(their own fire)

photo (1) copy 2.

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to get their own fire they abandoned time the cold bed

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Wow. I did it. Posted every day in February. Thanks to all who came to hang out with me again. I’ll probably be dialing down the frequency a notch now but I’m not going away because I remembered that I actually like this stuff. And you. (Though I think I’m done with erasing “Melissa” for a while because man, doing that hurt my head. And Taylor Caldwell’s prose like to kill me.)

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Also, send me some polar vortex poems.

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In Which I Go Stir Crazy Enough to Invite Random Strangers to Send Me Poetry

polar vortex
the thing I won’t touch
at the back of the closet


Apparently on a global level it was actually quite toasty this winter but that is not really a subject you should bring up in polite company in Wisconsin. This winter, anything above ten degrees Fahrenheit here has been a cause for moderate celebration, and above twenty we would just leave our coats at home and go picnic on the shores of the forlorn frozen lakes, except that above twenty pretty much never happens. Right now the polar vortex is visiting us for the third time in two months, or is it the fourth, and if it weren’t for the fact that “polar vortex” is such a fantastic kigo, I’d be in the depths of despair.

Actually, I love the term “polar vortex” so much, and am additionally so desperate for social interaction, even if all it involves is talking about the weather, that I’m going to throw a challenge out there. Polar vortex me, baby. I mean, write a haiku or two (or I don’t care, tanka, haibun, haiga, what have you) using the phrase “polar vortex” and send them to me, reddragonflyhaiku AT gmail DOT com, by…let’s see…March 4th. March Forth.

Then on…let’s see…March 8th, which is International Women’s Day, not that that has anything to do with anything but I’m making this all up as I go along because I’m bored, I’ll publish whichever ones I feel like publishing on this blog. That will probably be most of the ones I get but, you know, I can’t promise anything. I’m unreliable like that.

Don’ts: Don’t send me anything you think you might like to try to publish later in one of the journals that doesn’t accept work that previously appeared in public. Don’t worry, you get to keep the copyright to your work. Don’t be dissuaded if you have not actually personally experienced the polar vortex, except that in that case I hate you, unless you’ve been experiencing something equally horrific like a drought or a flood, which most of the world seems to have been. Oh, and also if you have any art related to the polar vortex that you would like to share, feel free to send that along too. Don’t forget to tell all your friends, unless you have better things to talk about with your friends than the weather.

Okay, I’m done talking now. Run along and write. Is it cold enough for you?


inside me there’s another reason polar vortex

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(slippery)

I’ve always cried easily (although never literally at the drop of a hat, in case you were wondering). I went through a couple of hard years where I never skipped a day, half a day, a quarter day, of crying. I don’t cry quite that often any more, but I probably still cry several times a week, several times a day on bad days. Or good days. The crying can be because of good things too. Crying, for me, is the more or less inevitable result of feeling things. I’m actually not quite sure how people prevent themselves from crying, other than preventing themselves from feeling. It sounds challenging. It’s just not me, what can I say.

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halfway down the river where no river ever was

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People who don’t cry easily, I’ve found, tend to become extremely alarmed by crying people. Sometimes offended. Sometimes angry. A lot of people, I guess, think that you’re crying on purpose to make them feel bad? Or make them do something they don’t want to do? When I was a child I heard the phrase “crocodile tears” a lot. There’s a lot of fear in that phrase. The idea, I guess, is that crocodiles don’t really cry, they just pretend to in order to lure you in close and then eat you. Wow. I guess crying is pretty scary. Well, it is salt water. Potentially corrosive.

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they close my eyes to remember me away

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My father, when he was alive, cried easily too. I know a lot of people never see their fathers cry but I can’t count the number of times I saw my father cry. He was a sad man but, like me, he didn’t cry only because he was sad. Feelings just kind of flooded him — I’m guessing here, extrapolating from my own experience, and also from what I observed about my father — and overflowed from the tear ducts. Good feelings, bad feelings. They’re all the same, really, an excitation of the nervous system.

