Sunday, July 12, 2015


Last week the poet, Sandra Soli, tagged me on Facebook, challenging me to write five poems a day for five days, or something like that. Though I had been enjoying this project’s posted poems, I was not entirely “knowed up,” as the folks in western Oklahoma like to say. More to the point I wasn’t “geared up.” Gosh, no!  was my first thought. My second thought and best excuse was that I was late getting my syllabus into Ghost Ranch for the Fall Writers’ Festival course: Writing Rituals. Oh, wait: practice a writing ritual, or think up potential writing rituals for others to try out?

Suddenly, this seemed perfect, but in a different way.  I decided to join in but play the game like my granddaughters do:  make up new rules to suit the situation. As a daily ritual, I would post not a poem but a video clip of simple daily life in hopes one of these recordings would provide a sensory seed for a poem before the week was out. (I realize this minimized the challenge significantly!)
The first one I uploaded was just rain, a torrent of rain I had captured one evening on a friend’s screened in porch a few days before. And, I already had a line that went something like “rain at happy hour percusses like whisky bottles… “
The next day l tried to get my eleven year old grandson to sing and dance and let me video him. Quickly it became clear that was not happening. Like a good director and sympathetic grandmother, I revised my request:  read some of this Star Wars book and move rhythmically while doing it. This consisted of Desmond peddling on an exercise bike and reading to me about the clones, but it produced a lovely, random moment which spoke to me of time and youth and the “outer rim of”

Day three I had to go to work. I’m cataloging and building a database for Laura Warriner’s art books at Untitled Gallery. This work puts me into the most creative light/dark space while doing what I love, routinely. Before I left for the day I took a minute to film the bookshelves, the volumes holding their own among the treasured art. When the windows are open, as well as when they are closed, that loft has a sense of wide open spaces.  “When prairie wind blows in the high gallery windows all the spines and skin and pigment turn toward the natural air. Kinetic everything. Everything kinetic.”
One the fourth day I returned to my summer 2015 obsession : the non-rattler, but no less frightening snake that tried to stare me down at dusk one night. I was going to trap it. I was going to have it caught and killed. I feared it was under my bed at night or hidden in the ironing basket after coming through some leaky pipe of plumbing. Apologies to all of you who listened to me illogically rant reptilian. I’m over it now. Now I look for it in my overgrown yard. I state conditions: don’t sneak up on me, don’t cross the back porch threshold. A minute videoing snake habitat while safe behind my pointed camera has cured me of this irrational fear. Plus, now I have a silly snake poem called HISS.


Here he is again in slithery daylight, rounding my door.
I would never be tempted to follow him out of the garden.
Snakes are potent, kingly with diamonds, sneaky.
Some drop them into poems like charms.
Sans hysteria, my neighbor says get a gun, get a hoe.
Sickened by the thought, I
sand my porch again with Snake Shake .
Satan, I say, don’t trick me into sin, venial though it be.

Here is it day five. Today’s minute-made movie is called, Preparing to Work, or Watch Out, You Might Get What You’re After which is really pretty boring because it's just me heading for my workspace to write while listening to Talking Heads. I think video art is not my forte, but the week was full of play and close looking.  Hooray, I have drafts to work with.  My notebook is happy. Thank you, Sandra Soli, and all you hard working poets who inspire me.