POEM LIFE premieres this Saturday night, March 21, at the VFW in Locust Grove. Here is another post about something you will experience in the show–the chance to have a personalized poem composed on the spot and taken home with you. If you follow ROMP or know the activities I get up to, you already know what poem-in-a-minute is about. You give me 3 words you like or want to see in a poem, and I type up a poem on the spot with those 3 words somewhere in it.
Instead of typing poems during the show, I will have a segment where I cassette-record 2-3 poems for people. Yes, I have moved up in the technology world–from manual typewriter to cassette recorder. It will be quicker to compose the poem and say it straight into a recorder, rather than to type it–though I’m a quick typer . . typist.
Over the years, as a poet, I have discovered my true calling not in the typical poetic endeavors of publishing poems, teaching them and holding poetry readings (all heroic endeavors) but in creating experiences of poetry for other people. That’s the strong teacher side in me coming out. My family has a long history of accomplished educators, and though I occasionally throw in the towel with teaching, I always come back to it in some way.
Poem Life and the Rural Oklahoma Museum of Poetry itself have been ways for me to bring together the celebration of poetry with the facilitation of its practice in the lives of everyday people. Poems-in-a-Minute has been one way I’ve extended this philosophy of poetry as experience–having performed at many festivals and venues. Though I no longer strive to have my poetry published (other than on this website), I cannot not be a poet–a wise woman told me that once. I just want to be a poet for other people.
Come to the show, ya’ll!
There will be a $100 door prize drawing and other fun surprises.
He had meningitis as a baby
And almost died. It came
With horrible headaches
That he relieved by lying
In bed and rolling his head
Back and forth and repeating
Uh uh uh uh uh uh uh uh
Until he fell asleep.
As children, we often went
With our dad into the woods
And listened to him name
The trees and the fox dens,
The place where moss
Would grow, the unrelieved
Smell of turtle flesh
Rotting in bleached shells.
Once on a trail ride,
My horse slipped and fell
And he jumped off his own
To . . . check on me? Save
Me? He was a tiny, sick baby.
He walked in the world
With me. He is my brother
And nothing will change that.
During my POEM LIFE show, there will be a segment (a crime) where I offer up a series of poems that are reinterpretations of the Psyche and Eros myth. One of the poems in the cycle is called “The Return,” and in the show, it is the last one. I have two versions of this poem, one I wrote as a regular poem, the other with the thought in mind that it could be a song.
Both the poem and the song are featured in the show; however, I’m not a songwriter, singer or musician, so I managed to find someone who put it to music for me and sang it. That would be Andy Bartosovsky, a friend of a friend from Facebook who lives in Alexandria, Virginia. (Social media is truly good for many things.)
You can listen to the song at his website, and please send a little payment his way.
Thanks, Andy! The poem is perfect for Poem Life, and I look forward to playing it for an audience.
This is the 2nd post about a snippet from my one-woman poetry show POEM LIFE which premieres on Mar. 21.
One segment of the show describes the crime of Receiving Stolen Goods. Part of the segment includes a poem about my cousin. She used to write me long notes and draw mazes for me when we were in junior high. She had a hard life, abandoned by her mother then neglected and worse. She has lived in my psyche all of my life because I regret that I was not kinder to her. She died many years ago in a car accident in Oklahoma City.
This is one stanza from a long poem about her:
She smelled like urine when she was younger.
They said there was something wrong with her bladder.
She wanted to race me down our grandparents’ hill
and she would always win. She wrapped cheap paper dolls
in purple tissue for me one Christmas. I was embarrassed,
and she gave me things and she was alive.
I still have the 15-page note she wrote me when we were in 7th grade and another shorter one and one that I wrote to her that somehow made it into my grandmother’s things and I got back after she died. In the note, she mentions a Dickinson poem that I told her about and that she wrote out and we taped to the wall of her bedroom once when I stayed overnight with her. That poem always reminds me of her.
I’m Nobody! Who are you? Are you – Nobody – too? Then there’s a pair of us! Don’t tell! they’d advertise – you know! How dreary – to be – Somebody! How public – like a Frog – To tell one’s name – the livelong June – To an admiring Bog!
Be kind, her life reminds me. Be kind.
It’s March and still deeply winter-like. With thoughts of spring and the changing of every season, I remember the first poem my dad wrote 3 years ago. Here it is again.
Once upon a time, without poetry, people were unable “to sow wheat or barley, go out to sea in a ship, make their gods hear them, get well if they were sick, or fight their enemies.” (The Winged Horse). Whatever we used to do of importance would begin or end with poetry. Poetry was originally the work of the people, of all people of any color, rank, position, religion, tribe, or education.
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