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23 April 2015

I write.

Thoughts pour
from penstroke to page,
a torrent
of nervous rage.

Thoughts jerk
halted by the broken
link, dying
on lips, unspoken.


I wrote this in response to a prompt in my writing class. The prompt was "I write..." or "Things I'd like to write about..."

I began this way: I write because I have to. Speech just doesn't work. The connections in my brain aren't hooked up that way. Words come to my pen, but never my voice. Maybe that's why I paint. The poem came after, because I didn't want to describe it directly any more.

22 April 2015


"Mom, what year did the first Star Wars come out?"
"1977. The same year Uncle Craig was born."
He repeats the year slowly, and I can hear it turning over on his tongue like a molasses ball.
Spirit in the Sky plays in the background, pulls us each to our own thoughts.
His thoughts include getting up and dancing about the room, in jerky hops and swinging arms.
"Sit down and eat your breakfast or I'm turning the music off."
He sits, and tucks his feet between the wood chair and that bony butt, toes touching in the middle.
His fingers poke at his egg-and-muffin sandwich.
Soon there's a bite in his mouth and a wiggle in his seat.
"Is it okay if I give the dogs just one of my pistachios?"
"After you're done eating everything else."
"Okay. I'll save one  pistachio for you, and two for the dogs."
He picks up his banana and shoots it, pew-pew.
"Eat it, Bear."
He puts down the banana and takes another bite of the sandwich.
His knees start rising.
Now they're bongos, and his body is perched on tippy-toes, wedged between the table and the chairback.
"Sorry!" He sits.
"Pew-pew-pew!" goes the banana.
"Put it down!"
"Sorry!" The banana goes down. He snaps his fingers to the music.
"Take a bite."
The banana pulls him up; he takes a bite of it while he sways to the music, his other hand on the chair behind him.  He wiggles and snaps his way over to my chair, leans in, and says very sweetly, "I'm finished."
That hardly seems possible, but it's true.
Don't worry, about a thing, cuz every little thing's gonna be alright, Bob Marley tells me.
Thank goodness.

18 April 2015

home blessing ritual, Bones style

Archer, my husband
Bear, my son
Roxy the Brave, my old dog
Stella-Boo the Neurotic, my young dog
NaaNaa the Lion-Hearted, my deceased kitty
Eric the Joy-Bringer, my other deceased kitty
an assortment of statues: one at (near) each doorway and window, on the inside of the house
my house, including its yard

salt, whatever I have on hand
stone, collected from my yard
cedar oil
ashes of NaaNaa and Eric
hair from Stella-Boo and Roxy
flower petals, from my yard
some sort of talisman for my house's spirit that I'll come up with (hopefully) before the ritual


At the home altar, in the heart of the home:

1. mix salt, stone, and oil in bowl
   Salt of the wild Ocean,
   Stone of the desert Earth:
   Keep my home safe and sound.

2. add to the mix: ashes of NaaNaa and Eric
   NaaNaa the Lion-Hearted,
   Eric the Joy-Bringer:
   Hearth-friends, Soul-friends, hear me: 
   Walk these walls, Watch our home;
   Keep us safe, Keep us wise;
   Stand as Guards.

3. add to the mix: hair from Stella-Boo and Roxy
   Roxy the Brave,
   Stella-Boo the Neurotic:
   Hearth-friends, Soul-friends, hear me: 
   Walk these walls, Watch our home;
   Keep us safe, Keep us wise;
   Stand as Guards.

4. add to the mix: flower petals
   As life flourishes around us,
   let us grow, too: 
   undaunted by life's storms,
   nourished by the challenges we face.

Around the outer edge of the yard:

5. annoint each corner and gate with the mixture, creating a circle
   This is Home. This is Mine.
   No illwill can find root here.
   No illwill can cross this line.
   This is Home. This is Mine.
   Only goodwill can find root here.
   Only goodwill can cross this line.
   This is Home. This is Mine.

