Tuesday, August 31, 2010

93 and Final

Poem of the Day:
"Lifeboat, Wingspan" By Steve Healey
10 Mississippi

Healey's poem is of an Inception-scape, pulsing through the intricacies -- and dangerous dreadfalls -- of a dream world. He writes of "his city on the Mississippi" (line 1), in which the weather can be anticipated by the shifts in his body: "When my head feels light, it rains on Monday" (line 8). It is this line that first tells us, in explicit terms, that Healey's city is built entirely of the mind, a construct of the speaker's imagination.

My summer city was real. You can point to Boston on a map; and Cambridge; and my house, that northern tip of the Charles. My over-referred to daily grind was real -- grittily so -- as was my internship, and the numerous people I met and got to know.

At the beginning of this project, or challenge as I like to think of it, I posed the cliché "A poem a day keeps the...away," hoping that at the close of these last three months I would have a filling for this blank. And, I think I do.

"A poem a day keeps the fugue away." Although the last month or so of keeping this blog became, at times, tiresome, my days became easier to recall. Because small moments had been pulled out, and then likened to published works of poetry -- sometimes more successfully than others -- my days were sharper in my memory: a new, more state-of-the-art summer lens.

The final line of Healey's poem is "I'm ready for the pluvial air" (line 37). It follows a violent dissipation of his self-created (inflicted?) dream world ("When I deny having a sister, the sun/burns her skin") and serves as a final release for all of the pent-up (literally, mind-sequestered) images that make up the piece.

"I'm ready for the pluvial air."

Well, I'm ready for the blogless air.

For the time being, at least.

A Poem A Day Audrey

Monday, August 30, 2010

Moving On, New Spaces

Poem of the Day:
"Wolf Lake, white gown blown open" by Diane Seuss
Wolf Lake, White Gown Blown Open

I am back in Horsham for a brief pause before I move back to Wesleyan for my final year. The drive from Boston today was long, and I am glad to be home and with my family.

Regardless, I can't help but keep looking ahead. Bad habit, maybe. I've begun a mental planning of my new space at Wesleyan -- a beautiful, beautiful house! -- and I've been reading design blogs in hopes of being inspired. I'm feeling an English countryside chic right now, a lot of whitewashed surfaces with spots of green, blue and yellows -- my own personal field.

Seuss begins her poem with my colors, writing, "White sky, a tinge of blue,/birds like silver crucifixes/children wear at their First Communion" (lines 1-3). She also captures the softness that I'm aiming for, with the image of a young child receiving Communion for the first time -- a portrait of innocence and holiness.

The remainder of her poem departs from these initial colors, though the feel is much the same ("the woody stems of the cattails hold/the earth steady"). I might just use her words as my artist's brush. I like the idea of formulating interior design with poem as spark.

Look for me in Bed, Bath & Beyond with my shopping cart, and printed-out poem.

A Poem A Day Audrey

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Cirque du Fro

Poem of the Day:
"Thirty Lines About the Fro" by Allison Joseph
River Styx, Number 81, 2010

Tonight, my mother and I saw Cirque de Soleil's Ovo, a spectacle of grace and precision. It was nothing like a fro -- certainly not out of control and wiry, but a fluid rigidity.

Thirty Lines About the Fro

The fro is homage, shrubbery, and revolt—all at once.
The fro and pick have a co-dependent relationship, so
many strands, snags, such snap and sizzle between
the two. The fro wants to sleep on a silk pillowcase,
abhorring the historical atrocity of cotton.
The fro guffaws at relaxers—how could any other style
claim relaxation when the fro has a gangsta lean,
diamond-in-the-back, sun-roof top kinda attitude,
growing slowly from scalp into sky, launching pad
for brilliance and bravery, for ideas uncontained by
barbershops and their maniacal clippers, monotony
of the fade and buzzcut. The fro has much respect
for dreads, but won't go through life that twisted,
that coiled. Still, much love lives between
the two: secret handshakes, funk-bottomed struts.
The fro doesn't hate you because you're beautiful.
Or ugly. Or out-of-work or working for the Man.
Because who knows who the Man is anymore?
Is the president the Man? He used to have a fro
the size of Toledo, but now it's trimmed down
to respectability, more gray sneaking in each day,
and you've got to wonder if he misses his pick,
for he must have had one of those black power ones
with a fist on the end. After all, the fro is a fist,
all curled power, rebellious shake, impervious
and improper. Water does not scare the fro,
because water cannot change that which is
immutable—that soul-sonic force, that sly
stone-tastic, natural mystic, roots-and-rhythm
crown for the ages, blessed by God and gratitude.

A Poem A Day Audrey

Saturday, August 28, 2010

The Girl Across the Way

Poem of the Day:
"Dramatis Personae" by Aaron Fagan
Echo Train

Since Dan and Steph have left the house things have been quieter, and sounds from the neighbors have been wafting through. There is the Russian man who lives across the street, bald and, from what I can tell, alone. There is the couple and their young son who moved in next door. And, there is the little girl who lives down the street.

She is a chatty one. She and her mother have breakfast every morning out on their small stoop, and I can hear her talking away, so lively for daybreak.

I wonder how much sugar her mom puts in that cereal...

I shouldn't complain. Waking up to the wide-eyed lilt of a four (perhaps five?) year-old is enlivening. Fagan's poem reminded me of her, and how when I leave the house every morning her innocent voice gets slowly lower in volume, finally disappearing.

