Poetry

In memory of plm sagara

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My writing group lost a member recently and it was a shocking blow. I wrote this poem in honor of plm sagara.

Lifesavers

We ate Lifesavers in the graveyard
and walked amongst the half dead flowers,
clacking like dried bones,
baked from too much sun.

I thought about the lonely fact
that I never knew you well enough
to know if you would appreciate
the irony of the sweetness on my tongue.

There were bodies with the dead,
alive, planting living things in the ground,
soft smiles turned down,
hoping something would grow.

When I was a kid I used to believe
these places were for the long gone
and I could feel the chill of so many ghosts,
breathing down my neck.

Now that I’m older,
wiser maybe,
I know these places are for us,
the ones left behind.

We gather, in small knots of grief,
bent like the wind and the half dead flowers,
over graves that have been forgotten.
Who will remember your grave?

I stand watch in the quiet cool
of a room full of strangers,
writers without pens reading words on walls,
huddled around the white flame of filled blank pages.

I can’t scream about who you were to me,
as people reminisce about who you weren’t,
because I can claim no ownership over the past,
I only know the words you have written.

And the long sigh of a dying breath,
was never mine to witness,
so I eat another Lifesaver
and hope it’s enough to buoy your memory.

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Poetry

Oh to be a clown!

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Oh to be a clown!
By: Star Spider

Oh to be a clown!
To stand, not bow before the king,
to point in jest,
at the ridiculous stature of time,
and its pompous sweeps and swirls.
To unravel all the intricacies,
to reduce, reassemble and reveal,
the absurd delusion we intrinsically suffer.
To laugh where we all cry,
in the face of the unimaginable, the vast, the endless.
To speak the truth where we all lie,
in the face of those we revere, adore and fear.
To slap, slip, slop, burp, fuck, fart, shit, sing, tickle, giggle, dare, dance, dream, do.
To hold the world’s joy tight,
as it tries to wriggle free,
as it squirms, shakes, shivers and wails, tortured and alive.

Oh to be a clown!
To wear the nose, the mask, the face,
of the hundreds who have come before,
who will never come again.
To weep tears of red and blue,
that fill our rivers and our hearts.
To hold sacred our ludicrous childhood memories as they slowly slip away.
To rip open painted skin, day after day after day.
To empty out more and more,
balloons, streamers, handkerchiefs, riddles, questions, answers, laughter, lightness, love.
To keep our smiles tucked away in boundless pockets,
piles and piles of our red lips, white teeth, grinning and full.
To undo the done,
rescue the weak,
conquer the kingdom.
To give away eyes, nose, ears, wings, fingers, heart, lungs, magic, grace, arms, legs, hands, life.

Oh to be a clown!
Clap if you believe in fairies.
Laugh if you believe in clowns.

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Afraid to Speak

ImageI am currently writing a book that is a mix of both fiction and non-fiction.  In the book both Ben and I discuss gender and sexuality and offer our opinions on defining men and women and our own sexuality.

This scares me.

  Everywhere you look there are writers getting in deep shit for writing something contentious, for writing their true feelings or even for tweeting the ‘wrong thing’.  It’s a big bad world out there full of millions of people ready to leap on you for the smallest ‘misstep’.

This clearly isn’t new.  Before the legions of internet trolls and angry groups of activists there were people with pitchforks and torches and before that there were beheadings and scallopings and all manner of painful torment for people who just wanted to express themselves.

I certainly wouldn’t go so far to compare myself with great philosophers who have been murdered for speaking up, but I do know some of my opinions and feelings will be contentious and that worries me.

I’m not one to stay quiet, I never have been.  It’s caused me no shortage of stress of course and on many occasions I’ve been verbally assaulted for my views.  But I just can’t shut up.  I feel the need to say how I feel, say it loud and write it in books and try to get them published so everyone can read them.  It’s kind of a little self destructive I guess.  I mean I could pick something nice and safe to write about, couldn’t I?  But no.  I have to be interested in the things people get riled up about.  I choose to write about sex, gender, abuse, psychopathy, drugs, death.  I choose to write about topics that scare me or make me uncomfortable.

