Monday, September 28, 2009

Poetry found in the file cabinet

Blooms and blossoms and breezes
The passing of emotion freezes
Trappings and traipsing and the fog clears
Dissipates and destroys fears
Build up to tear down
A constant round and round
Phallic impressions of art
Savage comforts of the heart

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Poetry of Me

That’s Me

My mother wore girdles
Thick, heavy rubber shields entombed her voluptuous curves
Silky nylons cinched tight, seams perfectly straight
In Steel Magnolias Truvy says, “It looks like two pigs fightin’ under a blanket”
That’s me!!

My mother wore long white gloves
Satin or 100% cotton reached tenderly for hidden elbows
White go-go boots tripped the psychedelic disco.
With the Grease y
“…hickey from Kinicky!”
That’s me!!

My mother was appropriate, politically correct
She was polite and properly submissive
Dressed completely every morning
Bathed discreetly every evening
“Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn.”
That’s me!!

My mother listened to the radio, Little Orphan Annie
She loved Shirley Temple and then there was me
She sang “Pennies from Heaven” and “The Tennesse Waltz”
Danced the Swing and the Jive and drank highballs
“La-dee-da”, “We’re on a mission from God”
“Shake it! Shake it like a Polaroid picture”
That’s me.

Flash Non-Fiction

The Beginning of Me

The union wasn’t romantic. It wasn’t the Hollywood tale of a mighty Nordic-type German settler struck by the calm innocence of an Appalachian Indian princess. It was convenient and it was illegal.

William and Sarah’s families immigrated from Germany to Jamestown, Va. and then onto the foothills of Western North Carolina. William and Sarah set out on their own through Cumberland Gap for the open frontier of Kentucky with pots and pans and three children. Together they cut trees and cleared rush filled land to built a one-room home beneath scented pines and beside clear running rivers. They finished just in time for a cold winter and another baby. Sarah didn’t survive either. She died at the ripe age of twenty-five.

It was William Jr. that Millie befriended in the woods. He was ten years old, climbing trees and hunting. He was skinny and dirty but friendly. Millie’s Choctaw family was fighting to keep their lands, but Millie liked to climb trees and swim in the rivers. She was thirteen. William Jr. visited Millie’s home and she his. She helped care for his baby sister and would often cook the wild turkey William Jr. had shot, and the fresh trout from the creek. Her family figured that his family and their pitiful existence was no threat to them. They accepted William Jr. as Millie’s friend, and William Jr.’s house thrived with Millie’s help.

It wasn’t romantic. She was thirteen. William Sr. came down sick from the cold, worn clothing and little food, so Millie cared for and comforted him. One night, lying beside him to keep him warm with her body heat, nature happened and Millie was with child. She was thirteen. There was nothing to do but stay. Millie had four more children before she died at twenty-one.

Whenever someone came around to count them, Millie left for the woods and William Sr. recorded her as his wife, born in Germany. The union wasn’t romantic. It wasn’t the Hollywood tale of a mighty Nordic-type German settler struck by the calm innocence of an Appalachian Indian princess. It was convenient and it was illegal. And it was the beginning of me.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Florida Boys and Northern Black Ice

Everything was going along as usual, that is until she heard the soft rumble of “oh shit” from his chest. There was no time to sit up from the relaxed position of cuddling. She felt the rear wheels slip. She felt the muscles tighten in his arm above her head. She heard the crunch in front when she flew forward, bouncing off the windshield. Then the crash in the rear as she flew backward, bouncing off the seat. A downpour of glass surrounded her and she crunched with it to the floorboard—and still the truck didn’t stop.

Her head hit the underside of the dashboard—then the door with legs twisted and arms yanked twenty different ways, and finally, after what seemed like hours, there was silence. Her body was scrunched in a wadded ball on the floor, but there was no pain. She eased herself onto the seat, testing body parts, slowly finding that each worked and was still attached. She looked out the splintered windshield and saw the left front of her truck missing. In back, the tailgate was crumbled, lying inside on the floor. The entire truck leaned menacingly to the left as if on the edge of a cliff, indicating blown tires, sheared rims, god knows what else. Then, she heard a low sob beside and remembered him.
“Are you okay?”
“Yes,” he whimpered, “but I don’t have a driver’s license.”

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Poetry Formats-Cento

so, i'm taking this month long poetry workshop facilitated by a graduate student from Northwestern that is exploring different poetry formats, something i've long wanted to learn. this is only my 2nd ever poetry class and i'm already learning. i knew about 'found poetry' but had no idea what a true Cento was. a Cento is made up COMPLETELY of other poets words. each line is taken from a different poet and compiled to make something new. here is my Cento:

Bedlam—A Cento
Donna Kiser

Don’t hurry, a secret voice whispered to me.

It doesn’t matter what people say and do;
The crowd has come to see our minds contort.

Beneath the blow of cardboard machetes,
Somewhere on windswept prairies of America
Headstones with words, “ I watched clouds.”

Only women dance barefoot,
Stepping stones at odd intervals
Of iron through the iron edge.
The world rusts around us,
Whistling thinly under the wind vents.

