Interlude before the poetry: January had almost finished with 30 poems written. And suddenly, a wave of lists and checkmarks and griefs knocked me off my feet. The lists and struggles are still here, but I’m turning the water spouts back on after a sudden drought left this 365-challenge dry (for almost a week! after 30 days of practice!). But February is like that. Between the bitter weather and seeming magnetic attraction for congested coughs, tragedy, and car accidents, February is least desirable of months. (And no, Valentine’s Day does not make it better. Valentine’s Day is dripping in cheap plastic. It delights in crushing the expectations of all and sundry regardless of relational status.)
A friend told me on Sunday that I should implement a Save February campaign. She did so her junior year of college, and went salsa dancing, adventuring to the Art Institute, and held random tea parties in the woods.
So, my Save February campaign, to make up for the early writing drought at its beginning is as follows: I will write TWO fragments each day for the remainder of February. It’s a short month, but let’s do it! So instead of recording just one moment, there will be two for each day in the remainder of February, likely on the shorter side. But I’m skipping the 14th. Or I’ll just write something awfully morbid. Down with expectations! Up with spontaneity, creativity, orchids, and dark chocolate every day (except the 14th, just to be contrarian). (For all of you therapist-types concerned about my Valentine’s Day aversion, I am happily married to a fellow V-Day hater.)
Today, I owe six (!) fragments. Here they are! So many exclamation points! And yes, I did make mental notations throughout each day of an occurrence or moment, so they are all contextual to their contained 24-hour period, even if jumbled up in a single creative record here. Psst: If you won’t read them all, “feb 3.” is my favorite.
low in the cold cave of sleep
echoed a voice full of snow.
i crunched it in my teeth, light
and tasting of apple seeds.
the dinner table is set but the chairs are empty.
sharp words have cut the food instead,
and the mouth of bitterness is feeding happily.
a golden bugle called you awake. you hear it
every morning, but you always forget after
a few seconds. the herald, however, is valiant
and does not give up. one day you will start
from sleep and listen to the merry charge
and you will not put on any socks, but will burst
barefoot into the snow, beyond caring,
having heard your song and remembered at last.
my tears will be my baptism today.
the blood of Christ
the wine of Cana
the muddy Jordan
through my cracks,
my broken cistern.
“just before a dinner party”
the little pine tree and the roses and the orchid
are all wilted with february in this too-warm
apartment. no one wants february at the party,
she tries too hard, she’s not pretty, and you hate
how you always feel bad for her. you try to hide
your pity but instead reach out and pat her small
cold shoulder and tell her that june is a snob.
and you’d like to invite her for tea sometime,
just not when other people are coming over.
God this prayer is too heavy to lift
to you. it is a cast iron weight
bruising my palms. send an archangel.
What are poetic fragments? What is this challenge I’m talking about (and, ahem, failed slightly to achieve in the past week)? Click here.