Tag Archives: poetry

Creative Spark and Age – Keep your Brain Alive!

So I’m back from my writing escape to Boise, Idaho. While I did return with a lot of work done on outlines, three new ideas, inspiration from a few of the really cool spooky places they have, I did learn something interesting about myself.

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Seriously Boise, well done.

I’m older than 30. I’m significantly older than 30.

I’ve never been coy about my age. Every year and especially every decade that turns for me is an achievement that I didn’t expect to see. I never thought I’d see 30. Then, 40 was unlikely. Now I’m 51, and that’s just shocking really. Wonderful, but perplexing. How did I make it to this age?

I made it here by working hard to address my demons and to come to peace with and even start to embrace my illness. This is wonderful, and it makes me happy when I realize that I am, in fact, 51. That’s just weird.

So here’s what drove it home over the last week. My plan was to hide away in a hotel, no commitments, no interruptions, I asked the lady when I checked in to please tell housekeeping I don’t need them, just blackout curtains, a fridge with enough to keep me alive, and my laptop. I have 15 stories I’m juggling, and I’m anxious to see them bloom. Or bleed. These are spooky stories. I wanted to do what I used to do when I wrote – look at the clock and wonder, is that 4 a.m. or 4 p.m.? I loved that, getting so lost in my art that I had no concept of time at all. Suddenly I’d look up and say, “What is that feeling? Why am I dizzy? Oh, right, food. I need food.” That is what I was hoping to recapture.

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My personal idea of bliss.

Now, getting lost in my work, that’s no problem. I do that even when I write on the couch, as I’m doing right now. Becoming completely absorbed just comes with the creative process. Getting lost in time, though, that’s a different thing. When I was in my 30s, as I painted I could wonder if it was a.m. or p.m. Well, not anymore. My body shuts down around 10. I find myself fading, my brain not up to trying to figure out why my protagonist is near the creepy sidewalk in the first place, (spoiler!) so I just go to bed.

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But for the fire-from-the-sky heat, this would be a fine goth retreat!

At one point, my eyes shot open about 3:30 in the morning because I had an idea. I leapt out of bed and wrote until about 5. I got some good stuff, I felt happy about it, but by about 2p.m. I was useless. I’ll mark this trip as the moment I realized a new limitation on my former habits. But this is not the first time. One by one through the years I’ve watched my body change.

In my late 20s, I wouldn’t even leave the house until 11p.m. because who gets to a club before 11? I’d be out until around 3, and get home around 4. My alarm for work would go off at 6. Getting two hours of sleep is worse than none at all, so I’d just stay up and work through the day, crash when I got home, and I’d recover fine. (This is not while I was drinking. That’s a whole other thing with no fond memories.) Then, when I was around 33 I think, I did this and the next day – even though I was not drinking – I felt hungover and wrung out. It was awful, and I realized well, I can’t do that anymore. It was a major change in my body, an “over-30” wake up call. I would still go to the clubs, but not if I had to work the next day. Huge bummer.

Then, pushing 40, more changes. I could no longer stay out too late on a weeknight or I’d be useless. For someone who’s playtime didn’t begin until 11, now I couldn’t stay out until 11. Huge bummer.

I hadn’t noticed anything new for a while until this trip. Now I know, while I can lose time, I can’t cheat it. My body starts to fade around 10. And my body is the boss. But you know what? This is not a huge bummer. Not at all. These are the changes in a 51-year-old woman who is healthier and happier than I ever could have expected given what I’ve done to myself all these years. Given the number of times I’ve walked to a bridge with no intention of coming back, held a knife tightly and purposefully in my hand, fallen into a manic/depression cycle so severe I spend two days in the hospital. After all of that, I still have my health, my husband, my dear friends and family, Crazy Legs, and…my mind. My functioning, powerful brain that can’t do math like at all, but still.

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                                                                     MATH!

My brain is my joy and my treasure. My looks will fade, my body will change and get more limitations, but my mind, I will keep my mind sharp. If I have that, and my fantastically inappropriate sense of humor, I’ll be just fine.

Another thing I had to accept on this trip, writing fiction is really really hard! I knew that, but I did underestimate how difficult, how much I’m going to have to learn to do it. It’s a whole new world to me, entirely different from anything I’ve ever done.

