On Being Okay With Dying

The steps for writing a poem are as follows:

1.  Don’t write a poem for a year or so, only use previously written poems when people ask you for one, and wallow for that year in your inability to write anything quality.  Feel crushed.  Consider becoming a stripper to pay the bills. Buy only lettuce to try to channel and bask in that “starving artist” mentality.  Give it up cuz lettuce sucks and eat an entire pizza.  Feel briefly and primally satisfied.

2.  Stay up way too late one night so your brain is a mess of emotions and words and stanzas.  Read Dickens.  Turn out the light and listen to your bird make his way over to his perch in the darkness.

3.  The inspiration comes: it’s often just one line that just makes you want to take your muse by the shoulders and whisper sweetly

you are brilliant you are

 

(because apparently I can’t get through a post without including a Doctor Who gif)

4.  Your heart rate increases dramatically.  Gotta get the adrenaline going in order to make the trek across your room to notebook and pencil.  Much to the annoyance of your bird, you turn on the lamp again.

5.  Then you write.  It’s like how whittlers say the shape of whatever they’re carving is already in the wood, and they’re just coaxing it out–in writing a poem, you want to feel around in the corners for every scrap of imagery and line that’s supposed to be a part of it (I’m very spiritual about this okay) and make sure it all gets there somewhere.

Usually at this stage my mind is 90 miles ahead of my hand and sometimes words get combined or even whole stanzas.  Afterward I have to go back and disentangle them.  The important thing is just getting everything down.

6.  Stay up for another hour or so, heart still racing, unable to sleep because you’ve penned the Great American poem,  you feel it, and won’t your mother be so proud?  (It’s midnight now so you can’t rush to her and brandish it under her nose.)

It’s always much worse when you wake up, but, eh, it’s something.

Without further ado, I guess: the poem I wrote last night.

***************************************************************

On Being Okay With Dying

Maybe, someday, kids everywhere are gonna have to memorize your name

cramming first and last, middle initial, basic life stats

down their throats the night before History finals.

 

Maybe, someday, you’ll be a scorch mark in a family ledger

that obscure branch of the tree your nieces can’t quite remember

because, as far as they can recall,

it bore no fruit.

 

Maybe you’ll crawl into bed with someone some night

and to them your smile will taste like lemonade spritzers, watermelon sangria

and your laugh is like orchard workers tossing apples to each other from the tops of ladders

The way you move to turn off the lamp is peach brush strokes on a gray canvas.

 

Maybe you’ll start spending too much time in cemeteries

swaddling yourself in black and buttons and a scarf thrown over your mouth

walking with the crows and mostly trying to avoid one grave in particular

because you know how you’ll scuff your toe along the empty plot next to it, thinking,

Mine.

And who’s to stop you digging into it now,

folding earth around you like the cloak of a magician

performing his final disappearing act?

 

Instead you waltz, alone

slowly and gimpily

the way they never quite managed to teach you.

You can see your breath suspended in the chill

and you start to laugh

because you’re quite literally dancing on your own grave

and then you stop because you wonder if it’ll still be funny

down on the receiving end.

 

Maybe, someday, they’ll dig up your diaries

and you’ll be a relic, and a legend

a little girl in a checkered dress

imagined in sepia,

scented like yellowing old books and dust and sunbeams in an abandoned house.

Not watermelon sangria.

 

Maybe they’ll dress like you and your friends

at a theme dance at a middle school.

 

Maybe you’ll do extraordinary things with your life.

 

Maybe you won’t.

 

Maybe you’ll go down in textbooks.

 

Maybe you’ll go down quietly in the obituary section of your town newspaper,

circulation 800,

like a late-summer peach no one notices shuddering and bumping to the ground.

 

Maybe someone catches you before you bruise;

maybe something comes along a few days later

and leaves

with sticky whiskers and paws.

**********************************************

So…that’s all, folks.  As always, things are ©The Girl in the Orange, BUT if you luuurve (or hate?) things then any feedback or sharing (via reblogging, Twitter, Tumblr, email, shouting from the rooftop of your school gymnasium, etc) is GREATLY appreciated.  I’m pretty serious about this writing thang; every bit of constructive criticism/exposure helps.  Happy Sunday! 🙂

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We hired Death as our landscaper

pm1 pm2 pm3 pm4 pm5 pm6 pm7This was the flyer Death left tacked to our door.  I stood on tiptoe and took it down to read it.

