I was “separated” from a website for “not explicitly breaking the rules”. Hey, it’s a “woke” website and wow, I guess I was annoying, or the editors are insane, or something. The eds who had become friends over the years didn’t know a thing about it. The owner removed me.
Now I am removing every reference to that site from my blog, over time.
So here is a poem from a week ago, to “honor” the insane editors. I do think they need to vet them a little better, heh. But if the owner doesn’t mind the site imploding and dying, hey, he has chosen the best editors for the job.
eeeeeeeew eww I’m annoyed at you don’t you see you’re inconveniencing me? don’t you see you shoot yourself in the knee? don’t you see choices so dumb I could scream? don’t you see you’re destroying the dream
eeeeeeeew too I’m so annoyed at you but I’ll forgive you your sins after I stick you with pins and laugh many many grins you’re sent to bed without dins
eeeeeeeeew too I’m so annoyed at you but I don’t really care I think it’s totally fair that you’re dissolving out there in the cloud unaware and no one else cares
eeeeeeeeew too don’t cry a boohooo you reap what you sow I won’t cry when you go sad to see you sunk so low advertisment ho drunk funked skunked bro yeah, ed, he don’t know sentimental slop woe stinking slow to grow
eeeeeeeeew too is yo owner a ghoul? I think you raised up some fools I mourn the loss of some jewels when sad stupidity rules some eds is fool mules I carve yo gravestone with tools
peace me, loves peace me, strangers peace me, Beloved free us from dangers
peace as a river peace as a wave peace as a verb peace saves
peace my heart peace all of ours peace all the friends peace the wars
peace a gift peace a joy peace fearless always no war toys
peace me, loves peace me, strangers peace me, Beloved free us from danger
I kept the paper cup in the picture, because the cup is animals and plants, but the cup also is a pair of lungs. Breathe peace. And breathe for all the people recovering from covid-19, short haul and long haul. And breathe love and shelter and support to all those grieving for our dead and let us grieve too.
For the Ragtag Daily Prompt: apparent. And for peace.
I am reading Kim Addonizio’s Ordinary Genius, A Guide for the Poet Within, for a class. In the chapter about cliches, she suggests choosing a cliche and playing with it. The first example on her list is “A sudden fear gripped me”, so she inspired this:
A sudden fear gripped me by my nipples I hear my mother: Colder than a witch’s titty Why must the witch’s titties be cold? Must they dance naked even in the bitter winter? Can a witch retire at a certain age Sit warm, clothed, with her cat and tea By a fire with enough fuel for winter? You’d think they’d get pneumonia dancing naked In any weather; yet witches are usually old. Maybe it acts like jumping in to cold water To dance around a Beltane fire; maybe witchery is hot work and they aren’t cold at all. Maybe a witch’s titty is warm all the time And meanwhile the fear is gone, upstaged by titties.
I am blogging A to Z about artists, particularly women artists and mostly about my mother, Helen Burling Ottaway.
My mother disliked cutting mats more than almost anything except vacuuming and cutting glass. In the late 1980s and early 1990s my grandmother lived two doors down in Alexandria, Virginia. My mother took over part of the basement for matting, glass cutting and framing. Times right before shows included complaints about cutting mats and glass, her saying that she didn’t have enough things framed (though she always did) and at least one piece of glass broke. The X-Acto knife was the tool for mat cutting at that time. My mother usually cut herself at least once for each show. She was particularly annoyed if she bled on the freshly cut mat or the painting or etching.
Hanging the show involves a lot of time out words as well, but she would get excited once it was hung. Then it was time for dress up. Shows were a command performance: my sister and I were to go as well. We dressed up and talked to people politely and ate the strawberries when my mother was not looking. The opening of the show would include food and usually wine. In small glasses. And no, we weren’t allowed to have any. We had to look at the art and be polite to adults.