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So much inspiration!

I got discouraged at one point, so I changed gears and wrote the last article. Yes, I wanted to be sure I didn’t have too long a space between them, but quite honestly, I needed to do something I know. The last article came because I was feeling inadequate. I mean, I respect my readers, no doubt, but I also really needed to convince myself I can actually write.

This new thing I’m doing, this new craft I am years from mastering, is making parts of my brain spark that haven’t in a long time. This blog is my happy place, my comfort zone. “Life Songs” and its poetry, my happy place, my comfort zone. There’s nothing wrong with that. But my new work, it’s causing my synapses to sparkle. It’s also giving me headaches and self-doubt, but that’s part of the process I suppose.

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My sparkling synapse which is the moon, apparently.

So I am 51, I can no longer stay out all night and function the next day. I can no longer stay out late and function the next day. And I can no longer keep my body up creating after about 11pm.

I truly don’t care. I am happy where I am, I am happy with what I can do and accomplish. I am awed that I have lived this long and still have a brain. I have some wonderful memories, I lived a colorful youth. I am not young anymore, but I am not done. Not by a long shot. I have plans and things to create. I have my advocacy and help for the mental health community as best I can, and that alone is a reason to live.

One of the best things about getting older is being able to help with compassion from a place of “Oh, I’ve been there.” I can help in a way I couldn’t when I was 30.

So this past week I wrote and fretted and got inspired by the organ in the Egyptian Theater (seriously, how cool is that place?) and I learned a new piece of information about my body. And that is as cool as a pack of ghost dogs at a race track.

Oops. Spoiler.

Art, Self-Care, and Celebration

My husband was away this weekend, and since I was on my writing break, I got bored. I needed to do something creative but I didn’t know what.

Poking around in Facebook I saw an ad from a corsetry shop a friend owns. The featured corset was made with the lace from an old wedding gown which was in tatters. I thought that was a great idea. Then I remembered that my first wedding gown is under my bed. I had it cleaned and preserved after the wedding, and it has sat in that box unseen for 31 years.

But it’s much older than that. My dad and my uncle split the price, and my mother wore it in 1954 for their wedding, and my aunt shortly after. When my first husband and I got married, I wanted to wear it too, so a few alterations later, it was ready for the big, extremely ill-advised day in my 20-year-old life.

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The pictures of me are so funny; she looks like maybe we are related but not the same person. Well, we aren’t the same person. I mean, few of us are the same as we were at 20, I don’t think. Unless you are 20, then hey, you do you.

But the dress is not sacred, we split up after five years, so why on earth should I leave it in its box like a mummy in a sarcophagus?

To recap, I was alone, bored, and had a 65-year-old gown with two previous owners including my mom, that I wore 31 years ago and haven’t seen since. Nope. Nothing there to set a person into a spin.

I dug it out from under our bed, brought it into my dining room, and started to unbox it like Howard Carter but with fewer “wonderful things” and deadly curses.

I had forgotten how heavy it is, and how fragile the lace was even back then, and the veil is so huge I sat on it when I was wearing it.

It did not fit. I am a tad larger now. But I found that if I unbuttoned the back I could slip my arms into the sleeves and it looked, from the front, like I was wearing it. It is old and cracked and the pearls are dropping off with each step and something had to be done with it. Something…spooky.

I was alone, and the good camera was with Chris so I decided I would just take some random goth-y photos as selfies with my phone. And then I had an idea. I made a little photo-narrative. I used the plastic skeleton that is in my profile picture, (Ermastus, meet everyone, everyone, meet Ermastus) to be the…

You know, I’m torn here. I am fairly dark by nature, I cut my teeth on Poe and Lovecraft, I’ve always leaned to the macabre, and to me, the Paris Catacombs are beautiful and life-affirming. But not everyone shares that and this page is not meant to upset anyone, so I’m not going to explain it.

Here’s one of the photos that is not spooky.

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You can tell it’s art because the background is black and I’m not smiling.

