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Writing About Writing My Work in Progress

I read this morning that Hemingway said that better writers didn’t talk about their writing; I think it is often important to reflect on what one is doing as one writes: metacognition to use education jabber. So, fuck off Ernie.

I started a serial poem back at the beginning of January. The plan was to write 140 poems, each poem’s length is pre-determined by a random number generator, ranging from 3-140 syllables. It was to follow vaguely the rules of a renga, where each poem grew out of the one before it somehow, weather through theme, pun, image, or a reply. The number of poems was determined by the number of syllables in a sonnet. 

I have come to the end of the first “stanza” section—40 poems. The last poem in the section #40, ‘rhymes’ with (39), (20), and (1); as (10) and (30) ‘rhyme—in an attempt to create an overall section unity. I will now begin to move forward with the second ‘stanza’ while collecting and tightening section 1, in hopes that as I reread and work over section 1, the themes and ideas that emerged in section one will echo and grow organically in section two: a conversation between sections one and two, if you will, as section two talks to itself.

Well, it keeps me something to do, and think about if nothing else.

(March 22, 2020)

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one

from a work-in-progress: process, not a journey (37)

for years years ago

I thought about amoebas

.

how I wanted a metaphor

which would work well

.

with the amoeba image

to surround and absorb

.

until there was no difference

to contrast a comparison

.

no space between to slip

a prosaic definition

.

where on wanders safely

through dusted hallways

.

and life’s sharp ambiguity

blends into one

(March 16, 2020)

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excise

from a work-in-progress: process, not a journey (36)

I like the silence of morning the slow hum

of the refrigerator from the kitchen

the soft purr of the cat curling around me

as I wait for the coffee pot to finish 

it is there beneath all of these sundry sounds

that the true weight of silence can be measured

as each strain’s lifted from the cacophony

and there’s nothing left but the strum of our blood

(March 11, 2020)

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Three poems

from a work in progress, “process, not a journey” (33-35)

resonance

the cold rail vibrates

beneath his hand

.

It’s inevitable

he stands and waits

.

Time Enough

patience sips her tea

as she watches

the bees flit and hover

among the roses in her garden

.

a breeze shifts the leaves

to the left and right

.

as above so below

morning breaks

pink and blue

beneath the ragged clouds

as the wind chime

in the chase tree

ripples through the yard

(March 6, 2020)

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with options of desire and defeat

from a work in progress: “process, not a journey” (8)

I don’t want

to be a salmon struggling

upstream to spawn and die

exhausted and decayed

nor

to be swept downstream

with broken branches and silt

into a churning sea

I want to be

a catfish

calm and content

deep within a silent pool

(January 12, 2020)

Prey

Since I am 

no snake

sloughing skin,

I hide my scars 

in an imagined other.

Not the obvious,

oblivious sheep,

but one more wary,

who waits

along the edge

knowing fear,

knowing

like rabbits:

one step left,

one step right,

without calculation,

equals death;

and any

volition ends

with a quick flutter

of feathers,

and the talon’s

sharp pang

lifting one

toward heaven

like a song.

(October 1, 2019)