The Old Pirate – Poem

The Old Pirate

Under the old clock towers on a full moon night
and the asphalt and cobblestones are wet with a shine
he clomps and staggers in cracked leather boots.
He once was a pirate by trade
sailing off to adventures a many
looting and pillaging and carousing around
letting the gold slip and tumble through his fingers
as easily as the rum slipped down his throat
so full of life was he, till it came back to bite.
A rabid dog bite of a drunken haze.
He’s a cloak of invisibility of old man now
worn and tired and rather gray
aged and fat and a little more drunk
ancient adventures lost in delusional bursts
brandishing half empty bottles and shouting
the insanity creeping insidiously in
slumped on the cold stone steps.
He’s less than half the man of long ago
when he was a dashing charming sort.
Now all that’s left is this sad old man
sailing off in memories long forgotten
growing colder under the towers of time
till time eventually stops and he’s frozen
no longer anything but a once told tale
when the morning comes and they heave him so
up into a cart and tossed not into the sea
but to earth interned never to sail again.

 

I was feeling uninspired by the prompts I pulled for writing at my writing group this morning. So Sera graciously offered to pull some for me. I should have requested a random pulling instead of specifically looking for ones…. I know what you did, Sera…., but she pulled ‘full moon, clock towers, he was a pirate, grey silk, adventure, cloak of invisibility.’  I added in my one ‘wet asphalt’ and suddenly I was picturing the ‘wish realm’ version of Captain Hook that was featured recently on Once Upon a Time. But then I thought, what would this old pirate look like in the real world and would he drink himself to death….? Apparently he became that way, though there were some that didn’t realize I killed off this pirate. Hopefully it’s clear.  Enjoy this very random piece of poetry, and very open verse as well.

Kate

Writer’s Don’t Take Sick Days

czhuxiqjilg-alejandro-escamillaOkay, we do, but it’s different. While we might be tucked under the covers, a thermometer in our mouth, an ice bag on our heads, we are still writing in the midst of being sick. For me, it was random snippets of poetry that I actually forgot to write down so needless to say, promptly forgot. I have used being sick to be a whole plot point for one of my novels. This time around, my flu was so nasty I wasn’t up for much in regards to writing, having to actually cancel my writing group. I did sit down today and work on a piece of short fiction for my local library’s writing contest. It’s an annual thing and I enter off and on over the years. This year the theme

It’s an annual thing and I enter off and on over the years. This year the theme is “Snowed In” and I have actually dabbled in a story about being snowed in. Downside, it’s close to ten thousand words which exceed the 3-page limit with this contest. Not to mention it’s more romantic and adult to send off for just the heck of it. So I started working on a new story, that after reading the premise to my writing group two weeks ago, they said (or completed for me) was a Hallmark story. I had the image of this snowed in cabin and from there I got a three-page story.

Now, seriously, I find it hard to write a beginning, middle, and end three-page story. Just over 2 thousand words, I’m a little impressed this worked and I do actually have all three parts. It might be a bit choppy, but you can’t add much detail into a three-page story. (have I stated this is a three-page story? Just checking) I’ve kept it to just some dialogue, a bit of a back story, and even an epilogue of sorts. I’ll let it settle in and ‘bake’ for a bit before the submission date at the end of the month. I might make it better, I might see some areas that need correcting.  I wouldn’t mind making it longer and add in detail, but you know, sometimes the best stories are short and sweet.

But like I was getting at, at the beginning. Even while being sick, and being uninspired most of the time (it’s hard to be inspired while coughing, running a fever and not feeling like eating) I still find myself writing. Now if only I could remember the poetry I didn’t write down.

Kate

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

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

Writing Down Dat Dem Poetry

Ah PAD, not my strong suit this year. I thought I would have poetry flying out of my ears, but I seem to be a tad too emotional as of late for some of the topics to really come out in a good poem. Or one that is a decent poem right off the bat. Most of them are needing some serious reworking and editing.

I had started off rhyming in my head in a partial iambic pentameter, but then I would get stuck writing sonnets that weren’t going well. At all.  But it dawned on me the other day that I needed to stop trying to write sonnets. Just write. Write whatever comes to mind with the prompt, from spirit animal to wire (I liked wire), and just let it flow. Then if I want to take whatever I wrote and turn it into a sonnet with the ideas from the poetry just written, okay fine.  And it’s going better. If I don’t feel inclined to write a sonnet, I don’t have to. But if I want to dabble something out, I can. Which I have done.

It’s actually kind of helpful to have all of the poem written out with all of the ideas there, then to rework it into the sonnet. Now, I’m not saying the sonnets are good, and I only have one mostly done, but  it’s still there.

The fence is wired with rusty barbs and nails
And tangles tight to hold and grip the ties
The baling wire and hooks cling without fail
To posts that once held rails for trains that fly
~Katie Lyn Branson (Wired)

That is the start to the wired poem. Not great, but not bad. All about fence posts on the plains that are faded and held together with wire.

