Thursday, November 27, 2014

NaBloPoMo #27: The state of the nation (Poem)

a storm is coming for Brisbane; the growling sky
in the photos flooding social media looks evil-beautiful

a cricketer, 25, has died of a fast ball to the head.
it's a shock, as the summer starts; no lightness expected in this season's leather vs willow

Victoria rolls up her sleeves to vote
on roads-education-police-hospitals-roads;
at least the local schools will make a bundle selling sausages in bread

a baby boy found in a drain, still crying
900 scientists out of work, and the broadcaster we own together
filleted and hung out for drying

copay at the doctors may or may not be a thing;
it depends on which minister you ask, and when

and the Speaker in the House
ejects 18 elected members because they were rude, or something

and yet the world turns
on the whole, indifferent to this chunky backwater and its preoccupations
we are, it must be said,
left to our fate
to know nothing but ourselves.

- Kathy, 27/11/14

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Creative NaBloPoMo #23: A Villanelle for a Sunday

Back to one of my favourite poetic forms today: the villanelle. For a reminder of the rules of the villanelle form, see this post.

the garden sweet as weeds pile high on path
a family, together, tends the soil;
soft lethargy the gentle aftermath.

the mother pigeon, trilling, takes a bath
splashing as she sings of love's fine toil;
the garden sweet as weeds pile high on path.

the air hums with the sound of childrens' laugh
as night demons one by one uncoil;
soft lethargy the gentle aftermath.

a luncheon made of sun and joy; half
blue cheeses, ham and waffles, and good oil
the garden sweet as weeds pile high on path.

the friction rubs of daily life are chaff
deeper truths the aches and pains can foil;
soft lethargy the gentle aftermath.

my strength, my shield, my hope, my rod, my staff,
the best and only answer to turmoil;
the garden sweet as weeds pile high on path
soft lethargy the gentle aftermath.

- Kathy, 23/11/14

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Creative NaBloPoMo #18: Insomniac Dr Seuss

A riff on the last page of Dr Seuss's One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish ... by an insomniac.

And now
good night
It is time to sleep.
I will try to sleep
and fail at counting sheep.

Last night is gone
It was not fun
Tonight will be another one
Every night, from here to there
Shitty sleep is everywhere.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Creative NaBloPoMo #16: Spirit

when I wore flesh I -
pain quite often
fear fear fear
bound in time bound in place



with fondness I recall
touch of air touch of velvet touch of lover
sun on face water in oesophagus
the sound of surf the sound of children
the leavening warmth of fellow travellers on the road

now mated with stars larger than galaxies beyond time beyond place
beyond sound beyond taste touch limit
still, and still,
awareness of delight awareness of beauty of embrace of beloveds

from embodied to enrapt
the only constant, this -

- 16/11/14

Friday, November 14, 2014

Creative NaBloPoMo #14: To sleep, perchance to dream

"Have you considered," she says, her face serious, "that many - most, even - of our symptoms are a result of inadequate sleep?"

I don't won't to be rude, so I just stare at her, while my mind screams "What, you mean extreme fatigue, muscle aches, nerve tingling, anxiety, panic attacks and assorted miserable parasomnias could be BECAUSE I'M NOT SLEEPING ENOUGH? YA THINK?"

"Perhaps if your sleep could be regularised..." she muses. "Although I realise that's difficult, of course."

Oh my God.

I have never known, probably never will know, whether the insomnia and poor quality sleep is born of the post-viral syndrome and anxiety, or if it just wildly exacerbates them (or indeed, is mother to them both). All I know is this:

It physically hurts.

It's psychological torture, being committed by my own brain upon itself.

It feeds itself - the more nights it happens, the more likely it is to go on happening, and so on and so in in dreary ad infinitum.

It has a host of knock-on effects and makes everything ten times worse.

It's a mean trickster, breaking the pattern every few nights to throw in a beautiful, uncomplicated long night's sleep, almost as a tease. Invariably this is followed by the worst of the worst - nights with no sleep at all, or two nightmarish hours from 5 to 7am.

The more overtired you are, the harder it is to begin to break.

I would not wish it on my worst enemy, ever.

(This piece on Cracked sums it up pretty well, I'd say).

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Creative NaBloPoMo #13: The Five Stages of Chronic Illness

In which you struggle mightily to pretend to yourself and those around you that THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NOTHING WHATSOEVER WRONG and IF I JUST GOT A GOOD SLEEP, EVERYTHING IN THE GARDEN WOULD BE LOVELY. Pro Tip: This stage is much more insidious and long-lasting if you're lucky enough to cop a Vague Symptoms condition.

