Welcome Rimas Dissolutas

WE ARE STRANGERS STILL

I introduce myself
As though we never met
Surprised you play along

You smile and name yourself
Who’ll give in first? Who’ll let
The other right what’s wrong?

We think we won’t forget
But love is not that strong

 

After having no luck yesterday, I almost gave up on finding a form today. I figured I could either take the month off (always my first choice) or just go back to writing whatever the hell comes out on any given day. I had been planning, half-heartedly, to do just that, to let June be formless. I was okay with the idea when it was part of a plan, as the halfway point in this year-long challenge, to see if having stuck with a form each month had made any difference in how I approached writing without that structure. That’s not the mindset I had, though, once I found myself here in June. I was floundering again, just as I have every month, so giving up on forms felt more like a failure than a plan.

I spent yesterday pouring through Turco’s The New Book of Forms, trying to settle on something: ballade, interlocking rubaiyat, madrigal, roundelay. All of them made me feel drained. I didn’t have the energy to write twenty-eight lines of anything. I didn’t want to think about rhymes and refrains. I thought that prose poems might be the way to go, but after reading Dawn Song by Wesli Court (the example given in this book), I wouldn’t dare. I wish I had the words to write like that, but I’m feeling like a wrung-out sponge. If I were to keep writing, I’d have to find something else.

Enter the rimas dissolutas. I hadn’t paid much attention to this one until a post on Writer’s Digest reminded me of it. There’s no set line length, meter, or stanza length. An envoi is accepted, but not required. In other words, there’s room to play. Still some structure, but relaxed enough that I could ease into it with something short if that’s all I had in me.

And that’s all I had in me.

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Just Because I Post It, Doesn’t Mean I Like It

WAKE AND GREET THE MORNING UNAFRAID

Wake and greet the morning unafraid.
Breathe in the light, welcoming the day.
Release the dreamworld; let the nightmares fade.

Call your soul to leave the masquerade;
Another dance will soon be underway.
Wake and greet the morning unafraid.

The darkness lies, its love a cruel charade.
Don’t be seduced; don’t give your heart away.
Release the dreamworld, let the nightmares fade.

You’re free to go—your karmic debts are paid.
No demons intercept the prayers you pray.
Wake and greet the morning unafraid.

Another day, another death delayed.
You’ve promised to yourself that you will stay.
Release the dreamworld, let the nightmares fade.

Light celebrates the choices that you’ve made.
Let night scream on; there’s nothing left to say.
Wake and greet the morning unafraid.
Release the dreamworld; let the nightmares fade.

Ugh. I spent far too long on this to feel this down now that it’s done. It quickly became a battle of wills between the part of me that wanted to post something (anything!) and the part of me that wants to like what I write (and is more than happy to walk away and clean the house instead of sitting here for hours wrestling with words when things aren’t flowing).

Was it worth the effort? I won’t know anytime soon. I might read this in a few weeks and feel fine about it. I might look at it in a few days and feel inspired to rewrite it. I might just forget about it and move on.

Politics Is Getting To Me

A LIBERAL’S LAMENT

Such greedy old men hoarding all the gold,
Believing they alone deserve the best.
They rape the earth and plunder, feeling bold—
Their hardened hearts are sicker than the rest,
Those beating faintly in the nation’s breast.
A country bleeding out, its children grieve
A dying nation murdered by these thieves.

Maybe things aren’t really this bad. Maybe I’m overreacting, having a bad day. I don’t know. Lately, it seems that greed is winning, and I don’t recognize the country I grew up in. I haven’t always identified myself as a liberal. I’ve preferred to maintain an independent status, moderate, sometimes conservative fiscally. But lately? I feel pushed to the extremes in response to this unbridled avarice that seems to be the driving force behind the current administration. I think I need to disconnect from the news and read a good book.

Throwing in the Towel

A PART OF ME

A part of me
Went missing in the explosion.
A part of me
I want back now that this mystery
Is solved. Your love: the commotion,
A bomb dropped into this ocean.
A part of me.

I keep fiddling with this, trying to get it right, and it’s just not working. I have a vague idea of what I want, but can’t seem to get it down on paper. So, I’m giving up for the day. Posting as is. Maybe in a week or two the solution will hit me, and I’ll rewrite it. Maybe not. It’s just as likely that I’ll move on to something else and forget all about it. I’ll find it in a year or two and fix it then.

Meanwhile, it’s Friday. St. Patrick’s Day. I usually decorate and cook, but I’m tired this week from a migraine, so I think I’ll let this one pass. I found out that one of my favorite aunts died last night. I’m sad, and sore, and not in the mood to celebrate much of anything.

For now, I’ll rest, letting the day unfold as it wants. My head might stop hurting, and my energy might return. I might feel like cooking, or writing more. We’ll see. I dug a green shirt out of the closet and hung a shamrock on the door. Sorry, Mom, that’s the best I’m going to do this year. I’ll make it up at Easter.

Still Amusing Myself

I CANNOT WRITE A HAPPY POEM 2

I cannot write a happy poem. It seems
My words are milk left sitting in the sun.
They curdle without ever forming cream.
I sour every sweet thing I’ve begun.

