Fragmentary Post

A moment emerges finally for me to shift focus with my blog writing, find a sense of direction, a voice, a perspective of poetry— my boy, Brendan, sleeps upstairs for his midday nap, fighting off the remnants of a cold, with the humidifier steaming his room into a sauna.

Of course, I caught his bug. Resulting in my physical speaking voice withering away to either a grumpy frog or a soft whisper. I drink tea. I drink water. I gargle salt. No results. Only a constant awareness of my throat and a faint itchy sensation on my vocal cords. Perhaps after a twenty-four hour window things will change again.

On Twitter this month I posted a picture of a broken ceramic garden sculpture from the backyard.

The image holds relevance towards my current poetic anxieties. Lately words seem less channeled, less specific towards that musical reaction in the gut. Even the nightly haiku/hokku project sputters. The fragmentary urgency of my latest verses fades. Wait. No, “fades” is a too strong of word. What I should say is “hesitates”— the instinctual voice hesitates and pauses without rationalities. Partly, it is too easy to become distracted: three plastic jugs need to be taken to the recycling bin outside, my coffee mug on the desk should be rinsed out, the bed needs to be made, the baby’s medicines recorded, and a lecture revised. All these tiny distractions murmur in my ears, pull me away from the page, away from my pen.

Reading translations of Bashō’s work leaves me envious for his sense of imagery— his tight epiphanies lined up in each verse.

And likewise, for some reason I keep falling back on using the moon as an element in my work. There are days I resent readers pointing this fact to me— other days the moon’s presence blooms over the house, a gradual reminder of why I write poetry in the first place.

On another point, I discovered three elemental topics which cannot be reworked into a satisfactory haiku/hokku verse for me. I keep rethinking the concepts, bringing them to two different extremes. Either when reworking them into greater abstractions, lessening the syllable count, reducing the weight of the words, nothing develops. OR, the opposite, the image is isolated down to a specific thought. A specific time. Even a specific color. Ten words. Twelve syllables.

• Today the cypress trees shift towards tones of blood-rust.
• Stuck in late afternoon traffic: a small twisting of cigarette smoke emerged from a car passenger window; it radiated for a moment in slanted angles of sun. Neon halo.
• Under a crescent moon, a galleon thunderstorm drifted across the eastern horizon line, shouting out random thrashings, thunderings, flashings against the full darkness of itself.

Either way, the concepts do not want to become formalized scenes. They do not want to be something other than what they are.

I do not know what blocks me lately from working on the poems for Grackle, Fox, and She-Bear. This manuscript stumbles along in a drunken pace. Like the broken bowl, it sits there without a function, without purpose. The cohesion for the work exists, but in a metaphoric sense. Somewhere in my head the ideal collection sits waiting to be claimed. But time and circumstances have prevented my full attention towards the project. I feel like whining more about what I have not done this year, rather than motivating myself into action. If one is not careful, these blogs become a laundry list of negatives. I'll blame my feelings on the cold medication and close.

The boy upstairs will be waking soon. He'll offer some insight for the time being.


  1. I have hesitated over this comment. Erasing and writing and erasing again.
    What you describe is the distraction all women/mother writers have experienced - until only very recently in our literary/social history...
    Or that - forgive me - is how it explains itself to me.
    Domesticity does not bring poetry very easily to birth.
    The distractive routine of home and hearth mitigates against efforts to create. Honest. Or it did/does to me.
    And then I think of all those women's voices which were lost to us: silenced between patriarchy's misogyny and the demands of home and child. I remember reading Mary Shelley's words about the difficulties she faced - and thinking (in my pale pale way) that she was right, that the domestic needs washed away all traces of written poetry.
    Never fear.
    It will all return.


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