosen each of her qualities,
if I could have designed her like I would a dress
or a quilt, if I could have genetically engineered
each detail to create the perfect daughter,
the limits of my wildest dreams would have prevented
my ability to produce
my dear, beautiful girl.
Saturday, April 20, 2013
Thursday, April 18, 2013
Creative plots weave themselves with
twists and spirals, knots and dead ends,
which of course is a just a morbid pun.
But I can’t write about those.
an itinerary, I could wrap my head around that
and free up the space that’s giving birth
to its own outcomes, few of which diminish
the tension in this headache behind my eye.
Wednesday, April 17, 2013
They’re supposed to perk up the appetite,
get the glands prepped so they’re
ready to digest the main course,
the substance of the meal.
But if you know a little French,
hours d’oeuvre literally means
“outside of the work.”
And if you’re anything like me,
if it’s a good one, you eat far more than you should,
and you’re left with a diminished appetite
rather than a heightened one.
I lose steam a few bites in, and
dinner is downgraded to doggy bag status.
the meat and potatoes have had time to digest,
after the blank page that signifies The End.
Only three or four spoons full.
Just enough to close your eyes,
lean you back in the chair
and evoke a sigh.
Tuesday, April 16, 2013
ice-capped mountain backdrop.
to this landscape, to escape from the
drudgery of here and now.
Lungs, still coated with winter’s murky offerings,
ache for a cleansing peppermint breeze.
pine needled grounds, unmarred by
They’re sick of being used,
stretched, and sometimes sacked
if they underperform on the job.
They’ve had enough, and they’re
not going to take it anymore.
I megaphone my message:
Words are cheap! If you won’t do the job
I know where I can get a thousand more
just like you who will literally work for free.
around the periphery of the right side
of my brain. And the truth is I do need them.
Monday, April 15, 2013
Saturday, April 13, 2013
You probably will regret it,
so quit saying, "Ah, what the hell."
Laundry does not do itself.
But somehow it still manages
to multiply and replenish
all over the laundry room floor
when left unchaperoned.
It takes the right kind of hard work
to get what you want.
Frantic work doesn't get you
anything but frazzled.
Cynicism, like smoking, can be thoroughly
satisfying, and may even make
you seem cool. But in the end, a daily
habit will lead to loss of friends
and possible cancer of the soul.
John was wrong. In the end, the love you
take is not equal to the love you make.
In the present, the love you receive
is greater than the love you give.
Friday, April 12, 2013
Thursday, April 11, 2013
Wednesday, April 10, 2013
Tuesday, April 9, 2013
Sunday, April 7, 2013
it's all been said before?
No new and clever turn of phrase
will prove I love you more.
What metaphor of summer's day
or red, red rose will show
the magnitude of love that burns
within my heart and soul?
I will not count the ways I love
or miss you when you're gone.
Nor shall I weave with golden threads
a mat you'll walk upon.
And yet, by heav'n I do believe
my love for you is rare,
though sonnet-pleading fantasies
suggest none else compare.
I only know I love you! though
my words fall short of depth.
Accept my oath: that I will love
you better after death.
Seeds in earthen wombs
kissed fertile by sunshine gold.
Blossoms paint the land.
Friday, April 5, 2013
beyond the broad horizon.
A quadrant of wheat nestled
into angled fields of sugar beets
just pushing up to feel the sun
bathe their leafy greens.
A quilt from the vantage point
of clouds, puffing and rolling
their way across an expansive blue sky.
But rather monotonous from ground level,
blurring by at 75 miles per hour.
A river runs through it, a silver ribbon
snaking in and out of view. A foot note
to an otherwise unbroken disertation.
It seems impossible that it could go anywhere
at all, level and endless as its host land
appears to be. Until it arrives
For millenia, rolling water and undercurrents
carved a groove which deepened to a gorge,
walls which descend layer by layer
to a white and green swirl of activity.
Here a jagged outcropped ledge.
There a pile of car-sized boulders
where the wall gave way, how many years ago?
A grand chasm of diversity and history
which would be hidden beneath a blanket of crops
if not for the river.
What other flat, imagination-numbing scenes
only lack a catalyst to expose the
poetry-worthy beauty lurking beneath the surface?
And how can I get a river
to run through me?
Thursday, April 4, 2013
how to write a poem.
I can read you all my favorites
and hope that you feel connected
to the poet's emotions through her words.
That you will be inspired to accost your own
feelings which you will lovingly,
painfully display in lines and stanzas.
I can show you spoken word videos
and will you to look into the wounded heart
of a poet who has reached in, ripped out his soul,
and tenderly put it on display just for you.
And you can poke and prod around the core of
your being, and bravely reveal someone no one yet knows.
I can even teach you about similes
and metaphors and symbols in hopes that
you'll discover one lurking somewhere in
the right side of your brain,
like a fish in the cool shadow of a grassy bank,
nonchalantly eyeing the bait I've so
carefully cast into just the right current.
You see, you have to come out of the cool
to write a poem. Poetry requires opinion.
I requires unabashed honesty. You're not here to
maintain your image. You're here to stretch.
So let go of expectations. Forget about reputations.
Find something that speaks to you, then discover the
right words to effectively speak back.
That's how you write a poem.
