Saturday, August 28, 2010

I GO FORMAL

I sat down to write last night just before bed, and I ended up with a pantoum, strangely enough. I always thought I hated this form just slightly less than the sestina. I hesitate to say that I've never written a formal poem, because I've tried several times (and I'm afraid my students will find out that I'm not a fan of the formals), but I've never come up with anything I felt was worth revision. I almost wrote a sonnet last summer. And I think I wrote a haiku a couple months ago, sort of, that went something like: I try to look coy. / Man sitting beside me asks, / are you feeling ill?

But I try not to put much stock into the poems I write whilst on the benching machines at the Y. Besides, it only reminded me that men don't flirt with me. I look ill when I think I look good. (Well, I also wear jean shorts and drive a Subaru-- complete with bumper sticker that says domestic shorthairs rule-- so they probably have other assumptions, but whatever. This is beside the point.)

My point is, I wrote a pantoum!


MAKING PEACH PRESERVES

The peaches are local but they aren’t ripe.

She stops me to ask what pearls are made of.

She thinks it’s oyster shit but I guess some kind of calcium

and keep slicing, orbiting the knife round the hard pits.


She stops me to ask what pearls are made of.

Grains of sand, maybe, trapped until they fester properly.

I keep slicing, orbiting the knife round the hard pits,

sawing into the red grooves beneath too-pale flesh.


Grains of sand, maybe, trapped until they fester properly,

but now she wonders why we string contagion round our necks.

Sawing into the red grooves beneath too-pale flesh

I have little patience for philosophy, the purpose of pearls,


but now she wonders why we string contagion round our necks.

Because we love what does not happen often enough, even infection.

I have little patience for philosophy, the purpose of pearls

not as captivating as the pile of red pits bleeding into my cutting board.


Because we love what does not happen often enough, even infection,

she thinks it’s oyster shit but I guess some kind of calcium

not as captivating as the pile of red pits bleeding into my cutting board.

The peaches are local but they aren’t ripe.



...

Thursday, August 19, 2010

SOME HERONS... and some Colorado pictures!

My good friend Rena flew in the other day to visit from Atlanta, where I met her almost two years ago. (We worked together as vet techs at the East Atlanta Animal Clinic, which I'm including a link for, should any of you be in that area and need to adopt a pet! They're a great group of people, with smarts and compassion for lost, sick, and injured pets.) Anyway, I picked Rena up in Denver late last week, and we commenced a fantastic couple of days exploring Colorado.

We drove up the mostly-unpaved road to the summit of Pikes Peak, where it was a good thirty degrees colder than the downtown Colorado Springs area. It was pretty fun. I was surprised that the altitude didn't really affect me at the top; Rena, however, was slightly nauseated, so we didn't hang out too long on the peak. (Um, by the way, I'm kind of proud of the fact that my brakes were considerably cooler than those of other drivers at the halfway checkpoint downhill. See, Tom? I'm taking care of the car. Now, come home and fix the coffee pot, the garage door, and the top kitchen cupboard, which I can't seem to handle.)

Rena and I also spent most of one morning/afternoon walking, hiking, and sprinting around Garden of the Gods with Flynn, the wonderdog (who is currently awaiting obedience training, FYI). We were surprised to crest one hill and find two hikers whispering to us "There are bighorn sheep right around the corner! Go see!" How awesome! There were actually five bighorns: two curled up together in the shade of one shrub, and three picking their way carefully through the sticks and rocks, eyeing us suspiciously while they snacked. It was pretty fantastic. Thankfully, Flynn didn't appear to notice them and used it as an opportunity to rest with her doggie backpack.

I also took my bike out for the first time in months. I rode to Audrey's house, then tooled around downtown, where I did my best not to get smooshed by an SUV. I found this great mural under an overpass, on the side of the Smokebrush gallery:

Rena caught up with me on Colorado Avenue. Here's a (sort of fuzzy) shot of me with my trusty steed:

After all the running around, Rena and I spent some quality time baking and making peach preserves. Here are some of our lovely accomplishments:

Blueberry muffins with streusel topping for breakfast!

Peach-Blueberry pie for dessert!

A dozen peach pits...

Peach preserves being boiled down to a golden translucence.

Needless to say, it was a fun couple of days. I was sad to drop Rena off at the Denver airport, but I know she's got cats and dogs at the clinic to love on. I've got a busy few weeks ahead of me as well, with the Colorado Springs Writers Reading Series event this Friday (tomorrow!) and fall semester kicking off on Monday. Lots of writing and reading to do!

Want me to leave you with a poem? You do? Great. It's short because I wrote three poems last night, two of which were long, rambling flops, and this one came in last. The most concise.

SOME HERONS


There are some herons
that gulp down rabbits
in marshy areas of the country
where fish are scarce
although it could be argued
that the photographs
in magazines are presented
with a bias that does not
take into consideration
maybe the herons are
just picking the rabbits up
and returning them
to their hutch somewhere.

...

Thank you all for reading!

-Abby

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

GETTING A HAIRCUT

Hey all! I need to post a poem because it's August 11th (almost August 12th) and I haven't posted anything this month. To be honest, I haven't had much time to focus on my own writing. As I sprawled on the couch tonight (grades were turned in today for summer semester! wooo!) I saw my copy of Aaron Belz's book of poems called Lovely, Raspberry lying underneath the cushions with the dust bunnies. I sifted it out, brushed it off, and read a couple pieces. He doesn't write only funny poems, but most of them are funny, in some way. (I met him at AWP but we only discussed our preferences in types of Scotch.) Afterward, I sat down briefly to write. I got another wee narrative written from the perspective of a married male. Que sera.


GETTING A HAIRCUT

I love you so much I would let you cut my hair

right after the only other girl working in the salon

throws her blow dryer and flat iron into a grocery bag

and tells you to go to hell because she quits,

even though my hair is already too short

and I’ve been thinking about growing it longer.

When you get mad you like to tear sheets of paper

in half because you think punching pillows is too violent

and it makes a person prone to unintentionally punching

a spouse or a dog or some other non-pillow

the next time they are angry and pillowless.

One time you took a flat of peaches back to the store

because six of them were badly bruised

and when the grocer refused to give you back

your five dollars you held the receipt up in front of him

and tore it down the middle; when we got home

you said you didn’t feel like being upset anymore.

That’s why I trust you with scissors, even though

I only came in here to drop off the frozen lunch

you left at home this morning but now I’m getting

a haircut as well so you can talk it out, and I don’t

even care that you forgot to put that soft ribbon

of tissue paper between the cape and my neck.



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