Around the outside of the house:

6. annoint each corner and door, creating a circle
   This is Home. This is Mine.
   No illwill can find root here.
   No illwill can cross this line.
   This is Home. This is Mine.
   Only goodwill can find root here.
   Only goodwill can cross this line.
   This is Home. This is Mine.

Inside the house:

7. annoint each statue and door, creating a circle
   This is Home. This is Mine.
   No illwill can find root here.
   No illwill can cross this line.
   This is Home. This is Mine.
   Only goodwill can find root here.
   Only goodwill can cross this line.
   This is Home. This is Mine.

8. return to the altar at the home's heart

9. place bowl on the altar, annoint talisman of the Home spirit
   Spirit of this Home, I give you:
   Salt of the wild Ocean,
   Stone of the desert Earth;
   Spirit of this Home, I give you:
   NaaNaa the Lion-Hearted,
   Eric the Joy-Bringer;   
   Spirit of this Home, I give you:
   Roxy the Brave,
   Stella-Boo the Neurotic;
   Spirit of this Home, I give you:
   Petals from your own yard,
   Signs of your life. 
   Spirit of this Home, I give you:
   My dedication to you.
   You are my home,
   and I will keep you
   safe and sound.

   This is Home. This is Mine.
   No illwill can find root here.
   No illwill can cross this line.
   This is Home. This is Mine.
   Only goodwill can find root here.
   Only goodwill can cross this line.
   This is Home. This is Mine.

So mote it be.

I know

I just want
to be held when I fall
not told I shouldn't have tripped
I should have watched my step
I should have known better
I should have known better
I know that

13 April 2015

oh ritual

I can't tell, when I write "oh ritual," whether I'm shaking my head at the wayward child ("Oh, Ritual, what did you do now?") or uttering an expletive after stubbing my toe ("Oh Ritual! That hurt!").

For now, I'll just leave it unpunctuated and undefined.

What does an animist with shamanic tendencies do when called upon to write a ritual?

Well, my first step was to load up the ol' google machine. Which, of course, got me about a bazillion Wiccan rituals that were in no way appropriate for what I wanted to do.

Oh, yeah, I'm trying to write a ritual for a handfasting. My handfasting. With Archer. Which means it has to honor the spiritual paths of Archer and me. Neither of us is remotely Wiccan. We're not really Druids, either. Nor is either of us really Asatru or Heathen, though I wander that way sometimes.


Where are all the animist rituals? (Wait for it...) Oh. Right. There aren't any. I'm starting to realize that none of the animist writers I read talk about doing rituals. This doesn't mean they don't do them, it's just that they're not talking about it. Not in the same way that you see Wiccan rituals all over the internet. The animist writer might mention having done a brief private ritual for this or that, but the ritual is so intensely personal and specific to their purpose that it doesn't translate, or they just can't/won't describe it at all.

Do animists do rituals? Is it just that I haven't found the ones who do?

With the clock ticking on designing this handfasting ritual, I thought about the elements I wanted to include. To shape these elements, I looked at examples of - yes - Wiccan rituals, Heathen blots, and Druidic rites (these were what I could find online and in the texts I own). I didn't necessarily use the forms I found; more often, I used them to craft an outline from negative space (to use an artist's term). That is, the examples of formalized ritual from other paths showed me what I wanted to avoid. Those were what not to do, while still being related somehow to what I did want to do.

To further complicate things, I wanted the ritual to also be meaningful to the other participants: a few of our closest friends and family, who aren't necessarily pagan at all (though luckily, none of them would be in any way offended by our pagan ways).

So here's what I did: I took all the things I did want, and tried to craft them into something that made sense to people not on the same path as either Archer or me, while shaping the intent of the ritual in such a way that it made me happy.

