With Apologies to Poets Great – A Poem

A while ago I created prompts for my writing group using lines from famous poems. Just a line here or there to just get you going. Well, this last Saturday, feeling uninspired, I pulled out almost all of those prompts and came up with this little number of a poem that, well, I give apologies to the greats. I took your words and mashed them up into a, well, mashup. It was fun, it got a laugh and it flowed, surprisingly enough. All without adding in much more than just a few little articles and where’s and when’s and I’s. Enjoy.

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It happened on a whim of an Autumn evening and in the morn,
when shadows, and the sun falls in little sprays to be picked by anyone
when the golden mists are born
that I traveled to Ithaca last night
and I will be in Syracuse at noon;
But it was in Cedar Rapids tonight that
I found myself, walking in Dragon street one
fine August night, and I just happened to meet
a man whose eyes where midnight shames the sun
Hair of night and sunshine spun
And he had a mermaid on his arm
an anchor on his breast
He had the looks of a man that books take ages to tell
And he told me how he fell far through
that pit abysmal, a nameless one
Indolently dreaming, puzzling till there
came a great voice to the sound of thunder
like the ancient gods
“O Lord he will hang upon him like a disease
as she doth teach the torches to burn bright
Let there be wings and yellow dust and the
drone of dreams and honey…”
And when he woke, the stars were the only
ships of pleasure at night when reddest flowers
are black, a slash of blue, a sweep of gray
Some scarlet patches on the way
And he asked me if when I go up through
the mowing field, smooth land like thatch
with heavy dew, if there is a garden,
grey with mists of autumntide where
ornamental clouds compose an evening song
And I said here lies a poet who would not write
To which he asked,’Have you forgotten
how one Summer night we wandered
forth together with the moon to
a land where the morning mist is curled
and I pondered on the complacencies of
you in your peignoir, and late coffee and
oranges in a sunny chair
And you told me the Frogs got home last week
As we sipped and ate toast and marmalade
for tea contemplating ships upon the sea…

My apologies to the poets and songs in order within the poem: P.B. Shelley, M Strobel, Philip Booth, e.e. cummings, A.C. Swinburne, Langston Hughes,  Mika, e.e. cummings, J.C. Mangan, C. Reznikoff, Shakespeare, Carl Sandburg, Elizabeth Bishop, Thomas Hardy, Emily Dickinson, Robert Frost, Walter de la Mare, Rilke, Stevie Smith, Christina Rossetti, Robert Penn Warren, Wallace Stevens, Emily Dickinson, and the song Toast and Marmalade(a classic song)

I have pulled out my poetry anthology from Poetry magazine, years 1912-2002, marking lines that I have plans to type up, on the Royal, to add to the prompts. It’s rather fun to dabble in poetry this way. Totally nonsense, but fun. I have one other member in the writing group that has taken my prompts, not just poetry ones, and created some beautiful words. Short vignettes or poems. She’s brilliant.

Kate

Let Me Occupy Your Mind As You Do Mine – Flash Fiction

A darker version of a similar idea for Bookends bookstore.

A darker version of a similar idea for Bookends bookstore.

Rafe Simon sat at the small table that separated Bookends from The French Press coffee shop. It was both the most unpopular table, from eight in the morning till two in the afternoon, or the most sought after table, from two-thirty to five.  It became a very popular table mid afternoon when high school girls would fight over the coveted table just to have the chance to watch Jeff, Mia’s Elvis Costello wannabe assistant, working in the bookstore. Personally, while Rafe enjoyed chatting with Jeff, he couldn’t quite understand the girls’ fascination. Especially the floppy hair, skinny jeans, and thick, black, plastic-framed glasses.

Currently, though, Rafe’s view of the shop was quite improved as he observed Mia unloading a shipment of books at the front desk. The Devil’s Food cake slice added to the sweetness of his view, the cake moist, and for once, more chocolatey than most. The lyrics to the song playing in the shop didn’t hurt either. Gotye was eerily singing “Let me occupy your mind, as you do mine….”

Mia glanced up and at Rafe just at that moment, a frown between her brows before it lifted and she smiled. Rafe jerked his head in a hello and he watched her duck her head still grinning. Mission accomplished. Now he was in her mind.

