Will Out

We all like what we like. Even when we’re not aware of our predisposition.

From Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice, 1596 (Act 2, Scene 2, Page 3):

LAUNCELOT:

Nay, indeed, if you had your eyes, you might fail of
the knowing me: it is a wise father that knows his
own child. Well, old man, I will tell you news of
your son: give me your blessing: truth will come
to light; murder cannot be hid long; a man’s son
may, but at the length truth will out.

Unveiling


is this the night
after all those words

cyphers into flesh
blood does confess

the I written
becomes
the I seen



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Road Trip

When I was a kid, I loved old movies. Abbott and Costello. Martin and Lewis. Hope and Crosby. Mishaps and wrong turns. Laughter and travel. Or maybe it was the whole buddy thing. Bonding over a shared experience. Whatever it was, I always felt like I had escaped something from own life and had a glimpse of something to which I wanted to return.

 

Road Trip

 

It wasn’t exactly Martin and Lewis but it felt close.
First leg of our cross country jaunt and almost over.
He secured the final hitch, warning over his shoulder
Remember, you can’t back this baby up. Always
pull through. He patted the Uhaul’s side, handed
the keys to you. We huddled over the map, paper
those days and turn-by-turn, and plotted our start.
Tired from steering the freighter-weight truck, you
aimed for the closet space, forgetting the car
hitched behind until almost too late.

That night we both shivered at the near miss.
I became captain of our ship because my yelp
Don’t! made the near miss a reality. From there
we drove almost without mishap, telling each other
stories of other almost-was and never-had beens,
thank God. We saw this country from marsh to flat,
open lands to crops to open again. At times only we
held the road, sign after sign touting giant rodents
and other unnatural wonders. I hadn’t signed on
for such things but was glad I’d shared them with you.

Dream Sharing

Another poem from the Poets & Writers writing prompt that follows:

Reach out to some friends and ask them to share their most vivid dreams with you. Then try turning that material into a poem: include both the surreal and the concrete.

Dream Sharing

He never dreams says he
just lays there      the breathing dead
night after night

beside him    I become
what I cannot awoke    
another self     

in daylight    yes he hears
my dream turns as drake
as wraith or plant

he recalls my gasps
as one drowning
reaching for the lost

midwife and caretaker
he draws me from the grip
of night     my first sight

I would believe him
his dreamlessness
if I’d not watched slumber

take him       his eyes
dream-restless behind lids
body waking itself free

Oddities

Oddities fascinate me. Ripley’s Believe or Not. News of the Weird. I looked forward to reading them. More times than not, I found them in my favorite part of the newspaper — the comics.

Oddities

Families divvied up the Sunday paper like an evening’s roast chicken.

The eldest claimed the front section. Sighs, an occasional mumble
wafted down the hall from the TV room. A cousin followed the too-loud
wail of a cop show, bearing a tray piled high with a breast, green beans.

The back barely held any meat but mama swore it was her favorite.
Refused to take another piece to keep up her strength. I only need
my chicken back and Dear Abby. Don’t fuss now.

Comics, the last portion, were always snatched first. An auntie’s favorite
grandchild grabbed the jumble of color bright on gray-white. One
greasy hand tore into newsprint, the other held a gnawed drumstick.

The adults fought over buttermilk-soaked livers and gizzards fried up
special by the youngest daughter. The quiet one waited through dinner
for a beloved chicken wing and the smeared remnants of Charlie Brown.

None of the children wanted the thighs. They refused them with a little huff.
Tasted of blood was the consensus. Like the financial pages with its odd
lines of numbers, they and the chicken neck were the last to go.

Logophile

I’m in the final stretch of this poem a day madness. I’m resorting to another prompt from Writer’s Digest PAD Challenge. Here it is:

Pick an intriguing and/or seldom-used word, make it the title of your poem, and then, write your poem. If you have a limited vocabulary, try out brabble, dandle, feracious, impavid, lippitude, or vulgus. Or pick up a dictionary or thesaurus.

Antidisestablishmentarianism is a word from my childhood.


Antidisestablishmentarianism


It’s a numbers game now.
Forty years. Twenty-eight letters.
I was ten. Now I am fifty-two.

Yet I call it up effortlessly. Letters
rolling across my tongue, I can spell
this logos megalo in a trance.

I cannot recall his name, an old white man
from church. For a time too brief for clear
memory, he came to our house, taught me

math, English, and spelling beyond my grade.
I cannot fathom now my mother, fierce protector,
inviting this man into our home to sit

by my side for hours. His warm formal voice
I can almost hear, asking questions, coaching
me to ferret out my own answers. There was music

maybe and other words, meanings of words,
and numbers strung along the page. But it is all
that comes easily to mind,
                                     slips easily from my mouth.

Elegy

I hadn’t a clue what to say, what to write about. I tried looking at writing prompts at the NaPoWriMo website and at Writer’s Digest. Both prompts — an elegy and a roundelay, respectively — seemed unnecessarily difficult considering there are only six more days before April and NaPoWriMo end.

But as poetry is wont to do, it came.  And in an elegy, no less.


Elegy


6 Then flew one of the seraphims unto me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar: 7 And he laid it upon my mouth, and said, Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged. 8 Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me.  – Isaiah 6:6-8 (KJV)

 

my mother visited my office today            I almost didn’t
recognize her but she’d have forgiven me, I know

unexpected       she came dressed as a family friend
their faces so entwined I almost didn’t see her there

the eyes were not the same ones I see in dreams
different: voice, brown skin, flesh pressed tight in embrace

we sat down and I laid my cut bare in the telling
how it came to be, nestled just under my collarbone,
left of my sternum, a blight blessing visible to all

how my heart stopped and started, stopped, stopped
and started, started again according to its own algorithm

words burning my mouth for freedom with no room
no air left for the other story sitting opposite

I’m sorry, sorry                I wanted to say         manners demand
a place and audience for the guest sharing the stage

all of it: one ending and the beginnings’ of other ends 
wrapped in shaded laughter was heard, understood

a deeper moment of gravity tied up the conversation
and I saw her, my mother       she spoke to me
in the voice not her own

                                             You made the right decision.

World-building

According to Junot Diaz (and ok, a lot of other writers), world-building is important in all fiction writing. Actually, I’d expand that thought to all writing–and life.

Writers or not, we all are world builders. We choose between the couscous or the rice pilaf. We choose friends and lifemates. With every decision, we make our world.

Juan Felipe Herrera unveiled his project, la familia (the family), for his stint as our new U.S. Poet Laureate. La familia (the family) is a collaborative project open to all Americans to help in telling America’s (our) story.

World-building, if you will, and giving us all a part in it.

I’m excited about having a chance to be part of such a big thing. I want to dive in and add my voice to project…BUT I’m also afraid. Afraid my voice is too insignificant, my writing too juvenile. That I’m too…silly, somehow.

So I’ve decided to start on a small scale and locally (or as local as the internet and social media allows) to begin, InCollaboration, my own collaborative poem project with you. I invite you — poet and non-poet — to help me fashion a series of poems.

Together we’ll build a world.

 

I Often Feel Silly

It grabs on the point of waking
a previous night’s remark
or the moment of my birth.

In the middle of joyful dance
I become ankles, elbows,
geometric angles.

After the echo of our lovemaking,
I cringe. There is no place, no
time, it is not. Even here–

my voice, now,
speaking to you.