Thursday, September 18, 2014

Deep Breaths

Deep Breaths

Breath
held in
awe and fear
released in
relief and relaxation
seen on
metal and mirrors
felt on
cold hands and 
warm necks

Life's first, life's last
Breath



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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Shadow Games



Shadow Games

All day, the trees
and the sun play.
Branches and trunks
get in the way
of the rays and
block them from
reaching the ground.
The forms change
as the light
moves around, but
the trees get credit
for casting the shadows.
Time runs out as
the sun goes down,
and the game is called
because of darkness.


Do you like to look for shadows?

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Thursday, September 11, 2014

Illumination


Illumination

Travel the road
as it unfolds,
straight or twisted,
paved or stones.

Trust you are going
where you need to go
with whomever
you are meant to know.

Wander unbowed
with a peaceful soul.
Look for the lampposts
and follow the glow.

I was looking through my photographs and this one caught my attention. A new Ekphrastic poem (a poem inspired by visual art) was born.

How do you navigate through life?

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Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Balancing Act


Balancing Act

A change in
the seasons approaches.
A balance of:
daylight and darkness
alpha and omega
loss and renewal
Some go to seed
while others still bloom.

Thanks to JLynn Sheridan for this week's Wordsmith Studio Creative Prompt-Try to Remember. [Note: If you only know Jerry Orbach as Lennie Bricoe on Law and Order, click on the link to hear him sing Try to Remember from the Broadway musical The Fantasticks.] I took this photograph in September 2013 in the memorial garden I have in remembrance of my sister, Vicki. The milkweed has gone to seed, but the sedum, which blooms later, is full of flowers.

What thoughts or memories does the month of September bring to mind for you? 

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Friday, September 5, 2014

Writing is not Always a Solitary Venture



We often hear stories about the solitary writer, but this story is about a collaborative writing project in which I had the privilege to participate. Maria Vasquez Boyd, invited 10 writers from the greater Kansas City area to write a renga on the theme of radio to celebrate the 3rd anniversary of ArtSpeak Radio, a show that Maria and Blair Schulman host on community radio station KKFI 90.1 FM.

Renga or "linked poem" is a Japanese form. It originally consisted of alternating stanzas of  3-lines totaling 17 syllables (sound familiar?) and two-lines of seven syllables each. Contemporary renga is more flexible. For Radio Renga, each person wrote 10 lines with no restriction on syllable count.

    Radio Renga Team-Standing (l to r): Michelle Pond, Carl Bettis,
    Jen Harris, Miguel Morales, Maria Vasquez Boyd, Blair Schulman.
    Around the Ukulele Case (l to r): Diego Chi, Jennifer Leigh Coates, 
    Sandra Moran, Missing (and missed): Norma Elia Cantu, Damon
    Lee Patterson and Shawn Pavey. 

We were given an order in which to write and had about 48 hours to complete our 10 lines. We were reminded not to write ahead, but to work off of the previous stanza. Shawn Pavey, our lead poet, set up a shared document for us to use and also sent a reminder to each of us when it was our turn.

I was sixth in line and felt like I was being bombarded by radio memories while I waited for my turn to come. I was a little nervous when I got the go signal since this was my first experience with renga and relieved when a couple of lines from the previous stanza jumped out at me. I used those as prompts and got my stanza done by the deadline.

So, you might ask, weren't you still a solitary writer? I never lost the sense of being part of the group when I was writing. My inspiration came from the stanza before and when I was finished, I read the other stanzas to make sure someone else hadn't written something similar.

Maria Vasquez Boyd

Radio Renga premiered on ArtSpeak Radio September 3 and it was a special evening. The energy in the studio seemed to build throughout the reading. As each person finished, there were fist bumps, arms raised, any non-verbal acknowledgement of a good job that we could give.

After the last line, Maria and Blair graciously began to applaud and the writers joined in. In my mind we were applauding the whole experience: the station, the show, our memories of radio, the writing, the reading, the collaboration and new bonds.

All of the photos in this post are courtesy of Joy Baker. Thank you, Joy!

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Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Rare Books


Rare Books

The rare book collection
was on the top floor.
Accessed through
a special door.
A book was requested
and brought to you.
No note taking in pen,
only pencil would do.
                            
If a book written
today becomes rare,
will it be handled
with such care?
Or will books
no longer be rare?
Just downloads
accessible from anywhere?


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Thursday, August 28, 2014

Celebrating Charlie Parker


Etched in Stone

Two ideograms,
a saxophone and
a bird, allow
visitors to
identify your
grave without
reading your name.

Decades after
your casket was
placed here,
people still
flock to pay
their respects,
leaving behind
flowers, charms
or the thoughts
in their hearts.

Some come to play
in your presence.
To fill the air
with music, as
you once did.
To send you
notes that say
your talent has
yet to be eclipsed.

Friday, August 29 marks the 94th anniversary of Charlie Parker's birth. As part of the 2014 Charlie Parker Celebration, there will be a 21-Sax Salute on both Friday, August 29 and Saturday, August 30 at the grave site in Lincoln Cemetery. Go to the KC Jazz Alive website for details about these events and the final events of this year's celebration. Remember, you can always learn more about Charlie Parker by visiting the American Jazz Museum.

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