Friday, June 29, 2018

Some Sort of Life Crisis

Hello internet,

Are you there?

No matter, I'll just write this poem here for you whenever you happen to stop by.

The other day I was driving on the highway
And we saw a car fire.
My sister called 911
A firetruck arrived
The fire was extinguished
We went about our day.

But today, I can't help but feel
That my life is that burning car
And I am the driver standing nearby
Helplessly watching it go up in smoke
Uncertain and unaware of where or how to go.

My life is not what I expected or anticipated
Or anywhere near what I would like it to be.

But I am stuck and I don't know how to go where I want.

You're not stuck.

I am. I'm stuck.
I can apply, apply, apply for jobs
And not get them.

I am working a job anyone could get
with a clean background
and a high school diploma.

My college degrees were in vain.
Wasted time. Wasted money.
Loans that seem insurmountable.

I think of that story
With the train
That just thought really hard
And tried really hard
And got over the hill.

I really liked that story as a kid.
I tried to live out that story as I grew up.

But I did not crest the hill.

They will tell you if you try hard enough
You'll get it
But that isn't true.

You've got to have the right stuff.
And I don't.
I don't have the experience.

And I've applied for jobs that I would like
That don't require experience
But if someone else who has experience applies
They will get the job.

So I guess I need to volunteer.
I should have volunteered and interned while I was in school.
I should have done more.

Getting a degree does not guarantee you a job


It doesn't even always guarantee you an interview.

I'm not saying college is a waste
It's just you've got to have the experience too.
So you have to volunteer and have a job and get internships
AND study and go to class.

Then maybe you'll be able to get a job that uses your degree.

And suddenly I feel like I've done everything wrong.
I studied hard but that wasn't enough.
I had an internship but that wasn't enough.

And it all kind of boils down to this massive feeling
I am NOT enough.

And so my life feels like a car on fire.
And I am twenty-five
And having some sort of life crisis.

If you couldn't tell, I'm feeling down,

Monday, April 30, 2018

NaPoWriMo 2018 Finale - Hummingbirds

The strangest sight I have ever seen
Was a hummingbird
Sitting on a twig

They whir by our heads
Sounding like a motor
At speeds up to thirty-three
Miles per hour.

Of course everyone knows
That they drink nectar from flowers
But did you know
Their tongues move in and out of their mouths
Thirteen times per second!

The most famous, the smallest of birds
Always in a hurry
Does everything so fast
Even its metabolism
A hundred times faster
Than an elephant's

But of course
If you know
That metabolism
Increases as size
Then that's no surprise.

But perhaps the most
Thrilling thing about
Is how their feathers
Bend light
To make them

Inspired by watching hummingbirds at the feeder and today's final (how sad!) NaPoWriMo Prompt to write a poem that incorporates interesting or strange facts.

For more interesting hummingbird facts (also the source of the facts presented here) check this page.

Dear readers, if you know of other writing challenges (or perhaps just have a personal challenge for me) please let me know in the comments. I've so enjoyed this challenge and will miss it quite a bit.


Sunday, April 29, 2018

Penultimate NaPoWriMo 2018 - Asthmatic Poem

Asthmatic Poem

Blue lips
Purple fingernails
How I gasped for air that night
Sometimes breathing is a losing fight

It is a strange and odd thing
When your body turns against you
When it grows angry
And inflames
So your lungs don't work the same

I walked into that angel's arms
Here doctors, nurses worked to mend my harms
See the triage nurse
Right away she sends you back to a room

Soon you'll pose
Like a prisoner
Before a screen

And finally

Needle into arm
Mask over face
Breathe deep little one
Ignore the pains

Soon you will be right as rain.

Bronchial tubes perpetually inflamed
Trigger exposed
Tubes swell
Muscles constrict
Mucus produced
Isn't that an odd trick?

Yes, my body turns against me
And my muscles contrict
Around my lungs
Like a snake around its prey

Its even called bronchoconstriction
Shouldn't that be the name of snake?

Take a cocktail
Of bronchodilators
And corticosteroids
Sounds like chondrichthys
But not nearly as cool.

