Sunday, July 22, 2007

Lorna Dee's Workshop

There's still room and time to sign up for next weekend's intensive poetry workshops at my place here in Berkeley. Also, if anyone would like to come during the week instead, especially so as not to conflict with the SF International Poetry Festival happening at different venues, days and times next weekend, just shoot me an email - backtrack me, as they say.

This weekend's workshop was really good - very productive. I was hoping participants would walk away from the day with at least 5 new workable poems, and I think we accomplished that. We had some great participants. Thanks to you (them) and your (their) voices, I also came away with 5 workable poems, maybe even finished. I like them so much I put them together (I think they work that way) and am holding them to send out for publication. I wrote five more today that I'll post here. In the future, I think I'll offer the workshop as a two-day intensive - as we only really covered half of what I wanted to do. But all, especially me, felt really exhausted after. Yes, it was definitely an INTENSE intensive. Thanks to such a high level of the participants, it was all very inspiring. Scroll down to the next post for more information about next weekend's workshops. And if you'd rather meet another day, just suggest it. Now, here's today's poems - 7-minute poems with given titles:

Afraid of His Shadow

Hitler was afraid of his shadow,
the dark mass extending to Versailles,
the stacked wagon loads of bier and stag,
the crossed bundles of sticks: fasces.
It was the phantom of his opera
he heard, the after hour image that appears
on the wall, the thing that attaches
to you, more sure than legacy, that following
of what you do, and what you do not.
Half of Europe wouldn't do, the other half
closed the door or lingered, smelling
the result. Hitler was afraid of his shadow.
It hung on the other side of him like
the testicle that would not drop, pointing
a perpetual finger, dimming the lights
in the hiding. The shadow that was never
there in the dream, some vision of a brave
new world. Some, hanging.


Stare into the ice chest of autumn, past
the lake and out into the river of years. Believe
the self reflected there, the shadow.
Put your hand into its mouth, and pull,
the doppleganger of all you left
behind returns. That man buying a newspaper,
the deaths folded into a fan of stain, the pages
that become you in the end. The woman
buying chicken, the flower of her blossoming
into another. The child with his wooden
ball. The girl with her strident monkey.
Mirrors surround us, unseen or not.
Ready or not, they are meeting in the subway.
They are locating the lost relatives.
They are you. Or not.

Stress and Distress

It was just the stress, he tells me.
All that he didn't do, the demands on his
time, the unfinished rhyme of his love.
It was the distress of a broken hip,
the bone that pierces down to home.
The window to a dream painted shut,
the 24/7 of making a killing. It was just
the timing, the hour, the play it again waiting.
It was illness in the packing, a tremor
in the hacking. It was a loaded down van,
a timer going off, a disconnected phone.
It was everything, the bull and the whip.
It was everyone registered in this
passive army against him. It was me,
pulling my weight. It was me, distracting.

The 4-Barrel Carburetor On a '72 Chevy Camaro

He could make love like a 4-barrel
carburetor on a '72 Chevy
Camaro. Man, he could go. Pumping up
the pistons, discharging with a growl.
He wasn't all that to look at, mostly gleaming
chrome and wire. Slick in the upholstery
and revved. He was a 2-bucket seat
palace, a chariot of wiles. He was
coming back. He was a place off the map.
He was coming home and he was moving.
He was a reserved parking space, a handicapped
spot on the heart. He was a ticket
waiting to be written, a stop-on-
a-dime promise of forgiveness. He could
pick up in the alley, carry away on the charm
of his engine. All the draft on a knife
point of design and desire, his get up
and go: his knack.

Up Here With the Ground Below

I am sleepy. I'm the narcoleptic lover
snoring into your shoulder. I'm what's coming
back, what welcomes sorrow, the locked gate
that keeps you from running away. The petals
catch the light like metal. All that is
reflected there smiling in the sun,
this taking off, this breath I'm catching.
Up here with the ground below I am dreaming.
I am warming to the touch. I am left behind,
sealed in all my wings. The great flapper
in the sky rattles her beads and winds the
phonograph of her shame and naming.
You are Persephone returned. You are
to lead me out of the cave. All the coming back
and the weight of conviction, an underground forest.


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