I do have to explain this though. Part of the process was getting a photo of me in crippling pain; pain so deep and so unfathomable, my mind has left the physical world, never to return. In order to do this, I had to make the faces and body language to capture it (while holding a phone and trying to disguise that I’m taking a selfie,) and after an hour or so of this, something odd happened. I started to feel deeply, horribly, crushingly, depressed.

I took off the gown, put my jammies back on (who are the people who dress in street clothes in their homes?) and left the room. I looked at the photos. Seeing my face and body like that, in an old storied gown, remembering my mother, long gone, my aunt, my first marriage, long ended, every single wound and unnamed pain, and every time I considered suicide…I closed the photos and thought about the void.

Here’s a picture of my cat, Crazy Legs.

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He says hello, but Ermastus is being shy.

This is why it is so important to know how to practice self-care. I was alone, and I would be for two more days, so I did familiar things, ate some leftover gnocchi, sat on the sofa with Crazy Legs, and started to marathon “Parks and Recreation” for I think the fourth time. I love that show, it’s comforting and normal and is not even acquainted with depth. I can do it nearly line for line and I love every single person on it.

I do wonder though, how someone looked at sweet, tubby Andy and said, “Hey, let’s make him Starlord!” But I’m glad they did. I could have watched any of the Marvel Movies too.

After a couple of hours, I was fine. But something very intense had happened.
My art is mainly on the page, and sometimes on canvas or three-dimensional. Photography is new to me, and this sort of quasi-acting is unknown to me, so I was not prepared for what it would do, what it would dredge up.

Holding that pose, over and over and over, pretending to scream and wail, I was not prepared for what that would do to me. Chris has acted, so when he got home he told me that’s what actors may go through; it can really fuck with a person’s head. I only did it for an hour. They do it for days or weeks or more. The body/mind connection is powerful. It can hold emotions that can be triggered by anything, touch, smell, vision, or action in this case. The mind brings it forward, affects the body, and so on.

Now, I did get some beautiful shots from this whole thing, so it was worth it. But it was hard, and knowing what to do to shake it off was critical.

Whatever it is that you do, whatever might bring pain to the surface, you need to have a full toolbox, ready to grab what you need to fix it. Sit down, take stock, and think – what makes you happy, what simple thing can you do to make yourself feel safe? A certain food? An animal, a beloved T.V. show or film? What is your simple joy?

Also, celebrate all the victories, big or small, cute or spooky. For me, I’m writing again, I’m making art, so here’s an alcohol-free toast to all of us!

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I’m in my jammies and no make-up so this is it. I’m only going to go so far with honesty.

Dreams and Regret – It is never too late!

The picture on the left of the banner is me, 1993, 25 years old.  The grey-haired woman on the right is also me, 2018, 50 years old.  Several lifetimes have passed in those 25 years; some very hard lessons learned.

I started to write poetry when I was a child. When I was the young woman with the dark hair, I decided I would compile some of them, and I made a book I called “Life Songs –  A Collection of Poems.”  I did finish, but I put it away and fell into a pattern of self-destruction and failure that lasted for years.  Life Songs died.

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Bound and ready, and forgotten.

But at 50 I began to wonder; what dreams have I let go?  What are the seeds of regret?

My dreams of singing professionally were done, too much whiskey and smoke had taken its toll.  That one hurts.

My paintings are unlikely to hang anywhere, my photography is hit or miss, and having a business to call my own died a premature death.  Don’t go into business with friends, that’s my advice to you.

But there was one thing left, my first love, my greatest love, my sanctuary, my heart, my everything.

Writing.  That I could still do.

It had been 25 years since I put Life Songs together, then I drank my muse away.  I killed her with my hands around a bottle of Jack.

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My muse scribbled on scrap paper. I don’t remember drawing this.

 

I also made the grave mistake of majoring in Creative Writing and taking many poetry classes which put an inner critic in my head I had never had before. Everyone is different, but for me, this was a massive mistake.  

Anyway, as I neared 50, I realized that I needed to complete Life Songs and get it out.  So I read it over, all bright-eyed and optimistic. Then I closed it and stared into space.

Many of the poems were, well, let me put it this way, I separated it into chapters based on content, and I decided that each chapter heading would be a take on “Ten Definitions of Poetry” by Carl Sandburg.  Trouble is, I’m not Sandburg now, let alone at 25, and it went…poorly.  I will not be sharing any of those with you. Oh my, no. So I was stuck again.

