Hey! I have a poem up in the Winter 2017 issue of A Courtship of Winds.
Check out the full issue here: http://www.thecourtshipofwinds.org/issue-5-1
On Saturday I spent four hours at the Whanganui market with these wonderful women writing poems on demand & witnessing the beauty that is positive human contact.
If someone approached me with a topic, I would write a poem for them.
I wrote fifteen poems in all, on subjects ranging from dog licks to ergonomics to fear. I would do this again in a heartbeat.
In other news, I made it into the paper in Italy!
Plans for the next step after Aotearoa New Zealand are coming into place slowly, slowly. Here’s to figuring things out as they come.
Big love to all near and far.
This is my entry into the yeah write #201 fiction|poetry challenge.
Being a peripatetic poet is fun.
I get to write in a variety of places:
in possum-infested bedrooms,
on picnic tables at the intersection of metal roads,
on a yoga mat at the Whanganui Women’s Network.
Sometimes I feel like an octopus, arms flailing. One tentacle in old poems. One arm following the road. Past, future, present, zooming. It’s dizzying but also a joy.
I spent this afternoon in Fleur Wickes’ studio, green pen all over printed-out versions of 52 pages of poems, many of which formed the spine of my senior thesis in Folklore & Mythology.
I haven’t seen the poems printed out since I handed in that thesis, There Are No Straight Lines, back in March 2014. The beast has taken a variety of forms since.
Holy guacamole, was that almost a year ago?
Anywho, here are two poems from the bunch.
A fire drill summons us out of sleep.
Naked on your bed, we throw off
the sheets, wrap your brown blanket
around our hips and breasts and I take
your hand with my hand down the stairwell.
There are others, some drunk. Most laughing
or swearing. The Friday fire alarm bleats on
off on. 43 seconds to exit your room: stairs
to courtyard to vestibule then sidewalk. This
mandatory procedure. On the gravel we pass
the drag queen we met at the pub. We tug ourselves
away from the crowd, find a dry patch of grass
not too dewy to sit and watch the more feathering-out
tangles and knots and drops of stairwell after stairwell
emptying its human contents. The fire truck speeds in, flashing
reds and blues. Men in yellow fire-retardant suits.
Then barefoot we begin to speak Spanish. You write
your fingertips on my ribs as costillitas and then chamorro,
the secret space behind the leg. Even two languages isn’t enough
for the body and all its parts, its whole.
But the birds? On that day
rain rose not fell. Every-
one stood with their heads to
the ground, doctor’s orders,
to increase circulation
touch the divine, or maybe
to levitate). But those birds
trapped in puddles, caught
in a mid-day bath (as fear of
a fire when showering)
just disappeared, up:
Did they know? Did they bother
to say goodbye? And on the ground,
what held up the trunks of trees,
if not flow of water upside down?
In the evening news reel, Niagara Falls
was a torrent, a vertical column of water
and some poor soul in a barrel
was just going up and up and up,
a drip a speck a drop in the ozone layer.
Then we were all on a quest
to ask the sky for our water, please
we are thirsty and dizzy from pressing
our ears to the ground. And she said:
it was never yours to take.
As ever, I am interested in the intersection between poetry and storytelling, how the voice in a poem can leap from the page (or screen) and tell a story of its own.
This story that Nacanieli Seru told me in Nukuloa-i-Gau, Fiji has been haunting me for nearly three months. While I didn’t have the audio recorder on while he told it––it’s not explicitly a water story or a climate change story, either––I think it belongs here.
They told us to turn our backs. We stood on the beach, all 300 of us from the Fijian Navy Reserves. It was a beautiful, blue day on Christmas Island, the day they tested the British hydrogen bomb.
I could feel the heat. The top of the explosion was like ice cream. Billowing fire.
Some of us, when we came back, our hair fell out. Most of us, when we came back, had miscarriages.
I knew something was wrong when albatross fell out of the air, dead. Birds farther away flew into buildings, blind.
My son was born two years later. He was always sick.
Sakiusa Seru died at age forty-nine. In the autopsy they couldn’t find anything wrong.
It’s a thing you wouldn’t wish on any parent, having to bury their child.