Write Your Own III (A Poem & A Picture)
It seems Edgar Allan Poe was born an orphan and subsisted as a lonely dejected urchin all his life. His father David Poe Jr. abandoned his mother Elizabeth early on. A couple of years after his disappearance Elizabeth Poe died of tuberculosis; all before little Eddie was three years old.
A couple named John and Frances Allan took Edgar into their home and fostered him until adulthood or the age of eighteen. At 18 Poe joined the United States Army under the alias Edgar A. Perry claiming to be twenty-two years old because he could not [reportedly] find gainful employment
Tick tock tick tock.
Frances died and Poe was disowned by John Allan—the men had been at odds for some time. Poe did not turn out be the man Allan expected and Allan turned out to be a man Poe despised. One could not abide the other’s vices. That is my summation.
Poe had problems. He drank too much, dreamed too much and lived with depression. That’s undoubtedly obvious.
Tick tock tick tock.
Poe married his first cousin Virginia when he was 26, she was half his age. Yeah, and after a decade of harmony guess what? January 30th 1847 she died of tuberculosis.
Alone again and in failing health Poe became increasingly unstable. On October 3rd 1849 he was found wandering the streets of Baltimore bedraggled and in a state of delirium. Four days later on October 7th 1849 Edgar Allan Poe died in hospital. Alone.
From childhood’s hour I have not been
As others were – I have not seen
As others saw – I could not bring
My passions from a common spring –
From the same source I have not taken
My sorrow – I could not awaken
My heart to joy at the same tone –
And all I lov’d – I lov’d alone –
Then – in my childhood – in the dawn
Of a most stormy life – was drawn
From ev’ry depth of good and ill
The mystery which binds me still –
From the torrent, or the fountain –
From the red cliff of the mountain –
From the sun that ’round me roll’d
In its autumn tint of gold –
From the lightning in the sky
As it pass’d me flying by –
From the thunder, and the storm –
And the cloud that took the form
(When the rest of Heaven was blue)
Of a demon in my view –
The official cause of death is not recorded, perhaps it is not known. Speculations abound. Alcoholism, tuberculosis, syphilis, encephalitis, concurrent disease, murder…
All I know is this: He was only forty years old and was (like most of us) his own worst enemy. Despite his inner darkness I think Edgar Allan Poe managed to shine a light. I pray he is not alone and that the demon no longer hinders his view.
His remains are buried at Westminster Hall Church in Baltimore, Maryland.
We are going to mIx iT uP this final week of NMP. Today (Monday) let’s take a look at Poet Dreaming by Loretta Diane Walker and mull it over.
Mull it. Ha! That sounds like a fish or a bad haircut.
Tsk!Tsk! Ignore the clown behind me and clear your mind.
(Originally found at Poetry Breakfast)
No sky could hold so much light.
Poems are nomads paddling through darkness
collecting words from the arms
of Orion, Sagittarius, and Perseus
before camping in a poet’s dream.
She sees souls as colliding galaxies,
holes of light burning
with millions to trillions of stars
too bright to fit in the cavity of sky.
Those stars are poems
crammed in the dusty envelopes of mortal bodies,
shimmering beneath white ribbons of bone.
A silhouette of stars floats in the window of her eye.
The energy of need forces tiny hands to brush
against the small wings of a sigh hovering in the evening.
She hears the silhouette speak
in a voice the timbre of a piccolo,
“Look Mommy! I caught a butterfly.”
On the other side of her dream, she sees the light of joy,
and a moth beating its powdery gray life
in the basket of a child’s palms.
From In This House published by Blue Light Press.
Now let us ponder…
I was immediately captivated by the first line poems are nomads paddling through darkness. I could literally perceive souls as colliding galaxies and got lost in the poetry until I felt like Loretta Diane Walker pressed me [unwilling] into a mortal body and awakened me to the wonder of a child’s voice. I regret I do not have a better photograph to compliment the imagery of the poem. I even added stars among the fireworks in this picture but it does not suffice… Oh well. In short, Poet Dreaming was a relatable piece and by golly I liked it! As a matter of fact I heard a little bird say I will be getting a copy of In This House for Mother’s Day.
I wrote some poetry once Getting Me Back (The Voices Within)
I cannot count the number of trips taken in that old station-wagon, but I do recall the passengers (nine, twelve and sometimes fifteen) packed liked sardines in a can; damp and smelly and filled with anticipation.
Looking back: It is like sitting in the third row seat of an old station wagon, staring ahead at the road behind you…
It is not enough to sit in the front seat and see where you were going – you didn’t know anyway. To understand how you got here you have to look at where you have been.
In that third row seat facing backwards you might be tempted to stare at the floorboard or the marks on your shoes or the stripes on the asphalt that never seem to end, but don’t. To understand you must look up, look back and accept the scenery for what it was.
When the pain and fury and fear rise up — remember it is only a hill in the distance, you have already passed over. That queasy feeling in your stomach is no more than a sour memory.