Wanted:  Odd Jobs, & Odds and Ends

Hey there.  Death’s the name.  (Yeah, people say I should change it all the time; make me more approachable.  But the only other thing I could think of that kind of suit me was Lucifer, and as Lucifer people still avoided me.)

Anyway…I can take care of almost anything you need taken care of, but my real specialties are extermination, varmint control, weed control, controlled burnings, etc.  And music lessons.

I’m good with kids.  I know how to silence them when they’re crying.  And no one who’s experienced my services reports back negatively.

I’ve included a picture on the back of this flyer because most people get the wrong idea of what I look like.  Usually I get skeletal, white, draped in black flowy robes in desperate need of a wash–no nose.  Then if I get too close people usually snap change their minds, saying I’m surely some big jolly old white guy perched on top of a cloud.  I guess you could say my identity is fluid..?  I hope you don’t have anything against the genderqueer.  Like I said, I’m great with kids.

My fees are what I consider reasonable; years of work have worn me pretty thin, you know, and we all have to support ourselves.  I understand that modern medicine has its benefits but it’s really thrust tough times on some non-deservings with its increasing prevalence.

I really appreciate you taking the time to read this flyer, and, if you’re interested?  Just give me a call.  You know where to find me.

Death had been standing right behind me, reading the flyer with me, over my shoulder.

Preface to Poemography #…6, is it?

Haha, yet another random scrivening that is by no means actually a poem–more like flash fiction, I guess?  I was outside for an hour this morning taking pictures of dead things and having several nasty brush-ins with spiders and their webs and I eventually convinced myself that there was a mountain lion after me because I kept hearing swishing noises.  Do we even have mountain lions in the PNW?  Ah, well…this is what I get for writing dark things.  In my defense, I don’t seek out things pertaining to death to write about, they just sort of pop into my head.  I promise I’m not a psychopath, and I’m not thinking darkly all the time…

Ellipse…

DSCN3292Ellipse

so named for the way your ellipse

stretch back over your eteeth

catching your etongue between them,

stopping it dead in its path of treachery

and your efingers,

unbeknownst to you,

tap out on the table that hesitant

dot dot dot

speaking of omission

things glossed over while quoting your inner monologue

haphazardly

getting the dates wrong,

deliberately turning a blind eye to the parts that don’t support

the point everyone seems to want you to make

blind eye + ears

as they hand you a rubric,

list of main ideas,

requirements for 10 in-text citations

“Oh, it’s okay…

if you’re quoting something really long you can…

leave…out some…parts…”

So much can be salvaged by delving into the infinite millimeter between the dots

and pulling out what fell into the empty spaces

please try to stick to commas

they suit you better.

Preface to Poemography #5

This poem is one part of a longer collection of poems I’ve been working on; sometime last year I-don’t-know-when, I embarked upon the mission to assign each of my classmates a punctuation mark to fit their personalities and write a poem explaining the similarities (between the person and their assigned punctuation mark).  I haven’t written as many of the poems as I would like, so it may be a while before everyone gets one.  The collection doesn’t have a cohesive title yet–any suggestions would be appreciated!

Preface to Poemography #4

It’s not even a poem, really.

More like broken prose, somehow.

I think it starts out more like prose but then shatters apart into vaguely poetic ramblings.

I think this is a metaphor for something like life but I can’t be sure.

As I told you, I built it around that one line.  I’m not sure if that one line would have taken the same direction as it did had I not been required to build a poemography post around it.

It’s two days late.  Sorry.

Breaking Glass

dainty,
delicate,
spider-leg threads of space-time
tiptoeing onto the scene,
creeping into the calm and distorting that fourth dimension
with a feminine chinkling that would be melodious
in any other context.

pic 1 try 3But, as it is,
you stand dumbfounded in the middle of the kitchen,
your hand still clenched around the goblet that isn’t there;
you took a hammer to your mirror, so enraged by the image it portrayed.

DSCN1101
And as we wince at those snowflakes embedded in our angry skin,
we ask ourselves
How can something so beautiful do so much damage?
Before we realize
That it hardly ever works out any other way.

