Poems: A Reading of the game of boxes

img_3310

A book purchased at Indy Reads. I like her style, voice. Poetic fragments of stories told in concise language, with much left to imagination. The subject matter of relationships, both with lovers and with children, give reason to celebrate our excess and absence of connection.

Chorus (p.19)

The ones we love fall asleep
to our abandon,
we are always abandoning them
and then finding them,
we’d be lost could we not
abandon them, could we not
find and abandon them.

Tell no one where we go at night
in our sleep, how far we walk,
toward what, but accompany us
to the soundings, the quicksands,
and the rocks.

Her average rating on Goodreads is 3.69. One critic gave her zero stars, stating he “was pretty unimpressed by this work…nothing challenges, nothing is unique or traditional.” He goes on to say “it reads like someone who wanted to write what she always thought poetry was but never considered what it could be.”

Another reviewer gave her one star with “reading this collection is the limited range of poetic resources on display…the plainspoken voice can only carry a reader’s interest so far.”

For those who enjoyed her poems, one reviewer was “won over by the plainspoken…playfulness and the repetition.”

Susan said “you need to read if you are of this century but also a little bit lost in the past.”

Other words to describe her were “abstract but not over the edge”, “easy to read with a density to them”, “Surprising. Haunting in a delicious way.” and then “the language of the poems…often felt unfinished or like they were missing something or like I was missing something.”

Poetry, for the consumer, is really about the pull into the story far more than the textbook understanding of what a poem is or could be.  The Game of Boxes is 4/5 stars for me, but then I am not a critic of poetry, but rather a consumer. So really, what do I know about critically assessing others language other than if it moves me, like a man leading in dance, then I confess my love.

A dream project

It really hurts to pack my books away. I dream of August or September when I hope to be in a new house. Make it my home. And put all these books back on a shelf.

And then I hope, a new scene (maybe Boston, hope I have not jinxed my future by saying it out loud) means a new thought process and all these hidden projects sitting on my shelves will come to life.  I have wanted to write children’s books for quite some time.  My favorite children’s illustrator/author is Lois Ehlert.  I love her folk art style and the color that embellishes her pages.  The simple stories she writes captures a child’s imagination.  And mine. (Some day I hope I can organize my collections as she has done below.)

img_3211-1

That really could be me pictured in her book.  I spent every summer riding my bike to the library.  I would come home with a pile of books, weighing more than I did, and would sit in my tent in the backyard, reading and dreaming of the world.  To this day, I still have no clue what life means, other than love is precious and relationships are what keeps us from falling too deep into despair.  Oh! if I only practiced my wisdom.  I often find myself sheltering from the world still…. hidden in my writing room dreaming of possibilities.

img_3213-1The above illustration is quite helpful to me.  To plan the whole book at once… ah! makes so much sense!   This will take a whole lot of discipline on my part, as I often write everything without planning.  My learning to become more intentional in creative habits, will be a positive step in my growth as an artist.  (I said it! Am i?)

Although, I do need a sense of mindless space to generate ideas but then will utilize her method to organize my chaos.  🙂

If you have children in your life, I recommend this book highly.  She had an exhibit at the Milwaukee Museum of Art a while back and I was able to purchase it there.  I am sure it is available on Amazon if you are interested.

Happy writing, Jeanne

thinker and willow

Photo: Hands in the Garden

Willow sway -no other tree,
hiding secrets -you and me.

Gently gliding, dancing free,
inviting patrons to listen…

feel the breeze.

I love other blogger’s posts that take me back in time. Personal time.

When my Anna was born, we planted a willow in the backyard to commemorate her future. It was a twig, no more than a 1/2″ circumference and about 3 feet tall. It grew quickly, soaking up the swampy spot in the yard. In less than six years, it stood over 15 feet tall and 3 feet around. It was a magical playground. Summer picnics and stories, shared with stuffed toys and imaginary friends, were abundant.

Being a soft-wood tree makes it easy prey to storms. One fateful summer, her willow was blown over. Everything inside me was invested in that tree… and in her. Lost to the wind… My dreams for my daughter were broken.

It was prophetic, that summer storm, but I was too busy to hear.

Tragedy has struck more times than I dare count. Grief is my dearest friend. Hope is but a splash of dew that fails to quench desire. Joy is bittersweet.

