NaBloPoMo saves the…blog?!

I’ll admit it, I haven’t been all that interested in blogging lately.  I’ve had other pursuits occupying my mind.  I’ve been reading a lot more, my job has certainly kept me busy, IvyCat is on the brink of walking and talking, and the blog has sort of taken a back seat to all of that.  It’s not that I don’t love you, honestly, it’s not.  It’s just that I needed a break.  Still, I feel guilty because I know you’re there.  I know you’re waiting for me to love you back, to fill you with details and emotions.  Unfortunately, I just don’t really have them at the moment.  So, I’ve turned to professionals for help.  The good people at NaBloPoMo are providing writing prompts to assist those of us who have lost the desire to blog, or maybe just those who’ve run out of good ideas.  I’d like to think of myself as the latter.

Today’s prompt is “What is your favorite poem? (And if you don’t have one, why?)”  I do have a favorite poem, I just didn’t realize it was a favorite poem until my wife read it to me the other day.  It’s called “Babyblues” by Barbara Kingsolver.  You don’t ordinarily Aside: or at least, I don’t think of Kingsolver as a poet.  Novelist; sure, but not really poet.  Maybe I’m missing out.   Anyway, this is the poem…retyped without permission, but I would hope that Ms. Kingsolver would excuse a fellow Kentuckian.  If not, I’ll delete the poem.  However, in the hopes that she’ll be okay with it, buy the book Another America at your favorite local bookstore.

for Lily on the verge

Look at me my
dark scarlet heart disguised in pink
I am Look! At! Me!
Oh I'm the pure blue force of Want
howling through thin walls
like a prairie wind.
I am so large and empty.
Why do the cheerios stick to the backs of my hands?
When I push the bear through the bars,
why is it gone?  I want that bear.
I want
Oh listen, the jingleshudder of ears getting up
the dog!  Oh comecomecomecomecomecomecomecome
I want that dog.
Oh keep your pastel colors.
Boredom is a purple need.  Hunger is vermilion.
I want my dark blue heaven milk mothermother
but the minute I fall into darkness she puts me down.
They do, they put you down.  The big ones
only want one thing: to leave you alone.
You have to stay awake, see.
The big ones are my shepherd and I shall want
with the pure blue force
of a howling wind I want
the dog the bear the milk I want
every cheerio that fell on the floor I want
the brightest colors
all pressed hard against my gums
I want
the world
and it will not fit
in my mouth. 

In other news, I’m back to running.  Just a mile a day, but it’s a start.  I’ve conquered the allergy/illness with the help of Dr. Compton and a cornucopia of pharmaceuticals and I felt well enough to begin training again.  Training for what?  Nothing at the moment, but you never know what sort of event will entice me.  Also, I learned today that I was accepted into the master’s program for applied geography, provisionally.  Why provisionally?!  Well, because I was a fuckup in undergrad and I didn’t have the grade point average to get in of my own merit.  So, now, I just have to show them how smartass I can be.  Looking forward to starting in the fall.  I believe that’s all the news that’s fit to print.  Don’t look for a new something every day, but I hope June will be a better blog posting month.

See you in the funny papers!

Memorial Day

I’ll never be accused of being the most patriotic of citizens, but I do have a sentimental streak that’s wider than the nearest river.  I tend to wax ooey-gooey over the slightest of events anymore…wedding toasts, home makeover shows, song lyrics, etc.  Memorial Day for me is just the right mix of patriotism and nostalgia.  We take the time to remember those who have fought, ostensibly, for our freedom.   And, then we go and have beer and bratwurst to honor their memory.  My sister A. and I, until recently, had a fairly significant role in a local memorial service.  It was a very low budget affair put on by an American Legion post at a local cemetery.  It started back in 1995 when a church friend, himself a veteran of WWII, asked us to sing at this service.  And, for 13 years, we marched out among rarely visited graves to belt out the National Anthem and a couple of other hastily chosen hymns that hinted at patriotic fare.  I’ll admit that we disliked it.  It broke up our day off and there was very little recognition in it.  Still, it was a good deed for a friend and how do you say no to someone whose war wounds leave him crippled when your only good excuse is that you’d rather stay in bed?

None of this is to say, however, that I don’t believe fervently that every man and woman killed in combat, be they military or civilian, doesn’t deserve to be recognized, lauded, and memorialized for their efforts.  These individuals made a terrible sacrifice for a common cause, in most cases, and it’s the very least that I can do to show some amount of appreciation.  To that end, I’d like to close this post with part of a poem by Walt Whitman that bears a little witness to what I can do to honor those who’ve gone before on this Memorial Day.

Vigil Strange I Kept on the Field One Night

Vigil strange, I kept on the field one night;

When you my son and my comrade dropt at my side that day.

Long there and then in vigil I stood, dimly around me the battle-field spreading,

Vigil wondrous and vigil sweet there in the fragrant silent night,

But not a tear fell, not even a long-drawn sigh, long, long I gazed,

Then on the earth partially reclining sat by your side leaning my chin in my hands,

Passing sweet hours, immortal and mystic hours with you dearest comrade — not a tear, not a word,

Vigil of silence, love and death, vigil for you my son and my soldier,

As onward silently stars aloft, eastward new ones upward stole,

I rose from the chill ground and folded my soldier well in his blanket,

And buried him where he fell.


Beneath the night fire

I feel your lips whisper

They speak of a life; a love

undying and molten

beneath your breast.

A sharpened edge of silver liquid

burns deep in my throat

as I drink in your essence.

The scent of your being

brands desire on my heart.

We sit silently beneath the dark swaying trees,

the birds cooing softly their song for our love.

Our skin melts against one another,

as we breathe the night.

And the evening closes around us,

keeping us safe within its grasp.

© 2009

Seriously, sometimes the tequila really makes you ponder life’s deeper emotions.  And, often, there is nothing like poetry to examine and extrude that deep feeling which cannot be expressed.  I suppose that a drunken poem seems less than a poem written without outside influence, but it is no less meaningful or filled with desire.  Find that person which is your true love, your most desired, and bestow upon them that which no one can take from you.

See you in the funny papers!

A Psalm of Life by H.W. Longfellow

Tell me not, in mournful numbers,
Life is but an empty dream!
For the soul is dead that slumbers,
And things are not what they seem.

Life is real! Life is earnest!
And the grave is not its goal;
Dust thou art, to dust returnest,
Was not spoken of the soul.

Not enjoyment, and not sorrow,
Is our destined end or way;
But to act, that each to-morrow
Find us farther than to-day.

Art is long, and Time is fleeting,
And our hearts, though stout and brave,
Still, like muffled drums, are beating
Funeral marches to the grave.

In the world’s broad field of battle,
In the bivouac of Life,
Be not like dumb, driven cattle!
Be a hero in the strife!

Trust no Future, howe’er pleasant!
Let the dead Past bury its dead!
Act,–act in the living Present!
Heart within, and God o’erhead!

Lives of great men all remind us
We can make our lives sublime,
And, departing, leave behind us
Footprints on the sands of time;–

Footprints, that perhaps another,
Sailing o’er life’s solemn main,
A forlorn and shipwrecked brother,
Seeing, shall take heart again.

Let us, then, be up and doing,
With a heart for any fate;
Still achieving, still pursuing,
Learn to labor and to wait.