POEM: “sunflowers and soup”

sunflowers and soup”

rain does not touch these blooms
dried brightly, yet somehow sad
deprived of sun within hallowed walls
beneath thin glass that sunless 
shines only with the flash of a bulb

their Warhol-esque protest
a mockery of his work to bring
a bit of beauty into this broken world.
Gauguin would have been appalled

a century and more the oil-
based hues have blossomed,
brightly drooped within 
their mustard-colored vase
dark orbs studying what lies

below the sturdy wooden frame,
unblinking green lashes 
fringe each full round iris.
they embody both light and dark,
caught sunlight subdued by brush

an artist’s call: to make the world
more appealing or tell the truth
of existence despite its tragedy,
to capture its pleasure and pain
all within a simple wood frame

what do those dark orbs see
of humanity’s darker corners?
two young girls wasting soup 
in a world starved for understanding


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*inspired by “Just Stop Oil activists throw soup at Van Gogh’s Sunflowers | Just Stop Oil | The Guardian


*If you’d like to read about my progress and plans for this year, as well as craft tips, you can subscribe to my Patreon and support my work for just $1 a month! Until next time, stay safe and well, and read often!

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POEM: “Fight Club Redux”

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Fight Club Redux”
--aka “it’s your own damn fault if it’s spoiled; the movie’s been out for ages”

in the darkness, the grass glitters 
with crystallized condensation
when i walk outside to let 
my dog make her mark, as though 
the stars vaguely luminescent 
in their spheres had fallen to earth 
frozen, their heat lost to predawn chill

later i watch Fight Club for the 
n-th time, catch myself thinking 
how very very nice it would be 
to have a friend like Tyler to hang 
around with on shitty nights in 
a shitty house, or sharing drinks in
a shitty bar, but without the assault
--gut punched by metaphor alone

imagine a friend, even imaginary,
that’s always there through thick, through thin-
ning nights and thinning hair,
trading jokes and insults and 
guttural laughter no matter 
how many times they’ve heard each 
clever wordplay,  each dumb pun

someone who listens--does not simply wait
for your part of each conversation 
to end, someone like Bob to hug you
with his big-ass bitch tits, or Tyler
with his right hook to greet you. 
3D Virtual Reality’s 
got nothing on the brain. We can make 
ourselves believe, we make ourselves 
believe anything - - - -

even that the stars glistening 
in the darkened blades of grass 
are beautiful despite my canine’s warmly 
flowing contribution melting 
them before their time, readying 
them for a sun they will never 
see just beyond that horizon.



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*I recently rewatched Fight Club, and though it’s not exactly a Halloween-themed movie, I thought it was close enough for today’s post. Happy Halloween! 

If you’d like to read about my progress and plans for this year, as well as craft tips, you can subscribe to my Patreon and support my work for just $1 a month! Until next time, stay safe and well, and read often!

POEM: “scavengers”

Photo by Alexey Demidov on Pexels.com
scavengers

amid blackened skulls
crushed beneath metal monsters
the dirge of mankind howls
beneath the laser blasts
plastique blows apart
the enemies of man

while remnants harvest
buried treasures of the lost
metal can be reforged
machine parts repaired
military weapons
a much sought boon

but the sweetest find of all
hides beneath charred remains
a blackened wood door
opens a hole into earth
where a root cellar cache
lies empty of all save one

preserving a sweetness
most will never know


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*inspired by Terminator

Next Friday, I’ll also post on my Patreon.  If you’d like to read about my progress and plans for this year, as well as craft tips, you can subscribe to my Patreon and support my work for just $1 a month! Until next time, stay safe and well, and read often!

POEM: “a shared cup”

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a shared cup”      


first		we sit
place coats on backs of chairs
make ourselves comfortable
as we ease into place

talking of nothing
we let the tea steep
boiling water unfurls dried leaves
full green tips unfold their agony

within their porcelain prison
unleashing hidden flavors
they release the scent of Indian soil
beneath brilliant burning suns

the shared story of mankind sits between us
bequeathed by queens and kings, smugglers 
and emperors, peasant monks, campfire caravans, and rebels
that sparked revolution with midnight revels

each fragile china cup contains
a common history: tales of blood and war
served with sweetly savored cakes
to balance bitterness

we savor this small oasis in time
thirst for more than mere water
this still and quiet refuge made precious
by its rarity in our swift flowing universe

steam rises between us
our tongues release with gentle practice
we speak more deeply
with time and space enough	to breathe

each sip		a shared communion.




