POEM:    “Oasis”

bathtubbubblewomenbath-silhouet

"Oasis"




warm water streaming over strained muscles  taut with the tension of
 a thousand

   stir-crazed hours of intrusive solitude within a small space yet

     none purely owned by me excepting this waterproof box

           where for five too short minutes

                steam tingles wet skin

voice reverberates

                Beatles and Aretha

                          bounces against panels

                          of thin

      acrylic as

                    peppermint

         suds wash my

worries

       down the

drain

                alongside

            white

soapy

                 bubbles...  .. .   .

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Thank you for visiting my blog! I’ve been wanting a break from all the depressing news lately, so I thought I’d share this poem as (hopefully) a little break for you too: an oasis in this shared storm we’re all weathering. 

Wherever you are, stay safe, stay well, and read often!

*Image courtesy of www.publicdomainpictures.net via Creative Commons License.

POEM: “Orpheus the Coward”

pompeii-statue-childs-lips

Orpheus the Coward

 

I did not kill myself for love.

I didn’t tear apart my broken heart,

show its bloody pieces to the world

 

unless you count my music.

In that I laid myself bare,

my grief as exposed as an infant

left on a lonely hill

for beasts to feast upon.

 

I did not kill myself for love.

I didn’t choose to die,

to trap us both in that deep darkness,

breathe the earth above our heads

as we quake in Hades’s rich domain,

both doomed to finally drink

from that fatal river that makes us forget

each other.

 

I did not kill myself for love.

I chose to run to hell

to bring my love to life,

to calm the viscous demon-dog’s rage,

to bring salt tears to the icy cheeks

of Hades and his Queen,

to rescue my wife of a single day,

to bring her back to that same day’s sun.

 

I did not kill myself for love.

I chose to lead her back

from those cold depths,

feel her silent steps

behind me but never look to see.

The price of her freedom

my uncertainty.

 

But the Fates are bitches

that toy with human lives:

my feet touched earth,

yet still I looked back too soon.

She remained in darkness.

I lost her at the border

between life and death,

dark and light, fear and hope.

Her fading farewell,

as translucent as the hand

I reached for

but could not grab.

 

No second charm would work

on Hell’s cold denizens.

 

I did not kill myself for love.

I sat and thought and tried

to find a way through the fog

of my brain to win her back again.

None came, but as I struggled

to compose my next hopeless plan,

alone with my lyre,

just me and my pain,

I was torn apart,

my body as broken as my heart.

 

I did not kill myself for love,

but I was not sorry to go.

 

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Thank you for visiting my blog! The above poem was inspired by the Speech of Phaedrus in Plato’s Symposium in which Orpheus was dubbed a coward because he did not die for love like a more traditional hero. 

Wherever you are, stay safe, stay well, and read often!

 

*Image courtesy of www.publicdomainpictures.net via Creative Commons License.

POEM: “An Apology to My Reader”

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An Apology to My Reader

 

Let me first say

an apology is not warranted

 

although I am sorry

you didn’t like my work,

I am sorry my words offend

or cause you pain, open wide

that hole in your heart

–yet isn’t that a part

of art’s ultimate calling?

–to make us feel something,

not always some things

we want but to unearth

what’s buried deep inside. It’s

the horror of the disgorged grave

as well as the exhilaration

of a ballerina’s pirouette,

the dispepsia of an undigested

bit of tainted beef versus

the ecstacy of a lover’s embrace,

the shoulders shrugged against

the enigma of an ignorant world

and the melancholic mind’s eye

turned inward despite willing

ourselves blind, so while

I wish you every happiness,

I also admit I want praise,

adulation even as I question

why anyone would spend

their hard earned cash, tender

payment to buy a book of mine.

 

I am sorry you are unhappy

with my words, with time

I tendered writing, recording,

with the hours, days, weeks

of creating stories, drawing imagery,

imagining metaphors, birthing similes,

reworking prose and poetries, so although

 

an apology is not warranted,

I will extend you this one exception:

 

I’m sorry, but I don’t give refunds.

 

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Thank you for visiting my blog! I hope you enjoyed that little bit of snarky humor. I actually do have some more pandemic-themed poems, but I wanted to do something different this week. This particular poem was inspired by a prompt from Cuyahoga County Public Library’s Read + Write: 30 Days of Poetry. Wherever you are, stay safe, stay well, and read often!

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*Image courtesy of www.publicdomainpictures.net via Creative Commons License.

 

POEM: “The Great Pause”

dog on concrete road
Photo by Daniel Frank on Pexels.com

 

The Great Pause

 

our world holds its breath

as Mother Nature exhales

 

sighs of relief recede

clouds of carbon dioxide

from towering cityscapes

over brilliant barren avenues

satellite images clear like

a slate wiped suddenly clean

wildlife boldly ventures out

exploring storefront windows

from sunlit asphalt lanes

goats nibble untamed hedges

wolves play in lush backyards

occupy empty park benches

pink flamingos stroll across

pristine snow-white beaches

stags sport oak and maple racks

high and wide as their forest homes

mounting marble cathedral steps

beneath brilliant sun stained glass

as grey-skinned dolphins swim

unmolested in blue-green waters

 

while for once we are the ones

trapped behind translucent glass

looking out at the world

from inside

 

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Since we are midway through National Poetry Month, I thought I’d take a moment to review. As you know, all in-person poetry events have been cancelled or postponed due to the current pandemic, but the poetry community has come together in other ways. I was honored to have my poem, “Poet,” featured on April 5th for Cuyahoga County Public Library’s Read + Write: 30 Days of Poetry!