Eventually denial is no longer an option for even the most dedicated of self-deluders, and you end up with:

Otherwise known as whyyyymeeeeee-itis, this is not a very comfortable stage for those around you, but it's actually reasonably energising in its own twisted way. It leads into:

Wherein you try to make deals with life. If I do X, then I will feel better. If I don't do Y, then GODDAMMIT I will be better. If I take this drug and not that one, if I change my diet and my work habits and my entire personality, then I WILL get better.

Except you don't, always. Or you don't consistently. Or you don't fast enough. Which brings us to the worst of all the stages, to wit:

I'm stuck with this, it sucks, my life therefore sucks, and nothing is ever going to be any better. So therefore I will watch every episode of Escape to the Country ever made and cry into my teacup for approximately infinity days.

Slowly, slowly, oh so painfully slowly, you might start to have flashes and moments of:

So I have anxiety, panic disorder and CFS / ME, with a probable hormonal component. This is my reality; this is, in fact, what my life is like at the moment, and may be for some considerable time to come.

All of these things should improve to varying degrees over time, but I may never again have the capacity and energy I had before they all kicked in, and you know what? That is OK. *I* am OK. I am alive and I am loved and I have many moments of joy. I am the best person and parent I can be in my circumstances. I accept me as I am, with all my fault-lines. I accept my body's challenges and I accept that I have to make adjustments, to preserve my spoons, to say no and be comfortable with my own tears.

I don't think people (well, *me*) ever achieve a nirvana of complete acceptance. Chronic illness is a shitty thing to deal with, and it doesn't become less shitty because it becomes less novel. Angry moments, bargaining attempts, and blue days keep coming. (Although I think once you leave denial behind, it's usually gone for good).

But cycling back to acceptance ... maybe that's the hard and painful lesson that I'm being taught through all this. Maybe I am learning to live with an openness to daily vagaries and uncertainty. Maybe I am coming to terms with the fact that "most of what will happen now is way out of our hands / So just let it go / See where it lands..." (Indigo Girls)

I am learning myself, here in this shadowland. I am remaking myself. I would never have chosen it, but now that I must go through it, I will try to take something out of this process that is taking so very much out of me.

And maybe that, after all, is what acceptance really means.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Creative NaBloPoMo #12: Digging in the Dirt

From Peter Gabriel, not me, today. This is exactly, EXACTLY, how therapy feels to me. I'm digging in the dirt, stay with me, I need support / I'm digging in the dirt, to find the places I got hurt / To open up, the places I got hurt...

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Creative NaBloPoMo #11: In Mind (Poem)

It's Remembrance Day today. I always think of my maternal grandfather, who survived his service in the Pacific arena in World War II, but came back a changed man.

In Mind

It would be easy to say
at the going down of the sun and in the morning, we will remember
But it would not be all that true
not every day
or only a few

Cast their thoughts daily to they
who got onto boats, wearing greens and new boots
and sailed away
not knowing what strange and bloody fruits

Would be born of that journey.
what terrors and trials and fearful ends
closed eyes on a gurney
the razing of friends

But we cannot think always of it;
they would not, in fact, wish us so
if they fought for a world fit
for laughter and hubris, and everyday woe

Or even if they fought for their Mum, or their King,
God, country or some other abstract
Or for absolutely nothing
Or to fulfill their dismal social contract

Of manliness. What does it matter why?
They fought. They died. Once a year
Is not too much to commend them to the sky
From us, living legacies, here.

- Kathy, 11/11/14

Monday, November 10, 2014

Creative NaBloPoMo #10: Found Art Poem

It's possible to make poetry from anything, I do believe. This is a poem composed of Google's suggestions for me.

feeling good
feeling dizzy
feeling lonely
feeling inspired

tired all the time
tired legs
tired after eating
tired of life

stressed out
stressed cat
stressed at work

panic attack
panic at the disco
panic disorder
panic pizza

why can't I
why can't I get a job
why can't I lose weight
why can't I own a Canadian
why can't I find love

what is the answer
what is the answer to life the universe and everything
what is the answer to this question

Strangely resonant, Google!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Creative NaBloPoMo #9: New Life

Today's is from nature, not me.

