Metros and Oceans

Photo by Elia Pellegrini on Unsplash

Dona always says she likes to listen to poetry, not read it so much. Most of the time I disagree because I read way more poetry than listen to it. I get my doses from Poetry Off The Shelf and a few other places where I hear poems, but for the most part, I consume it, eating it up mouthfuls at a time from the page. I eat it up like I do cold cereal, a little sloppy at times, sometimes way too big of a spoonful, and there will be a drip of milk somewhere.

But every once in a while I come across a poem that I hear read and it hits you and stays with you for days, or years. Currently I have one poem that has been with me for at least two years. On the Metro, by C.K. Williams. I heard it on Poetry Off The Shelf, of course, and it was read in such a way that I listened to it. Over, and over, and over. I never take it off my mp3 player, and I can honestly say that next to Billy Collins’ Tuesday, June 4, 1991 and Ada Limon’s How To Triumph Like A Girl, it is at the top of my list of favorite poems that I just cannot live without. Though honestly, I can hear the readers voice dripping out of the speakers and it just might far be the best poem I’ve ever heard read.

I love how the words just pull you in and you picture exactly what is happening and it’s all so real. Not a lot of poems do that for me, though many of Ada Limon’s do. I want to feel like I am a fly on the wall.

Well, today was another day where I heard a poem that was just so astoundingly perfect. Another episode of Poetry Off The Shelf and just an amazing poem by Jack Spicer. “Any fool can get into an ocean . . .”. Just the title alone drags you right in. But you must hear it read right. Both links, if you click on them, should take you right to the reading of the poem. You can search the Jack Spicer poem on The Poetry Foundation website, but I prefer the reading on the Poetry off the Shelf version.

Any poem that involves a goddess kind of drags me in. Blame it on all the Greek myths. Anyways, I’m totally understanding why Dona says she wants poetry read out loud. I’ve fallen in love with a few more poems lately since I started listening to a Poetry Unbound podcast and even going over already listened to episodes of Poetry off the Shelf.

I urge you to take a gander at these two poems. And let me know what you think. I’d also love to know of any poems that you need to hear outloud. Share them with me. Youtube has some great poems to listen to as well.

Kate

A Touch of Ruin – Book Review

So, I reviewed the first of a trilogy (?) of a Hades and Persephone retelling, A Touch of Darkness. Just this last week, the sequel dropped and I had it read in a few days. I thought I would take the time to review both of the books to support the author, Scarlett St. Clair. I think newer writers can use all the help we loyal supporters can give them.

A Touch of Ruin by Scarlett St. Clair takes place a few months after A Touch of Darkness. Persephone and Hades are officially public, though all still think Persephone is a mortal. Except for her best friend, Lexa who knows the truth ( who gets a whole story within this book as well).  Persephone is still dealing with the pressure of her mother’s displeasure of being with Hades, her boss is requiring an exclusive story on her and Hades relationship, and now she just found out, her friend Sybil, an oracle of Apollo’s, has lost all her power since she won’t sleep with Apollo. Justice warrior Persephone to the rescue!

Everything is going wrong. Hades past is catching up to him, and Persephone is still dealing with her feelings on trust and love. Her powers are manifesting in ways she can’t control, and all the general stress of life and being in the public has gotten to Persephone in ways that are not helping matters.

Basically, everything is going wrong. By the way, this is classic sequel territory. You have the set up in the first book, the fall down in the second, and redemption comes in the third book. You start to see some redemption by the last quarter of A Touch of Ruin. But this is long after you’ve wanted to shake the dickens out of Persephone. How could she be so stupid? Answer? Because we all do stupid things when we are insecure, unsure, and afraid. (Perse, I’ve been there). But redemption is sweet. While Hades isn’t the best communicator of all times, : insert dark and brooding types never are : he desperately loves Persephone and he really is trying. There are even current social issues of death. I won’t say more as it will spoil.

This book still left me with certain questions, like how in the first one, Hades uses his powers of invisibility to ‘spy’ on Persephone, but you are left wondering if he really was. And if other gods can bestow favors, why can’t Persephone?  And while I love how Scarlett inserted one of the myths of Pirithous, I found it slightly rushed towards the end and I was hoping Persephone was a tad bit stronger. Just a tad. But hey, I’m a writer, I will always want to put my spin on a perfectly lovely story.

This book tends to focus a lot on sex, and as a good sex scenes type book, this hits the nail. We’ve all read our erotic fiction, this one is pretty darn good for that.

I love how we get tastes of other gods in this one. Apollo (I actually love his character), Hermes, Hecate, Aphrodite, and even Helen of Troy are brought in. Hermes and Hecate are truly great supporting characters. Well written and fun and full of depth, they are just the perfect ensemble cast for Persephone.

This book, while not the level of flair as A Touch of Darkness, is still really enjoyable and makes me anxious for book number three. I would give it 4 out of 5 stars, but then, most sequels hit this way.

If, like I said in A Touch of Darkness review, you are looking for a fun retelling of the classic myth, then check out books one and two. I can’t wait for number three!

