We did it, folks! Thanks to donations from several people, my poetry raised $270 for the City of Refuge. I don’t yet know the total raised from all poets participating in the Poem-a-Thon.
I wrote to the prompt today, for my final poem. “…write something about celebrations–an event you celebrate, or how you celebrate. How do you turn the everyday into a festive occasion?” This is a little rough, but I can polish it later.
A Little Party Every Day
I try to have a little party for myself every day – good advice from a random stranger on the internet.
I made it through the workday without crumbling and my legs are strong. My phone is the portal to a million songs enough reason to dance, swaying to one upbeat tune before engaging with pots and pans and chopping knives. Pop a sparkling water and raise a glass to snuggly cats and exams passed as my loves share the small joys of their lives. For enduring my dreaded recurring chore — clipping coupons and meal planning squeaky cart wheels and standing in line — discount flowers from the grocery store. A donut on the deck, stationed for a prime view of the pollinators darting and busy from color to color, planting accomplished and now a moment for observation. A camp chair under the carport with a cup of red rooibos tea the joyful tap of rain above me there’s time for a party, no matter how short.
It’s the penultimate day of the City of Refuge Poem-a-Thon. I had to send the bucket deep into the well to come up with anything today.
This Like That, That Like This
It’s funny how when I hear tires whooshing along roadways in the distance it can sound like ocean waves rolling in and out, the rhythmic pulsing of air at steady intervals. Maybe it’s my mind grasping for the ancient familiar to make sense of the now or the impulse to create categories – this like that, that like this, a mirage of mastery over what is uncontrollable. Or. It’s possible. A connection is present in a real way the great mechanism of our running universe providing the beat for all we create and experience.
Day 28 in the City of Refuge Poem-a-Thon. This is my most stream of consciousness poem so far, thinking about all the stuff happening everywhere.
I sign petitions and people continue to suffer I attend rallies and people continue to suffer I hold signs, I write letters, I scrape ten dollars From my bank account to help the cause And maybe one person suffers a little less I raise my voice against attacks On the vulnerable and the attacks continue The attacks continue but next to me An ally is signing a petition Community members are rallying for justice Workers are sharing their hard-won earnings To make the world less sick, more fair And maybe a few people suffer a little less And maybe a handful suffer a lot less Suffering continues and attacks continue And solidarity continues and the work continues And sometimes joy breaks to the surface And those who care continue to stand Shoulder to shoulder because What else is there to do
Getting my poem up late tonight. Entry 27 for the City of Refuge Poem-a-Thon is inspired by a memory of a camping trip with my husband.
You, on the Riverbank
On my early morning walk I sought solitude on the path to the river believing I wanted to be alone. All went as desired until I turned at the last bend and there you were ahead of me, already taking in the newly wakened sunbeams tapping sparks on the water. You didn’t hear me stop behind, gazing at you gazing toward the far bank through the center of a jagged wreath of willow leaves perfectly shaped for the view, the light glowing around your silhouette focusing you at the center of the scene, all the world I could see a frame for you.
In the home stretch. It’s day 26 of 30 in the City of Refuge Poem-a-Thon. I’m writing about hummingbirds today.
The Hummers Tease
The hummers drop hints that they’ve returned to the trumpet vines one more year. Tiny shadows blink through green sinews like floaters in my eye. Look at them directly, they disappear. Orange blossoms are not yet open. Look elsewhere little thimbleful of feathers. Grow and come back in a week. Then dangle your colors before me as you feed giving me more than a tease.
Day 25/30 in the City of Refuge Poem-a-Thon. Today’s poem was inspired by a conversation with a dear friend about the issue of taking up space while female.
Taking Up Space
Trying to outrun the apologies that cling to my essence I search for a space out of the shadows search for the daring to claim some corner of light a space to expand to my full magnitude, an unshrinking unwary unsorry soul focused on more than survival maybe more than a corner of light maybe without even asking permission more than a corner not seeking permission
A wooden foot bridge spans the creek that divides the park near my house I raised my kids on this bridge or so it seems when I stand on it now recalling the span of their years at the site of our former daily adventures when adventures were daily This bridge was a place to loiter and plan to learn about ripples and gravity as twigs and rocks dropped to the current It was our place to wait and watch the fish and crawdads and neighbors and birds. Once on a cold day even a great blue heron, a solitary event the span of its wings startling in enormity We always brought home stories A bridge is not primarily for lingering of course and the crossing seemed an ever satisfying feat in a young life a solid accomplishment I was there on the other side and now I’m here in a new place with a clear line between the two.
Day 23 of the City of Refuge Poem-a-Thon. The prompt today was to write an abecedarian poem, working through the alphabet a-z with each line’s first word. I found it a challenge and the poem didn’t come out quite how I wanted — do they ever? — but here it is.
All the Troubles and Yet
All the troubles everywhere, yet a Baby brings joy, each new Child in my circle a welcome Discovery that the world goes on Each one accepted as the Finest example of what the universe offers Greeted with adoration and wonder Heralded with hope Imagine receiving that level of tenderness Just for being, freely given Love with no expectations Meaning found simply in connection No earning it or losing it Only a thereness Produced because it’s how we survive Quarrels most certainly will arrive Right along with disappointments Suffering and sickness There’ll be time to think on those Upsets later, rather than wasting the Velvet days of infancy with our minds X number of years in the future Youth speeds away but comes Zipping back to humanity again and again
Wildflowers swim in a sea of grass breaking to the surface, dipping back below the green, gliding to and fro as the wind creates ripples and waves petal overlapping petal like scales on fish, they bob and undulate. If I dangled a raindrop on a hook could I catch one?
You were devalued when first we met at the hardware store, lonely the one remaining woodland phlox rejected by all who came before. Only I was willing to take the chance on your struggling, half-withered self being in pretty much the same condition. “It won’t last” – I could see that message in the eyes of the cashier who united us. I wasn’t a great bet either have not logged a high success rate with green growing things. Yet I gave it my best and so did you. Look at us now, you with your amethyst petals bursting with pride and me, not doing too bad my own self.