since i’m in it pretty bad right now, here are a few highlights:
after the slaughter there was no
motion. we stayed
clothed in bed for a very long
time. you greased
my eyelids for comfort
and blindness, you told me
you dreamed for three nights:
fictional lavender in washington
state; i’d dreamt of the heir
to a throne
i gifted you glasses for wine,
still held by their cellophane skin
while my son was unborn i called
him ‘alexi’, a namesake
the fields don’t exist in that
state, i had said, too smothered by
forest, by rock
every year, like a
cactus, you remind
me of what it is
to abandon something
i’ve been nominated by my good friend justin million to take part in this blog tour series about my writing process. i was nominated along with two talented ottawa poets, marilyn irwin & jeff blackman, whose blogs you should definitely go read right now (not just for their writing tour posts, and not just because they’re my friends!).
1. What am I working on?
currently i’m forcing myself through napowrimo, so i’ve been writing and posting a poem once a day on this blog, every day, for the month of april. i wouldn’t say they’re great poems (or even good ones) (yet), but i really needed something to encourage me to start writing again. even if it’s just a line or two i can turn into something else later.
2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?
not really sure how to answer this question. like marilyn said, which genre? i think my poetry differs from other poetry because it’s my poetry and not someone else’s, and that’s pretty much it.
3. Why do I write what I do?
when i was a lot younger i wrote just to get thoughts on paper. in high school the only real poems i wrote were for english assignments. i didn’t take poetry writing seriously until i was around 20.
now it’s about remembering. and documenting. i have a terrible memory (like, really, i mean i can’t remember even simple things i have been taught over and over again), but i want to remember everything. that’s not to say that all of my poems are written about a personal experience, because most of them aren’t actually “about” my own life at all. but i always include something, even just a single line or word, that connects me to a particular moment. a smell, a sight, the way a man’s neck looked sunburned above his T-shirt in 2010.
i have this need to connect these insignificant moments to something else, something more important, to remember why they were so meaningful to me at the time. i would feel guilty forgetting and i would feel guilty obsessing, so i turn them into something else entirely and i know i won’t forget them.
4. How does your writing process work?
slowly, mostly, line by line. i like a line, i add to it later, i take something away, i re-write the added lines, i remove the original line altogether, i throw in words that don’t fit, i make them fit, i take my time. i’m still going back and changing poems i wrote five years ago.
i never commit myself to anything. i’ve taken lines from old poems and put them into short fiction. i’ve broken longer pieces of prose into multiple short poems. and i read, read, re-read, edit, change, edit. then i force myself to stop and it goes on the blog.
but that process can take years. it’s rare that i’m comfortable with a poem within the first six months of its existence, although that happens too.
that process has been abandoned for napowrimo, obviously. i write a line and then i write another line. i go back and re-write, but too quickly; i throw in words that don’t fit and then neglect to make them fit. it’s still just a process.
thanks for reading my blog tour.! i was supposed to nominate some people to continue the blog tour next week, and i tried, really. but the people i asked had either already been asked, or they didn’t want to share their blogs, or i didn’t ask for a bio in time and i have no idea if they are actually planning to participate at all (chris…).
also, please visit rachael simpson’s blog. she originally nominated me for this blog tour and i don’t think i even responded to her because i was so busy and it seemed so complicated. it wasn’t until justin suggested it that i took the time to figure it out.
my best childhood friend died on christmas day. he was a boy, but he was my best friend. my family went to the visitation back home, but i couldn’t be there. i loved him deeply, very strangely, and first. sometimes i even thought that when we grew up, when we were older, in high school maybe, we’d date. i remember a time when he was the most important person in my world. by high school we’d drifted apart of course, and barely spoke.
still. his death has broken me in a way i can’t describe to my family, or friends, or boyfriend, or anyone. only he would know the things we shared as kids that we promised would stay important forever. the things that didn’t.
i miss his existence.
that’s really the most i can say.
well it finally happened
and i live alone.
it took me a year but it happened. just me, and gunther of course. and king julien & mort, who survived yet another move and who have been noticeably upset with me ever since. i’m giving them some time to cool off.
i keep hearing that things will get better, that i’ll have a fresh start. i’ve heard it so many times and fallen for the promise so many times that i have nearly abandoned all hope. i’ve never really been much of a “hopeful” girl anyway, but i am easily tricked. friends tricked me, boys tricked me. and my own blind faith in myself and in others tricked me, too.
so here i am.
alone, where i should have been a year ago. what i wanted so badly last february. but i didn’t really want it, not yet, not then. because i tried for something else when i should not have. and that’s that. i chose to do it, somewhere. somehow i made decisions.
so whatever. it’s not like i actually give a fuck, obviously, about anything, or about tricks or those boys or those friends or a hat or etymology or deconstruction or getting thrown under the bus. because to care now i’d have to have cared then. and they’d be kidding themselves if they even briefly thought i did. which they know as well as i do.
to giving up. but not quite there. i have no hope, maybe, but it isn’t hope i need. it all works out, it’s all good, whatever. hakuna matata, life goes on. i’m all right. i’m always all right. not that anyone asked.
they cared for me about as much
as i cared for them.
there is a spoon in my house that isn’t really a spoon at all. it isn’t mine; it was just here when i moved in & probably belongs to my roommate.
anyway the spoon is mostly flat. it still functions and everything. i don’t use spoons very often but it will hold my cheerios or my coffee if it has to. it’s slightly awkward but at least it functions. it just isn’t really a spoon.
and it’s christmas now, and it isn’t like last christmas. last year i had an apartment with a boyfriend and a christmas tree and coloured lights in the windows. everyone’s gifts were wrapped weeks ahead of time. we made hot chocolate and bought candy canes and put cards in the christmas tree. i made new friends and plans to spend my holiday with them. i ended up getting sick and spending three days alone on the couch with no one to help me feel better. it was a sign, of course.
this year i bought half my gifts at gas stations on my way back to hamilton. i didn’t take any time off. everything is simple. i don’t have any loyalties or promises or responsibilities. i have my neighbour feeding my fish, who are my best friends now. i don’t have any reminders of any of the people who have come and vanished from my life between last christmas and this one. except a slinky on my shelf, because it’s cool. i miss them all the time and try to convince myself at least once a day that i don’t because i can’t, i can’t miss anything because it is giving a part of myself away, because i have tough skin, because that layer of skin is strong but thin. and of course i don’t care. i just eat cheerios and drink beer and wear comfort sweaters and pretend.
so this christmas is christmas, again. and it’s all scattered and fucked up and different, but it’s the way it should be. last year i was too prepared. trying too hard for something i didn’t really want. and so i got sick. and another year over and a new one just begun. and my heart and my head are still exactly where they were last year. and i don’t mind and won’t apologize (to myself).
and it’s like a flat spoon in the drawer.
it shouldn’t work but it does.
merry christmas friends.