Mother stone's egg hatched :-)

Friday, November 7, 2014

Creative NaBloPoMo #7: A dog story

Everyone has comfort books and comfort series; I, inveterate reader that I am, have many. One of my favourite mental-blankie series has always been James Herriot's All Creatures Great and Small books about his life as a vet in the Yorkshire Dales from the 1930s to the 1970s. I enjoy them for their warmth, immediacy, and vivid picture of a changing agricultural world.

I also enjoy them because my Dad, until his retirement in April this year, was a vet (albeit a surburban one, with a primarily small animal practice rather than farm animals), and I grew up around sick and recovering animals and hearing many similarly bizarre and hilarious stories. My Dad, who is also a talented painter, has no gift or inclination to write, which is a shame, because his memoirs, which he always used to say would be called "All Creatures Grunt and Smell", would be worth reading.

The story below is a thinly fictionalised version of one of my Dad's funnier tales of life in small animal practice in the 1980s, before email did away with the prime importance of paper communications. I wasn't actually present when it occurred, but I could easily have been, as I often did just as I have described below, hanging about in the surgery (attached to our house) and occasionally deigning to do something useful if I ran out of things to read.

The Dog Ate It

The man burst through the door of the surgery and yelled, "I HAVE TO SEE THE VET NOW! This dog needs to vomit!"

As the other clients in the waiting room moved surreptitiously away from the action, my father, the vet, opened the door and said, "Do I understand you to have an emergency? You had better come right -" Before he could finish the sentence, the man had dragged the dog inside and hefted him up onto the table, grunting a bit at the effort.

"He needs to vomit!" the owner declaimed again.

The dog looked fine. Maybe a little surprised to have been dragged in to the clinic and dumped unceremoniously on the examination table, but other than being a bit wounded in its dignity - basically, it was in the pink of health.

I'd been skulking about, drinking tea and scoffing chocolate royals with the cheerful vet nurse who'd worked in my father's practice as long as I could remember, and I could see my Dad's slightly puzzled face through the open door of the examination room as he carefully palpated the abdomen of the clearly untroubled and slightly bored Golden Retriever. "Good boy," he murmured to the dog, and the dog waved its plumy tail gently and panted with the smiley-faced patience of a good-natured animal.

"I'm sorry, Mr X, I don't see what -"

"Doctor! You have to make him vomit! Now!!" bit out the wild-eyed owner, a pasty-looking guy in his latish 20s. (Or maybe older; at 13, I was no judge of men's ages). "I was just going to feed him salt, I should have just fed him salt, but the missus said no and I -"

"You definitely mustn't feed a dog salt, Mr X," said my father sternly. "Salt's very damaging in large quantities. No, if he needs an emetic, I have an appropriate one here, but you need to tell me why you want your dog to vomit. Has he eaten something he shouldn't?" The vet nurse and I exchanged worried glances. "Something he shouldn't" was usually code for rat poison, and the outlook was often poor.

The man groaned and ran a despairing hand across his face. "Something he shouldn't? I should say so, doctor! I should say so!" The dog, panting happily, licked his owner's wrist encouragingly.

My Dad gestured through the door to me, and I slid into the room, ready to hold the dog steady for the shot. Not that I expected much trouble from this goofy fellow. Dad drew up the injection, saying, gently, "Do you know what poison it was, Mr X? If we know what he's had, it can help in the treatment." And in predicting whether he'll die, I thought sorrowfully; I'd seen quite a few dogs and cats not recover from eating poison.

Pasty-Man stared at Dad as if he was talking Swahili. "Poison? He hasn't eaten poison," he said flatly. "God, no. No, no." He fell silent, staring into some alarming future only he could see.

Dad and I exchanged a puzzled look as he withdrew the needle and reached behind him for the bucket. "Well, then...?"

"He ate the mail," said the man in a voice of doom. "ALL the mail. The full enchilada. The whole bl-" he paused as he registered my presence - "blinking LOT."

Quizzically, Dad said, "Well, that's very annoying, no doubt, but -"

"There were three birthday letters from abroad. From my relatives, abroad," Mr X continued. "The ones who usually send money. A lot of money. In cash. In the birthday cards." He sighed heavily. "My aunt in London, she's a prickly old biddy. She expects a thank you letter that refers to all the stuff she told me about in HER letter." He turned puppy-dog eyes on my Dad. "Do you think, maybe, they'll be alright...?"

Just then, the injection kicked in and the poor Golden started heaving, chucking into the bucket until his stomach was empty of all but acid and affront. He gave us all a bitterly disappointed look and lay down on his paws, clearly intending to pretend this entire nasty incident had never happened.