I’m kind of hoping Ms. St. Clair tackles other myths over time. I can see her going to town on so many.

Kate

A Touch of Darkness – Book Review

I love classic story retellings. Emma by Jane Austen to Clueless, Twelfth Night by Shakespeare to She’s the Man, and Taming of the Shrew by Shakespeare to 10 Things I Hate About You, just to name three films of that ilk. So when I was on Pinterest browsing one day and came across quotes and lines from a Hades and Persephone retelling, I knew I just had to check it out.

A Touch of Darkness by Scarlett St. Clair is one of this guilty pleasure books that tickle the fancy of any mythology junkie, which I happen to be. I have already read other versions of Hades and Persephone, Cupid and Psyche, Jack Frost and his “winter princess”. Basically it’s like glorified fan fiction, but who cares.

A Touch of Darkness is a modern twist on the ancient myth. Here you have Persephone, an almost college graduate living in New Athens, striving to become an investigative journalist, all while trying to get away from the crushing pressure of her goddess mother, Demeter. Persephone is an unknown goddess herself, but her powers are killing plants. That’s it. She can’t use glamour magic to hide her divine self, so she has to borrow her mother’s, something that irks her and keeps her under mommy’s control. 

Persephone has an internship at The Daily which is what leads her to end up celebrating at Nevernight, one of Hades casinos. And also one of the places Demeter has forbid her daughter from visiting. Interacting with any of the divine in general is a big no no for Persephone as well as she has not had her coming out, so to speak, so she is 100% unknown. But well, sheltered girls are apt to want to spread their wings. Not only does Persephone end up at the nightclub, but she also ventures into single players club and sits down to a card game with a handsome stranger. Oops. Can we guess who this is? Not only is it a god, but it’s Hades himself, where she also inadvertently ended up making a deal with Hades. Boy, how to take mommy’s rules and in with them.

Now she’s stuck having to fulfill a bargain with Lord of the underworld, fighting her attraction to him, dealing with Adonis, who steals her exclusive story on Hades, among a host of other problems. How in the world is a “useless” goddess going to handle all the pressure?

This book has so much more in it than I have even scratched the surface of. Several of the divine make appearances, not to mention the pesky nymphs and backstabbing mortals with favors. Do Persephone and Hades work out? And just what is going on in the Underworld? 

I read this book in a day and a half last summer, loved it so much, I reread it again right off the bat, then had to wait till April of this year for the sequel! The romance and attraction between Hades and Persephone is palpable and sucks you in, in just the best ways. I loved this book. I purchased the kindle version which doesn’t have some of the extras the paperback has.  I am tempted to get the paper copies.

5 out of five stars for fun off the top. Side warning, this book is definitely for adults. Nut read it if you like myth retellings. And then the sequel is next for me to review. The next in the series is A Touch of Ruin.

Kate

 

 

If A Cowboy Picked Up A Handkerchief – Poem

Photo by Mubariz Mehdizadeh on Unsplash A modern Cowboy?

There’s this guy I like. But sliding into his DM’s so did not work. So, once this Covid thing is over, I don’t suspect anything will ensue. But for the last month, since I knew where he lived, and where his parents lived I figured I might just see him passing the highway when I walk. Why I would assume the time I walked would be “The” time makes no sense.  But since when does fascination ever have any sanity. And there I was, every day, glancing up at every truck that whizzed on by.

 

If A Cowboy Picked Up A Handkerchief

Every day I walk, to the highway
where when a truck barrels down the blacktop
I look up hoping it’s him.
Just to wave and give my heart a boost of giddiness.
A touch of wishful thinking.
It’s not like I have a chance.
Since sliding into his DM’s was a complete splat—
A faceplant. A trip made on flat ground.
A wobbly ankle in stiletto heels—
How do you know if he likes you?
If you have to ask, then maybe you should
move along, pardner.
He ain’t gonna tip his hat at you, ma’am,
or pick up that hanky you just had to happen to drop
in front of his horse.
More n’ likely the horse is gonna pick it up
munch on the lace and linen.
Considering he’s a bit of a pie bald bug-eyed crazy cracked in the head
crazy son of a gun of a horse.
Maybe his cowboy is a two-bit crazy too.

Kate

A Ripple of Distortion – Poem

It’s so weird. Tax day came and went, the three month mark of my grandmother’s death is today, I need to talk to Jersey Boy about coming back to work, Covid-19 has taken it’s toll on the country. I fight against my body. My sugars dropping every day as I become more and more like my father. Menopause makes me moody. I forgot that when I talked to Nathan this last week and mentioned I was moody on Easter. I forget that I can go from bright and cheery to gray cloud and teary in a flash. As fast as my sugar falls. Hostess Extraodinaire, I need Pepsi, stat!  No, I just need normal.

I combined all thoughts and it kind of flowed into this poem that while not perfect, has it’s points. We all feel a little indecisive. And poet Susan Wooldridge challenged me last year to write a poem about lettuce. I never got around to having anything that worked, until adding it into this gem today. So much is in here, unpacked, emotional. I know Christa would understand. Dona and Mels too.