Then on a warm summer night, after a lovely meal with dear friends, we began to talk about our projects.  I never had anything to add to these conversations since I had no muse and no art in my soul.  But this night I did.  This night I talked about it, and as sometimes happens when thinking out loud, I had an epiphany.  I am not the same person I was back then.  So why not let the grey-haired lady speak to the dark-haired one?  Choose poems that are relevant or particularly painful or funny and talk to her?  Maybe I could find healing in that.  Maybe I could help another reader find healing or hope or at least know they are not alone.

Maybe I really could finish Life Songs.

And then, just like that, my muse came home.

When I sat down to work, everything came back. The traumas and moments of life, sure, but that’s not what  I mean.  I mean the absolute and overpowering joy of writing, of moving my hands on a keyboard and making the words I want to say appear. I had forgotten what it felt like to write.  It’s like forgetting what it is to taste ice cream or smell freshly mowed grass.

Many of my friends are writers. They post on Facebook, share funny memes, talk about their process and craft. I would be happy for them, but I would also burn inside. I was not a writer anymore. One can call it a dry spell for a while, but after two and a half decades, you’re no longer in the club.

But after I wrote a few pages, and after I started this blog, I was a writer again. I could respond to the comments, laugh at the memes, and talk about my process and craft.

I was a writer again.  I was in the club.

I worked on Life Songs, I thought about it when I wasn’t, I dreamed about it at night.  Then the first draft was finished.  I celebrated with some non-alcoholic sparkling apple cider in a flamingo glass.  It’s tradition.

life songs 2
1993 -2018 Absolute joy!

Then the final was done. After twenty-five years, I was almost ready to publish.

Now, I don’t know Photoshop or anything like that, and I can’t afford a professional photographer, so I decided to stage and shoot my own photos. I had a good idea what I wanted it to look like and every single prop I used I already had, so I set up a photo “studio” in the dining room, complete with the lights with umbrella things and my husband’s Nikon D90, and got busy.

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Two months and about 3,000 photos later, I got seven or so that I loved, and chose two for the front and back cover.

I sent them to the cover artist my mother-in-law, a professional writer, had recommended, and prepared to upload my manuscript to Amazon.

Then I typed up the title page

Life Songs – Discussions with an Angry Child

by – …….

And I froze.

Belle Chapin is a pseudonym. I started this blog under that name because I was afraid to use my real one. (Belle Chapin was my grandmother.) I was afraid of not getting a job, afraid of trolls, afraid of being so vulnerable.  So I was going to publish Life Songs under that name as well.

I backspaced my real name out, and I typed

by Belle Chapin

And then I cried.  And then I cried more.  This girl is me. This is my life, goddammit. This is my life, my heart, my work.

It took some time with my therapist, but I finally came to a decision.

This girl is me. This is my life, my heart, my work.

I sat down at my laptop and I opened the title page.

Life Songs – Discussions with an Angry Child

by Sue St. Blaine

And then I closed my laptop.

The cover artist sent me the final product.  I opened the attachment I cried so hard I nearly passed out. It was real.

I finished my life’s work.

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So happy I posed without makeup!

The way I’ve lived my life, the choices I’ve made have left many scars and regrets.  I know there are things I didn’t do because I didn’t have the confidence, I was scared, I was drunk.

I was drunk. The seeds of regret are sown.

But it’s been a year since I published Life Songs.  It is sitting on the shelf behind me. My heart fills as certainly as my eyes when I think about it.  I did it.  I finished it.

In a life full of mistakes, this is something I did right.

I wish that for all of you.

 

 

Film and Wonder and Comfort for a Misfit Girl

What are your favorite films from childhood? Some of them stay with us, mark us somehow. The boat scene in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory scared the hell out me, but left a picture of surrealism I didn’t have before.

I have many of these, but for me, there is one that stands alone, the chocolate to my vanilla, Star Trek to my Star Wars, Beatles to every other band ever.

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The Original Series, of course.

Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

Like so many things in my orbit, it has a deeper backstory than just “I like it.”  Considering that I have bonded with a tiny spring I found on the carpet, this is not really a huge surprise.

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I’m not kidding.  I wouldn’t lie about such a thing.

When I was a kid, I was a very tall, very odd, spectacle-wearing, sci-fi loving, bookish, and awkward nerd.  My love of the fantastic, the bizarre, my gallows humor, poetry, and music have been with me so long that I don’t know what came first, the odd wiring in my head or the odd wiring in my head as a response to bullshit.

Music especially was in my veins.  Both my dad and my sister were/are musical, and it was a constant in my life. Sports, military, guns decidedly were not.  But all I saw in movies and TV were that strong, powerful, square-jawed men would destroy all the alien threats.  This is one reason I love The Day the Earth Stood Still, Klaatu is issuing a warning, and the world comes together to listen after a nonviolent demonstration of power, and a sweet ass robot.

But I digress.

The ideas that I was saturated with were that music and art and literature and especially poetry were for people who don’t fight, but the world is safe from tyrants and giant ants because of manly men.  Men with guns.  Men who fart and don’t apologize.

So in 1977, I was nine years old, and my friend’s parents took us to the movies to see this new film, Close Encounters.  Immediately I was hooked.  My eyes were wide, my mouth slack-jawed, my head jutted forward for most of the film, according to my friend’s mother.

The domestic scenes with Roy and his suburban-hell-scape-dwelling family pulled me out a little.  I “knew” all of those people and it was uncomfortable. It’s also best to not think about the fact that Roy straight up abandoned his family, the equivalent of “I’m going to buy cigarettes…” without the ending “…in a spaceship.”

And Roy’s obsession, the creeping, crippling insanity, using art to make sense of it all, and his ultimate vindication was like a soft creature hugging me from behind, whispering “it’s ok, you’re just as you need to be” into my ear.

Imprinting can be as simple as an overheard response as well.  My friend’s parents were hippies, and when Roy and Jillian were driving towards Devil’s Tower and they saw all the animals on the side of the road, my friend asked “Did the military do that?” her mother’s answer was a scoff and an “Of course they did.  Bastards.” A fertile seed was planted in my anti-authority soil.

Much of the film was smart people doing smart things.  The mapmaker recognized what the signal was, the air traffic controllers coolly handling an unknown potential threat, the French man leading the team having doubts about what the military was doing, these were the heroes.

Oh, by the way, 42-YEAR-OLD SPOILERS!

All of this built to the scene that defines the movie for me, the final scene when the aliens arrive. This is the part that grabbed my heart and my mind and every single thing I was and am.

From the second the nerdy looking keyboardist climbed up on the platform, put on the headphones, and started to play the five tones, I was gone. Those five tones, that salutation to this alien presence, the responses from the mothership, that is enough to inspire wonder and awe from anyone with a pulse.

But it was far more for me.  All the soldiers, all the guns, and the only thing that mattered at all was the nerdy keyboardist and the five tones.

Music was the tool.  It brought them here.  And with it, we spoke to them.  Up a major third, down an octave, my language.  My kind made this.  My kind is important.

My kind speaks to aliens.

When the ship opened and returned all the people, some of whom generations of their families had lived and died wondering where they went (I don’t think too much about that either,) and they chose Roy to go with them, I don’t believe I was ever so jealous.  I wanted to go away with aliens who spoke music.  I sang the five tones to myself, sat on my bed doing the gestures, waiting to be taken away.  In a sense I was I suppose, for a little while.

That film, that science fiction film with some troublesome plot points, was etched into me and has never left.

My husband and I finally made it to Devil’s Tower a few years ago.

As we drove towards it, it grew larger and larger, just like in the film.

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Not pictured, drugged livestock.

My heart raced, my mind absorbed every inch of it, every scrape down the sides.  The mountain is sacred to several tribes, so we tread lightly.

https://www.nps.gov/deto/learn/historyculture/sacredsite.htm

We arrived, got out of the car, and there it was right before me.  Near the end of the film, Claude Lacombe asks Roy “What do you want?” his reply is “I just want to know that it’s really happening.”  I felt like that, just for a moment, I felt exactly like that.

I was nine again.