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I know that last week I said I was switching to mostly current events and writing prompts, but I wanted to share this newly finished poem with you as soon as possible! 


Next Friday, I’ll also post on my Patreon.  If you’d like to read about my progress and plans for this year, as well as craft tips, you can subscribe to my Patreon and support my work for just $1 a month! Until next time, stay safe and well, and read often!

CURRENT EVENTS:  Creative BREAKS and Permission for Self Care

A-1 Bookstore of Canton, Ohio (photo taken by Cat Russell, 2021)

While I’m rewriting my draft for my second novel, Hera Unbound, I’m altering my monthly content from poems to either writing prompts or short posts about current events.  

.

CURRENT EVENTS:

Last November I utilized the resources of National Novel Writing Month–aka NaNoWriMo–to create the first draft of my next novel, a retelling of the Olypian coup against Zeus by his wife, Hera, goddess of marriage. Most people who are passingly familiar with Greek mythology only know Hera as the goddess of marriage demonized as the persecutor of her husband’s mistresses/victims. I wanted to tell her story. 

Originally I planned to take a couple months off and begin the second draft in the new year, but my family has been hit by one thing after another and honestly, it just kept getting put on the back burner. I had a couple false starts that didn’t really pan out. Then, after months of triaging my life, I finally decided that instead of trying to edit the original draft, I’d just start over.  I looked over my original draft–including notes on things that needed to be addressed, redrafted a new outline that corrected the previous problems, and started over. I’m currently on chapter two.

WRITER PERMISSION: I’m giving myself permission to ease my commitments to my blog, writing short summaries instead of creating fresh poems for each post, in order to concentrate on this larger project. I also give myself permission to take a step back if and when needed, as many times as needed. I may be a writer, but I’m also a person, and my mental health comes first.

I am including this, not only to reaffirm this to myself, but to tell any other struggling writers out there, it’s okay to take a break when you need one. If you can’t write anything, go work on something else. Or binge The Walking Dead. Do whatever you need to do to find your equilibrium again. It’s not only okay, it’s necessary.

Thank you.

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*image taken by myself in 2021 of A-1 Bookstore in Canton, Ohio.

*Next Friday, I’ll also post a short followup on my Patreon.  If you’d like to read about my progress and plans for this year, you can subscribe there to support my work for as little as $1 a month! Until next time, stay safe and well, and read often!

FOUND POEM: “book-wrapt”

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book-wrapt”

The quintessential connection to books
a private sanctuary  programmed
for escapism.

delightful displayed in the home
they work wonders en masse
exuding breath of generations, 
nourish senses, slay boredom   
relieve distress.

read a passage and be inspired
all authors are alive  
where a jumble of books ends

we hold possibility  

as if desperately waiting an unused book
a library is never done




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Next Friday, I’ll also post on my Patreon.  If you’d like to read about my progress and plans for this year, you can subscribe to my Patreon and support my work for just $1 a month! Until next time, stay safe and well, and read often!

#*found poem inspired and taken from (Dec 24, 2021) The New York Times article by Julie Lasky titled “How Many Books Does It Take to Make a Place Feel Like Home?

BONUS POEM: “i wandered carefree as a weed”

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i wandered carefree as a weed(a lyric in honor of my lawn--as well as Wordsworth’s I wandered lonely as a Cloud)

I wandered carefree as a weed
that floats through clouds and skies of blue,
unlike the golden daffodils
landlocked in groups of ten and two,
narcissus bent faces downcast
despite the sunny bright forecast.
 
the daffodils herald spring days,
the dandelions announce them too,
but one lasts weeks, then petals shed
must twelve months wait until renewed,
while hardy yellow lion’s teeth
dot greenery, rebirth, unsheathe
 
after a short time within
their green leaves folded over blades
the hue of sun transmutate
to angel wings of snowy grace 
while daffodil’s corpse litters ground
the lowly weeds’ freedom is found
 
the cultivated daffodil
lives lonely, keeping company
with others of its kind plus one
red tulip flushing prettily.
vanity did isolate it,
its love is unreciprocated. 
 
meanwhile the humble sunlit weed
keeps face upturned to heaven’s vault:
the azure skies, the cotton clouds,
even the thunderstorm’s assault
of mowing blade now sharp and cruel
that can’t defeat this disdained jewel 
 
Often I lie upon my bed
and wonder that resilient bloom, 
its color bright, its upturned head,
survives despite the farmers’ doom.
Daffodils may dance sublime,
but me? I love the dandelion.  
 
