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Tag Archives: Poetry

Those Winter Sundays

A couple of years ago, I took a fiction writing class through the UC Davis Extension program.  It was taught by Greg Glazner.  Eight Wednesdays in a row about fifteen of us writers-to-be met in a room and talked writing.  Every week we had a short story to read before class, except for one week when we had a handful of poems to read.  Ugh.  Poems.

There was one memorable poem in the punch.  One that was so powerful.  I was reminded of it last night as I sat watching a play at the B Street Theatre in Sacramento.  How We Get On by Idris Goodwin, about three teenagers growing up in suburban, middle America in 1988, trying to get in on the new hip-hop/rap scene.  It’s a great play.

At one point, one of the characters is talking to his father who tells him about a great black poet, Robert Hayden.  The son asks for a sample and his father recites Those Winter Sundays.  It’s still powerful.

Those Winter Sundays

by Robert Hayden

Sundays too my father got up early 
and put his clothes on in the blueblack cold, 
then with cracked hands that ached 
from labor in the weekday weather made 
banked fires blaze. No one ever thanked him. 

I'd wake and hear the cold splintering, breaking. 
When the rooms were warm, he'd call, 
and slowly I would rise and dress, 
fearing the chronic angers of that house, 

Speaking indifferently to him, 
who had driven out the cold 
and polished my good shoes as well. 
What did I know, what did I know 
of love's austere and lonely offices?
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Fallen Heroes

Salutes, painful tears

Bagpipes, drum corps, half mast flags

Starched creases, shoes shine

Dull gray skies, mourn the fallen

Killed in the line of duty

Day #23: A Reprise

Sitting in a bar

Caesar salad, check

Bacon Mac ‘n’ cheese, check

Beer here

Beer there

Checked the blogosphere

Time to write

But wait

TV screen

NBA playoffs

And who should appear?

chris anderson #1

Yes, it’s him

A poster child

chris anderson #2

Yes, I’m old

I’m conservative in ways

Tattoos being one

But I want a tattoo

Small, discreet, meaningful

Just not … well

A body mural?

chris anderson #3

And the mohawk

And the … again, well

Really?  I wonder sometimes

If he wasn’t 6’10”

Where would he be?

Day 23: A Return to NaPoMo

Words

Can hurt

Leaving scars

And pain behind

Faded memories, better left unsaid

Words can bridge divides, forge community

Speak peace and love

Share, don’t slash

Heal the

Heart

Day #18: A Preview

Up top, there’s a tab for The Irrepairable Past, which holds drafts of the first couple of chapters for one of my works in progress.  I’ve completed the first three chapters and am halfway there with chapter four and the final chapter.  There are two or three chapters between four and the last.  As I’ve written before, there are two major things that prompted this story.  One was reading a short story by a friend.  He wrote poetry for years and only recently had started writing short stories.  How he wrote was pretty incredible and I could see how poetry had influenced his efforts.  I decided to try something.  With each chapter of The Irrepairable Past, I begin with a poem that says something about what’s to come in the chapter.  I believe the writing in this story has been influenced by those poems — they set the stage for a different rhythm and pace.  Or maybe I’m just imagining it.

Anyway, here, for Day #18 of NaPoMo, is the poem that leads off the final chapter

 

Slings and arrows

Harsh glares

Cutting words

Scars cut

Permanently

Deep and wide

Memories and regret

Pain and anguish

Loss and failure

The past

Broken and shattered

Irrepairable

A moment

An opportunity

Turn it back

 

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