photographer. artist. author. singer. songwriter. musician. teacher. student. humanitarian. visionary.

Posts tagged “poems

Sabbatical

I’m feeling strong tonight. I’ve been reflecting on my life and the directions I want to go in. Sometimes my vision gets a little blurry just like the next guy (or gal) and I find myself at a crossroad, not knowing which way to go. I guess we all do.

I have already enrolled in a prestigious New Hampshire/New England college- it’s a great school. Poor girl like me, I should be doing a tap dance, and, well I did for a little while. But as always, I put my head on the chopping block and engaged in some necessary introspective Q&A. Why am I doing this? What is my purpose? Am I changing lives for the better?  Will I be happy? 

If I can’t answer every question with a resolute, unwavering answer- then it’s probably not the right decision. I don’t do things halfway- I throw every ounce of my heart into it or I don’t do it. And well, I’ve been waiting for four long years to dive back into my fine art/writing/music and songwriting, and my children’s book that I published almost a decade ago. I’ve done one school book reading in years- one! That’s how busy I’ve been, and that hurts, because there’s nothing like school readings, especially when you’re sharing your own book (and your own life, which my book is- in poems) with a whole new generation. To know that you’re able to influence a child- for the better- and give him or her something that they can carry with them into the future (such as being kind to people, remembering to love, and especially- not bullying their classmates), and hopefully become better people- there’s just nothing that can compare to that.

I’ve decided that I’m not going to immediately work on my BA in Creative Writing: I’ll be taking a year off. I’ve already accomplished something that many people don’t, and that’s self-publishing your own book. [pat on the back] But, I want to actually do something with it. I’m going to shop it around to publishers soon. If nobody bites, I’m going to have to do some grant-writing and such, and that’s ok too. I simply don’t have the necessary funds to do a U.S. book promo and two consecutive books (and promote those too) without executive backing. Without the funding- it’ll sit on the shelf and the best I’ll do is contribute time and energy to Boys & Girls clubs, children’s cancer hospitals, and homeless shelters, personally. That’s alright too, but everything will be out of pocket, and right now, it just wouldn’t be possible.

I’m going to give it a year. If I’m still sitting here a year from now- without one grant, fellowship, or publishing deal (for my fine art and “photo therapy”, the therapeutic photo-program I’m hoping to develop, or a book deal)- I’ll go back to school and work on another degree. I have to follow my heart though, and my heart is telling me to fly…

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C
anron Rebel digital camera/Helios film lens/back deck.


Changing Lanes

It’s 6:57 a.m.
I’m listening to Sonata 3 in C Major BWV1005 by Bach and crying over Sylvia Plath.
I’ve been on this Plath kick for almost a year now. I used to be so harsh and judgmental of her. (“Well that’s what she gets for sticking her head into an oven!”) I didn’t understand her, nor did I try to until I read Rough Magic- her biography by Paul Alexander. Sylvia and I share several things in common. We’re both writers (dare I make such a claim?), perfectionistic overachievers, we both lost our children, we both went mad, and we were both locked away in an institution many years ago- having suffered breakdowns halfway through our college majors (and before)- and then immediately dusted ourselves off and jumped right back into the academic ring- no small feat.

I have a new respect for her, and until I began comparing notes, I had no idea how similar our lives were/are. I think she’s one of the most courageous women I’ve ever known. It’s not easy to have a colossal breakdown (pardon the pun) then pick yourself up again and carry on in the faces of all of the inquisitive eyes and naysayers…dream shatterers…

I’ve been reading her recently published (very private) journals, all night in fact. What a privilege to be able to wile away the hours reading her personal diary! I clearly have a fascination with her, but not only that- her poetry is by far, my favourite of anyone’s- Anne Sexton weighing in at close second. For me, nobody can touch these immensely talented and troubled women, who were both personal friends of each other (In fact, they shared a poetry workshop class and Plath admired Sexton greatly) who took their own lives at their own hands.

I read this in Sylvia’s journal earlier, and this is what made me cry:

Remember about the shadow of past knowledge. Write about your own experience. By that experience someone else may be a bit richer some day. Read widely of others experiences in thought and action– stretch to others even though it hurts and strains and would be more comfortable to snuggle back in the comforting cotton-wool of blissful ignorance! Hurl yourself at goals above your head and bear the lacerations that come when you slip and make a fool of yourself. Try always, as long as you have breath in your body, to take the hard way, the Spartan way – and work, work, work to build yourself into a rich, continually evolving entity! 

