NaPoWriMo Day 25. *
Today, “The prompt, which you can find in its entirety here, was developed by the poet and teacher Hoa Nguyen, asks you to use a long poem by James Schuyler as a guidepost for your poem.” The original prompt asks for a twenty minute free write, “a writing prompt toward the present tense, a meditation in everyday language, that makes room for small noticing and our most spacious perceptions.”
I managed to do a lot of small noticing, but not a whole lot of spacious perceiving. Oh, well. Here ’tis:
Senselessness for the Senses
I wake up this morning to the sound of rain water,
gargling its way through the downspout outside my
bedroom window. I am reminded that I meant to
dig up the concrete block where the downspout ends.
I need to change the grade to send the water outward,
more toward the lawn. I fear it is drowning my foundation,
and someday I will awaken to find myself pouring through
a flooded wall, slipping through the storm drain out on the street,
my bedclothes encasing me like a scuba suit. Would that happen?
This afternoon it is sunny. A cool breeze. The gutter effervescence
is replaced by some neighbor’s gas engine pistoning down the street.
I don’t like noisy gas-powered tools. I like to dig in the dirt. Bare hands.
That’s how you gain the minerals, through the skin.
Brown dirt on brown hands. White fingernails that never manage to be white.
And lots of purple flowers. “Why so many purple flowers?“
It’s my favorite color. But that’s not really why.
The grape hyacinths just multiply every year.
They grow through the crack between my concrete porch and side walk.
So hardy; it would be a shame to remove them.
What else? Spanish bluebells, lilacs, lavender, rosemary… all purple. But later,
the bright orange California poppies will come. And the yellow St. Johns wort.
And dandelions. Always dandelions. The bees like them, so I leave them be.
We coexist. We wild together, in our own weedy way.
The weeds like the freedom of my yard. They can do as they please;
grow, blossom, meditate, and ultimately self-actualize… if they so desire.
Clouds are forming now, and the breeze is picking up.
If I could smell, I might notice someone getting their barbecue ready to burn dinner.
Or someone smoking weed behind the fence. I can’t smell much, though,
so neighbors are free to barbecue their weeds undisturbed by me.
I was to listen to James Schuyler reading his poem, “Hymn to Life” today.
A recording of 34 minutes. I made it to ten. He doesn’t’ sound like a poet.
Not like I imagined he would. Or should. Not that there’s a poet sound.
I seldom read my poetry aloud; it never sounds like I think it should.
Maybe my poetry stinks, but I just can’t smell it. I should listen, I suppose.
I listen. I hear the weeds growing. The dandelion seed heads shimmy in the breeze.
They want to catch the wind and be blown away.
I want to write poetry that blows the reader away.
If I read this writing aloud, will I sound like a poet? Or just like a weed,
self-actualized or otherwise?
An airplane flies over my house in the partly cloudy sky. It smells distant.
I will go inside now and make dinner.