A scream like an old knife sharpened into nothing
Proclaimed the time was neither wrong nor right
With a hysterical, unmarried panic.
This is the house of bedlam,
Ghost-gray. Last night’s cold
Coming about its own business.

I look feelingly into the future

Monday, June 22, 2009

poem of the day

what is yesterday?
what power the past?
if it is forgotten
does it still play today
and command tomorrow?

Sunday, June 21, 2009

my grandfather's hands

my grandfather's hand reach through the thick
steam clouds of America's great iron horses
strong, weathered hands covered in the black crust
of coal dust immune to hot water and lye suds

our fingertips have never met over the years and
tears that flow between the calluses and carpal tunnel
a daughter's freedom fight waged against the old country
rigidity and bigotry smothered the familial and losers all

yet so much of me is scorched by the railroad steel and
the Pennsylvania soil toiled by Germanic stoicism
i am he cupped in those hands that reach silently
he is me flowing through fingertips onto starkness silently

silent stoicism brands us through the centuries with
destruction stil to the familial with only the hope that
past century's lessons learned will last and at last
conquer the stubborn Attila the Hun barbarianism

Monday, June 15, 2009

Mother Blue-Rewrite

much improved!

Mother Blue
Out over misery soaked visions~ “B.B. King” by Sterling Slumpp

I’ve sunk deep,
Deep beneath and I’ve suffered,
Suffered suffocation
Son of my sun
Of dreams unrecognized,
Dreams unrealized
Son of my sun,
I’ve shriveled under the crush
Of dreams deferred, dear son

Strangled by my own clawed hand of guilt
I said, strangled by my own clawed hand of guilt
Dreams deferred.

What do you know?
I ask, what do you know
Son of my sun
Of eternity swallowed whole
By the sorrow of deep-throated grief?
What do you know?
Yeah, what do you know
Of the heave, the gasp, the ache,
The empty bosom of a mother
A bosom pierced and collapsed?

Strangled by my own clawed hand of guilt
I said, strangled by my own clawed hand of guilt
Dreams deferred, dear son.

Have you felt?
I ask you, have you felt
Joy that scratches and scrapes,
Joy that clutches and digs
Digs ‘til her bloody stumps feel
The yellow brilliance
The radiance of dawn?
A dawn that’s but a glimpse
A flicker and back to blackness
Blackness, as her foe despair
Despair chuckles viciously and
Helps that dirty sorrow bury,
Attempt to inter joy forever.
Still, still and again
Joy begins
Begins anew
For she hears the melody
The harmony of hope.

Strangled by my own clawed hand of guilt
Crying, strangled by my own clawed hand of guilt
Dreams deferred, dear son.

Hope, son of my sun
Hope that sings a cheery do-wop
Hope that sings background
To faith that dances
Dances a polka, a twist,
Faith, cloaked in vivid,
Vivacious, passionate red inspiration.
Together, yeah together
They thump and pump and sing.
They sing, they dance a jig
A jig that tramples dark despair
And that seedy sadness beneath strong,
Strong, quick tapping toes.
And while they bump and sway
Joy’s bloody stumps reach again
Reach and clasped tight
Inside the blue electric jive
The tingling tango
Of faith and hope.

Guilt asphyxiated, son of my sun
I say, yeah, guilt? Guilt asphyxiated.

New Poetry

Communication With Children

Communication with children is
A drowning scream for help
Beneath gallons of contaminated waters.

It is Bill Clinton’s, “I did not have sex with that woman.”

It is the banner waving wildly on the USS Lincoln
“Mission Accomplished.”

Communication with children is
The picture in the dictionary of
The tail wagging the dog.

It is a “Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius.”

It is the motto of the Chicago Police Department:
“To serve and protect.”

Communication with children is
The protection of a tree during
A lightening storm.

It is the unopened parachute with a small stain.

It is running with scissors on ice.

Communication with children is
The voice of eternity saying
“This hurts me more than you.”

It is the pure ecstasy of a needle in the eye.

It is the red heat of a bleeding hemorrhoid.

Communication with children is
A double fudge brownie, whipped cream topping,
Smothered with rich, velvety, chocolate ice cream―

For a diabetic.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Past family stuff

Where Were You in the summer of 1977?

1977 was the year Kunte Kinte showed the pride of his roots to the world. While my roots were ripped from tender ground, shook clean and tossed into the great salad of weeds. News from Utah was first since death penalty reinstated, requested death by firing squad, expelled rabbis and reverends. Chicago news was grim, complex, unknown. Young mother of two, widowed unexpectedly, abandoned by all including rabbis and reverends.

Adinamis Funeral Home, Western and Leland, overflowed with top hats and canes; royal blues and blacks; and strong, silent old-timer fedoras. July 1977, steamy concrete beneath crushed Kool’s and roaches; inside, I wanted only to fix his hair. I stared at handfuls of coarse Irish, German, Italian hair. Autopsy, mortician said. Cut off the top of his head, he said. Smirnoff called and I answered. We were inseparable lovers for the next four years.

