Tag Archives: poetry

No apologies

img_0962Tired of feeling unworthy

I ate an entire carton of blackberries

$3.99 a pop

In the middle of today

With no apologies

To you

Or anyone

Not even the President

 

I didn’t care that the fruit stained my fingertips purple

Marking me like a thief

As I plucked each piece from the plastic box and

Plopped it in my mouth

* * *

What are you unapologetic for today? 

I have a desk

xx

I have a cat who naps on my old library desk where I write.  This is one of my favorite pictures.

I have an old library desk where I write.

I have words swimming in my head.  These are some of my favorites — bric-a-brac, innocuous, innuendo, ubiquitous, kismet, juxtaposition.

I have notebooks: big ones and little ones and a million scraps of paper that I use to record my thoughts.  Once when I couldn’t find something, W pointed out that I save everything.  I couldn’t tell if this was a criticism or a compliment.

I have a king-sized bed covered in flannel sheets.  It is warm and soft and inviting.

I have books and magazines and newspapers.  When I am in bed, I surround myself with them.  It is a fortress made of paper and words.

I have pens and markers that I use to make notes and jot down ideas.  At night, the paper and  pens get mixed in with the sheets and the blankets and our slumbering bodies.  I tell W this is what happens when you live with a writer.

I have dreams.  Good ones and bad ones that I remember in snippets.  I try to write them down, but I am almost always too late.

I have good intentions to empty my brain every day and transfer my thoughts to clean sheets of paper.  It never works out the way I had planned.  Sometimes this is a good thing, and sometimes it is not.

I have writing that I am proud of.  My pieces always seem different when they are in print.  More important and truer for some unknown reason.  When I’m alone, I read them out loud and wonder who that person was who wrote like that.

* * *

I wrote this from a prompt in my writing group.  The assignment was to write a list poem starting each line with the words “I have” similar to the poem I have a horse by Tomaž Šalamun. You can read the poem here.  Try it yourself.

Recently, I had a piece published in an LGBT anthology.  Off the Rocks, Volume 18 can be purchased here.

Writing as group activity

Good morning, my flannel-lovin’ followers.  I thought I would take some time to talk about some of my favorite things — books and writing.  We’ll have to save some of my other favorite things — Joan Jett, 30 Rock, Heidi Klum and the chips and queso at California Tortilla — for some other day.

I’m still actively participating in my weekly writers’ group.  Every time that I write something about the meetings, W points out that I refer to it as “group” like I’m talking about group therapy.  She says it’s cute.  She pretty much thinks that everything I do is cute.  This is not a bad problem to have.

In a way, my writers’ group is like group therapy.  It is a safe place.  We share our most intimate life experiences.  We support and encourage each other.  We draw knowledge and wisdom from the other group members.  Bonus: It’s a whole lot cheaper than traditional group therapy.

Often, I find myself mentally and emotionally exhausted yet exhilarated from these group sessions.  It is not the physical pen-on-paper aspect of writing that wears me out.  Instead, it is the process of delving deep and transforming some of my life experiences into words that is so tiring.  In the end, it is a rewarding experience that is allowing me to take control of my life and to move forward with my life-long dream of writing a book.

Some of the members of my group belong to another writing group, and they have penned chapters or poems that appear in a published anthology called Slants of Light: Stories and Poems from the Women’s Writing Circle.  It is a wonderful collection of short stories and poems written by a group of very talented women.

Slants of LightI enjoyed the pieces on their own, but I was struck by the power of the anthology as a whole.  It made me think of my own writing group and how we are each made stronger by the other writers.  It might be because of a suggestion in a critique that strengthened a chapter or a chuckle in response to a humorous quip read during a read-around that provides the feedback and encouragement that a writer needs to keep pushing forward.  Even though writing is a solitary pursuit, we can, as writers, gain so much from our fellow scriveners.

I would encourage you to check out Slants of Light.  There’s something inside for everyone, including a very inspiring coming out story penned by one of my friends.  Plus, it’s a great way to support other writers who are honing their craft and working on getting their stories into print.  I know that I’ve been inspired by the mere act of holding their book in my hands.

You can order Slants of Light on amazon.com.

Christmas gifts and poems by cats

W and I received a Christmas gift in the mail yesterday.

I Could Pee on ThisThe small box was filled with a few hand-crafted soaps, which  are one of W’s most favorite things in the whole world, and a small book entitled “I Could Pee on This and Other Poems by Cats.”

I was tickled by the gift.  It was nice to know that someone had gone out of their way to send us a Christmas care package.

The gifts weren’t extravagant, but I could tell that they were selected with care, and that’s what made them so special.  That, and they were totally unexpected.

The book is hilarious.  It would make a great gift for the cat lover in your family or the crazy cat lady down the street.  On second thought, she might not get the humor.

Here are two poems that struck my funny bone:

Who Is That on Your Lap?

There’s another cat in the house

A cat I’ve never seen

A much younger cat

You seem to know her name

You accidentally called me by her name

Right in front of the lamp

And my friend the throw pillow

I’ve never been so humiliated

I may never love again

* * *

Sushi

Did you really think

That you could hide fish in rice?

Oh, the green paste burns!

Just a sexy lesbian love poem

All that talk of poems in my last post made me think of the only real lesbian-themed poem that I know.

I thought it was super sexy upon first read and clipped it out and stored it in my quote journal for future reference.

This was back when I self-identified as a lesbian but not necessarily a butch.  It’s the butch imagery — the Windsor knotted tie and suspenders clipped to wool trousers — contrasted with the femme imagery — black dress and heels — that gets me every time.  Guess that’s why I’m a butch.

Let me know what you think.

Madchen in Uniform

I am smitten, thinking of the suit you wore

to our college dance, a dance you did not

invite me to and so I showed

with a bright blonde in a black dress

and we made sure to dance her heels to dust

in front of you

and your sulky grrrlfriend.

 

Muted, scarlet as a mouth, your suspenders

snuck out from wool trousers, my winter boy

in alarming white sleeves–

sound the all-clear.

This is my breath: every cigarette we shared

 

whispered our wide-open secret

no longer safe

in a blazer’s breast pocket.

 

After, in the middle of the night,

in the too-fragrant room of another, all I could taste

was your yellow stripe of tie,

the handsome Windsor knot neat

and next to the throat I will never, it seems,

lay my mouth on.

— Heather McNaugher
* Madchen in Uniform is also the title of a 1931 film about an all-girls boarding school in pre-Nazi Germany.  It is believed to be the first lesbian-themed movie.