Example A: What to do about the elements? I haven't called quarters for my private rituals in probably more than a decade. I don't feel the need to call them, because they're already here. Always. They're part of me. I don't call my hand when I want to pick up a glass, either. In my way of seeing things, these energies we work with are not distant sprites to be called (or not) on our whim. They're integral to ourselves, to our world, to everything. But I do want to acknowledge the presence of those energies within us, and draw them to our attention because I think doing so strengthens the sense of commitment we will endow in our oath. 
So, if I'm not going to call the elemental energies into the circle (the casting of the circle is another thing I don't do... I'll come back to that) maybe I can call them from within ourselves, thereby bringing our own connections into play, and preparing us individually for making the handfasting oath. Here's what I have come up with, so far, for that:
From Within, we call Air: clarifying our thought and speech.
From Within, we call Fire: clearing the way for new life.
From Within, we call Water: rising from our greatest depths.
From Within, we call Earth: standing solid to house us.  

So that's what I've been struggling with for the past two weeks.
Oh and I'm working on a home blessing ritual that Archer and my son can participate in with me.
Oh and a dear friend of mine asked me to collaborate with a couple other friends to write a ritual for her coven, for Beltaine. Obviously I said I would, because I love her.
It's all rituals and cowbells up in here, folks. And me with no predilection for candle waving.

This morning, I saw the new prompt for the Pagan Experience. It goes, "Ritual - What is your definition of the word “ritual”? What are your rituals- mundane and spiritual? How do they inform each other? Is ritual a necessary component to spiritual practice?"
And I thought, I should write a response to that one. Maybe it'll help me figure out how to write this damn beautiful/wonderous/pile-o-awesome handfasting ritual.

This afternoon, while working on this very post by looking through my blog feed to avoid doing any actual writing, this post from Lupa, one of my favorite modern pagan authors (translation: one of the ones whose path I feel has the most affinity with my own path), came up in my feed. In it, she says, "there are things I’ve left behind me as I’ve carried along my path. Rituals, for example. I no longer do much in the way of formal ritual, unless it’s a very special occasion." And I thought, "Me too!" I remember doing tons of rituals when I was a baby pagan and had just learned of Wicca. I'd be sitting there with candle and Cunningham's in my fists, trying to breath properly and connect with a Lord and a Lady I wouldn't have known from Adam and Eve.

Deeper into Lupa's article, she shares this gem: "When I did formal rituals before, a lot of my purpose was to find connection to the sacred. Now I recognize that I am immersed in the sacred at all times, and my goal is not to find the sacred but to remind myself of it, both in thought and action."

Yes. Yes. Yes. So much YES. Exactly! So if I can just get the handfasting (and other rituals) to reflect that idea, I'll be alright.

(Incidentally, later in that same paragraph Lupa mentions working out of Cunningham's Guide for the Solitary Practitioner in her early days. I lol'd, companionably, with the mental image of that book cover burned into my retinas.) 


Yeah, I'll probably post all about the handfasting when I get it all figured out. No worries, y'all.
And I'll post the ritual I come up with for the house blessing, too.

By the way, I'm sharing this over at the Pagan Experience. Then I'm gonna read what everyone else over there has to say about the subject. Happy reading!


Oh crap, I forgot to get back to you on the circle casting thing.
Well, basically I feel like every space is sacred, so it's a bit arrogant to say I'm creating sacred space, eh? But there are practical reasons too. For one thing (and Lupa describes this in her article, linked above, too), I just don't need it anymore. I can focus on the sacred without the activities of creating a circle. Also I don't want to cut off the 'outside' world from what I'm doing 'inside' the circle. I'm seeking connection, so why cut myself off? Anyway that's my take on it. 

12 April 2015


“We tell ourselves stories in order to live.”
― Joan Didion, The White Album
And I got it from our prompt over at the imaginary garden with real toads.


Whisper me your words;
I'll draw them in like silken strings
and wrap them like a fist.

Once to hear you.
Twice to feed you.
Four to see you, again
in my shining eyes. 