My Dad looked down at the bucket and sighed. "OK then," he said. "Gloves for everyone, and steady as she goes..."

Gagging slightly, I helped my Dad pick through the mess. One by one, we extracted soggy, greenish fibrous objects that might have been paper (oh man I hope that's paper) and laid them out on towels. Mr X was waiting, the picture of tense anticipation, as I trotted back upstairs for the hairdryer and came back down to give the whole lot a going over.

Shape and meaning was restored as the objects dried (one wasn't paper, but let's not dwell on that) and with a happy cry, Mr X pounced on one sad exhibit that was pretty clearly letter-shaped. "Aunty's letter!" he crowed, cradling it gently, oblivious to the pong rising from it. "Doctor, can I borrow something to open it -"

Dad took the letter from him and very delicately sliced open the top with a scalpel. He shook, and two British money notes, miraculously largely intact (if misshapen), fluttered out. "YESSSSS!" hissed Mr X, looking happy for the first time since arriving. Then his face changed. "But the letter..."

Just then, I was called upstairs to assist with dinner preparation. The last thing I saw as I glanced over my shoulder was the Golden Retriever deep in his sulk and Mr X squinting up at the X-Ray light box as my Dad carefully spread the pages out across it. "I think that's a "lovely", don't you, doctor?" said Mr X anxiously.

My Dad just sighed.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Creative NaBloPoMo #6: Mother stone

Back to poetry again for this one.

Mother stone

there is a pigeon who has made a nest very low in the branches of the tree
that overhangs my washing line. patient, she sits,
solid as a warm stone, on her three eggs
oblivious to the dog mere inches below her, who drives himself to frenzy
jumping in twist-turns to lay teeth on her

she's just out of reach
so close so far

I stare at her steadily as I pin wet towels to the line
her jet-bead eyes unwinking, her soft body unmoving
she doesn't  flinch when I come within breath-sharing reach of her
when I brush aside obscuring blossoms to count the eggs below her

she just sits, incubating,
the drive to make life new overwhelming
as intractable as the sun

I am looking forward to the babies

- Kathy, 6/11/14

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Creative NaBloPoMo #5: We are all rocks

This one is just a slice of life, fictionalised, but based on several real conversations.

We are all rocks

The big conference room is emptying now, as people drift away, relief at the end of the interminable meeting visible on most faces. "The bar?" one murmurs to his confreres as they exit. "GOD, yes -"

Packing up my things, I'm struck by the body language of the small, delicate-boned woman beside me. We know each other slightly, professionally, but I'm aware - and becoming more aware by the minute - that something is not sitting well with her today. Her rigidity of posture is a tell as powerful as any I've ever seen. I can feel the ghosts of unspoken things wrapping around my shoulders.

"I was just going to ask you -" she begins, then pauses. "Well, about -"

The mundane matter she raises isn't what she wants to talk about, and I know this, but I play the game, batting the conversational ball neatly to slips as I wait for it.

Wait for it -

"You haven't been well, I hear. Someone said you'd gone to part-time?"

Here it is.

"Yes," I say. "I have been extremely fatigued, and while I haven't got a fully useful diagnosis yet, I'm also dealing with some pretty severe anxiety and panic attacks. Fulltime is just beyond me at the moment."

Her eyes are so tired. Her breathing relaxes.

"Do you have them at night? The panics?" she says softly. "When you're falling asleep...?"

"Oh so much," I say emphatically, the ready tears that are never far away from me forming. "Especially when I am almost asleep. It's so disgusting, it's like -"

" - being punched in the stomach with an adrenaline gun!" she finishes. "Yes! Yes, it's horrible -"

"Are you stressed, too?" I ask gently. She looks so tired. So immensely worn down.

And then she opens the gates, and the river flows down, and I stand steady in the flow, being a rock, being comfort.

Later, I will call one of my own dear friends and wail my frustration, my anxiety, my desperate need to feel better, and she will stand firm, feet planted, in the downpour of my terror and hold me up.

Sometimes granite, sometimes sand. The best we can do is pay it forward, when we can.

- Kathy, 5/11/14

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Creative NaBloPoMo #4: Fan Fiction in CS Lewis's universe - A Great Effusion of Blood

I am a Narnia fan from childhood, notwithstanding the problematic elements of the books and especially that ... interesting ... last one. Even though it's not one of the more popular ones, my equal favourite book in the series has always been The Magician's Nephew - the Narnia creation story - not so much for the interminable Genesis sequence as for the rich and engrossing description of London childhoods at the turn of the last century and for the various side-worlds that Lewis sketches in. (I also love Strawberry / Fledge the cab horse turned Pegasus, and Polly is my favourite of all the female characters in the cycle).