Recently we got to see it with the music performed by the San Francisco Symphony.

Before it started, there was a short bit with Jeffery Anderson, Principal Tubist, outside Davies Symphony Hall, playing the tones on his tuba, the hall responding as the mother ship.

 

 

Those five tones always shake me to my core and fill my heart. I lose a breath, close my eyes, cry.

This film came to me at exactly the right time. It became a comfort and a joy.  I’m 51 years old now, and my heart still beams when I watch it.

I’d love you to leave a comment about what fills you like this, whatever it is.  But if you don’t have something, I encourage you to find it.

It’s not too late to feel childlike wonder.  Not ever.

National Poetry Month – It Matters

April is National Poetry Month.

Does it matter?

It matters to me because I was first and foremost a poet, from my very early days. I was proud to call myself that, it was a title for me, an identity, something that set me apart from others.  I could play guitar, albeit poorly, I could sing, and I wrote poetry. I put my heart on paper and bled my very soul.

I was a bit dramatic.

I don’t remember not writing, hunched over notebooks, scraps of paper, diaries, recording my life and joys and traumas in one of my only outlets.  It was the only power I had, creating worlds, recording events, finding some escape with a skill that, as far as I knew, not many others had.  The fact that not too many people understood it, or valued it, made it somehow more enticing.  They didn’t like it because they didn’t understand it.  They made no effort to understand it.  I still kind of feel that way, actually.

Years later I would major in Creative Writing, with a focus on poetry.  One of the worst mistakes I ever made, by the way.  It placed a watcher on my shoulder I never had before, it silenced my voice, took my muse, and left me a shell of a person.  In fairness, the watcher was the gasoline, but the excessive, crippling drunkenness and black depression was the match that blew it all up. I did not get my degree.

It was not all bad though, it gave me stories I managed to write to long term memory.

I transferred to UC Santa Cruz from Ohlone Junior College in Fremont, CA.  I was accepted with the understanding that I complete in summer session two courses I missed, astronomy and statistics.  Math and I are not friends, it’s just a jerk, actually, so this was not a good thing for me.

Sitting in my seat, I  looked around the room and saw 40-some people, all of them artists, staring at the professor like deer in the headlights, trembling slightly and clutching a copy of “Leaves of Grass” all of us simply not wired this way, all of us taking General Education classes in the summertime.

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They were not clutching copies of Leaves of Grass.  I lied.

That fall semester, UCSC canceled Creative Writing and I, and all the other poets were lost.  We sat under the shade of a tree, dressed in black, shunning the sun the Math majors were prancing in, chain-smoking and silent.  In hindsight, this is a pretty funny picture.

So a quick romp in and out of San Francisco State, and that was that. No more hope of a degree, no more poetry in my heart, a whole lot of booze.

It took 25 years to get this back.  Twenty-five years later I finally got my muse back.

And now, it is National Poetry Month.

Does anyone still care?

I was just at City Lights bookstore here in San Francisco for the 100th birthday party of Lawrence Ferlinghetti.  It was packed with people, blocking the streets, crowding the store, an entire day of poetry readings and positive, glowing, happy energy.  People just beaming, surrounded by like minds.

Some of those people were poets, I’m sure, some not.  It doesn’t matter.  What brought them there was poetry and the celebration of this amazing man and the haven he created.  He just released a new book, at 100.  I have released one in 51 years. I’ll get right on that.

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City Lights Books – A haven for poets and everyone else.

Poetry does matter.  It matters like the air we breathe, like laughter, like tears, like fire, like rage.  It matters to every abused child who uses it to escape.

Worlds are built.  People are created.  Flight and magic and vengeance and mirth made real.

It matters.

Do you write?  Do you want to?  Then write, for crying out loud!  Who cares if it’s good?  Does it make you happy?  Were you filled in some way by writing it?  Then write more. Keep it private if you like, or show it to only those people you trust to hold it gently.

It matters.

If you write and you would like to share it, do put it in the comments.  I love to see poetry proudly offered.  I love to see art of any kind.

I’ve included a link to my book as well.

My advice to you, for what it’s worth, whatever you do, whatever your plans, for fuck’s sake don’t take a poetry class!