Tell me your tales;
I'll take your story for a spin 
and try it on for size.

Once to hear you.
Twice to feed you.
Four to see you, again
in my dying eyes.

Sing me your serenades;
I'll feel them flutter down my throat
and swallow them: whole.


There's a good chance I'll regret this in the morning. "This" being: publishing the above poem before looking at it with clearer eyes. Meh. Whatevs. That there's a first draft crafted by a sleepy brain that just wants to lay in bed and listen to music. But also write stuff. Mission (mostly) accomplished. Nighty night y'all. 

11 April 2015

the tree and the owl

Chernevog by Keith Parkinson

In two parts.

So many winters, so very many bodies.
I wasn't young when they built this dais below me.
- What is she doing here? If she's trying to plant them, she's going about it all wrong. They'll never get roots through that rock, even if she did remove their husks, which she never does. And what does all this have to do with me? She lays them on the dais, waves her arms at me, then leaves. What am I supposed to do - wave a branch and say, "Hey, thanks for all the cadavers"? Really, if she's going to leave them here, she could at least bury them so the animals wouldn't take all that fine fertilizer.
- Say, do you think that owl is eyeballing the body? This could get odorous.

It must be leaf-fall: the human has deposited another corpse. Foul thing, but it keeps the ground-hunters away from my nest, til new-leaf at least. And, it draws prey as any other meat might. So it's useful. Now, to wait...


Written at writing class, in response to the above picture and the prompt: "What are you doing here?"

character development


Start with blank card.
Write - in fat marker - numbers
1 through 6
down the left side.
Leave room
for words.
Place a dot
after each.

Line 1: A name,
but not your own.
Make it up.
Now, pass the card
to the writer
beside  you.

Line 2: A place
someone could live.
It could be nice
or real
or not.

Line 3: A hobby.
Or a bad habit.
Your choice.

Line 4: A job.
Any job.
Post-hole Digger.

Line 5: A trait.
Personality, that is.
Nothing physical.
Not yet.

Line 6: here's your chance.
In a word or three.
No more.

Write the story on the card.


We did this in writing class yesterday.
Here's what I ended up with:

1. Jakob
2. India
3. Drinking
4. Engineer
5. Pompous
6. Always wore a suit

(Incidentally, there were enough of us in class that we didn't get any of our own additions to the cards, which is why mine is so... bland. My additions were ...well, if I can remember them, I'll write them all down. Later.)

Our facilitator added these prompts to choose from: "I wish I could be like..." or "S/he'd always been that way..."

This is what I wrote:

 Jakob had always worn a suit. Even as an infant, his mother had made him tiny suits, replicas of his father's, and shoved his bubbly body in there. "You must never be less," she told the growing boy, "you must always be more." He followed his father, attending the best university in India, and never regretted his British name.
He chose Chemical Engineering. Something about its precision, and the selective behavior of elements appealed to him. Elements wouldn't bond with just any other element - the conditions had to be met, had to be just right.
At night, he comes home to a crisp white penthouse where the plants are only on TV and the dust knows not to settle. In his fine leather chair he pours himself a scotch, no rocks. Some solutions should not be diluted.

09 April 2015


Everyone knew her as Jade,
from Sharkey's Cabaret.
She wasn't a headliner,
but her quiet ways
didn't matter
when she got on the stage
and swayed.

Her tall black boots
and long, long hair
caught the rhythm of the song,
and all eyes caught
her pale shining skin.
The dollars filled her garter,
and she never said a word.


Written in writing class, in response to the prompt: "Everyone knew him/her/them as..."

07 April 2015

The Room, by Jonas Karlsson [a book review]

This is the best depiction of mental illness in fiction that I have read. Ever. Yet. Et cetera.

And yet, I've had a hard time beginning this review. I read the book two weeks ago and have stared at this mostly blank post every day for at least a few minutes.