I speak as if caressing scars and lament but what of the scars I have inflicted? Do I grieve for them? The answer is yes; indubitably yes.
Oh, and Clan Destiny (Unjustified Favor) Book 3 in the series is your complimentary title for April 21st -23rd. Have a super-fantastic read filled weekend and I’ll see you next week.
I am Going To Bed Until My Hair Grows Out
I am going to bed until my hair grows out
A month a year I do not care
It is bobbed, butchered and ruined no doubt
So I’m going to bed till my hair grows out
Halt the mail and hold my calls
Store my stuff in ole mothballs
Give away my favorite dolls
I will be old when my hair grows out
*Patience, personal evolution and creativity can all be learned from a single bad haircut.
Reminder: Getting Me Back (The Voices Within) will be FREE April 18th through the 21st while we do this A Poem & A Picture by Me & of Me.
Okay, I might have been wrong in yesterdays post. We received [well] over 13 downloads of Getting Me Back. Thanks y’all. It wouldn’t matter if we got 13 million – we are sticking to the plan. We bought the ticket – we’ll take the ride. That’s my spin on a Hunter S. Thompson quote.
This photo was taken in front of Hemingway’s house in Key West, Florida. Of course it is now a museum. I look like I am either drunk or crying. I think it was both. Talking to ghosts sometimes has that effect on me.
Did you shake his hand –?
the hand of a man’s man?
Did you see how his eyes searched the space around him as the world grew smaller?
Did you learn the secrets of Africa or discuss his tomes over drinks?
Of course not.
You could not for we were mere children –
our wedding day marking the twenty second anniversary of his exodus… his rise to immortality.
He won the Nobel Prize for Literature the year you were born – did you know that?
I was but two months in the womb when he placed the beloved twelve-gauge inside his mouth and obliterated the ciphering pheasants once and for all.
Did you see how he caressed her?
How her cold, soft metal against his finger was as pacifying as the perfect daiquiri… how she (his beloved) alas cured him of the demons.
In a flash she rooted them loose one by one from their hiding place – a place liquor nor currents could mole; a cavern so deep no joule or watt could grasp. Ahh, but she did.
She exorcized them, set them to flight riding on soft grey tissue laden with hemochromatosis and fragments of bone.
Christ might have offered the fiends a swine but not her or better yet not him…
A sacrifice for the Bay of Pigs?
It was all such folly — such unholy madness for a simple man and a literary saint.
*Hemingway’s Beloved was first published in the HWA (Horror Writers Association) Poetry Showcase Volume I.
So Getting Me Back (The Voices Within) will still be FREE April 18th through the 21st while we do this A Poem & A Picture by Me & of Me.
What else can I say about Ernest Hemingway that has not already been [acceptably] said?
I have received like 13 emails suggesting I should offer Getting Me Back FREE during National Poetry Month. I could do that – and do you know how many downloads it would get? Probably about… hmm… I would guess thirteen.
A dozen others said I should be posting my own poetry and a handful of gun-ho NaPoWriMo writers invited me to participate in churning out a poem every day.
My inbox looks like a suggestion box right now but you know what? I love that people are so involved and enthused.
So here’s what I’m gonna do.
For the next four days Getting Me Back (The Voices Within) will be FREE. During these four days I will also post a poem I have written and heck, we’ll do A Poem & A Picture by Me & of Me but forgive me guys I cannot handle the pressure of NaPoWriMo, not at this moment in time. I’ll just have to enjoy the fruits of your labor.
Getting Me Back
Tissue thin transparent bits and pieces
by the millions I gave to you…
To be received, to be tended or
to be rendered useless as you deemed fit
old inhabitants of terra firma.
Slivers of my soul….
What did you do with these pieces of me?
Where are the misplaced microscopic stars of
my spirit, where are they laid?
Did they dissolve beneath a soft autumn rain?
Or burn in the heat of a cruel summer day?
Were they consumed by the dust mites of fate?
Giving me away was easy….
Getting me back seems nearly impossible.
I saw a fleck of glitter this morning,
caught in an abandoned web of time.
I retrieved it ever so carefully, pulling away
the tiny choking strands; polishing it in the palm of my
hand till it shone bright like a
minuscule star… exploding… and
I recognized it as the twinkle I once saw
in a smiling photo of me.
I chose this photograph for the sign and the turkey looking past the sign. This in no way implies that I think Sue is a turkey; on the contrary, she is a talented poet and photographer. That’s why I chose her SCENIC OVERLOOK to start week three of National Poetry Month.
Some would say life has brought me backward.
I grew up poor in a rich town
where I had to hide my dark hair
beneath a golden hat, which only
made me feel hot and awkward.
Now I live poor in a poor town,
a place most of my old classmates
wouldn’t get caught dead in,
but at least I blend in:
another gray wisp of a cloud
on a sunless day,
another brown leaf on the ground
of a winter wood full of leafless trees
in muddy March
when spring’s new hope
feels like a crazy dream…
But I digress.