April 23rd is Shakespeare’s birthday, so be sure to honor the Bard by reading a book, watching a play (online), or sharing poetry! I’ve linked a few free resources, in case you don’t know where to start, and many libraries offer free online materials as well through their own websites, as well as apps like Hoopla and Overdrive. Local theatres are struggling now (for obvious reasons), so you could make a donation to your local playhouse or attend a local online event (like Ohio Shakespeare Festival). You could also do some silly celebrations, such as Talk-Like-Shakespeare Day!

Also, since this blog is mostly poetry, you may not be aware that I’ve written quite a bit of prose over the years, mostly flash fiction. Lately I have been featuring a weekly free flash fiction post and podcast on my Patreon. This is my way of providing some free reading material for people currently stuck at home, as well as generating excitement for my upcoming book, An Optimist’s Journal of the End of Days and Other Stories!

I hope you enjoyed my poem! Remember, if you are quarantined at home, you are helping to save lives. If you need to venture out to work to keep everyone else going during these difficult times, thank you. Your efforts are appreciated, and my heart goes out to you all.

Take solace in the good things, and try to get through the bad. Stay safe, stay well, and read often!

 

POEM: “Social Distancing”

hand touching glass
Photo by Josh Hild on Pexels.com

 

Social Distancing

 

Socially distant, virtually inseparable

the links between us:

 

the ways we touch others,

not warm fingers interlaced

but swept across cool keyboards,

 

music shared across balconies,

tasting notes like a crisp wind

crossing borders and boundaries,

not the comforting embrace

 

but the smiling face miles away,

countries or continents or 

six full feet apart

 

so long as we’re not six feet under

we can bridge any distance.

smoothly typed texts, raised

voices spanning gaps, our words

 

heard by ears, read by wide eyes,

felt by drumming heartbeats:

emotion’s rising tide.

 

in this new world of isolation,

We all pull together.

 

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April is National Poetry Month, and although many poetry and writing events have been cancelled due to the current world crisis, we have also come together in other ways through technology. Many open mics, book launches, and other meetups have switched to virtual venues, and people are searching for new ways to come together, support each other, and consume art. 

 

So in the spirit of this unity, I’d love to share some online venues to help get through these trying times. My favorite poetry magazine, Rattle, has a podcast and a virtual open mic called Rattlecast that meets/posts weekly. The FaceBook group for Latitudes Poetry Night has switched from monthly (in person) meetups to weekly Wednesday night (online) Open Mics as a way to support others during quarantine. Different libraries have switched to online meetups for book clubs such as Barberton Library’s monthly Hooks and Books

 

There are also free downloadable ebooks from ManyBooks.Net, Project Gutenberg, and (for audiobooks) Librivox. And, last but not least, many libraries have online resources as well for checkouts–as well as other events. My favorite of these is the annual Read + Write: 30 Days of Poetry via Cuyahoga County Public Library; just sign up on the site for April emails with poems from Ohio poets as well as writing prompts.

 

This year, on April 5th, one of my poems from Soul Picked Clean will be the featured poem for Read + Write. I’m so honored to be part of this event and beyond thrilled!

 

So, I hope you enjoyed my poem! If you can, I urge you to take advantage of some of these online resources. If you are quarantined at home, you are helping to save lives. If you need to venture out to work to keep everyone else going during these difficult times, thank you. Your efforts are appreciated, and my heart goes out to you all. 

 

Take solace in the good things, and try to get through the bad. Stay safe, stay well, and read often!

2020-03-30: Virtual Poetry Reading for Soul Picked Clean by Cat Russell!

Today is the one year anniversary of the Book Launch for my first published book, my poetry collection, Soul Picked Clean.

Since an in-person event is obviously not possible now, I wanted to celebrate online! I read a few of my poems, explain the thoughts behind them, and talk about how to keep in touch online. Enjoy!

If you would like to attend my FaceBook LIVE Book Birthday Party tonight, please visit: https://tinyurl.com/rhmzktp

 

PODCAST LINK: https://authorcatrussell.podbean.com/mf/play/53ujkf/2020_03_30PoetryReading-SPC-CatRussell.mp3


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

POEM: “Living in Limbo”

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

Living in Limbo

 

life is lived

in the spaces between

 

the crook of the elbow

bent to bring the cup to our lips

 

the devil’s dimple smiling

just before that first warm sip

 

eternity peeks from behind

the crook of each bony finger

 

pinky extended toward 

the taste not yet reached

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This past week has been challenging for the entire world, so I thought this poem would be both appropriate and cheering. I hope you enjoyed it. Stay safe, stay well, and read often!