I'm just not sure how to express the emotions stirred by this book.

Tell you what, I'll just start here: the description on the Blogging for Books website says -

Bjorn is a compulsive, meticulous bureaucrat who discovers a secret room at the government office where he works--a secret room that no one else in his office will acknowledge. When Bjorn is in his room, what his co-workers see is him standing by the wall and staring off into space looking dazed, relaxed, and decidedly creepy. Bjorn's bizarre behavior eventually leads his co-workers to try and have him fired, but Bjorn will turn the tables on them with help from his secret room.
      Debut author Jonas Karlsson doesn't leave a word out of place in this brilliant, bizarre, delightful take on how far we will go--in a world ruled by conformity--to live an individual and examined life. 

I believe that's the publisher's blurb.

Over on, the reviews seem to divide into those who got that Bjorn was mentally ill, and those who didn't. At least one (that I read) pinpointed Bjorn's mental illnesses as Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and a form of Autism. Neither of those is something I know enough about to validate - or invalidate - that diagnosis, but it seems apt from what I do know. (Feel free to enlighten me if you are better versed in these.)

Those reviewers who didn't get that Bjorn had some sort of mental illness were either entertained by the potential magic of the story (Bjorn is, without a doubt delusional), or were irritated with the inconclusiveness of his characterization - that is, they thought he was just a jerk.

Except, in his own mind, Bjorn is perfectly reasonable. Polite. Nice even, though only as kind as might be appropriate for his aims.

Okay, seriously, I'm going to stop myself right here. See, the thing is, this character just straight up fascinates me. This depiction of mental illness from the inside - this flawless depiction - fascinates me. I could talk about the content of the story for... well, pages. But this isn't a book report. It's a review. So instead of going on about the intricacies of Bjorn's character development, I'll just tell you this: if you have any interest in mental illness - if you are curious about how delusion sounds on the inside - you should read this book.

It's a quick, fast-moving, somewhat surreal, infinitely fascinating look at the inner workings of a delusional mind. Just go for it. If you don't like it - this book isn't for everyone, for sure - you won't have lost much time because it's only 125 pages, and they're not even all full.