 
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This poem is posted in honor of the 30th Annual Dandelion May Fest, which takes place this weekend. If you’d like to read about my progress and plans for this year, you can subscribe to my Patreon and support my work for just $1 a month! Until next time, stay safe and well, and read often!

POEM: “watercolors”

Photo by Beckett on Pexels.com
watercolors” 

practice trains you
to observe everyday details
the exact blue of heaven isn’t blue
it’s cobalt, azure, gold and scarlet,
rose blooms into violet,
silver marbles the horizon
before blackest night

awash in color
Rorschachs blossom
my mind’s edges cauliflower
errors discover possibility
fill each canvas with pauses
lightening then brightening 
always saving the darkest for last
nothing cannot be adapted
to something new, sometimes better
forgiveness is pigment 
forgiveness is water, brush, paper
always ready to soak up excess
or spread radiant hues

ad libbing elements
an individual choice
     ships may soar dew-kissed sky
     clouds break like china cups
     black holes rip gaping edges 
     in the empty vault of heaven
     ready to swallow all

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Next Friday, I’ll also post on my Patreon.  If you’d like to read about my progress and plans for this year, you can subscribe to my Patreon and support my work for just $1 a month! Until next time, stay safe and well, and read often!

*inspired by several YouTube videos on watercolor, as well as a watercolor class I took at the North Canton Public Library led by artist Jack Fetzer.

POEM: “morning routine”

morning routine

the kettle calls,
the song of steamed leaves,
sugarcane, and the warm cup
in my hands. over toast
i view the tea warmer's flame,
the hearth and heart of our happy home



Next Friday, I’ll also post on my Patreon.  If you’d like to read about my progress and plans for this year, you can subscribe to my Patreon and support my work for just $1 a month! Until next time, stay safe and well, and read often!

*image courtesy of publicdomainpictures.net via Creative Commons Licensing.

POEM: “paper journeys”

paper journeys”

Long lonely childhood days 
I lounged beneath the mulberry tree,
just Thisbee and me, 
waiting for Pyramus 
to take us away, I'd play 
host to Hermes and Zeus, 
coast wine-dark seas 
devour siren song, 
draw Labyrinthian threads 
through Minotaur’s home, 
and soar cornflower sky
beside Daedalus before 
my waxen wings would melt; 
lofty flight cut short by sun 
and seafoam, left alone 

in my room, immersed in biblichor, 
i buried myself beneath thin sheets,
knowing only myths’ allure: 
my escape into fantasy

i knew no other hope 
for awkward me,
so dreamed gods and heroes 
fell for my charms, left heaven itself
to save me from earthly woes,
protect me from those
i could not bear to face.

those travels served me well,
provided refuge--fiction and facts
to complement the lessons of experience: 
wilder girls braved the unknown;
Lois Lane endured without Superman;
Nelly Bly broke stories, wrote and made
history; the deaf and blind may see 
farther without the gift of sight; 
despite millennia, a woman's verse
survives in fragments of paper mache, 
and princesses are heroes too.

the old saying rings true:
the journey is more important
than the destination, though
each step needed to be 
to arrive at now. i needed 
to grow up to learn 
saviors exist outside books alone, 
adventures are not what we await 
but opportunities we create 
stepping outside our comfort zone: 

the heart of each encounter
when we brave enough
to rescue ourselves.

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Next Friday, I’ll also post on my Patreon.  If you’d like to read about my progress and plans for this year, you can subscribe to my Patreon and support my work for just $1 a month! Until next time, stay safe and well, and read often!

*Written for Cuyahoga Library’s Read+Write+Poetry writing prompt for April 2nd, 2021.

**The female heroes I refer to later in the poem (both fictional and real) are Laura Wilder, Lois Lane, Nelly Bly, Helen Keller, Sappho, and Wonder Woman.

**image courtesy of publicdomainpictures.net via Creative Commons Licensing.