About bloody time, he thought to himself. The woman hadn’t left his thoughts since meeting her two weeks ago. She had taken up residence and while he was loath to kick her out, she did make life rather distracting when it was as if she was twirling her finger in the hair near his ear while he went about his days on holiday. Bloody woman had to be his mate’s girl as well.

Rafe sipped his coffee and watched as Jeff came to take the stacks of paperback books Mia was setting out on the counter. She stopped and grabbed on, flipping it open excitedly.

“O Lord! He will hang upon him like a disease!” she exclaimed, dramatically leaning against Jeff, her forearm pressed to hear forehead.

Rafe chuckled, both at her and at Jeff who had rolled his eyes heavenward and shook his head in mock surrender. “Bravo, Beatrice,” he called, clapping his hands.

Mia blushed and stood upright. “The books for the high school’s play have come in,” she explained. “I love Much Ado About Nothing.”

“Classic play,” Rafe agreed.

“Best play I’ve seen in Ashland,” Mia sighed. She scooped up another stack of books and swirled off, leaving her to occupy Rafe’s mind even more as he pictured taking in a play with her.

the-bookends-love-triangleI started ‘Bookends’ (working title at this point) over ten years ago and I have only recently started thinking of working with it. It’s a love triangle romance with my characters inspired by Colin O’Donoghue, Martin Freeman, and a lovely model from the Garnet Hill catalog.  Like my earlier post about Regina and Luke, this is another Hallmark style story. Granted, in all my original drafts, unlike a Hallmark film, sex is involved. Love scenes are so much fun to write. But as I continue on, I find that sometimes you probably don’t need that. You can add it if it fits the storyline, but it’s not necessary. Unless one is writing a Harlequin Blaze….. I have contemplated that as well.

But at this point, all my stories are a Hallmark style story, and like the film, Love Actually, everyone in every story is connected at some point. Be it best friends each have their love story, or other stories are just connected somehow. One day, ONE DAY, I might have them all written. Sigh. Right now, I play out my characters in my head more than writing them.

Revamping Poetry

cxyhfbkc0vs-calum-macaulayI was a little undecided about entering into the Writer’s Digest Chapbook Challenge from all of November’s poetry. I just didn’t feel like anything gelled and I was at a loss for how I could put the poetry together into a collection.  Well, then I finally started looking at some of the work and reworking it for readability and I came to the decision, almost a month after November, that I am going to enter. I have been busily typing up the poetry and making it look pretty. That is where the challenge has been.

People always say that reworking a story is hard. And while that may be true, reworking poetry is really hard, trimming the fat and getting rid of excess words. Trying to make it flow and sound nice. You have only so much you can work with without it being prose or heck, a story itself. Not to mention that sometimes what you started with is not that great. I sat there with several of the prompts from November bothering me and not really liking the thrown out poetry that hit the page. I sort of just threw out crap, in a lot of instances. Some was good, some had potential, but most was just fiddle farting around with words. Some, well some are so good that I want to actually submit them to something else. I just haven’t gotten around to doing that.

I have been rushing around trying to write new poetry, fix old, and compile it into a chapbook file. It’s been fun and exhausting. I found a theme; a lot of my poetry centered around my mind and a guy I was interested in this summer. Seeing his life go to shambles as he tries to pick himself up, while still being semi interested in a weird sort of way. There are a lot of things he does that drive me nuts, but oh, I would love a good long kiss from him.  Such is life.

The poetry will be compiled into a chapbook titled She and Him: Poems of Them. Yes, the pronouns are not correct, but that’s part of the play on words and the fact that there is discord throughout the poetry collection. I also sort of stole it from the band She and Him with Zooey Deschanel.  Sorry Zooey, but it’s a great title.  There are sadness and melancholy in the poetry. There is sweetness as well. It’s supposed to be an up and down kind of thing that plays on your heart and mind.  I’m excited about submitting the chapbook. I would like more than ten to twelve poems, but I’m starting to run on empty and I only have until the 15th to get it to Robert Brewer at Writer’s Digest.

I’d love to know if others decided to enter the Chapbook Challenge.  Did you find November inspiring? I felt it was a mental cleanout. A wash for my brain. Needless to say, I have felt a little drained. Okay, a lot of drained and I’m still draining my reserves rewriting poetry. It is good and I will be glad to get it over with.

But I conclude; revamping poetry is gosh darn hard at times.

Kate