Yesterday I drove through some rich towns —
just looking —
not like an open-mouthed tourist
but like a coroner searching for clues to a death.
I examined the details as I saw them:
the handsome man with the perfect haircut
jogging on my side of the road
wearing clothes that I recognized
cost more than two week’s of my groceries,
(he forced me to the wrong side on a curve).
Then I pulled over to gaze at a view,
and to avoid the impatient BMW surging
at my back bumper, like the rough waves
against at the rocks at the beach
with the “No Trespassing” signs, whose beauty
I had to observe from afar.
But I will keep my scientist stance
because I don’t like the flavor
I theorize the owners of these million dollar mansions
with empty yards would naturally
look like the jogging man because their parents
looked the same, and because beauty and wealth
go together like cut glass and cognac.
Why would hothouse plants live among weeds
that may choke them
Getting Me Back (The Voices Within) released this month and is now available in digital or paperback. AND to show my appreciation for your support there will be a gift of random books by ‘moi’ each weekend in April. Check in, check them out and follow my Author Page at Amazon for future updates.
Do you all remember the 1994 movie about a strange girl named Nell who seems to speak her own language? Liam Neeson finds her (Jodi Foster) living alone in a cabin somewhere in the beautiful backwoods of North Carolina. He is amused by her, befriends her and through his study we learn the reason for Nell’s unique dialect.
(Get/watch the movie here if you’re interested.)
Nell was a good movie and NaPoWriMo is a good way of assuring us that poetry [the good, bad and the ugly] will live on – at least for a few more years.
So what does one topic have to do with the other? A couple of things. One, poetry (or NaPoWriMo) is like the movie Nell – most people love it or hate it and two, when I say NaPoWriMo I think of Nell. Sometimes I start waving like a tree in the wind with my arms extended as if they were branches; dancing uninhibited and speaking in Nellish, Tay ina win… inna t’ee inna way… T’ee an me an t’ee an me, Reesa, reesa, reesa me. Chicka, chicka, chickabee.
And then some killjoy disrupts me with a reality check:
Janna is not Nell, she is not a tree... and she has no rhythm.
Oh well: doana kee chickabee, NaPoWriMo mos owe stee tie. Two we main.
Translation: don’t cry chickadee baby, National Poetry Writing Month is almost over – or you still have time. Two weeks remain.
* Getting Me Back (The Voices Within) released this month and is available in digital or paperback. AND as a small token of my appreciation I have arranged for Clan Destiny Book I and Book II to be available without charge via Kindle April 14th and 15th. An honest review would not hurt my feelings. 😉
Tune in next week for more #NPM.
This is my daughter (Jessica’s) favorite poem by Shel Silverstein. I cannot count the number of times we read Where the Sidewalk Ends as she was growing up.
As I was readying to take a shot of the book nestled among jasmine a caterpillar dropped from the sky and pooped! Can you believe it? Hmph! What does he know about poetry?! Gee-sh… and I had just scraped twenty years of boogers off!
SARAH CYNTHIA SYLVIA STOUT WOULD NOT TAKE THE GARBAGE OUT
Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout
Would not take the garbage out.
She’d wash the dishes and scrub the pans
Cook the yams and spice the hams,
And though her parents would scream and shout,
She simply would not take the garbage out.
And so it piled up to the ceiling:
Coffee grounds, potato peelings,
Brown bananas and rotten peas,
Chunks of sour cottage cheese,
It filled the can, it covered the floor,
It cracked the windows and blocked the door,
With bacon rinds and chicken bones,
Drippy ends of ice cream cones,
Prune pits, peach pits, orange peels,
Gloppy glumps of cold oatmeal,
Pizza crusts and withered greens,
Soggy beans, and tangerines,
Crusts of black burned buttered toast,
Grisly bits of beefy roast…
The garbage rolled on down the hall,
It raised the roof, it broke the wall…
Greasy napkins, cookie crumbs,
Globs of gooey bubble gum,
Cellophane from green baloney,
Rubbery, blubbery macaroni,
Peanut butter, caked and dry,
Curdled milk, and crusts of pie,
Rotting melons, dried-up mustard,
Eggshells mixed with lemon custard,
Cold French fries and rancid meat,
Yellow lumps of Cream of Wheat.
At last the garbage reached so high
That finally it touched the sky,
And all the neighbors moved away,
And none of her friends would come to play,
And finally, Sarah Cynthia Stout said,
“OKAY, I’ll take the garbage out!”
But then, of course it was too late…
The garbage reached across the state,
From New York to the Golden Gate,
And there in the garbage she did hate,
Poor Sarah met an awful fate
That I cannot right now relate
Because the hour is much too late
But children, remember Sarah Stout,
And always take the garbage out!
It comes as no surprise Jessica grew up to be a goofball. I thank God every day for allowing me to be her mom.
Reminder: Getting Me Back (The Voices Within) released this month…