When I’ve really piped up and shared my feelings and thoughts I’ve been called many horrible names and had people go off on me, cease listening and just overwhelm me with their anger.  I’ve even been called a murderer because of some of my views.  But still I go back for more.

I don’t want to be afraid to speak but I am sometimes.  I’m only human, I care about what other people think of me and I don’t want to offend.  But I also want to be true to myself, I want to be honest in my writing and I don’t want to shut up just because the trolls might come banging on my door.

So what’s a girl to do?

Write.  Just keep saying what I want to say.  Because what other choice do I have?  I clearly want to venture onto contentious ground and if I didn’t I wouldn’t be me.

So here are my rules for self expression for those who want to speak up and are afraid to do so:

1) It’s alright to express yourself no matter what.
2) It’s alright to change your mind.  The things you have said in the past might not apply in the future.
3) Feelings are subjective and oftentimes neither right or wrong.
4) Try not to fret over people who refuse to listen or understand your perspective and feelings.
5) Philosophy and practicality are two different things.  It’s alright to discuss things from a top down view.
6) Just say it.
7) If you’ve changed your mind don’t be afraid to admit it.
8) Write, write, write!

How do you get past the barriers of being afraid to speak?

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An Ode to Charlotte

This is a post for www.writesofluid.com’s blog writing challenge.  One blog post a day for all of June!  Check it out at the website or on twitter: @sofluid or #wpad!

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Of all the children’s books I have ever read, Charlotte’s Web is one of the best.

It teaches about death and birth. friendship, loyalty and doing the right thing.  There are talking animals and carnivals with candy floss and caramel apples and Ferris wheels.  It is elegantly simple, well written and heart breaking in both it’s happiness and sadness.

Of all the characters I have ever read, Charlotte is the best.

She is smart, artistic, brave, self-sacrificing and has a take-charge sort of spirit.  She’s a good, loyal friend and ultimately a hero.  She also taught a generation of children not to fear spiders, but to respect them and admire them for their inherent wisdom, patience and perseverance.

So what makes a Charlotte a good character?  Not just a good character, but the kind of character that stays with you throughout the years, long after you’ve put down the book?

Voice:  Charlotte’s voice is strong and unique.  It’s the first thing Wilbur hears when he’s alone in the dark and it immediately jumps out at you as a well defined character.  She’s all there from the very first word: Salutations.

Wit & Wisdom:  Although not essential to good character building, Charlotte’s quick wit and thoughtful wisdom make her stand out.  I’m not sure how much sitting around and thinking I did when I was a kid, so the concept was foreign to me.  But when Charlotte went into her deep reverie and came out with a solution to save Wilbur, I was inspired.  Now sitting around and thinking is one of my favorite pursuits.

Serious Charm:  Charlotte was a serious lady.  She didn’t fuck around.  She loved Wilbur deeply, but didn’t coddle him and that was fascinating to me.  As a kid, surrounded by people talking in baby voices to me and telling me I was cute, the fact that Charlotte took Wilbur so seriously and talked to him like an adult was a revelation.  She had a serious charm about her that has stayed with me.  To this day I try to avoid talking to kids in the baby voice, because I know how mind blowing it can be to be spoken to like an adult.  With dogs though, all bets are off.

Death: (Spoiler alert) Charlotte dies.  It still makes me cry when I read it.  She sacrificed so much for Wilbur and she died far away from home.  It’s sad as hell, but her death makes her memorable.  Like all the great artists who rise to fame after they die, it’s a strange effect death has on us as humans.  The impact of life becomes greater when it’s gone and for Charlotte it was no different.

New Life:  Charlotte leaves behind babies who, in some small way remind us of her.  Their voices are all unique and different, but they still sound like her, occupy a space in our hearts near where her memory lingers.  Death sucks, but Charlotte’s voice lives on in her children and in a way, that’s a small consolation.  I’m not one for having kids, but I can see the appeal of a certain type of immortality through procreation.

Charlotte’s my favorite.

Who’s yours?