index ii.

index ii.

 

weighted clouds

intersect morning

 

the will

weights them

 

abrupt relation

between earth’s

machine-hum

and the willpower

contained in a house

 

the day continues

to root

 

a corrugated

metal sheet

functions as barrier

and mirror between

houses

 

at the edge of

property

 

the neighbor’s

pallet collection

tidy and tethered

 

infinite layers

of projects and insects

 

all possible projects

dream in the sun

at this new hour

 

an infinite wellspring

of property and projects

of metal mirror walls

of pallets, weeds and chickens

of neighbors with projects

 

a pile of car parts

a metal container

“this end up”

 

whether to believe—an old house

accumulates debris

 

walls form voices

finger prints

cloud weight

 

to believe

 

the attractive substance

of a house

 

 

 

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index i.

index i.

 

to lay claim

 

 

one thousand entrance points

to the honeycombed wood

upright, in the sand, now

that the green rind

has died

 

 

 

a hallowed question—

what keeps us here?

flat roots

 

 

build a fence to mitigate

extreme area

 

 

even one millimeter of movement

the sand grains

 

over time, the foothold

undermined

 

 

*

 

through latillas–

face to the gap

air pushes through

vigor

of a secret

 

 

the barrier eternal

with an open place

 

remember this

 

 

 

*

stereoscopic

sand

sage

barbed

wire

 

a new house, empty

a dry willow

North

 

(it was days ago, I think—

 

five coyotes

purposeful,

paranoid

 

 

 

*

 

we may take our relationships

too seriously—

 

a jet flies overhead,

mundane,

detached, landless.

 

 

a whirling

whirligig,

air through the honeycomb,

 

or voices,

of thousands

who were here and wait.

 

 

 

*

cholla remnant

pulled from a trail

at high elevation, black

and wet with snow.

 

bones’ latent vigor–

decoration, an oddity

 

 

 

 

Note: latillas—are what we call fencing which are cut from young trees, here in New Mexico, with the bark left on the pole. They provide a textured fence line with an uneven skyline.They are all different heights and not perfectly straight. But, they are truly enjoyable to poets and New Mexicans.

A cholla is an upright, narrow cactus that grows throughout New Mexico and produces beautiful waxy flowers (cacti throw forth waxy, bright yellow or fuscia flowers). When the cholla cactus dessicates, the remaining material is woody, and hollow, with a honeycombed pattern.

 

 

breathe

 

on the southside

of the road,

butterflies breed

 

risk whether,

or not

 

parallel to breathing

 

the same force

within the mountain

pushes out a wild

flower

 

molecules glide

around one another

 

an indistinct breeze

 

ribs expand

 

the moment

is an open figure

that repeats

 

(a horse tosses its head,

kicks into the air,

the thread continues

to unwind

 

 

 

certainty

certainty

 

temperature outside

neutral to the touch

 

undercurrents

lose subtlety

to the season when wind

exposes each grain of sand

 

*

away from an incident

trauma

nests in the body

now the arbiter

 

truth be told

 

if only

 

other windows

 

*

 

wish you would say something.

 

alone, city street

 

*

before dawn,

 

hot air balloons

drift

 

upriver

 

 

freed from the map

 

 

 

 

Locus

Locus

 

early

dawn light at ease

in the bedrock

 

the conjunction

very little sleep

 

(pressure

 

 

night and language,

a symbol disappeared into

liquid depths,

neck broke

 

now ankle-deep, walks

from the flooded field

 

 

*

 

the length of a bird’s

claw

 

numbers become

irrelevant

 

infinite

intersecting

planes

 

in the old tree

 

 

*

 

grey wooden fence

two Canada geese

wire and brick through peeled stucco

yellow weed in the sidewalk

storm-sky through wires

no sign

 

*

 

news of a murder

on tv—

invisible forces.

 

Within a constellation,

imperceptible movement.

 

An alarm

vibrates.

