The Truth of the Matter Is

The truth of the matter is fleeting.  The truth is I don’t know.  And this why I normally avoid writing that purports to know, like essays and stories.

I just finished an essay I have been working on for about a year. (In writing time, that is not so long.)

Now it is done and undone.

With creative non-fiction it feels as though as soon as it is done it is false.  That slice of moment of the self that was writing it is gone.

This is true for poetry, but somehow poetry seems okay with being an artifact of the moment, like peeling off a layer of skin, maybe from your thumb where you can spare some thickness of skin, and placing it in a collage of other items, framing it for viewing (no glass as the reader needs to be able to touch and smell the objects) and that is all it intends to be … a slice of a moment to remind us to see those slices.

An essay, however, asserts itself, with all those complete sentences and direct tellings and the bravado of saying, “I know something, so listen.”

A poem says, “I don’t know, so try to figure it out with me.”

See, that is already false.  I can already think of one argument of how that is not true: 1. Writing this essay was necessary to work out my own obstacle, as if I needed to be given permission to be freer and more joyful.   Another is:  2.the wonderfully lyrical essays of Jacqui Morton, who is able to transcend form and invite us in to share her figuring out living (she does a damn good job of it).

So, I wrote this essay, which may or may not hold true, but it holds something that is important to me, so tonight, I am going to send it out into the world because maybe it holds something that someone needs to hear.


Happy, National Poetry Month (not for April’s Fools)!

I have a group of poets who, once again, are attempting various forms of the National Poetry Month Poem-A-Day Challenge.   Some will do a poem a day, some will simply aim to write everyday.

For me, this is the time of year I turn to new prompts.  Here are some I found for the 2014 Challenge (and a few old favorites, perhaps):

Oulipost from Found Poetry Review

NaPoWritMo I might use this first one everyday … could be an interesting series.

Poetry Asides

Poetry Is Everything

WXW 30/30



Wedding Season Begins (with poetry, of course)

This mornings prompt include an Epithalamium (a wedding poem) and a visitor poem.  I am discovering I like to combine prompts as one is not enough direction and form for me, but two create a challenge, a new world.  Kind of like thos 24-hr movies that give 5 parameters.  Anything less would be just like sitting down and writing from ‘inspiration.’  I have little of that lately.

A wedding poem.  My first thought was that God really loves to laugh at me, to mock me, to say something like “I hear you, Lisa, but I am not going to do what you want until it is my idea.”  Sounds all too familiar.   I wrote a poem where I am visiting my own wedding.   It is one of those where poetry seems to cross to far into thearapy and there (or maybe it is the confessional critics voice that I, particuarly as a woman writer, cannot purge completely from my head).

However, I remembered I wrote this poem.  I was the visitor at Khadija Anderson’s wedding (another fabulous poet) and wrote a wedding poem for her, her husband, and their lovely family.   I guess that means I can finish my coffee and continue on my roadtrip knowing day three poem is out.

Horse with No Name

“Can you remember? when we thought
the poets taught how to live?”
from “Poetry: I” by Adrienne Rich

Today’s prompt was to write a poem from the #1 song of the year you were born.  I wanted to get out for my day’s excursion (I am road tripping around CA on my spring break), so I pasted the lyrics of  A Horse With No Name, a song with terrible grammar and fabulous desert imagery, into word with the intention of doing an erasure poem.

As I drove through the countryside of Sonoma County to Point Reyes (the drive to the lighthouse through the park was almost as long as the drive to the park), I this desert imagery contrasted with the fertile landscape of the farms, hills, river, and coastline.  There is a hostility to the desert, a place I love but cannot tolerate, physically, for long.  Equally remote, I thought I could live in the countryside where the rolling green hills, the trees that remind me to not resist the direction of the wind, and the water all make it easier to breathe.

Not sure where to go with this poem.  Maybe I will look at some prompts and hope these contrasts of imagery will come together into something.  Maybe I will rewrite the song with a car and the countryside.  Maybe I will do the erasure.

Update (two hours later):  I went with the map prompt, writing a poem about something I really did not want to  dwell on tonight, ending with this:

I wish my mouth as big as the moon
My lips settle for the crumbs of him.