One thing that has always intrigued me in this book is the relatively short, but remarkably potent, picture of the dead world of Charn, from whence Digory and Polly end up bringing the witch queen Jadis into their own world and eventually to Narnia. I've always wanted to know more about Charn when it was alive. This is the first installment of what I think will be three parts altogether - a short story set in Charn just before the final war began.

 A Great Effusion of Blood (Part 1)

"See to him," said the guard captain unemotionally, depositing the tenth hopeless case since morning sacrifices on my floor.

I ran an eye over the shivering mass of raw meat at my feet and allowed a small plosive "Tcha" to seep out. "Banayar, come now," I said, allowing irritation, but not my deeper unease, to colour my voice. "Why do you bring them to me? It wastes all our time. That's not survivable -"

As I spoke, the bloody mess shifted into repose; Banayar, glancing down, said drily, "Well, Oresti. This problem appears to be self-resolving, yes?" He looked full into my face for the first time, and trouble was writ large in his lines. "Perhaps a walk in the market, healer? To - refresh your medicaments?"

I sighed and gestured my orderlies to come lift the corpse away. "And make sure this floor is scrubbed down!" I shouted after them as I followed Banayar through the veiled door of my hospice wing. Banayar caught the softening on my face as I passed the intricate carvings of the spells and incantations on the high stone doorframe that bound the spirits of healing to this place. "Proud of it, you are," he said softly. "Proud to heal." His eyes darkened. "Better so, than to cleave. Especially, to cleave without cause."

I stared at him, amazed. "What under the sky, Banayar -"

"That miserable sod back there, Oresti." He grabbed my arm, gripping tight in his urgency. "He wasn't a prisoner, or a criminal. He'd committed no offence. Hell, he wasn't even a slave." I narrowed my eyes at this - Banayar knew my ideas on the mistreatment of slaves, and largely agreed, even if his acquiescence was based more on the inelegance of wasting money than anything else.

I said, slowly, "Then, who -"

"A guard! One of my own men!" Banayar bit out, as we stepped out into the cool red light of the morning. "Flayed by Her own hand, Oresti, and for naught -"

The chants of the priest-executioner came faintly through the teeming air, giving me pause. "Wait, the morning cull should be well done by now, surely?" He shook his head, but said nothing. "Besides, are we not low on the blood-guilty to -"

Pushing away the importuning hands of a beggar child, Banayar turned to face me, his jaw working. "Resa", he said, and the childhood nickname froze my blood as much as the bleak fear on his face. I sagged back against the green-golden fabric of the fruit-seller's pavillion, redolent with overripe sweetness.

"Banni, don't -"

"I have to. I have to tell someone." Banayar hustled me past the screaming vendors, jostling our way to the herbalist's pitch and the cool, dry corner, cardamom-scented and quiet, where I often twisted little magicks around my fingers while bartering for spice.

"Resa. Listen. There are no blood-guilty left. There haven't been for months now. Those being sacrificed up there -" he jerked his head towards the faintly smoking mountain - "are not -"

I stared at him with horror. "They're just prisoners? Not murderers, just -"

"Not even. Not even." Agitated, Banayar tugged at his hair with a gesture that propelled me back through many years. Banni and I, children together, paddling in the river by my father's villa. Banni and I, young, in the capital together, he training for the guard, I under the impossible tutelage of the master healer Jolande. Banni and I, sharing a dawn in the cradle of my soft bed...

I reached up and touched his cheek. "Tell me, then," I said steadily.

"It's people, Resa. Just people. Slaves, villagers. Beggars, the poor. Drunks and carousers. Anyone, anyone, who She lays her hand upon." His eyes, oh small gods, his eyes.

"But why -"

"Because, healer," said the priest, behind me, twisting me into immobility with a casual movement of his hand, "we are preparing for war, and this demands a great effusion of blood."

Unable to speak, I fixed my gaze on him in despair. A cold fish, like all his kind, he did not blink as he called forward his troop. "Take this guardsman to the pens," he said. "For tomorrow, I think." Banayar's eyes caught mine as he was dragged away. I'm so sorry...

The priest-executioner turned to me. "Now, my lady healer," he said, and his voice was like a slick of unwholesome oil, slithering around my fingers. "What shall we do with you?"