 

*

The vertebral body

persists

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Words or bones

Words or bones

 

all answers dream

undivided

 

and still,

only a fragment blue

of the sky

is possible

in each moment

 

in the hand,

a portion of time

for this pursuit—

 

to give,

dig deep,

 

give marrow,

 

give hunger’s

blueprint

 

give space between words

that make words

 

is this

enough?

 

The hand

punctuates deep

enough to shape

nourish

ment

 

latent

with the code for sweetness,

or sharp, bitter and

pulled from a deeper

source

 

Life is a rough draft

A few weeks ago, I posted about my surprise at the fact I am now writing a novel. The result of a New Year’s resolution, I wrote and revised 30 pages fairly quickly.  Since then, the focus of the story, and even the main character, has completely changed.

In the time since the last post about the novel, I attended a workshop, perused several books related to novel-writing, read parts of over a dozen books and two dozen articles online for source material.

For the record, I recommend The Emotional Craft of Fiction: How to Write the
Story Beneath the Surface, by Donald Maas. I chose this text at a time when I felt bored with what I was writing. I realized that instead of writing the scenes that excited me, I had become caught up in stringing together the scenes, trying to shape the plot. I felt that I was tied up in the surface, and from this location, started to hear the voices that say “What makes you think you can write a novel, anyway?”

I realized that I am not a plotter. While I like knowing, vaguely, where I am going with the story, the excitement I feel for writing a novel is most vibrant when writing the scenes with the most emotion. In my journal I like to write around the character, to gain a deeper understanding, free writing thoughts about her and her relationships, her profound memories.

The story, as it is taking shape, is now focused on a different character than before. The setting is still the same, but now more concise in the amount of time it covers: roughly 1942 to 1954, in Mexico City, D.F. The characters are expatriates from Europe, who escaped the turmoil of the war to land in Mexico (some, by way of NYC). The main character is originally from northern Spain, lived in Paris as part of the surrealist community of artists and writers, and now finds herself as the “glue” holding together the small expatriate group of friends living in tenement-style housing in Mexico City.

The “so what” of the story is her self-realization; not earth-shattering as an idea, but the rich detail of her experiences and of her memories of Spain and Paris,  combined with complicated relationships with the men in her life, will enrich the story.So will the evolution of her friendships with two (artist/expatriate) women, which will slowly uncover her greatest fears and the barriers she has allowed to form that keep her from fulfilment as an artist.

Woven in: interactions with Mexican artists and writers, and the complicated artstic environment at a time when Mexico (at a national level) struggles to create a national identiy, elevating yet inevitably trivializing the “indio”; a schism between mestizo, indio, and euro that subtly influences her relationships with local artists, and her own self identity. Over time, she will distance herself from the old ties to Paris and the surrealists, particularly those who play into the notion of “woman as muse” vs. artist in her own right. She will identify the sources of her own inspiration as an artist.

This is a very long way to say, sometimes when working on a HUGE project, it is necessary to step back, reconsider the focus, reconnect with the source of inspiration.

Ask: “What is most exciting to you in this work?” This matters.

I realized that my first attempt (focusing on a character loosely based on Leonora Carrington) did not have as much potential for inner conflict; the character was somewhat terse, steady, wise. I felt that I was lured into biography (her life is fascinating enough as it is without being fictionalized). The second attempt tried to encompass a triad of main characters/artists, with changing points of view, but I realized that could get confusing, and might short change each character.

This new attempt–well, we’ll have to see. Only a few loose and freely sketched scenes exist at this moment. But just in the past week, I have been able to sit down and write several pages at a time, feeling the enjoyment of writing. I think that is what it is all about, as I learn how to write a novel.

Jorge Luis Borges said that “writing is nothing but a guided dream.” There is joy in dreaming.

The Public Domain Review

Creative Life through Poetry, Philosophy, Art, and Literature

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Definitely older, possibly wiser....

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Because bluebirds are so darned happy. Supposedly.