Even this week has been countless disasters; small and large. Seems silly. To think storms break us, but they do. Even the small storms are difficult to overcome.

Who knows the future? The only way we stop mistakes is to consider the past. Resilience, like the willow, comes from making our roots deep.

So, as the hummingbird who sits through the storm, head down, in prayer, I face the world which threatens me daily, knowing love overcomes all.

may my faith always be
at the end of the day

like a hummingbird…returning
to its favorite flower.

–Sanober Khan, Turquoise Silence

Swim Against the Waves

For my lovely daughter. Always. And Forever.

Wow! Yesterday was quite eventful. Not in a good way either.

There is a back story to this story that unfolded shortly after breakfast. I was busy writing Christmas greetings to family and friends, realizing how few cards we had received this year. The amount of personal greetings slashed by modern life.

When, to my surprise, my daughter came bounding down the stairs, so early in the morning.  It is Christmas break from studies so this was most unexpected.

I despise Snapchat. Instagram. Even Facebook has become a weapon against humanity. They had assaulted my daughter again. Naked photos of themselves. Asking her to send in like.

She had never wanted to fight back. She is a teenager and teenagers do not always think so well. Hormones and all. But she had been attacked too many times to lay down her sword. She picked it up and I stood with her. I picked my sword up too.

I made a phone call to the school. I needed to speak to someone. Was any one going to listen? Really hear me and my daughter? Do something to change how we interact.

There seems a hollow cry in our schools, churches, government, to stop bullying, assaults, sexual victimization against each other.  People talk loud and do little. They stand up strong and bend with the wind.

Sex is a beautiful gift. Meant to be protected by love and care and understanding. Not a quick fix to fill a void. Not a solution to calm the raging inner world. Who even believes that anymore? Anyone?

So the Dean of Students and the Assistant Principal sat there and listened. Their advice quite trite, get off social media. What? She wants to make friends. Be a friend. Why should she not fight back and change the landscape of abuse? Why do the good people need to retreat and lay down their swords?

As we exited school property, two police officers pulled up. Our schools are now protected by officers of the law. What little law is up held. We are flying free in the streets, rioting and not caring of the girl, weeping in the night. Now afraid to be a friend to the world.

My daughter has recently turned 18 but she was made an adult before she had a chance to be a kid. So it is with modern society. It has become an adult before it ever figured out how to be.

Art Therapy

We (Susan and I) had a fantastic time at Eric Carle’s Picture Book Art Museum in Amherst MA back in October 2017.

And at the end of our visit, before we left Massachusetts, to head home to Indiana, we created our own masterpieces.

Many hung theirs in the window. We took ours home with us.

If I ran the zoo

“Can I get a cat?” scrolling through the Craigslist feed, Anna looks up at her father. Switches her glance to me. Investigative journalism, smart. Interrogation, even wiser. She was feeling us out.

I adamantly said no. For 23 years I’ve been running a zoo. Every animal imaginable, small and sweet, has been a member of the family.

First it was Leo. For Emily. A rather cute guinea pig bought in Brooklyn. We took the subway there, from Manhattan. It was quite an adventure for a girl raised in the country.

A menagerie followed. I erected a wall at rats and snakes. I never gave in to Emily’s barrage of pleas and tears, which calmed my fears, but never her willingness to ask. The toughest I have ever been.

I once bought a pod of praying mantis to eat the “bad” bugs in the garden. My long days spent in the backyard had paid off. I was fortunate to witness their hatch. Whoever was the first one out, well, he was lucky. The charge afterwards was furious, each climbing over the brother. And sister. I believe I read they eat each other. I didn’t stay for lunch.

By August there were a few mature mantis stationed in the yard. I felt their eyes wherever I walked. It began to feel quite anxious in my other wise peaceful garden.

One summer evening, a mantis had climbed up to Luke’s bedroom window. I asked if he would like to invite him in, give Mr. Mantis a staycation in a bug cage. Luke agreed.

“Mom!” rang out. He was a frenzied mess. He couldn’t sleep. Those eyes. Now he knew how I felt, ever cautious, playing in my garden. Mantis can fly. And eat Hummingbirds. Oh my!

Anna had been struggling. Teenagitis was the worst for her. So it was to be, my husband agreed to another cat. We came back home with two.

Up next, how to choose a pet name.