The avalanche buries the group of hikers,
The glistening pelt of a tiger latches onto an unfortunate,
The glowing beacon in the sky will burn you if you touch it.

 scalding sun

Sweet & SAWA

Note:  I wrote up a lot of posts while in New York that haven’t been published yet (though I’ve been back for almost a week), because travel and spotty wifi and leaving school and emotions and things.  I just needed some space to do some awesome stuff and digest it all–away from screens.  I missed poemography this week!  But now I’m back, you can witness my New York ramblings-from-the-past, and we all can have a blast! 😀

Howdy from New York, y’all!  (Is that how the locals talk here?) 😉 My internet connection in el hotel is rather spotty, so I’m composing this with Windows Live Writer (no internet needed)—it may not publish until tomorrow, when we have city wifi—and I’ll do my best to keep this short and sweet!  (Okay, haha, we know how well THAT goes over with me, right?)

I’m going to focus on the actual ceremony on Friday night here and save the recaps of the actual travel days, as well as all the eats,  for a later post…I have more than enough to say already!

I originally Instagrammed the above with the caption “Sweaty, bedraggled, and jet-lagged…but having way too much fun with this”.  Because on Friday a gold(-plated) medal of epic proportions was bestowed upon me, my camera memory card is now absolutely crammed full of pictures of me biting into it.  You’re only supposed to do this once, to test for actual goldness…but something about the whole concept just tickles me so much!  I kinda fixated on it. =D

This is as close as me and my glorious non-athleticity will ever get to an Olympic medal, I figured–why not live it up?

new york 2 059

We managed to find an orange dress...a few days before we left :)

We managed to find an orange dress…a few days before we left 🙂

The “SAWA” in the title of this post stands for Scholastic Art and Writing Awards…I was pretty proud of myself for the pun. 😉

These awards took place at Carnegie Hall…

…Times Square advertised for it…

new york 050

…the Empire State Building glowed gold “to honor the gold medalists” (!)…

I didn't get a very good picture.  I'm sorry.  We were too close.

I didn’t get a very good picture. I’m sorry. We were too close.

…we saw the Statue of Liberty, which had absolutely nothing to do with it, but, you know, Statue of Liberty…

new york 2 055

…and there were some…interesting happenings.  Well, Cleo, I’ll let my vlog take over now. 🙂

(Note #2: our shower was broken.  The water was gushing constantly over the course of the video.  No one was taking a shower as I was filming.  I repeat, NO ONE WAS SHOWERING IN THE BACKGROUND.  Also, this is all one haphazardly-edited take, since I didn’t have time for anything else.  Also, since I am still figuring out the YouTubes, the thumbnail/resolution may or may not be humiliating.  Watch at your own risk.

Also, my hair is wet and problematic.  Get over it.)

Bedhead

Everyone knows the princess is pretty–

in fact, positively smashing

She’s quite and shy, never said one thing witty

and she always stops war when two countries are clashing–

(In fact, even at age four, the princess herself knew this...)

(In fact, even at age four, the princess herself knew this…)

(She also had rather impeccable fashion sense...)

(She also had rather impeccable fashion sense…)

 

Men look in her eyes, and they fall in love

she’s everything a girl wishes to be!

Her name, it’s so pretty, it’s Annabeth-Lee–

ever as dainty as the cooing of a dove!

DSCN1973

 

Yes, she’s pretty all right, with barrettes adorning

her waist-length hair, which has a delicate sheen–

but nobody,

not even the Queen

has seen the princess

in the morning…

DSCN1997

Preface

In my last post, I hinted at the fact that I wanted to start up a new weekly segment here on the blog…mainly, as my creative side begins to hesitantly spread its wings into the sunshine of Spring, I’ve been interested in seeing what all I can do by combining my two familiar art forms: poetry and photography.

I would love to create a really clever name for this segment…if you can think of something cool, please do share!  (Bonus points if it’s an awful pun!)  But right now, I guess the segment will be called poemography–I’m going to shoot for one of these posts every Monday (my entry for tomorrow is already complete, teehee).  They’re challenging and fun and exhilarating for me to work on, so hopefully you’ll enjoy them as well!

But, some of these poems are going to need some background info first, and I really don’t want the background info cluttering up the actual poemography post, so here’s the preface for tomorrow’s:

Someone I love is struggling right now, and I wrote this poem for them; but hopefully it will be rather universally applicable.  Some of it is true and some of it was inspired by true things.

(As always, some of the stuff I write can be found on my Figment channel.)  🙂