Bonus: the book includes study questions at the end. If you're into that sort of thing.

~~~ sent me a review copy, in exchange for the review. It's a cool site if you're into getting free books and don't mind giving them a few words back in exchange. Check it out.

mud slut

I saw a truck that said
painted pink camo
with green suspension.

"What's that mean, Mommy?"
"It means I like to play in the mud,

All grown up,
and someone called her a slut,
and somewhere,
from some unheard part of her mind,
she started to swing her hips
just a little bit more.

on the reproductive anatomy of centaurs (or: mice and things I get distracted by)

Female centaurs should not have breasts. They - breasts - are a second set of mammary glands, and less useful than the first.

...Or would they be? Maybe, now that I'm really thinking about it, the chest location is the more useful location, given the child's shape. The upright torso would have an easier time getting to the chest than twisting underneath to get to the udders.

So, would the pelvic mammary glands reduced to a basically useless bit of decor, like nipples on human men? Or would they disappear entirely? And if they did disappear, would that anatomical region just look like the horsey version of a barbie doll: blank?

Oh right, I was supposed to be posting a poem. From yesterday. Or even the day before yesterday. Or... well, whatever. My calendar is hiding, probably fearing I'll realize how long it took me to get around to posting a new poem.

Well, I do have one, as it happens. It was written from a picture prompt in writing class. We had quite a few pictures to choose from, and yes, one of them was a busty centauress. I couldn't have possibly taken her seriously. At the same time, I couldn't have whipped out some lines for her because I was too busy taking her entirely too seriously. So I chose a mouse.

I had no idea it was a book cover until I found it online. The image we had in class didn't have the writing.
I think I have to read this book now. 

Our prompt was a little different this time (aside from being a picture). We were given a list of statements to complete, e.g., "I am... I wonder... I hear..." and we were to complete them as though we were the character depicted. So, the first to words of each of the following lines, was provided for me, as part of the prompt. Here's what I came up with:

I am the Don Juan of Mice. 
I wonder whether you shall fall at my hands, bested by my skill as a  swordsmouse. 
I hear in high frequency. 
I see in fine detail, but only in certain colors. 
I want to defeat all challengers, large and small.
I save every last penny; Brie is an expensive habit. 
I touch this feather in my hat, for luck. 
I feel like I could conquer the world.
I pretend I am not balding; the hat helps.
I worry about funding my Brie habit. 
I understand there is something odd about you, but that's okay, I don't mind. 
I dream of growing my goatee long enough to braid.
I try everything, at least twice. 
I hope you do not get in my way, because you seem nice. 

So that's not much of a poem, in my opinion.
Here's the poem I took from all that:

I am the daringest of Mice. 
Don't wonder that you shall fall at my paws:
I hear in high frequency, to better hear your cries of defeat. 
I see in fine detail, to better see your loss.

I am the choosiest of Mice.
I'll rescue a fine Brie
while snubbing the lowly Swiss.
One doesn't get to my rank
by slumming, you know.

I am the handsomest of Mice.
The feather in my hat should tell you so.
It's lucky, this mark of a conquerer,
and I touch it to remind myself
that I'm not really balding.
As long as I keep the hat on.

I understand
there is something odd about you,
but that's okay, I don't mind. 
I hope you do not get in my way,
because you seem nice.


In other words, I got nothing for this one.
But there it is. All done and ready for a chorus.

Shared with the real toads, in their quest for songs. 


And I felt the small weight of a thousand days,
lifted by a thousand days to come,
standing in my house,
moving the last of my possessions

NaPoWriMo, Day 5
Capturing a moment from last summer.

the old kitchen

at the shrines

Taken on our way back down the mountain;
there was a fairy ring larger than the scope of this picture.

We climb to the top
where all those hopes have lain
under moon after moon,
for eras, continued.

Floating on a sea of light and lives,
A thousand lost voices
reaching for our hands
- the long dead, the new dead, the never dead - 
just want a piece of our time.

The peak at our feet is dark,
lit by white paint in the moonlight:
the path between shrines is 
deep as graves.

Written at the top of Shrine Hill, as I call it, during our full moon hike, 3 April 2015. The italicized line was spoken by Archer, and inspired the entire poem.

One of the many shrines, before the sun set.

Looking down on our town, at dusk.


Shared with the real toads, because even though it's not specifically about stars, the starlight was peeking in around the edges. 

03 April 2015


He always wore band t-shirts
and baggy shorts.
Or jeans,
because it wasn't always warm
in North Carolina.
They were usually clean
when he put them on.

He always wore Adidas sneakers,
as though he might stumble
into an indoor soccer game
at any  moment.
He never did.
But sometimes
he and his sister would kick the ball
around the weedy yard,
for boredom's sake.

He always had music playing:
the Misfits,
Violent Femmes,
Dropkick Murphies.
These were the soundtrack of his life.