And for a chuckle, watch this bit from an old NBC show called  Ed. It explains a line from this poem.

Photo by Jordan McDonald on Unsplash

A Ripple of Distortion

It’s tax day, but taxes aren’t due.

Overcast — the sky is more subdued
less spangle sparkle bright — perfect.

I wake up praying. Things are so uncertain.

A line of wobbly silver reflection run down the page
a mosaic of reflection as effective as a rippling pool
distortion is only as good as the subject known
A cow could be a boulder
a tree turns to a feather

What if I’m not who I seem to be?
Maybe I’m not who you’ve ever known

Plant lettuce seed, it looks like a weed
until it has three fourfivesix leaves
say it funny, Le-toose, it’s not what it seems till it is.

What have I become? Where do I fit in ?
I bite, snarl, fall apart into a puddle of razor blade teeth.
Sugar coat me and I’ll be as sweet as the sun is fierce.
Take me out in the rain, I melt
you see the rust hiding under a silk exterior

I’m a heartbeat of uncertainty
a weight of indecision
my feet slap the pavement
I’ve walked more miles than you could imagine
wearing a hole in the asphalt,
a groove runs down my pat
parallel to the imaginary yellow lines.

I’m wobbly two faced in the tiled reflection
Two things at war.
Let me get back to the thick of things.
Or let me sit in the sun and take in all the sky has to pour down on me.

Chaos, Panic Attacks and Memories

The notebook of memories

I was flipping through a notebook I started early on when working at my restaurant. I found it in a stack of things I was going through. I’m not sure why I stopped writing in it other than for the reason of insane frustration that started being recorded in another book titled ‘Night Shift Notes’. My nights have never been that crazy, but if something of note comes along that is important, I record it.

There were some absolutely lovely and funny moments I wrote down in this glittery notebook, and I honestly need to pick it up again.

This is from July 2018:
“The days are calmer with less stress on everyone, so it seems. Nickelle is still a nutcase and is having too many issues, so she freaks out, and doesn’t know what the fat she is doing most of the time. Poor Chef is like at his wits end with her.

I can do the tart dough just fine. The roulade cake alludes me still.”

Ah Nickelle, she was an interesting one. And Coffeeman came into a world of crazy at the beginning. Her, Lucifer, Wildflower. These were the days before Will Turner and me up on pizza. I was a lowly prep chef. Tackling desserts, but the gopher. Golden Oldie has moved up to pantry, out of dish, and now he’s the new gopher. I don’t envy his job. Laughing.

Here’s another gem from July 2018:
“But I must go back to Saturday. Dinner service was starting and Chef, Twin C, and I were busy with Sunday Prep. I think NY Lady (she is our everything manager) was in and out. Then Lucifer called for all of his squirt bottles to be filled and he was impatient and I was rushing to try and fill them. One I started filling with white wine vinegar instead of white wine and the Chef had to stop me, thank goodness. But Lucifer was super impatient and went and got a bottle himself. Then I went to fill his saffron bottle and said I had to go get the saffron on Chef’s desk, and Lucifer snapped at me that it just needed Hot water!
I went back to the prep sing and slammed the top on the sink and must have let out an exasperated sigh because Chef turned to me and told me to tell him “mise en place!”
“What?”
“Take the bottle back to him and say ‘The Chef says mise en place mother f*cker!”
“I can’t say that to him.”
“Yes you can.”
“But he’ll come back at me.”
“No he won’t. Fill the bottle and I’ll be right behind you.”

So I fill the bottle and walk back up to Lucifer and present it with both hands and say, “Lucifer, Chef says mise en place, mother f*cker.” Lucifer looks at me, then glances behind me and says, “Yes Chef.”

And that was that. I didn’t know till later that Coffeeman had stood behind me crossing his arms where his favorite statement “Mise En Place” is tattooed across both arms so they connect when he crosses his arms. ”

To this day, we still all remind each other to “mise en place!” It’s probably the highlight of one of my memories of working with Coffeeman. I may have talked about it in the past, but I can’t remember. I’m just glad I wrote it down.

Those first months were probably the best time of my job, though this last year’s July and August with Coffeeman on pizza were a dream.

Photo by Jesson Mata on Unsplash

For some reason all of these memories had me remembering my panic attacks that were happening later that year when suddenly I went from being behind the scenes to being out in front. And just the overwhelming feeling of not getting it all done in time. I had a sugar crash yesterday while making lunch, and I’m freaking out because my brain is on zero function, and I’m thinking “Gosh, I do this all the time with the added stress of not being able to get something to eat because I have ten tickets up on my board.” I needed my Hostess Extraordinaire with her glass of Pepsi for me!

I miss work like crazy right now. I have not accomplished half of what I wanted while home, but I’ve got a start. If I could just not collect books…. as I consider ordering a couple I wish I had right now. I need help people.

These are just some musings from pulling out a notebook. I have some good poetry to type up here too, I just haven’t taken the time to post it.

Whoops, I went back and started reading other posts about work. They all make me smile a little ruefully, tear up a little cause I still miss Coffeeman too much, and roll my eyes at myself. At least I can laugh at myself.

Kate