1977, the 25th anniversary of Saturday mornings with Dick Clark; and Luke Skywalker left home to save Princess Leia from Darth Vader. Bouncy, swinging, and intriguing time, and I dreamed of a time he’d bound in the door to proclaim what a good hoax that was. Dreams of the striking face, the chiseled torso, conga drum hands, shattered by secret calls, and mob ties. World slowly crumbled, Supremes performed for the last time, Elvis died, and 19th nervous breakdown ricocheted off cerebral walls, while lustful father-in-law ordered Wisconsin retreat to recover.

Dreams lost, lovers lost, and children’s daddy lost. Innocence too jaded for loss.

Family Stuff

Finished the BA in December and walked last month--at 52 years old. Headed to Graduate school now. But more than anything there have been tons of family "issues" that have been informing my writing. And I HAVE been writing even though I haven't been posting. Poetry and thanks to "permission" from Stuart Dybek during a lecture, I've started on an autobiographical novel. But here's the most recent family stuff.

Mother Blue
Out over misery soaked visions~ “B.B. King” by Sterling Slumpp

I’ve sunk beneath and
Suffer the suffocation of oblivions blackness
Don’t tell me, son of my sun
Of dreams unrecognized, unrealized
Son, I’ve shriveled under the crushing weight
Of dreams deferred, dear son

Strangled by my own
Choked by the clawed hand of guilt
Dreams deferred, dear son.

What do you know
Of sorrows deep-throated grief
Who swallows eternity whole?
What do you know
Of a mother’s heaving, gasping, aching,
Empty bosom, pierced
And drowned by the floods?

Strangled by my own
Choked by the clawed hand of guilt
Dreams deferred, dear son.

What do you know
Of joy who scratches and clutches,
Digs until her bloody stumps feel
The yellow brilliance of dawn?
Even when it’s but a glimpse and
Back to blackness as despair
Chuckles viciously and that
Dirty sorrow buries joy forever.
Joy begins anew
For she hears the harmony of hope.

Strangled by my own
Choked by the clawed hand of guilt
Dreams deferred, dear son.

Hope that dances a polka, a twist,
Hope that sings a cheery do-wop,
Sings energy who is cloaked in vivid,
Vivacious, passionate red inspiration. Together
They thump and pump and sing. They sing
And dance a jig that tramples dark despair
And that seedy sadness beneath strong,
Quick tapping toes.
And while they bump and sway
Joy’s bloody stumps reach again
This time clasped and held tight
Inside the blue electric jive of energy and hope.

Guilt asphyxiated, dear son.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Mothers of Incarcerated Sons

October 2008 I began a free weekly writing workshop in Chicago for mothers who have or have EVER had a son in prison. I even received funding for the publication of the complete anthology titled "Mothers of Incarcerated Sons Speak~M.I.S.S."

The group meets at the Howard Area Community Center, 7648 N. Paulina, Room 2, every Thursday from 6-7:30pm.

I had several inquiries from mothers outside of Chicago who were very interested in the group, so I started MISSspeaks Yahoo group.

Click to join MISSspeaks

Inspiration from Blaga Dimitrova

Yesterday I was emailed a link, something that happens ever so much with email--"check this out," or "we think you'll like this." Oftentimes, I just hit that delete button, as I'm sure most others do as well. Fortunately for me, I followed the link and was so inspired I wrote immediately afterward, something that hasn't happened for quite awhile, obvious by the lack of entries in this blog (or any other).

The link was to an Interview with Blaga Dimitrova’s Poetry by Farideh Hassanzadeh-Mostafavi.

It was an interesting article and a unique way to conduct an interview--by using the interviewee's poetry as the answers. I read the entire article and then wrote a piece of poetry about poetry, words and images that just came, lit with the passion of reading good poetry.

I Steal Lexes

I steal lexes.
Deliberately plucked
from the cosmic garden.
Inspiration flows from the pilfered
imbibes me with the soul
of the owner, the owned and
the released.

As Prometheus
who dared to steal from the gods,
I too embrace idiom's fire,
happily scorched with the brilliance,
engraved with the eternal language
of those before, those beside, and
those in dreams.

I am frozen on the ice floe of
continuous sheets of slick, sterile
whiteness, only to be thawed
by the bristling and whirling heat
as meaning sprouts from the nothingness,
and Phoenix spreads wing over the ashes.
I steal lexes.

Format and syntax and metre confined
within Pandora's box, released at will to
express the last, the essential, the hope
that my revelation is dispatched refined.
Articulated with the reverence of a call
carved on the prison wall, a letter
written with deaths' hand.

I steal lexes.
Grasped and gathered by the muse
slave fingers, bloodied with the quest.
She is driven with the passion and lust
into the dark fields of babble to emerge
with blossoms and fruit that feed the
insatiable hunger of the master huntress.

The voracious feast begins, tearing asunder
the plant, discarding the weeds, the waste,
to reveal the succulent heart of meaning
that drips with the addictive sweetness of
unquenchable knowledge, absorbed and
discharged to the fervent masses who devour
and regurgitate the plunder.