Dramatis Personæ

Once upon a time,
Books began this
Way—the O of once let
The reader beware up
Front that a story as
Ornate and colorful as
We are would follow—
And not for any of us
To be shocked to find
We must return and
Stand for what we are.

A Poem A Day Audrey

Friday, August 27, 2010

Summer as Wonderland

Poem of the Day:
"A Boat Beneath a Sunny Sky" by Lewis Carroll

From the author of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland comes this poem, a piece that paints the summerscape a wonderland, a season about which we all dream.

I've now said my goodbyes to both my job and my internship, and this weekend will be my last in Boston, signaled by the season's close. Although I'm not a summer person (fair skin, fear of sand), I will be sad to see it go. There is something utterly romantic about warm summer night air and days almost too green to write about -- though we all know I try.

A Boat beneath a Sunny Sky

A boat beneath a sunny sky,
Lingering onward dreamily
In an evening of July —

Children three that nestle near,
Eager eye and willing ear,
Pleased a simple tale to hear —

Long has paled that sunny sky:
Echoes fade and memories die:
Autumn frosts have slain July.

Still she haunts me, phantomwise,
Alice moving under skies
Never seen by waking eyes.

Children yet, the tale to hear,
Eager eye and willing ear,
Lovingly shall nestle near.

In a Wonderland they lie,
Dreaming as the days go by,
Dreaming as the summers die:

Ever drifting down the stream —
Lingering in the golden gleam —
Life, what is it but a dream?

A Poem A Day Audrey

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Almond Milk

Poem of the Day:
"Milk" by Melissa Stein
Harvard Review, Number 38

I was wary when I first tried it. Almond milk contains no lactose, is completely vegan. It is a mixture of almonds and water masquerading as milk. But, it is actually very delicious.

I have recently stopped drinking milk, preferring this nut juice to that cow liquid. Milk goes bad. Almond milk stays for months. It adds a nice nutty flavor to my cereal. Milk is sometimes difficult to digest. Almond milk, at least the product I drink, has calcium, so I'm not missing out on those strong bones.

As my love for this dairy substitute has grown, I came upon this poem of the day. Here is Stein's piece:


The nurse has made up the bed so crisply.
Tucked the corners' rote origami
so soundly into the aluminum frame.

Your lips glisten, moistened with a square
of sponge. I hold your hand—weightless
thing of parchment and twig—

no more your daughter than a seed
cast from hoof-split rattlegrass, no more than
an asterisk sprung from thistle, caught, wished upon,

let go. I inhale the antiseptic scent of bay,
of balsam. Rooted here, in this cheap plastic chair,
as if I'll miss something,

as if my missing it would matter.
Just as—branch-snap to feeding deer, wing-shadow
to the scuttling mouse—it has always mattered.

The window frames a square of light
white and blameless as milk. I turn from you
and drink, and drink, and drink.

Almond milk is not as "white" as the "square of light" that Stein describes, her grief and inability to place this moment of her mother's struggle nearly blinding her. Almond milk is beige. It would not work as well in this poem. Also, the assonance in "as almond milk" makes for a stumbling read. Sometimes, milk is best.

But for now, I'm weighing my options.

A Poem A Day Audrey

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


Poem of the Day:
"Lisa Longs to Hold Harry" by Richard Holinger
Western Humanities Review, Winter 2010

Despite the strange date on this poem's publication (Winter 2010? Has this happened yet?), this piece perfectly coincides with the final work for my internship. For the past month or so we, the interns, have been working on researching and writing a longer and more journalistic piece for Foundwaves Magazine.

My piece focuses on the connections musicians draw between literature and music. I have been writing it for about four weeks now, but editing for about three. I think I have my four-page article memorized by now, as I'm sure the other interns do (we've edited one another's pieces so often). I'm ready to be done with it; good thing it's due tomorrow!

Holinger's poem is a reenactment of the editing process; "Cut" means simply that -- cutting a phrase/word/punctuation mark.

Here is Holinger's piece:

Lisa Longs to Hold Harry

Lisa longed to hold Harry
Lisa desired
Desiring Harry, Lisa
Desiring, Lisa
Lisa wanted Harry in the most
Lisa took Harry
Lisa surrounded Harry's hairy arms and begged for
Ever since Lisa was a little girl
Lisa as a little girl desired
The little girl playing in the sandbox hit the little boy with
When her family lived in Baltimore, Lisa
When her family lived in Boston, Lisa lost
When her family lived in San Francisco, Lisa stole a
When her family lived in a high rise overlooking Lincoln Park, Lisa explored the
Harry graduated a year before
Because he took summer classes, Harry
Lisa spent her summers alone. She worked at Marshall
Lisa looked longingly at the silver water pitcher perched on the glass shelf,
ruminating how
Even though they both attended Loyola University, Lisa
Harry bit his lip. Lisa sucked
When Harry bit down on a
Lisa had planned pot roast for the night she
Lisa picked up her cell to text Harry as she pulled over to exit North Avenue
Inside the burning car, Lisa wondered
Upside down, Lisa read Harry's
Hanging from her seatbelt, surrounded by flames, Lisa texted Harry, "I long
to hold you."

Holinger is perhaps a proponent of the "No Texting While Driving" laws?

A Poem A Day Audrey