Hey, I’m still rolling with this writing challenge shit. Not giving up just yet!
Today our governor, Jay Inslee, extended the “Stay home, stay healthy” restrictions (a fluffy, upbeat shelter in place order) through May 4. So, it seems I’ve little better to do for the rest of the month.
While Seattle is slowing down, it seems like eastern Washington is gearing up. And while it pains me to say it — I expect it will be a lot worse here because the few times I have gone out to pick up groceries I was really annoyed at what I saw. People are out everywhere acting as if nothing is wrong — heavy traffic, crowded sidewalks, huge groups of people clustered together without even homemade masks…
Hopefully, I’m just being a joyless asshole, but I have a nagging feeling I’m not and there will be real hell to pay for this.
Anyway, onward to the art that shall distract me from the misery of it all…
Day two read
My second poetry selection is ‘The Kid” by Ai. Read it all via the Poetry Foundation.
Roses are red, violets are blue,“The Kid” by Ai
one bullet for the black horse, two for the brown.
They’re down quick. I spit, my tongue’s bloody;
I’ve bitten it. I laugh, remember the one out back.
Ai’s style of poetry can be jarring and this specific poem perhaps moreso than the rest of her work. I find that grotesque poetry functions similarly to existential or absurd works — by forcing the reader to face an insane or helpless reality and accept it as it is before deciding what to do with the information.
The viewpoint voice in this poem is that of a murderous 14-year-old boy. He is a child surrounded by violence, cruelty, and apathy, reacting to his world as he’s been taught. While it’s definitely a difficult poem to read, the voice briefly brings the reader into the child’s headspace & allows a moment of understanding, if not empathy.
Overall, the reader can walk away with a strange comfort understanding that evil is a learned behavior, a product of our interactions with each other. It is not some demonic otherworldly force, but a shadow energy of human nature. And in that understanding, its proliferation is not outside of our control.
Day two poetry
The prompt was to write a poem about a specific place with concrete details. I chose to write about a hiking trail on the edge of town.
The trail runs through part of the Cascade foothills and includes the remnants of an old mine. Erosion has caused a lot of issues up there and the local conservation district is still working to get all the old mine tailings removed.
It’s a strange place that echoes of a not so distant past. I always leave thinking about how quick time seems to fly.
It’s thin air — the kind where people go
disappearing — so breathe deeper
& dredge the ditch, like a little canyon
running alongside the trail, jagged
& gleaming with baubles left by long ago
men on a long ago day. Sun as bright
as now, but the earth more sturdy
as they descend & blot wax
with a kerchief embroidered
by their sweetheart; she’s down
the hill in a clapboard house
with a little kitchen garden,
heavy with butterflies. Moss green
wallpaper like the hills in the spring,
in the days before rust & erosion ran
like sickly veins down the back of the rocks.
So many have disappeared in their day,
in this longness, thin as layer of sandstone
& crumbling under the summer sun.
Day two camp update
At the end of day two, I’ve reached a cumulative 4,536 words.
I’ve been able to keep to the poem, art, two twine story sections, and one edit/rewrite section flow. I hope to keep it up going forward.