He finally cut his curly dark hair,
the day he joined the Army.
For the next eleven years,
he wore OD green and combat boots,
a pair of wings, and a red beret.


Shared with the real toads.

02 April 2015

writing class results, week 2

The following entries are my responses to prompts in the writing class I'm taking. The allowed time varies, between eight and fifteen minutes. I don't remember which time went with which prompt, but I can tell you, it isn't directly related to the length of the piece. I've decided to publish them because, honestly, I'm not sure what else to do with them. 


My earliest memory is of cooties.

Not the imaginary kind.

It was a toy, or game I suppose, that consisted of different colored plastic body parts you could assemble and disassemble. They looked a bit like ants when you put them together.

I remember sitting under the Christmas tree and unwrapping the box. It was the last Christmas my dad spent in the same house with us, but I didn't know that yet.

As I realized what I had unwrapped, I became very excited and wanted to tell everyone about this great present. But I hesitated; having cooties wasn't something to brag about, normally. I dismissed my own concerns. This was family, and they were all Adults to my young mind. Adults aren't mean, I thought, the way kids are. And besides, they probably don't even know what cooties are. This is what I told myself.

So I yelled out, to be heard above the chatter, " I got cooties!" All my excitement on my sleeve.

The rest of the memory fades into the laughter of my family.
It isn't necessarily a pleasant memory. I was such a sensitive child.


The room I grew up in was pale pink, or maybe yellow, or maybe white. I don't remember; It didn't matter. The windows were more important. They were my portal to the world, when my door closed against intruders, against pain. There was a closet, where I once tried to hide myself, but the air got stale and boring, and it wasn't very appealing the second time. So I sat between the bed and the wall, and felt the evening breeze from the window above. There I was hidden, and free.


In her mother's kitchen, there was no mention of engine blocks or horse maneuvers. There was no smell of coffee, unless you stood close to the whirring dispenser, between 6:55 and 7:00 am. There were moments, then, she thought she knew the smell of bitter roasted earth. By 7:05, the placating lavender odor her mother always ordered oozed back into the crisp white room, and the mugs, steaming, were overwhelmed. At 7:15, breakfast appeared. At 7:30, it was done, the utensils disposed of, and the fidgeting girl removed. She never saw her mother eat.

Many years later, with axle grease and horse sweat on her hands, she realized that somewhere along the way, coffee had ceased to be bitter.


She had started in the cold northeast, where everything was measured and your face must always be clean. She found her way west, where the horses didn't gleam, and nobody cared where her father had gone to school.

He'd been all over the territory and down into Old Mexico. Every town, a different name, a new cover, the same result. He always got his target. Or at least, that's how his reputation had it. He had lost a few, if he was being honest about it. But a few in a twenty-five year career didn't seem worth mentioning. 


Who were you,
with your joyfully tripping words and scruffy beard,
with your gruff wood-stained hands
and Clint Eastwood smile?

You were there,
in my earliest years, a ghost in the barn,
given shape by hay and cows and lathes,
taking nails from my sweaty clutching hands,
fixing that fence again.

You weren't there,
in your flowing scripted letters
telling tales of horses birthed
and storms weathered.

You were there,
in the house your next wife ruled,
your wit too cutting, your eyes too clouded,
and I don't know
who you are.


Day 2 of NaPoWriMo, shared with the real toads.
I'm going to let this one speak for itself. I'll say only that it does answer the prompt: to write about the house that built you. 

01 April 2015

Keuka Lake


I remember those orange trees,
lakeside, catching the breeze.
Chilling, with unease.

I remember that cold, slick water,
swimming with my father.
He said, "No otter."


I came across the above image this morning, and was reminded of the lakes I grew up near. Specifically, I thought of Keuka Lake, into which (it was rumored) the local hospital dumped its waste. The appeal of swimming in the lake faded pretty quickly as I grew up and became aware of things like "toxic" and "waste". Keuka Lake was surrounded by houses, but if it hadn't been, it would have looked a lot like that image.


For the real toads' benefit: during the four years I lived near Keuka Lake, I began writing poetry. It was the time in my life that stands out most as the time I began thinking about things outside of a child's simple world.

Our challenge, from the lovely Magaly, was this:

Your poetic mission, if you choose to accept it, is to write a new poem inspired by the first poem, poet or written work that sparked your poetry.
I didn't have much poetic influence at that stage. I didn't start reading any - that I can still recall - until much later in life. I didn't feel influenced by others' poetry until after I started writing my own. I just didn't get it until then. But things like Keuka Lake caused me to think more deeply, and my father's love of words and word games has influenced me deeply, for longer than I can still remember.

So, these are my beginnings.