Artist Retreat updates from the occasional poet and the primitive seamstress (we are one and the same in case you are wondering. . .). On the stitching front I finished number 13 and moving forward. Lots of threads. Loose and delicious. I love it all. Sea salt & vinegar and fog on the beach –who knew I liked IPA–? NPR by morning and a daily walk through the cypress where I recently met an Australian labradoodle named Murphy. The turtle evades me though I’ve received this tip to look where the bridge bends to the right. That place where I spotted two red-bellied woodpeckers. Common to this part of Florida.
A few months ago my friend Mike Burwell (the Cartography of Water) and I decided to get back to a writing group. Small. Just the two of us. By doing a poem a week. We’ve dubbed it the Thursday poem.
It all began the summer of 2005 in Anchorage, or maybe it began in Homer when we all met at the Kachemak Bay Writer’s Conference. At Land’s End. In the bar no doubt. After listening to Billy Collins. It included myself, Mike, and James P. Sweeney (A Thousand Prayers) who is also on the current season of Ultimate Survival Alaska. Jim is too busy pissing people off and getting his book published to participate but Mike and I have been sharing a Thursday poem. It is great motivation, and like everything in 2015, I’ve come to consider them beginnings. Enough. A start. Let go of judgement. Write. Share. The editing comes later. A different approach than in Alaska where we tried to bring our most polished work to the table. Both are acceptable formats.
Full disclosure: I have no book. Not even a worthy manuscript. (not yet) –In fact this particular day of the Thursday poem I was so inspired (and defeated) by another poet that I nearly didn’t write a poem at all. I felt unworthy. How she flitted, like a hummingbird from right to left and tab far to the right and back again and it all worked so well. . . the alliteration, and I so safe (wearing the big panties) with my line breaks and hugging the left margin to the point of boredom. Blah blah blah. So imagine my surprise when my Thursday poet partner responds that he loves it all from top to bottom on the first draft. Wow. And so today I bring you said poem.
On the 8th dayI am cypress in a residential swamp not uncommon not not great my hips swell wide at the border in the company of lily pads waft across the shadow stir waxy green upon the water the turtle promenade does not care to win the race who’s on first does not matter discipline or disciple we are all god gifted spreading wider the Great Blue heron flies not without a scene screaming at interruption is redemption for the unobservant. Pray attention or perhaps I am the bead of water carefully cupped at the breast of stillness all gathered wetness an offering back to sky shadows long and dark go both ways across reflection . . .ripple. . . I am accumulation of whisper and dew drop a pause upon the cusp of Grace The knees knobby (like) amputated stumps protrude up and out in sameness not matched or exact not not twin or triplet not self-conscious or flattered only raw not cruel or kind the alligator rests unnoticed. Brenda Roper (2015)
Brenda is a visual artist and occasional poet who lives in Santa Fe, NM. She is currently at an Artist Retreat in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida. Her work can be seen at the International Gallery of Contemporary Art (IGCA) in Anchorage in February 2015 or visit Art Happenings. Studio visits welcome and by appointment.