Friday, October 30, 2015

Autumnal Sarabande in D Minor

In the months before you died, I began to question, when had you stopped walking in front of me? Perhaps you had stopped to smell some thing, some one new scent. And neither of us noticed that I walked on, oblivious of the watershed. I think it was when our ages shifted places in the relative terms of our years. I was middle aged at 43 and you were old at 13.

I remember the rhythm of our steps through the leaves when you followed me. I abandoned the rush of youth in that strolling, gregarious dark of Fall.

In the tempo, and chromatic scale of yellow to orange, red and brown that October owns, you taught me that each leaf was a note, and unique in scent and tone: because of where it was and when it was.

You taught me that even in the most iterative of days, each smelled different, was different, just as the nights deepened and stretched the call for comfort upon the doorstep of November.

And then you were gone. Perhaps just over there where I could not see you. You always liked to slip away. But the old pathways aren't the same, because you are with me on them all. Now, I know why the minor key of Autumn's cello makes me cry.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

The World Just Over There


At night is when I bathe: when the mosquitos evade the hungry dead and their humid desire. The heat of August leaves spider webs and broken wheels in my head. I am thirsty, sweaty and the moon seems too vast and cool—so out of reach like everything.

But the Waterman stands there before me.

Upon an open hand of beveled in turquoise, scaled in sapphire, I see nothing and therefore see trackless seas, forgotten and recreated steps, callouses of rock. I understand the shadowy insights in cities aloofly populated by luxurious cats. The thoughts of mountains fold in upon lovers, and in the spring, the rains come to soak gardens full of old monuments that I have let crumble in the mutability of inconsequence.

I consider his offer.

I am no longer some morose entablature of skinny limbs and tattoos that cannot fly. In Elsewhere, the World Just Over There, these themes will progress throughout my body: blood, thick stars, and my secret name that graces a ship wrecked on the shore.

Will I find debasement in love? Revelation in the crimson torture of sunsets? Counterpoint in the tender sorrows of the earth? Perhaps.

There will be work, but promise me that I shall remember it all in the moment when I die, either here or there. Is that victory? Allow me the language of the darkness: the words that best embrace a heart made out of time.

This posting brought to you by the Hugo House 30/30 Challenge! Please drop some change in the Hugo House donation jar at First Giving.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

The Perfect 30 Minutes

If you are a writer and new to Seattle, you may have been introduced to Richard Hugo House through a Google search, or perhaps even the old-fashioned way: someone told you about it. Perhaps you are even writing in the 30/30 Writing Challenge.

(To catch up those who just joined us, the 30/30 Challenge is where over 100 writers pledge to write for 30 minutes or more for 30 days. All to support Richard Hugo House.)

If you haven't taken a writing trip on board the Washington State ferries, you may be missing the best 30 minute sessions of this whole fund drive. The above image is on board the MV Puyallup on the Bainbridge to Seattle crossing. See all of those empty seats tables? Most of them have power outlets.

See the distractions? Yes, there aren't very many. There is a jigsaw puzzle waiting for someone else, but use it for a Carveresque prompt. Think of the desperate couples who sat at it, doing the corners, missing the center and enduring the metaphorical desperation. Just don't be tempted to procrastinate by sitting down and doing it yourself!

Oh yes, they make you pay for WiFi, so you can kiss the Facebook goodbye once you leave the Winslow dock. There is only the hum of the engines, and the lights passing outside.

Plus, you actually get two thirty minute sessions if you are going back and forth. Or the forth and back as I like to say because I am quite fond of the ferries. Some of the runs are longer, such as the more infrequent, but prettier Bremerton Seattle run, or luxuriously introspective and inspiring like the trip from Friday Harbor to Anacortes.

I would go alone and avoid the commuter runs during the morning and afternoon. For $8.10* as a walk-on, you can get two 30 minute sessions of writing in one of the most conducive writing environments I know.

In the meantime, I will take this opportunity to ask for you to please drop some change in my Hugo House donation jar at First Giving. And welcome aboard!

*as of writing, of course...

Thursday, October 1, 2015

30-30 2015-Redux

30-30 Writing Challenge

I have returned to the fray of 30/30. I am here struggling to get down the beginning of the chapter and there are so many words.

This is, the chief problem of much writing you know. Too many words. Writing feels a little worse than sculpture at times because while a sculptor may cut away all that is not part of the finished piece, a writer is usually responsible for making the initial block too damned big.

At any rate, today I am starting on an adventure in writing. Last year, Hugo House began a campaign called 30/30. A the time I was under the impression it involved a Winchester rifle, but my illustrator and dogsbody, David Mecklenburg, assured me that it was "an initiative to write for 30 minutes every day for 30 days."

After I told him he was a hopeless, bureaucratic buffoon for actually using a word like "initiative" in real life, I agreed to the concept because as he will gladly tell you, it's very difficult for me to shut up. Whether it is peanut M&M's, Imogen Heap's music, Anne Carson's poetry or that old rascal Plato, I have many varied opinions on things and adventures so numerous David is still struggling to catalogue just the first quarter of them.

This year is no different Richard Hugo House is once again in need of your support.

Well, there is one difference: I am not feeling the need to discuss writing as I did in the posts last year. I often suspect that writing about writing, while a form of commiseration is also one of the most patently boring subjects non-writers endure. Instead, one should write about dragons, handsome men, international intrigue, crimes of passion and greed, riches, or at least the hardscrabble life in _____(dreary heartland of your choice, but you might as well make it a flat arid place).

Pondering how I put words on the page and making you endure it is a form of sadism that allows no spice for the masochist.

Rather, I will simply write and see what happens.

By donating you will help out the premier literary organization in the Northwest, which— considering you can't throw a poet without hitting a writer here—is obviously a "resource center" (to use David's banal term for it) in high demand.

And as I like to point out, quantifying the value of art is like counting the blue in the sky. I suppose you could it, but why?

Instead, you should head over my First Giving Page and donate.

(And this counts for my first 30 minutes!)