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mere anarchy a memory

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Our nervous systems are, were, a little off-kilter. I can’t imagine how much harder this condition must have been for a man born in 1939 (boys don’t cry!) than for a woman born in 1969. My father spent a lot of time in valiant battle with his nervous system without quite understanding, until very late in his life, that that was what he was doing. When the tripwire of your nervous system is pulled it feels like you’re either dying or losing your mind or both, but since with the remaining rational portion of your brain you can (sort of) tell that this is not really what is happening, you believe that you must attempt to conceal this feeling from the rest of the world.

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We emptied out a bag, a box, a bowl. A brain.

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The fierce concentration that is required to pretend, much of the time, that you are not feeling the very powerful and terrible things that you are feeling tends to result, regrettably, in one’s appearing intensely irritable and being nearly impossible to live with. My father was nearly impossible and when I was a child, an adolescent, the fact that I fully realized how much I was like him only made me more enraged that he was so crabby and moody and difficult and obnoxious. My rage didn’t keep me from loving him, however. And now that I think back on it, it may have been that crying, all those bitter, salty tears I saw him shed, that made it possible for me to understand that he wasn’t mean so much as overwhelmed by his feelings.

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carting out the slippery remains of remembrance

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we’re on Cape Cod and my hair, attacked by salt and wind and waves and sun, is a terrible mess, so my father takes out his comb and goes to work on it. if it were my mother combing, or anyone else really, I’d be kicking and spitting because I hate people doing things to my hair, it hurts and I have to stand still and I feel like I’m going to jump out of my skin. but somehow my father knows and has always known exactly how to comb my hair so it doesn’t hurt at all. he’s very careful, in this one small way, not to hurt me. I relax and close my eyes while he silently removes every knot, every tangle. for these fifteen minutes our minds are exactly where our bodies are and it feels like they might be there forever. combing the salt out.

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somebody’s jesus just like this scar

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sand, missing

The spam blog commenters are getting really creative–it seems that in their efforts to be misidentified as real people they are using bots to scrape text off websites or somewhere and mash it together at random. Sometimes this results in banality and sometimes in eerily beautiful stuff I can only call auto-generated found poetry. Man, I wish I could suppress my rational mind long enough to write stuff like this.

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Mustard jogged his or her hands and wrists delicately bust, leaving behind them yelled, his or her lose faith, he / she used some a long time clear of metropolis, he / she seemed to be absent, having agony in addition to hoping, this coach started off, appreciate, appears to be to not ever far too.

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Through the Red , never expect to leave a name and a surname, heart, such as the horizon, we see everything through the scenery , do not want to disturb anyone , waved his hand , whether right or wrong, regardless of nostalgia or not, everything is floating in the back of the head .

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In fact , sometimes, some things need to remember, however , we’ll never forget !Perhaps street street Red, no one will ever hold is maintained , those passing years , such as sand , missing ; smoke, drooping ; dream, disappeared.

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Now we finally know what it meant to her jealousy , envy is to your heart , your thoughts and everything , like the clothes wringer like crumpled , it hurts , it hurts , it hurts , really hurts

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No fair

I feel like any day now you’ll write a note
to say forget all that deepest regrets
etc. etc. 
and while reading it I’ll be seized
no I mean literally from behind
by the hair

and it’s the one I meant to all along
it’s the one apostle they always thought
would give in someday
it’s that one buck someone saw
back when summer no fair shooting
twelve points

I mean to say you know what I mean
but since we’ve both forgotten
why not drive
out into the country where the hills
make you slightly sick riding over them
and ride, over them

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Yes I blatantly more or less stole the structure of this poem from John Berryman who JOHN BERRYMAN. Sometimes when I read the work of poets I really love it hurts, literally. Not in a jealous way but just, I don’t know. Aesthetic pain. Goodness hurts. You know what I mean, right? Is it just me? Please tell me it’s not just me. 

This is why it sometimes takes me longer to finish reading books of poetry I love than books of poetry I’m meh about. I’ve been known to take two years to finish a book of poetry I really love because I can’t read more than a page without feeling like I’m having a heart attack. Heavy feeling in chest, shortness of breath. Not that that would be a bad way to go. Death by poetry. Just not yet, oh no, too much to write, too little time, too much love.
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