Wednesday, April 3, 2013
My name is
Tuesday, April 2, 2013
Monday, April 1, 2013
Monday, January 14, 2013
Wednesday, April 27, 2011
Tuesday, March 29, 2011
Saturday, March 19, 2011
But guess what? It's happened. Emma turned 16 last month, and she got her driver's license and had her first date. How did this happen?
Here's the poem I wrote for Emma's birthday:
long and slender as her own,
knows the soft white fingers of her hand.
The body's curves
between shoulders and
mirror the beginnings of
her own blossoming form.
Each coaxes music
from the other.
She draws her bow across strings
of time, each note perfectly attached to the next.
Whole notes first, wobbling and unsure
until they divide--
quarters, marching forward
lagging faintly behind the
tick, tick, tick
of the metronome.
Elbow, wrist, fingers dance slowly
as they learn where to fall,
where to hold.
Steady quarters give birth to eighths, then sixteenths.
Fingers dance--lithe and rigid--
up and down strings
four to a tick,
her stretched fingers bent
on conquering the moment
before it is lost.
They skip in a blur
so much so that none can say where
the previous has come from,
nor where the future will go.
Sixteen years slip from
and resonate throughout
the curves of bodies.
Until they divide again.
Today Emma is attending an orientation meeting for her new job. She'll be working at Lagoon this summer. A real job for a real 16 year old.
Where did the time go? It's just like "Julie Through the Glass." (Go 4:36 into the video below, and be sure to have a tissue handy!)
Thursday, November 11, 2010
The event was a fundraiser sponsored by Ogden School District. Every year they host a dinner with an author as the speaker. Most people have to pay big bucks to get a seat, but I just had to know someone whose mother was on the board of the sponsoring foundation.
The dinner was unfortunate. I mean, it was a themed dinner based on the unfortunate events. It was quite delicious. Cucumber soup, roast pork, cornmeal raisin stuffing, veggies, lemony cake, mmmm mmmmm.
Daniel Handler spoke for over an hour, then took questions for 20 minutes. Then he sign books for what I'm assuming was a least a couple hours afterward. We made it close to the front of the line. He spoke individually to each person in line, calling us by name, making jokes, and being charming in the oddest ways possible.
My favorite Daniel Handler moments/ideas:
- His first book (not from the Series) was rejected 37 times. Thirty-seven. Wow. I know this is not unusual--that many authors keep trying rejection after rejection. But a number like 37 is unfathomable to me.
- While he was waiting to find a publisher, an editor suggested he write children's fiction. He scoffed at the idea, because his first book was about a teenage girl who killed her boyfriend--not exactly suitable for young minds. And so he spewed forth an off-the-wall idea about three newly orphaned children and all the horrible things that happen to them. It was, of course, all in jest. The next day the editor called to ask him to write it.
- His favorite fan letter came from a girl who told him, "I get curious when things happen." He does too, so he always makes sure things happen in his books.
- Somebody left a cell phone on the podium where he was speaking. It rang during his speech. "This isn't part of the show," he said. And then he answered it. Unfortunately, the caller did not speak to him. So he looked at the phone and said, "How charming, it has a 'dismiss' button." He pressed it and said, "I fully expect that tomorrow this person's boss will knock on his office door and say, 'I'm sorry to inform you Mr. Handler has dismissed you.'" Oh, so funny.
- One of Mr. Handler's favorite phrases he read in a book when he was a child was something like, "Thirdly, this is the story, and I'm writing it." Of course it was preceded by a first and second point, but young Daniel used to quote it frequently on its own. If he had an argument with his parents, he would use this quote to stop the argument and get his way. Of course it never worked.
- During Q & A time, the fortunate children of rich parents who are yet living lined up to ask Mr. Handler questions. He clearly warned them that they would be disappointed with his answers. Despite the constant laughter of the audience, he didn't even crack a smile. The kids LOVED this. (My kids didn't get to go because they are neither fortunate nor are they children of rich parents.) Some of my favorites:
- Q: Who is Beatrice? A: The person who all the books are dedicated to. *blank, silent stare down between questioner and Mr. Handler* Dismissed.
- Q: Which character in the series is most like you? A: *after a moment of chin rubbing* Lemony Snicket.
- Q: Where did you get VFD? A: Wow, you credit me with a lot, don't you? It's like before I wrote the series, there were only 23 letters, but then I came up with three more. I'm a genius!
- Q: Who is your favorite character in the series? A: *after a moment of chin rubbing* Lemony Snicket.
- Q: *new speaker, her first question* Thirdly, are they going to make a second movie of the series? *after the laughter died down* A: They tell me yes, but I don't believe them.
- During the book signing part, Mr. Handler spoke to everyone individually. When it was my turn, I wanted him to sign the book to Emma, Kate and Jane. "And this is . . . you?" he asked. I told him they're my daughters. "I'm sensing an Austen theme here," he said. I told him that no, there was not an intentional theme in choosing the names of my daughters. "So they weren't all born in Austin, Texas?"
As a hopefully some-day-in-the-future author, I was inspired by Daniel Handler. His wit was quick, sharp and entertaining, but the thing that stood out to me most was that he is, without fail, true to the stories he wants to tell. He writes the stories he wants to write, and if people want to read them, that's great. If they don't, he'll still write. Today I'm taking a moment to consider my personal integrity to the stories I write.
And I'm still laughing.