Jen Michalski, Managing and Founding Editor of JMWW Journal, has published my poem, “Edna Pontellier Needed a Bagpiper.” Edna Pontellier is the protagonist of the novel The Awakening. I don’t think you need to have read the book to understand the poem or Edna’s “fascination” with the water.
If you’re so inclined, comments may be left on the site.
In case you’re wondering, yes, I’ve experienced a bagpiper on the shore, as well as many other wonderful places. I used to think I was a reincarnated Scottish person because of my love of the pipes. But it might have started with ballet classes. My ballet teacher also taught Scottish Highland dancing (which I wanted to take SO BADLY but my mother said no), so I was used to hearing the pipes at the studio and at performances.
Strider Marcus Jones, Editor of Lothlorien Poetry Journal, has published five of my poems. Four are brand new, including one about my high school reunion in August, and one is from my first book Doll God. Two of the new poems are about living in Arizona.
I’m very grateful to Mark Danowsky, Editor of One Art, who has published a poem I wrote when I visited my mother in August. I traveled with my bad knees and my husband to see Mom and attend our high school reunion. We stayed in a guest room in the retirement community where Mom lives. And this is what happened the morning we were leaving. I hope you enjoy this narrative poem. It all happened just like this . . . .
Cristina M. R. Norcross, Founding Editor of Blue Heron Review has published one of my new poems in the new issue of the journal. The theme is Heart Source & Haven. In these dark, anxiety-ridden days, what a wonderful issue to read. My poem is about a magical place I found when I was a kid. It was in the woods across the narrow rural road near Caledonia, Michigan.
A Very Specific Opening in the Woods Near Caledonia
The road lilts through the thick woods on either side. There are no mailboxes to denote location, but that heart-shaped patch of lupines marks the entry if I remember to balance across the moss-covered log and bend down to pass under the sugar maple leaves. Follow the burbling creek down past the grasses nestling the tree trunks and saplings and when I’m lulled into the rhythm of the path, it appears in front of me—an open meadow sparkling with sunlight on the kaleidoscopic array of poppies, Sweet William, and phlox—hummingbirds and butterflies—even dragonflies—rising amidst the motes of pollen and seed, a bluebird’s chest pumping its song, and an alert squirrel scolding. At the top of my basket is the tablecloth—red and white checkered, natch—and I lay out the wine and chocolates, the ginger cake and oranges. Later, I drowse with my head on my doubled sweater. That’s when they arrive in their gossamer tutus and green tights, with their silvery voices. In the haze of my half-opened eyes, I watch them for memory’s sake. I will paint them later, as if they are a dream.
I wrote a tanka with Dia de Los Muertos as the kigo word for #TankaTuesday.
[Topic: First Frost]
Before winter’s here
on Dia de Los Muertos
we remember ones
we have lost to the Reaper
and celebrate life and love.
Although we are not in danger of a frost in Phoenix, the days and nights are cooler than they were. When I wake up in the morning, we are in the low 50s. I’ve been walking in the morning to take advantage of cooler air.
BONUS: to use Trick or Treat. Here is my lune:
Trick or treat, smell my
feet, give me
something good to eat.
(stolen from the childhood jingle)You can’t improve on a classic!
Editor Keith Hoerner has published my 50-word story (called a Dribble, which makes me a Dribbler!) at the illustrious The Dribble Drabble Review. The story is called “Historia de La Iglesia Católica del Sagrado Corazón,” but the story itself is in English.
Editor Robert McEvily has published my six sentence story at, you guessed it, Six Sentences. The story is about animal rescue and called “I Got Sick of Making Excuses for Dog #586 at Paws Perfect No-Kill Shelter.”
I am very excited to see five of my Remedios Varo inspired micro stories published at The Ekphrastic Review! A huge thank you to EIC Lorette C. Luzajic for this and more. Each tiny story is accompanied by the art that inspired it. Some of these, like the one last week in Bending Genres, are about poets. I am pretty proud of all my Varo stories and think they are some of my best work. Whether or not they are to your taste is another matter. They tend toward the sarcastic. I hope you do like them, though!
As I have been pursuing my new passion of microfiction, I have also been having fun with ekphrastic writing, and my favorite artist to work with is the surrealist Remedios Varo. The amazing journal Bending Genres has published a story I wrote based on a Varo painting; it concerns the idea of writing or art muses that are not complacent “nice” creatures. This story also happens to be completely indebted to Sylvia Plath and her poem, “The Disquieting Muses.” My story is called “Disquieting Muses with Pets and Fruit: A Still Life.”
The Varo painting is called “Vegetarian Vampires.” Here is the Plath poem:
The Disquieting Muses
Mother, mother, what illbred aunt Or what disfigured and unsightly Cousin did you so unwisely keep Unasked to my christening, that she Sent these ladies in her stead With heads like darning-eggs to nod And nod and nod at foot and head And at the left side of my crib?
Mother, who made to order stories Of Mixie Blackshort the heroic bear, Mother, whose witches always, always, Got baked into gingerbread, I wonder Whether you saw them, whether you said Words to rid me of those three ladies Nodding by night around my bed, Mouthless, eyeless, with stitched bald head.
In the hurricane, when father’s twelve Study windows bellied in Like bubbles about to break, you fed My brother and me cookies and Ovaltine And helped the two of us to choir: “Thor is angry: boom boom boom! Thor is angry: we don’t care!” But those ladies broke the panes.
When on tiptoe the schoolgirls danced, Blinking flashlights like fireflies And singing the glowworm song, I could Not lift a foot in the twinkle-dress But, heavy-footed, stood aside In the shadow cast by my dismal-headed Godmothers, and you cried and cried: And the shadow stretched, the lights went out.
Mother, you sent me to piano lessons And praised my arabesques and trills Although each teacher found my touch Oddly wooden in spite of scales And the hours of practicing, my ear Tone-deaf and yes, unteachable. I learned, I learned, I learned elsewhere, From muses unhired by you, dear mother,
I woke one day to see you, mother, Floating above me in bluest air On a green balloon bright with a million Flowers and bluebirds that never were Never, never, found anywhere. But the little planet bobbed away Like a soap-bubble as you called: Come here! And I faced my traveling companions.
Day now, night now, at head, side, feet, They stand their vigil in gowns of stone, Faces blank as the day I was born, Their shadows long in the setting sun That never brightens or goes down. And this is the kingdom you bore me to, Mother, mother. But no frown of mine Will betray the company I keep.
This Plath poem is also an ekphrastic poem, inspired by the Giorgio de Chirico painting, also called “The Disquieting Muses.”