Who knew you could take such an ordinary thing and write a sonnet out of it. But I’m trying to get out of my head, which is harder to do than you think, and just let it come out. I think another part is I’m inspired by certain music I’m listening to, specifically the Strumbellas with their songs of  “Spirits” and “Wild Sun”, and the Lumineers “Stubborn Love”, which is a personal favorite song. I think the folksy aspect of it.

jackie-and-ryan-2014-movie-posterAnother inspiration is the film Jackie and Ryan, with Katherine Heigl and Ben Barnes. I can’t explain how much this movie hit me (I was nearly crying at the end). But the music and the story line and the lyrical quality of it all. If you are a writer, or a musical lyricist, I recommend it. Best part, it is based on a true story of a man,  Nick Hans, who was playing at SXSW, if I remember the story correctly. So that is really cool.

So, is anyone else hard at work on PAD? I’d love to know.

Kate

November Starts With Writing

Today is the start of PAD (poem a day) through Writer’s Digest. This is the Chapbook challenge.  I did it last year, writing as many sonnets as I could. This year I’m starting off the same way, writing a sonnet. Granted, I’m only one stanza in, but I have the vibe going. I guess playing around with iambic pentameter for some blank verse I did for an open reading my writing group did, has put me in the same mood to play with that form. I can think in that form easier than I did last year, and I hope that I will be able to write some sonnets.

However, I don’t have plans to stick with just that form. Thirty days of sonnets gets to be a bit much, so I hope to be able to share open verse or free verse or whatever as the month proceeds. I have two people in my writing group that have just now decided to do NaNoWriMo, to which I say, wow, late start… Sorry Dona and CP, I just don’t see how you are going  do that, but I applaud anyone who attempts such a feat. I have never really had the desire to do so, though I suppose there is a tiny part of me that would like to actually be able to write a novel that fast.

But I’m actually quite happy with my poetry. Honestly, I never thought I would be writing more poetry than fiction. I have been reading Ada Limon‘s “Bright Dead Things” and Billy Collins‘s “The Rain in Portugal”  and I am inspired to send out poetry to magazines, things I have never done.  A part of me wonders if I could send off something to The Sun magazine, which would be cool. Or others. I have great hope to be published with something. And if I start with poetry, that’s cool. So, I need to start sending it out!

Does anyone have some places they would recommend sending to first?

So, November is starting off with all kinds of things going on. And what a gorgeous day it was here in the mountains. Such a perfect fall day that I mean, you could just revel in it. The trees are still covered in gorgeous color. I love it.

And now to finish the Cubs game… Come on Cubs!

October 27th – Write 31 Days – Red Oak

red-oakSometimes a picture comes out more spectacular than I think it will. Today’s picture of a red oak leaf looks like the leaf is right on the glass!  It’s kind of amazing how things turn out so perfect and you aren’t even trying, or well, you just don’t think it will be that way.

The colors on the trees has been so spectacular this year, but I have failed to capture enough of it, waiting till it is nearly twilight to take pictures, which does not help. Nor have I been inclined to take my camera out with me that much. But the black oaks are now turning on the hills and there is this fluffy, nubbly carpet of yellow ochres, and yellow browns, tans and various shades of yellow from them. It’s a warm feel.

This oak in the picture turns a lovely red…. then the leaves turn brown and hang on the tree half the winter. It’s rather nasty looking, but the red is especially stunning.

 

I robbed the Woods-
The trusting Woods.
The unsuspecting Trees
Brought out their Burs and mosses
My fantasy to please.
I scanned their trinkets curious-
I grasped-I bore away-
What will the solemn Hemlock-
What will the Oak tree say?
~Emily Dickinson

Kate

October 26th – Write 31 Days – October’s Playboy

october-playboyThe Playboy rose has been flinging it up and rounding out the year with another round of blooms. The rose has bloomed several times this year, each flush more beautiful then the last. Roses in October, nearly November? It’s a rare treat. The color like the best can-can show. A flashy little number to liven it up a bit.

Can you tell I love my Playboy rose? We now have four plants.  Heaven. I’m in heaven.

Ribbons of the Year-
Multitude Brocade-
Worn to Nature’s Party once

Then, as flung aside
As a faded Bead
Or a Wrinkled Pearl
Who shall charge the Vanity
Of the Maker’s Girl?

~Emily Dickinson

Kate

October 25th – Write 31 Days – Golden Mornings

golden-morningsIn fall, it’s common to wake up to lots of clouds with the threat of rain. I’m typing this on the 24th where the prediction of rain is at 100%…. It’s currently raining.  I could have sworn there was only a 30% chance, but that is so far from what it’s doing now.

But some mornings there is this thick blanket of clouds, the mountains shrouded with mist and the cold wind blowing; yet in the east, there is this break, right over the mountains. Just enough of a break for the sun to come up a shining, dazzling diamond. Breaking through the mist, shining so bright through the pines, giving everything a golden glow to the otherwise cold morning.

Morning that comes but once,
Considers coming twice-
Two Dawns upon a single Morn,
Make Life a sudden price.
~Emily Dickinson

Kate

October 24th – Write 31 Days – Gorgeous Grape Vines

grape-vinesThe grapes actually changed this year. Massive amounts of burgundy and red browns. I went on a leaf pressing binge after I saw all of the gorgeous color. I love how they trail along the fence lines and twist and color things up. The color of all things this year has been especially lovely. And some of it hasn’t even changed much. It’s  a strange year. But I thought a little color was in order since we are getting another storm.

Kate