My words are milk left sitting in the sun
Underneath a clear-blue summer sky.
I sour every sweet thing I’ve begun.
Every time— I still can’t figure why.

Underneath a clear blue summer sky,
I lie and wait expecting clouds and rain.
Every time— I still can’t figure why.
I look okay, but clearly I’m insane.

I lie and wait, expecting clouds and rain
To spoil this nice picnic that I’m on.
I look okay, but clearly I’m insane,
Wearing my galoshes on the lawn.

To spoil this nice picnic that I’m on,
I spill my milk and watch how fast it flows.
Wearing my galoshes on the lawn,
I stomp in puddles, muddying my clothes.

I spill my milk and watch how fast it flows,
Covering these pages with such ease.
I stomp in puddles, muddying my clothes.
I’ll rinse them out and dry them in the breeze.

Spilling onto pages with such ease,
They curdle without ever forming cream.
I’ll wash them out and dry them in the breeze.
I cannot write a happy poem it seems.

I love rhyming verse. I do. I haven’t had so much fun writing in ages.

I had been looking for a way to rekindle that sense of fun and found it in a book about poetic forms. Other years, I’ve tried setting myself a theme each month to help me focus and keep me thinking about writing. This year, I think I’ll try a different form each month. I’ll indulge my love for pantoums for the rest of January, then move on.

Hope. Is.

HOPE IS

BELIEVING theriverflowsformetoo
TAKING outthecomma
the VASTNESS of space
ELUSIVE onTuesdays
the FLOOD, nottherainbow
PERSISTENT
having SOMEONE waitingforyou
the PROMISE ofspring
my SHADOW
still KEEPING adreamjournal
an INNER dialog
BOTHERING toaskthequestion
LISTENING beyondthemelody
sometimes FOOLISH
ANOTHER yeartogether
an OPEN umbrella
REMEMBERING whoweare
WAVING totheworld
TAKING thedayoff
an ENDLESS dance
SHINING ourownlight

Well, this is it, the end of hope. Did my experiment work? Am I more hopeful? Not really. What I learned, though, is that I do find hope in odd moments, hiding under rocks, and skipping through the darkness. In laughter. That one was a surprise.

Overall, this month made me more aware of how hope exists in my life—in tiny shards, in bad writing, inside fear. Sometimes it’s swaddled in gloom or huddled in a corner. But it’s there. It’s up to me to look for it.

Happy New Year.

The Struggle to Write

I answered all your questions.
I listened to your lies.
I finally know I’m free to go.
I’ve said all my goodbyes.

I wrote this sometime last month. It’s just one of those fragments that gets stuck in my head until I write it down. I thought I might be able to develop it into something more, so I left it to sit and think about itself until I worked my way back to it. I assumed that I’d have plenty other things to work on, things that would pour out easily now that I had pulled that particular cork and set it aside. Let the ideas flow like fine wine!

Right.

Instead, I found myself writing another verse.

I’m ready for this journey.
I’ll take each day in stride.
I’ll never look for what you took.
My soul is satisfied.

But my soul wasn’t satisfied. I hadn’t written that line. I had written something else and deleted it. And tried again. And again. I couldn’t finish the rhyme, I was so bothered by the rhythm. Whatever it was I loved about the first verse (cute little jingle), I started to hate as it expanded. I didn’t want a second verse, but here I was now, stuck with this job, needing to work on what I had, because I wasn’t getting anything else.

At this point, I had no idea what I was writing about. I was trying to fit words into an established rhythm and rhyme pattern that simultaneously felt complete and unfinished. I tried to ignore the whole mess. I started other fragments of other poems far worse. Those I deleted. I tried to muse trivially about the books I’m reading. That didn’t get me very far either. I felt taunted by this little piece of poem that refused to die.

You don’t control my future.
You can’t prevent my now.
Our past is done. Tell everyone!

Great. Now what?

Love always wins somehow?

I finally found my how?

I’m here to buy a cow?

The phone rang, so I answered it, grateful for the interruption. My sister was checking in. We chatted for a while; she updated me on my aunts and brother (everyone’s fine). We decided it was a good day for a ride. I had some clothes and food to drop off at my daughter’s house an hour away. Perfect. I closed my laptop, leaving this file open for when I got home. That way I could tell myself I wasn’t really giving up again. I was taking an extended coffee break. I was coming back.

So here I am. I don’t usually write and post after dark, but I made myself a promise of sorts. I left my words dangling, my curser blinking. I have to finish this piece so it lets go of me. I want to move on. I don’t have to like what I’ve written today. I just have to write. Maybe someday it will tell me its name and what it’s really about.

Death takes the final bow.

UNTITLED

I answered all your questions.
I listened to your lies.
I finally know I’m free to go.
I’ve said all my goodbyes.

I’m ready for this journey.
I’ll take each day in stride.
I’ll never look for what you took.
My soul is satisfied.

You don’t control my future.
You can’t prevent my now.
Our past is done. Tell everyone!
Death takes the final bow.