In the spirit of school starting again, and personal reinvention, I started typing poems on my Smith-Corona typewriter. My goal is to finish a poem within twenty minutes, using some words that I provide myself. It’s a practice for this weekend’s visit to Martha’s Vineyard, where I’ll join Paul Farrington, Tracey Martin Logan and Sam Taylor. Those three are selling their art at a pop-up art market; I’ll be writing poems on demand for people who want them.
This practice, writing without editing, allowing the provided words to drive the poem has led to an interesting formula. I type (forbidding any editing,) then I write the poem longhand in a notebook, (changing a few words,) and then enter it into my computer.
The results are poems that aren’t as coherent as I’d like, start to finish, but contain gems of silliness and folly plus images that I believe I would not have accessed if not for this new process.
Below are the first three poems of the week, starting from the most recent. Do me a favor, if you have the time and inclination: Tell me what you like about one of these poems in the comment section.
They’re fresh, more raw than I otherwise would allow. Thanks for reading.
She touched like she shopped,
prudent, frugal, as if
there’d never be enough,
believed each contact
should take on meaning,
a living exemplar
of two together.
To reinvent her way,
carve a new path among
sidewalk strangers, lovers
met at the end of the night
at the end of the bar
at the end of the week,
she considered that her self,
the part beyond and below
her skin, more than what she saw
and smelled, could not continue
as Jewel Weed, the exploding
She wondered what the city
tasted like when hugging:
a spending spree of touch.
Tried it, allowing purple
to pour over her,
like standing under blueberry
falls. There, she tasted colors mixing,
purple in all who she met,
enough, to share at the end.
Written Wednesday at 9 a.m. using the words frugal, reinvent, touch-me-not, purple, and sample. I changed sample to exemplar when I wrote it out longhand.
The Color of Rain
Fuchsia is the color of rain.
Zinnia tastes of your compost:
cucumber skins, coffee grounds and egg shells.
Lupine smells of mountain air,
nose tingling first.
The garden you cultivate attracts
friends, some of whom you’ll never meet.
How’s that possible?
Let’s ruminate about sweat bees, moths,
silver-spotted skippers, goldfinches,
and little girls who knock on your door
to tell you they love you.
They have many names:
Sue, Randy, Carolina, Ringneck, and Hester.
They flock to the space you tend.
Written Tuesday at 8:30 a.m. for Janet Gary, who teaches me about gardening, living, and loving. She gave me the words fuchsia, ruminate, and Randy.
Good to begin with cats
as companions. They purr,
don’t smell — much.
House cats fit in the vessel of choice
for gliding from here to somewhere else.
Cats in canoes, red ones sliding
without whirring, that’s one way to begin.
The point right?
Be sure to load the canoe
with jalapeños, tomatoes, and cilantro,
the holy trinity of salsa,
a jar of it, garden-grown, will serve
as a gift you might use
to avoid the brawl travelers in crimson canoes
inevitably start. Beginning means
tolerating the unprepared.
Boy Scouts be damned. They write apt mottos
don’t travel well with wet cats.
Your paddle drips when lifting it
from the lake — don’t let that mess
stop you or you’ll never
Written Monday at 8 a.m. using the words red, canoe, brawl.