Sunday, July 22, 2012

Ordinary Genius 1

A few months ago, I picked up Kim Addonizio's Ordinary Genius. It's a series of discussions on poetry, awareness, and writing. I was writing poetry long before I ever had a pencil or paintbrush in my hand. The earliest poems were typical teenaged drivel about love and about how unfair life seemed to be. (Visit Kim Addonizio and check out her books here.)

There were a few jewels. I read one about a friend who died from cocaine overdose at a poetry reading when I was 18 or so, and it went over well with the audience. 

But when poetry, and fiction writing comes into the fore, my paintings and drawings fall back. And visa versa. I can only create so much. 

I'm in the middle of painting a Shoebill, and alternately thinking he's finished and think I should paint over him and start over. And that was when I found myself picking up Addonizio's book.

The first few chapters were absorbed in a flash, and I found myself itching to write poetry. The last time that I wrote poetry, we had just come home from visiting my mother, who has been slowly fading and who had been sick. I had to do something with those feelings of helplessness and pain. One of my favorite pieces came from that period. 

Grey Leather (2011)

by ~Neheti

I wrap my arms around this leather sack
The bones click beneath the embrace
Blades of the shoulders carving me open
The grey sack smiles with grey eyes
That used to be black as night
And I peel away afraid,

I wrap my arms around this leather sack
of wasted flesh and lengthy years
and shards of femur and ulna scrape
leaving scars of pink and drops of blood
The grey sack shifts against me
worn down by time and poverty.
overcome, I want to flee
to deny what this has become.

I wrap my arms around this leather sack
the smell of old cigarettes and rot fills my nose with nausea
The jaw bones clack and snap with lazy abandon
So heavy in my heart
My tears get swallowed back
and I fear
I hear my mother's voice.

I'm sure that it needs further refining, and I've reworked it a few times since. 

But now, now I'm writing purely for enjoyment, as opposed to catharsis. There's certainly some pain in some of what has come out, but there's also humor, and joy. 

On Turning 99

No one will care if a careless fuck slips from my toothless mouth.
I'll still dance and sing and rant and
bring my best flirtations
to make my beloved smile. 
I'll lift my shirt
and remind him how much
we made each other
In my chair, I'll rule my roost with impunity (but fairly)
run off those young'uns in their sixties and seventies
unless they're cute.
I'll sing along in spit of my deafness
and embarrass my nieces and nephews. 
No one will know what to do with me
as I stomp and shimmy
my way to the end. 

I'll be glorious
and beautiful
right to that mysterious
five seconds after
my beloved finds his doom
and I follow.

It needs a smidge of edits, but it's not a bad start. It made my husband smile, and made us both tear up, which is exactly what I was going for. 

(I'm planning on continuing to share some of these poems as I go, so I guess this is a whole new blog type. ;) )

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Dreaming the Gods

Dreams are funny things. Sometimes you can wander through them and point out just where each bit came from in your daytime world. "Oh, hey that's from watching such and such on TV!" you think.

Then there are the other dreams. Sometimes they're haunting, visions of the past, of ghosts. And sometimes, just sometimes, the Gods themselves figure prominently.

When I was younger, I didn't dream often at all, and if I did, they faded promptly upon opening my eyes. Or I had nightmares. If I remembered a dream, it was because it was a True Dream, one that would someday come true (and those are nothing like storybooks describe them to be - the real deal is deadly boring. I mean really, who wants to dream about listening to a class lecture that you're one day going to attend? Or about looking around a house?)  

So I keep a dream journal.  

And there are dreams that are the thing of legend. Epic, exciting, and practically made for being turned into a book.

I dreamt such a thing last night. I am sharing it with you.

Zeus Meilikkos
The Gods of Olympus looked down upon the mortals. Zeus, the Bringer of Rain, Most High, looked out and did not like what he saw, and it made his heart ache, for it would seem that the people of the Earth had forgot the laws which he had given them.
He gathered the pantheon together, considering us. The way that we dishonor the gifts that the Gods have given us. How we dishonor each other.
And he was heartbroken.

Now many years ago, Zeus had chanced upon a beautiful woman when he was wondering upon the lands of men. As should not surprise you, my friends, he seduced her, and in time, she was with child. Her son, handsome and strong, grew to be a man that Zeus loved very much.

But with the troubles that now plagued the earth, Zeus feared that it would be necessary to end the age of Iron, the age of men.
Until now, when the Gods had to discuss how to best confront the mortals. Would it be a war?

Zeus' son somehow learned of the possibility of what the Gods were speaking.
He came unto his father, and begged, argued, cajoled.
And then he sacrificed his own divine spark, his demi-godhood, becoming one of the mortals that Zeus would have to end, in hopes that the Giver of Good would not have the heart to follow through with his slaughter.

The Gods held their wrath back, and the son of Zeus returned to the world below, with hope that the troubles that mortalkind had wrought could be healed, and that the Gods would grant them but a little more time to do so.

Take it as you will. Or don't.
It is as a dreamed it, rendered poorly in my own words. In the dream, I was a witness, and nothing more. So I share it with you.