The photograph today is another of my poems with my mother’s etching. And look, she has avoided cutting a mat. She bought special frames, with two slots. One holds the glass. The second holds the mat with the mounted etching. If the glass rests on the etching, it can ruin it. She mounted all of our ten prints and poems this way. Clever artist and they look wonderful.
denise levertov writes making peace
that it is an active process
it is not the absence of war
but a process in itself: how do we make it?
how do we wage peace? wage is not the word we do not do it for money we must be more active than hoping engender peace? spread peace: like a pandemic a pandemic of peace
the comfort of peace the joy of peace the love of peace
the peace of the grave the peace of sleep the peace of heaven peace here now peace not distant nor below the earth peace conscious, aware and present peace alive, breathing, welling up in everyone peace here now
a pandemic of peace a river of peace peace flowing through and around, above and below us peace full, peace out, peaced let us verb it I am peaced today I peace you I peace Russia I peace the soldiers I peace the Ukraine I peace the entire world
I peace you please, will you peace me? peace me now, then there will be two and everyone else peace the world now a pandemic of peace make peace
I taped a conversation with a wren one morning in Wisconsin. I never saw my wren and clearly I have not got the language down, but she kept talking to me anyhow.
I am reading Kim Addonizio’s Ordinary Genius for a Centrum poetry class.
She challenges white poets: why don’t you write about racisim?
I write that we are afraid. I think it is more than that: it is shame. Thinking about her words, I thought about one of my mother’s pieces of art and how it makes me uncomfortable. And that my discomfort with it is new. I wrote this poem.
Kim Addonizio asks
Why don’t white poets write about race?
Chickenshits, I think.
Afraid. We are afraid.
My mother called one color Nigger Pink.
She says, “It’s the color that only looks good on black people.”
She looks wicked as she says it and I know that I never should.
She didn’t think she was racist nor a feminist.
One time she says, “Maybe I am a feminist.”
“Why do you say that?” I ask.
“We had a group of women who went to plant trees. None of them could dig a hole.”
“Oh,” I say.
“They didn’t know how to use a shovel!”
She might be horrified how many high school graduates today would call a spade a shovel.
A mentor art teacher says, “Stop being small,” to her. “Get bigger.”
She starts pastel portraits, larger than life.
One that I love is titled “One Fist of Iron.”
Now: don’t lie. What race do you think the person is? And what gender?
Did you guess correctly? African American and male.
Another friend tells me he is trying to get his father to stop calling Brazil nuts nigger toes.
My mother told me that term too.
And that it was unacceptable.
At my friend’s father’s birthday, I focus my camera on the birthday man.
He holds a bowl of nuts. He says to himself, “I will now eat a politically incorrect nut.” and the camera clicks. I love this photograph because he is 90 and white and reluctantly changing his wicked words.
My mother says there might be hope when a small black child trick or treats her house in black face, in Alexandria, Virginia, in the 1990s.
I think there IS hope, even though the race seems slow and painful and there is so much anger
Look in the mirror, white poets.
And write the words.
The photograph at the beginning of this is not my mother. It is her mother’s mother, Mary Robbins White. I have pictures of five generations of women with that serious expression. She was the wife of George White, the Congregationalist Minister who was president of Anatolia College in Turkey. They and my grandmother and siblings were escorted to the Turkish border in 1916. George White and his wife were two of the main witnesses of the genocide of the Armenians in Turkey.
we are talking about silence
you don’t want people to know
how you make your money
you are angry, I notice
at how people treat you
you are a self made man
with a lot of money
I don’t much care
about your money
happy for you
I am more interested in silence
I go silent in Kindergarten
because I am too weird
have no tv
and want to sing
I do not bother to lie
because people don’t listen anyhow
and they don’t believe me
I listen, you say
I read everything you send me
That is not enough, I think
I don’t say it
I think about saying it
I don’t say it
I stopped sending you my poems
when you got angry
I asked if you would respond
even just “Read it.”
I don’t understand
why you got angry
and I am not scared
so much as surprised
I guess you brook no criticism
I wonder why you must be perfect
seems tiring to me
at any rate
I am not sending you any poems
you could read my blog
I post some there
though I suppose you could still
you say you know I am angry
when I go silent
I go silent, thinking about that
you are right that there is anger there
in the room with us
you sense it
it is yours, not mine
the bear chained in the dungeon
I send it love
and it is crying
wet and cold
in a pool of tears
I can’t free it
only you can
for a moment you are aware
that I am silent about my poems
then you slam the dungeon door again
and talk about guns and science
and what you will do next
and what you will do next
with your bear
and without me
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