Let’s Get this PaRtY Started! (A Poem & A Picture) NPM 2018 Baby!

Above the Noise

by Janna Hill

Above the noise

I hear your voice

With an oh so mellow

crack

Where sunbeams rain

Through nicotine stains

That remind me of your

laugh

… and I miss you.

 

It’s that time of year again…

And here we are–the same bat time, same bat channel as last year.

April is National Poetry Month/NPM. Whether you read my poetry or that of someone else, I only ask that you read; expand your horizons. Poetry is not only for scholars or ‘esteemed’ individuals – it is for everyone!!

From Getting Me Back (A Poem & A Picture by Me & of Me)

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.

janna 1976

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.

______________________________________________________________________________

Reminder: This is the last day Getting Me Back (The Voices Within) will be FREE  (April 18th through the 21st). It is also the last “A Poem & A Picture by Me & of Me” for this year’s NPM. You can do your happy dance now. 😉

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.

For Jessica (A Poem & A Picture)

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!

Shel Silverstein Where the Sidewalk Ends

SARAH CYNTHIA SYLVIA STOUT WOULD NOT TAKE THE GARBAGE OUT

By Shel Silverstein

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!

For JESS A Poem & A Picture

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…

Spring by Edna St. Vincent Millay (A Poem & A Picture)

 

SPRING FLOWERS A Poem & A Picture Spring

From Second April (Courtesy of everypoet.com Classic Archives)

SPRING

By Edna St. Vincent Millay

To what purpose, April, do you return again?

Beauty is not enough.

You can no longer quiet me with the redness

Of little leaves opening stickily.

I know what I know.

The sun is hot on my neck as I observe

The spikes of the crocus.

The smell of the earth is good.

It is apparent that there is no death.

But what does that signify?

Not only under ground are the brains of men

Eaten by maggots,

Life in itself

Is nothing,

An empty cup, a flight of uncarpeted stairs.

It is not enough that yearly, down this hill,

April

Comes like an idiot, babbling and strewing flowers.

Don’t you love the last line(s)? They do strike a chord with me — maybe because I am just living out loud and flinging cake against the wall, right?!

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.

P.S. A little history on Edna St. Vincent Millay: After her husband’s death from a stroke in 1949 following the removal of a lung, Millay suffered a great deal; she drank recklessly, and had to be hospitalized. A month later she was back at her farm (Steepletop) where she  passed a lonely year working on a new book of poems. She died in 1950 of a heart attack. For more about her works and life visit Poetry Foundation.

 

Be Drunk by Charles Baudelaire (A Poem & A Picture)

Be Drunk A Poem & A Picture

Just FYI: If you pass out around me I will take your picture and show it to the world.

Charles Baudelaire was born in Paris on April 9, 1821 and died August 31, 1867 at the age of forty-six, reportedly of syphilis. Another tidbit;  When Charles Baudelaire’s Les Fleurs du mal (The Flowers of Evil) was published in June of 1857, thirteen of its 100 poems were arraigned for inappropriate content. On August 20, 1857, French lawyer Ernest Pinard, who had also famously prosecuted French author Gustave Flaubert, prosecuted Baudelaire for the collection…. Baudelaire was charged with a fine of 300 francs (later reduced to 50), and Les Fleurs du mal suffered from the controversy, becoming known only as a depraved, pornographic work. Now onto the main attraction.

Be Drunk

You have to be always drunk. That’s all there is to it—it’s the only way. So as not to feel the horrible burden of time that breaks your back and bends you to the earth, you have to be continually drunk.

But on what? Wine, poetry or virtue, as you wish. But be drunk.

And if sometimes, on the steps of a palace or the green grass of a ditch, in the mournful solitude of your room, you wake again, drunkenness already diminishing or gone, ask the wind, the wave, the star, the bird, the clock, everything that is flying, everything that is groaning, everything that is rolling, everything that is singing, everything that is speaking. . .ask what time it is and wind, wave, star, bird, clock will answer you: “It is time to be drunk! So as not to be the martyred slaves of time, be drunk, be continually drunk! On wine, on poetry or on virtue as you wish.”

  ♠ ♣

Well we made it through week one of NPM. Yay! Let’s all get drunk and get skip the syphilis.

Here comes ‘tha plug’ : I’ve been drunk a time or two, I’ve also published a few hundred poems but I must confess I have never had a STD. And guess what? My dysfunctional disease-free [possibly controversial] book Getting Me Back (The Voices Within) released this month and is now available in digital or paperback. Yeah, I will be saying it again, and again… and again.

A Poem & A Picture (Hemingway’s Beloved)

Hemingway’s Beloved

by Janna Hill

shotgun shells (1024x430)

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 exorcised 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 appeared in HWA Poetry Showcase Volume 1

A Poem & A Picture (Getting Me Back)

Getting Me Back

by Janna Hill

Web of Time

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.

A Poem & A Picture (Madre’s Mexican Blackbird)

Madre’s Mexican Blackbird

by Janna Hill

Mexican Blackbird

She reins me in

Her strong swollen hands tangled inside an unruly mane

Uno  ! Dos! Isilencio!  Tres!

Three dull thumps convince me to hush

and settle between beefy thighs

 

Gnarled fingers of assurance tug at my scalp

She plaits my hair with promises

Wisdom weaved among coarse strands of unnumbered mañanas

My head is left tender and spinning

with knitted rows of old wives tales.

 

**For the final week of NPM I will be posting my own poetry, a mix of published and unpublished. Is that selfish? Yes. Yes, it is. It is also easier — and right now I need easy.

I am grateful to everyone who submitted or suggested a poem. Hopefully we will do it again next year.