Life Songs – Discussions with an Angry Child

Perfect Imperfection

At a glass blowing show, in the back of a cabinet, set away from the perfect art, was a proto champagne flute.

It sat on a perfect stem, but the bowl hadn’t set properly.  It was going to be melted down, but I loved it, so I brought it home.

It can’t be used as a glass, so it sat on my dresser.  It existed only to be beautiful to me.  It has no function, it is beauty for the sake of beauty.

 

Imperfection 2.1

 

Immediately I saw the elegant watery dance of this perfectly imperfect vessel, the ripples on a pristine lake sneakily snatching the moonlight.

Imperfection 5

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It makes me smile. Maybe it is a kindred spirit.  Perfectly imperfect.

 

Imperfection 4

 

From a twisted glass, a reminder, look for beauty in the broken world, you will find it.

A quiet walk on a peaceful trail, pine trees have dropped branches, dead on the ground.  Brown needles, brown cones, brown earth, brown death.  But tiny yellow flowers pop through, green stems burst from the nurturing mound.  Life begins again.

 

Imperfection 6

 

From death, a reminder, live while you can live the best you can, find the beauty in the perfectly imperfect.

In the end, yellow flowers may grow from your bones, your ash or flesh in the air we breathe. Your life means something, even as it floats away. It will become something beautiful.

Strangely beautiful.

 

“Earthly bound to mortal cares

Greedy death awaits us.”

 

Imperfection 2

All of us as one, perfectly imperfect.

 

 

 

Exciting News!

I am over the moon to announce the release of my autobiography, Life Songs – Discussions with an Angry Child.

It’s a unique collection of poetry I had written from 11 to 25, poems about my mental illness before I knew what it was, addiction, abuse, fantasy, and rage.  I spoke to each poem from the perspective of these 50 years that I somehow managed to survive.  I know!  I am as surprised as anyone!

It is painful, funny, surreal, unflinchingly honest, and quite literally my life’s work.  It means the world to me.

When you click the link below, you can read the entire Forward for free in the preview, which will give you my detailed explanation of what brought this about and how to get the most from the journey.  You are a participant, sitting next to me.  Just don’t eat all my salsa.  I hate that.

 

Life Songs – Discussions with an Angry Child

 

Sue_Life Song (2)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

About “Drone”

I wanted to give some information about the poem “Drone.”

I wrote it, as it says, while I was mired in a depression.  I have never been able to adequately describe what it is like for me, what depression feels like most of the time.  It is incoherent and sloppily written but I have made no edits.  It is exactly as I wrote it and found it a few days later.

The drone itself is one of only a few auditory hallucinations I’ve ever had, and the only one that is consistent.  I have gotten to the point through many years of work that I can recognize a depression coming, or my husband does and warns me, but if I hear the drone, it’s too late; I’m too far away now.

I recall that I was lying in bed at this time, so the drone was inside me.  If I am walking, it follows me like a mindless creature, from habit, drawn to warmth.  It is in the same place every time, on my left, slightly behind me, floating along.  I see it as a sort of fuzzy ball, always black, about the size of a tennis ball. And the sound it makes, the best I can say, is a drone.  A deep, rumbling, yet quiet drone, like a bagpipe sort of, that’s the best way I can describe it.

It does hurt, depression, as I mentioned.  I’ll expand on that later.  But yes, it does physically hurt.

Drone -Written during a depression

the drone is in my ears I can feel it inside my head and hear it in my ears

it is in my chest and my throat and my stomach and my ears

it is in my eyes and I can see it and it is all I can see

 

it is the color of black but not black

 

it hurts

 

all over and inside and in my throat I can’t speak over it

 

I can’t speak to it

I can’t speak for it

I can’t speak for it

 

it is in my spine

 

it hurts

 

I can’t control it I can’t stop it I can’t make it go away

 

I can’t make it go away

I can’t make it go away

 

I can’t think

I can’t speak

I can’t reason

I can’t feel

I can’t throw up

 

I can’t shake it off though I try to shake I am in rigor mortis

 

 

I can’t breath

 

it pulses with my heart

the sound is a throbbing drone

all the time

 

all the fucking time

 

just make it stop