Some of the medicines taste just fine
Like that oddly good taste of liquid albuterol
But the acrid flavor of prednisone liquid won't do at all.
It was so bad, my mother would follow it with
spoonful of sugar - sweet

Now every day I must take
a luekotriene receptor antagonist
At least that sort of sounds cool I guess.
When I was a child I took it chewable
It's flavor - cherry - was quite doable.

Now I'm adult and I have to take it swallowable
But it doesn't taste bad - just quite bland.
And I suppose it works better than anything
And it doesn't elevate my heart rate
Like my inhaler - it gives me the shakes.

Sometimes it still strikes me
I remember there used to be a commercial
Where a child claimed
"Asthma is like a fish out of water."
I've always disagreed

Rather it is like
Someone stuck a hand in your chest
And made a fist around your lungs
It is quite unpleasant.
But it is what it is.
At least it's not as bad as when I was a kid.

So this one was a stretch. The penultimate prompt (cool word! sad circumstance) was to pick one of Sylvia Plath's poems and write a poem that is inspired by it and well . . . I sort of did. I selected Among the Narcissi which mentions "something on the lung" and "tries his breathing" so I produced this poem about my experience thus far with asthma.

Deep Breaths,

Saturday, April 28, 2018

NaPoWriMo 2018 - Day 28

The prompt on this 28th day of April was to write a postcard poem, which apparently is a prose poem that "captures a moment in time with a strong sense of place," is addressed to someone and is brief (for more types of poem see here).

Dear past/present Sharon,

I know you are longing for the future. I know you are impatiently awaiting that time when you have a house and a husband and a job and maybe a child. I know, at the very least, you really want a job and a small house with a fenced back yard for your dog. I know you can't wait. I know you are rushing, rushing, rushing forward, just like you always have. I thought you'd learned the lesson finally, but you haven't. Enjoy the present. Enjoy the time being. Enjoy where you are. Stop. Take a breath. Look around and enjoy. Stop looking at your situation with anxiety and trepidation. Embrace your situation. Realize that you are not trapped - you are free. This chapter of life has value too - and one day you will (sometimes) long for it. Even in your worst days, there is good in this situation. Relax, breathe in, enjoy.

With love,
Future Sharon

Friday, April 27, 2018

NaPoWriMo 2018 - Day 27

Today's prompt threw me for a bit of a loop as I really know nothing about tarot cards. But anyway, I eventually settled on the fool as the description contains the phrase "the spirit in search of experience" which I can quite relate to.

If the fool is the spirit in search of experience
Then I suppose I am the fool
I spent my days in school
I studied hard, I took good notes
But grades on transcripts and diplomas
Don't amount to much
Without that hot commodity

Unemployed then underemployed
Yes its been almost a year now
I lack the experience
To do the things I need
To succeed
At least in mine own eyes.

I apply to jobs and on and on
Over and over
It seems like it ought to be my turn

But the world doesn't work that way
It just turns on and on.

So I go on and on
Journeying on
As the spirit in search of experience.

The frustrating thing
The irony
The impossible thing
The paradox that haunts and taunts me:
In order to get the experience I need
I am in need of experience.


Thursday, April 26, 2018

NaPoWriMo 2018 - Day 26

Berry Dreams
I had dreams
Berry dreams
Dreams of cobblers
And jams.

So I went in the yard
And worked oh so hard
Picking those berries
From their canes
Those bright purple, black berries
From their thorny, thorny canes.
And it was nearly impossible
Quite impossible
To pick a berry
Without feeling
That sharp quick pain
Of the thorn pricking your finger
And it stung too.
Not as bad as a wasp
But maybe like a bee.
My fingers were sore and red and pricked
By the time I was through.

I carried my prize inside the house
And set to work in the kitchen.
Rolling and stretching out the pie dough
Pressing the soft, delicate dough
Into the cool glass pie pan.
Then I rinsed my berries
Under the cool, clear water.
Dumped them in a bowl
Mixed in some sugar and cinnamon
And dumped the filling in the pie.

I layered the top piece of dough
Wet my fingers,
And methodically, carefully
Sealed that soft dough shut,
Crimping it as I went.
I cut holes for vents.