I’m listening, Sylvia. :0)

I received my audit from my University several days ago: my petition to graduate has been accepted and I’m expected to graduate this December on the 7th at the Red Skelton Performing Arts Center. It’s been a long four years! I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to pull off a Behavioral Sciences major- I had to face certain doom and unspeakable tragedy (sexual abuse as a child, institutionalization, the loss of my children, insanity, years of being battered relentlessly by an unforgiving system), but it’s been worth fighting for and I had to prove to myself that I am more than a “label” that has a fancy name of this disorder or that. I will not be defined by a clinical title or even the thought of another person, for I’ve chosen to maximize what I’ve learned in school and minimize the trauma I’ve lived through.

Still, I can’t help but to be heavily influenced by the likes of Plath- she stood up in the face of terror itself and fought as long as she could. But what an incredible talent! I’m going to heed the words in her journal and I’m not going to be ashamed of my past and what I’ve lived through. It’s a miracle just to be alive.

I’ve decided that after I graduate, I’ll transfer over to Southern New Hampshire University, which is a private coed and one of the best schools in New England to work on my BA- not for Criminal Justice- but for Creative Writing with a concentration in Poetry. Plath has inspired me, completely, and has reminded that I’m an artist and a writer, and have been my whole life. I have the skeleton already- which is the passion- but I need the BA in Creative Writing so I can flesh out the bones.

I’m already a starving artist, what will it matter?

Life has been a blur lately of exams, cramming, writing essays and reports: I have 5 weeks to go!
And, I have 5 A’s in all 5 classes still. Go me. :0)

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Josh stands in the golden hour sunlight down at the River.
Canon Digital Rebel/Super Takumar 135/3.5 film lens

And Heidi, if you’re reading this, thank you so much for your introduction to Plath at Olive Garden years ago.  If it weren’t for you, I wouldn’t even be doing this whole school thing. xo


We March Like Soldiers

[based on a true story]
For Sean, because I know you understand. xo

We March Like Soldiers

Shuffling forward
We march like soldiers
Invisible chains rattling
That only we can hear

All crammed together
In that box
We jiggle a little

I keep my eyes on the numbers
In that crammed elevator and imagine
That death awaits me at the bottom
Like a gas chamber
Waiting to spit out its last breath

Jiggle
Jiggle

Down we go
To meet a collection of many tables
And glue and sparkly things
I don’t die

There is an exercise bike
And a fat woman rides
Always going
Nowhere

The piano makes me sad
I remember other things
And better days
Before I flew
Out of my mind

But down I sit
My fingers stumble like a bad lover
And I play the song of my life
Wanting only to cry

The crazy people look at me
They are smiling
I smile too- at what
I do not know
But on with the show!

I do not understand
How I got here
Or why

I march outside and watch the worker
Water the flowers
In the burning heat

A man walks in circles
And circles and circles
He is pleased to be talking
With himself
Round and round he goes
A curious machine
That brings
A heavy verdict
He discusses
Heaven and hell

Another jumps up and kicks the wall
Is he real?
Is he an angel? A devil?
Did he come up from a pit?

Did I see bats?
Are they birds?
I watch them fly away

Up and out of the high walls that surround
All of us here on lock down

The sunny workers in the flowered pajamas
Are careful to say lovely things
So we know
We’re sane

I swing and swing
Every day
On that damn bench
That never goes anywhere

Up we go

Jiggle
Jiggle

Back to the halls and walls that are plastered with rules
That we’re supposed to understand

There are smiley faces
That tell us
We are people too

Here on this safe floor with no lighters or sharp metal things
And we wait
Watching the new ones march in

I am uncertain
If I am dead or alive
I go to the bathroom
Shut the door
And try to cry

No tears

The night brings another solemn gathering
Of people standing in line
For the third time
Today
To eat
And snacks too

I am a wild animal in these glass-windowed walls
I do not know how to get out
My eyes are black as mud inside
And my tears have been taken
By terror (the mirror does not lie)

Out I shuffle
With bare feet and no socks
In my spotted gown
Down

The hall
And we all

March like soldiers
And stand in a sad line
To get our pills
Which make us feel
At least for a little while

Like we are sleeping
As we lie awake in this place
Flying out of our minds

– B. Lindsey
(original poem)
Written on 10/28/13


The Birth

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The Birth

Eyes  squeezed
Liquid
Pours into the mouth
No matter how tight it may be

Murky depths and water
Flood the slitted eyes
Death in its black and hollow cave
Extends a hand, quickly
Slapped back by the light
Which is growing yellow
Fat and bright

Wraps itself around the scene
Like a cobra
Shedding its last skin

The breath which was muted
Comes fast and loud and rough
Eyes burst open
Liquid spills and rolls down little hills

A final sigh as breath is held
Smiles are passed around like Cuban cigars
In the other room

More liquid
Filling and spilling from eyes
The baby cries

-B. Lindsey (original)
9/7/13