Word Perv
(noun): One who takes delight and is skilled at constructing, writing or saying naughty phrases or dialogue.

I’ve been writing a lot of poems lately that stem from memories from my childhood. Every time I write about a specific memory I’ll text my sister and say, “Just wrote a poem about [insert event from our childhood], do you remember that?” She almost always remembers the event but she’ll remember different aspects of it.

It’s interesting to reach back into your childhood and dig through memories, trying to find one worthy of writing about. My childhood was very happy – I grew up on a farm in a small town in North Dakota. My younger sister and I are less than two years apart so I had a constant playmate. It’s interesting to me to think back on things that happened in my childhood and dissect them now, through the lens of my 36 year old poet’s brain.

If I were just writing about a memory without digging deep into it it’d be easy – I could just write, “this thing happened. I was happy/sad/mad. The end.” But that wouldn’t make for a very good poem. Instead I’m writing about the event and then thinking about the emotions I felt, both then and now. My relationships with my family have changed greatly as I’ve gotten older and so when I think back on things that happened, it’s hard not to pull in my current feelings. And that’s not a bad thing – sometimes I want to create the juxtaposition between how I feel now versus how I felt then. But sometimes I want to just sink into how I felt as a little girl, like when I found my kitten clinging to life in a bucket of oil and asking my mother to please save it. Other times I want to create a bit of conflict by remembering the event but applying the emotions I feel about it today. It’s made for some interesting writing and I’m very excited about it. Recently one of my poems Secondhand Love, a poem about my sister and I as children, was published by The Legendary (you can read it here) and I’m really proud of that poem. I’m writing others about my childhood and have send more off for publication, I’ll post about them soon. Until then, dig into your treasure trove of childhood memories and write a poem!

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What’s your strongest childhood memory? Do you feel differently about the event when you look back on it now, as an adult?

I’ve been pulling some serious hours lately. I’m home from my month-long work trip but the work hasn’t stopped and I’m still averaging 60-hour weeks – working in the evenings and weekends, but at least now I’m able to do that from home, with my boyfriend and dog in the vicinity, which makes it a little better.

I admit I haven’t been writing as much poetry as I would like but when your brain is forced to concentrate on other things sometimes the creative side takes a backseat. This weekend I’m hoping to squirrel away some time and send off a chapbook manuscript (!!) but until then I just have to be satisfied with reading during my commute and jotting down a poem here and there – I just don’t have much free time right now.

But while I’m not writing obsessively I do have a couple of new poems that were recently published, poems I’m really proud of. The awesome journal The Legendary published two of my poems: Practice and Secondhand Love.

I have to warn you, Practice isn’t an easy poem to read but it wasn’t an easy poem to write and not every poem is nice and pretty and sweet. Hell, if you’ve read any of my writing you know I don’t really write that kind of poetry. So while Practice might make you a little uncomfortable that’s a good thing – because I really pushed myself in the writing of that poem and I’m proud of it – even if I don’t come off as a very nice person in it. Sometimes the truth is ugly but that doesn’t mean we should own it.

The other poem, Secondhand Love, is a love poem to my sister. Give that one a read to feel a little bit better and to feel a little bit of my heart.

May 29, 2015

30 Days

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Tomorrow, after being gone for 30 days, I’m returning home. I’m extremely fortunate that I love my job and I love traveling, but everyone assumes it’s all sight seeing and hanging out when I’m gone for work and nothing can be further from the truth – during the 3.5 weeks in Oakland, CA I averaged 60-hour weeks, working long days and every weekend. Yes, I managed to squeeze in a few different poetry events (open mics and the Berkeley Poetry Festival) and I went hiking with a friend, but I also worked my butt off. Then I flew up to Seattle, WA for a different set of meetings.

Tomorrow, I hop on a plane and head home. I’m ready to see my boyfriend, my dog, my house, my bed. I’m ready to get back to a normal routine and not live in a hotel. As I sat thinking last night I wrote a quick poem. Enjoy.

30 Days Gone

I’ve been gone

for a month, the longest

absence we’ve endured thus far.

My days are busy

with work – hours stretch

into the night leaving me

exhausted when I finally arrive

at the hotel I call home,

falling into the bed

that is mine for the stay.

 

You promised to pick me up

when I arrive. I look forward

to your embrace. 

May 25, 2015

Initiated

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On Friday, Oakland decided it was high time to initiate me and someone smashed the window of my rental vehicle and stole my backpack.

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I shouldn’t have left the backpack just sitting on the backseat, begging someone to steal it. This happened during the day, in a very busy parking lot. I wasn’t hurt and all of the things stolen are easily replaced so in the grand scheme of things, it’s not that bad. Still, I spent most of the day dealing with it – filing a police report, filing an insurance claim, dealing with the rental car place, getting a new rental, etc.

My backpack contained my workout clothes, a wifi hotspot I had just activated the day before, and my kindle. Of all the items in my bag, I’m most upset about losing my  kindle. I am a voracious reader, plowing through 2-3 books per week. I was 90% done with my current book and was looking forward to finishing it Friday night. After it was stolen I called Amazon and de-registered it and they also added a note on my kindle so if anyone tries to link it they’ll be unable to – not that I really expect them to, someone who smashes a window doesn’t strike me as a reader.

And since I never waste an opportunity to write a poem, I wrote one about the incident. I mean, any time you get robbed you should write a poem about it – right? What else would you expect from me?

Glittering Like Diamonds

I was caught unaware,

I stood open-mouthed and staring,

the glass of my window shattered, the pieces

littering the pavement, glittering like diamonds.

I took a quick inventory, realized

the most precious

item missing was my kindle – 

a trivial loss in the grand scheme,

but for a bibliophile it was a sucker-punch

that left me shocked, then angry, then sad.

No thief is going to enjoy a kindle

the way I do. As I brushed the bits of glass

from the seat I thought of the book I was nearly finished reading,

I wondered about the end. 

 

May 20, 2015

Berkeley Poetry Festival

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In my search to discover the poetry scene in the San Francisco bay area, I turned to the knower of all things: The Internet. With help from this magical place I found a poetry festival very close by and of course I added it to my calendar to check out.

Last Saturday, I went to the 13th Annual Berkeley Poetry Festival.

Berkeley Poetry Festival

The festival was a small gathering, a handful of local presses selling their chapbooks and journals, the readings of local poets and then an open mic by lottery -sadly  my name wasn’t called and so I didn’t have the opportunity to read. Of the local poets featured, Gabriel Cortez was my favorite. His poem, Perfect Soldiers, was especially powerful.