And opened the oven
I felt the blast of heat on my face
And thought of the pizza oven
That I thought a dragon lived inside as a child.
I placed my pie in the middle,
Set the timer
And went in the living room.

I waited,
And waited
And waited.

Til I heard that
Shrill, little
Beep, Beep, Beep.
The oven timer
Is always in more of a rush than me.

I pulled the pie out
Covered the nicely
golden browned edges with foil
Working quickly
Feeling the heat of the pie plate
On my fingers
The heat hastened my pace
So I wouldn't get burned.

Then into the oven the pie returned.
And I waited again
for the impatient and piercing
Beep beep beep
Of the oven.

Padding into the kitchen
I smiled
At the cinnamony, bready
And bright smell
Permeating my kitchen.

I pulled out the pie
Lightly browned on the top
The berries and sauce bubbling
Reddish purple
Through the steam holes.

I sliced that pie
And served a piece
The juices spread out on my plate
And I ate a tantalizing bite
The crust both crisp and tender
The sauce was both tart and sweet
The berries somehow both firm and soft
And the seeds of course were grainy, but pleasant
I savored each bite
The cinnamon and sugar imparted
A light spiciness and sugar sweetness
But the berries' bright tartness shone.

That night I dreamed
Dewberry dreams.

Today's prompt was to write a poem that spoke to all five senses and well, I've tried.

Happy writing! And berry eating.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

WARNING (NaPoWriMo 2018 - Day 25)

Gets very hangry
Feed regularly; have snacks on hand.

May be frustrating but
She can't always make up her mind.
Sometimes she can't tell you what she wants
But can tell you what she doesn't.
This may be frustrating.
Use patience.

Doesn't like repeating herself
Listen carefully and closely.
Know what she said the first time.

Sometimes may seek solitude
It's nothing against you,
She just needs her alone time
Let her have it.

She will eat it.
Do not get between her and her chocolate
You will regret it.
She is a shameless chocoholic.

Today's prompt was to write a warning label for yourself. And in the spirit of getting to know each other a little better, I thought I'd answer the questions Maureen has asked poets in the NaPoWriMo Interview (I've even included a writerly author bio following the format of said interviews - not sure what I'm talking about? See one here.)

Sharon has many half-baked novels, but many more fully formed poems. She created her first (and only) chapbook, Tidbits, in her Creative Writing class her junior year of high school. Her work has been published in the local newspaper, a TPWD wildlife newsletter, and the 2017 Seaspray Literary Journal. She also freelance edits.

1. Why did you begin writing poetry? Why do you still?
I've been telling stories my whole life. I started writing as early as I could. I was introduced to poetry in the fourth grade (everyone else liked Shel Silverstein, I was and am a fan of Jack Prelutsky). I'm not sure when I started regularly writing poetry, but I do remember writing some poems in 7th or 8th grade that were embarrassingly lovey-dovey, mushy-gushy.

I've kept writing poetry because I've found it helps me to process things: events and emotions, both personally and at a larger scale. Not to mention, I just really enjoy writing.

2. What is the best piece of writing advice you've gotten? The worst?
I'm not sure I've really gotten much writing advice. I do remember in 7th grade, my English teacher encouraged me to be more descriptive in my writing by writing what I know.
But I think the key to writing is the same as what my mother once told me was the key to art: you have to know when to stop adding to a poem. You have to recognize when it's done. It can be difficult, but practice (and revision) helps.

3. How did your new book come into being?
New book? Are you a prophet or a soothsayer? I don't know, but I'll let you know if there ever is one.

4. Is there a generative prompt, practice or ritual that you find particularly helpful, or that you would recommend to students, friends, or other poets?
I find writing to prompts incredibly useful. Or writing about something I've had an emotional response to. I think the most important thing is to write. But if you insist. . . I love NaPoWriMo and I think one of the prompts I enjoyed the most was this one from 2015 that encouraged us to take a well-known poem and write a satire or parody of it. Here's the poem I wrote in response to that prompt. The way I approached it, I think could help you master unfamiliar poem forms (like that of the Poe's The Raven).

I can't believe the month is almost over!