Monday, November 3, 2014

Creative NaNoBloPo #3: Haiku for a dark day

It was not a good day today.

Haiku for a dark day

collapsing, the air
sits tight as a bandage
on thudding ribcage

the world says spring, while
the heart cries a winter that
never melts or ends

every little
filament of nerve and bone
hums with sick vigour

exhaustion blankets
each tiny sussuration
sadness veils the sky

I am weak, weak, and
have forgotten what it is
to be strong and laugh

- Kathy, 3/11/14

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Creative NaBloPoMo #2: A vignette from the Ark

Last year I started writing a novel on a blog. I called it The Ark at the End of the World, and it progressed across 18 installments to what I saw then (and still see now) as about the one-third mark. I was enjoying it, and I had a picture (albeit not fully formed) in my head of where it was going, but then life intervened, in the form of my by-then-hyper-hectic job and a mini health crisis - probably, I think with hindsight, the bellwether of this year's more thoroughgoing breakdown - and I lost the impetus and haven't yet been able to regain it.

The central idea I was playing with in The Ark, and that I'd like to get back to at some point, was around the notion of a two-tiered society where the only divide that had any meaning was that between "regular" people and Ark people. Here, I posited a near-future perfecting of the idea of reproducing human consciousness inside a sufficiently complex computer - the hoary old "downloaded self" thing - and I was trying to unpick how virtual people and embodied people might relate to each other. Crucially, I was interested in the difference between those whose consciousness has an unknown fate (ie "regular" people) and those who, barring technical destruction, expect their personhood to continue forever. How do immortals and mortals coexist? Can they?

Some of the side stories and back stories that inform the world of The Ark never got written and would have no real place in the narrative of the plot as it was unfolding, but have continued to float at the back of my mind. This scene, which is alluded to in the post Interlude: On History, is one I imagined / daydreamed in my development of the characters of Ciro Grady and Jessamy Mercantor. I've never written it up until now, though. NB: I've used the same textual style that I chose to denote inter-Ark communication between virtual people.

Above, A Star

- *roses, bursting*: I come! -

- *exasperation* *affection* Jess, I am working, here -

- *bubbling laugh* You work too much, my Kristeva. Come, look at the stars with me -

- I can see the stars anytime, Jessamy. This code has to get -

- *snort* Has to get written, or the Ark falls? Come, Ciro, that's not so -

- The Ark will stand, whatever we do. The Ark will stand, until ... The Ark stands. *sigh* Why the roses, anyway? -

- It's spring, back there -

- Back...? -

- There, Ciro. Where you come from. Where your soul was born. Life without end, not life without beginning, remember? -

- *frown* I didn't remember. It's been so long -

- Yes. Yes. *touch* Ciro, let's ... -

- Jess, we can't. *gasp* Oh, but I -

- You can, my lover. You can -


- *softly* There's a brightness, I feel -

- Roses are blooming in Copenhagen that was, my love -

- Yes. Yes. Oh, Jessamy -

- *kiss* And above, Ciro, above us -

- *sigh* Above, a star.

- end transmission

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Creative NaBloPoMo #1: Erasure Poem

As I flagged earlier in the week, I have decided to have a go at NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month) again this year. Because this is, let's face it, a sop to myself because I am not able to properly attempt my beloved NaNoWriMo this time, I'm twisting it slightly and doing a Creative NaBloPoMo. Each post is going to be a flutter at some form of creative writing - poetry, short-short story, flash fiction, life sketches, maybe even fan-fiction.

Today, I thought I would try an erasure poem. Erasure poetry is a form of found art, where you take an existing text (a page of prose, a poem, some non fiction text) and erase words to create - or find - a poem. It can result in some unusual and lovely poetry.

I thought I would go back to some cultural and childhood roots and see what I could make of a passage that is already deeply poetic in its own right: Genesis Chapter 2, from the King James version of the Bible. You can see the original passage here. Totally appreciate all the ways in which it's problematic, but the language sings.

The place where souls are born (An Erasure poem)

God formed man of the dust
and man became a living soul.
eastward in Eden
every tree pleasant to the sight, and good for food; 
the tree of life and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.
And a river went out of Eden 

the man in the garden of Eden

It is not good that the man should be alone

the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made he a woman
Adam said:
bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: 
Woman, taken out of Man

they shall be one flesh.
both naked, not ashamed.

- Kathy, 1/11/14