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

Posts tagged “poetry

The Fisherman

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I throw my line here and there
Good, bad, it doesn’t matter what I catch
All the colours of the scales are beautiful in my eyes
Some think fishing is for fools

To sit and wait
Perfectly still
For things to happen
Days and years

The line is a funny thing
Sometimes the waters muck things up
The silver line breaks

But away I go
Casting it out again

“Look at that fool,” they say.
“Holding a stick at the water’s edge.
She is mad!”

And on they go, their faint shadows diminishing before my eyes
That are razor-sharp focused on that line
That really does move this time.

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Freedom

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Purple stripes upon my back
As fat as a Christmas Goose
A sacrifice
To feed hungry eyes

The air around me whirs and dirs.
Time slows
I go
Faster still

On the horizon
A fat noose
Hangs from a Sycamore tree
And it seems to say

”Run faster, girl! Run on!
There will be no celebration for you here!”

So I carry on through these black nights
And dark days

That will bring me to my home
Someday
And freedom.

 


Turkey Bones

Turkey Bones

White clean
Two lovers
Eternally embraced

Lying together
On their mirrored bed of hot silver
Goblets of wine at their feet
They have waited
For their annual feast

Conjoined twins
Twisted at birth
Cartilaged duo
Greedy hands cannot wait
To rip you apart

Destroy and sever you
Ugly dry bones that are good for nothing
But picking at the teeth of an angry fat man

And in the end
You’ve made his dreams come true

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Rejected: Get Used to it, Kid!

So I just received my second rejection. The first was from the Beliot Poetry Journal  (which was really sweet of the editor to tell me that although they were going to pass on my “self-confessional PSYCH ward poetic experience” he’s glad I’ve survived all of the things I’ve been through- haha…love that) and the second was from The New Yorker- a different poem entirely.

I won’t lie. The first one stung. Like a bee. Right in the head. (Obviously, it hit the ego more than the heart, but at least I’m aware of this.) What, I have an ego? YES. I frikking have an ego! Guh…it gets old. I’m fairly certain any artist, musician, or writer knows damn well what I’m talking about. There’s a fine line between wanting to share your art and wanting to feed your ego: this is the truth and it’s how it is. As artists, we like to dress things up like that old beast just doesn’t exist and we simply “are driven to create!” but what drives us? If we’re honest, we’ll acknowledge that at least sometimes, it’s the ego. If we’re in denial, we’ll say, “it’s just something I feel I have to do!” (Etc.)

So, there’s always that battle: self vs. art vs. self and striving to be more than simply wanting to get that little stroke that pushes you to your next piece. This is what I’m always thinking of when I submit new art somewhere: what am I searching for? Simply sharing this piece? What is my message? Am I imparting enough of myself in this piece so that people can feel it? I need to be saying something. Yes, the “praise” and the feedback come with the territory- that does feel like a warm, squishy blanket of “acceptance”- sure it does, but I want to know that I’m making an impression on somebody and adding something- no matter how small- to their lives, or the way they think, see, and feel.

Which brings me back to rejection. As in, “rejected by editors”. Maybe I’m a bit of a sadist, but I’m celebrating being rejected. Yes, I’m serious! I was rejected from the New Yorker,-come on…it’s The New Yorker for crying out loud. Being rejected from The New Yorker is a rite of passage. While the first rejection stung (get over yourself, kid!) I was completely elated by the 2nd one. Tickled. Serious tickled, because although I’ve been writing since I was a teenager (poems, songs, short stories, etc.) and have never had any education there at all- even having dropped out of high school in the 10th grade- I’m still acutely aware of my own ignorance as a writer, and, a poet. By claiming total ignorance, I can open my eyes and mind and have the necessary depth to fill in with an education in Creative Writing. Because I’m going into this saying “I know nothing”, I can learn so much more. Ego deflated!

I’ve created a Poem folder on my laptop, and also, a “Rejection” folder. It’s the rejection folder that will drive me in my art and work far more than any other. It’s proof that I have tried and do try and will not stop trying. I’m copying and pasting every rejection into that folder (dated, filed away).

Failure is nothing more than proof that you have tried. 

I also entered my first short story competition last night- the top prize is $3,000. That one is going to hurt. Ha. But, it’s being slapped down in life that I have turned into an art form, so, the more rejections I receive (and there will be plenty); the more food for more art. It’s a self-sustaining cycle but one that holds valuable lessons for me, and I cherish them dearly.

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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