This Author’s Statement on Beauty

Wren on May 20th, 2017

Of course peacock shoelaces exist. Who says the fall of empire won't have (slave-made) flair?

Peacock Journal is dedicated to the theme of beauty. It was a challenge to find old poems of mine that study beauty. I’m more of a poet for picking a beautiful object and turning it as much as I have to to find its underside. Then I say, “See, told ya.”

I was so concerned that my submission would not match the theme well that I tried to write a poem about something beautiful without looking for the underside. The result is Emperor of Nimshew, or for my underside fans, At the Lonely Gravel End. Of course, I have extra underside stanzas all planned out. But…

Happily, I recently learned that Peacock Journal accepted Emperor and three of my old poems!

With each group of poems, they also publish an “Author’s Statement on Beauty.” Again, I wondered if I would offend fans of beauty with my curmudgeonly diatribe against rainbows and daisies. After hours of ramblings and takebacks on paper, pacing, and computer drafts, I’m actually pleased with my result. I think I manage to make my point without shaming the positivity set too much:

To me, truth is the deeper beauty. Sometimes I sit in the fire and sometimes I sit in the garden. I am often concerned that friends use soothing concepts like beauty and positivity as hiding places, deflecting shards of reality rather than coping or taking action. We might all seek a hiding place from today’s twenty-four hour news cycle, and the feeling that there’s no cure for the greed, vanity, and brutality displayed there.

Sitting in the fire, I try to be present with life’s ugliness in order to move through it, rather than around it. Then, when I sit in the garden, being present with sensory beauty all around me is an easy, organic process. I never wonder about the purpose of beauty. It just is, like death and traffic and buzzing silence.

For my poetry, I make lists of “shiny things,” the mundane and random details of my days. I populate my poems with these. I adore the beauty in my goat Rye dancing, the fringe of pine needles hanging in my manzanita tree, and a website dedicated to artful, competitive shoelace tying. It’s the micro and the macro, the tiny details drawing my eye to universal truths, that I find beautiful, destructive, and true. At the end of my day, I love beauty, and find reason to look truth in the eye.

Facebook meme I spotted after first posting this.

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National Poetry Month: Two Autumn Skies

Wren on April 8th, 2017

Autumn Sky Poetry Daily is one of several sites that specialize in offering a new poem every day, or nearly so. I like that the editor, Christine Klocek-Lim, follows the poem with an “editor’s note,” a few thoughts on the strengths of the work, what drew her to select that poem out of the pile [...]

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Five:2:One Magazine asked for my batshit crazy submissions. Okay. Early on in my quest to rack up publishing points, I came upon Five2One. Their site has a section for micro poetry, which they apparently define loosely. I was looking for corners where my poems might find a niche. These editors were looking for the wild, [...]

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Issue 82 of Burningword Literary Journal, which includes my poem, The Thud of Escapement, is live on their site and also available for sale in print and digital formats.
The Thud of Escapement is one of my watch poems. I visited the National Watch and Clock Museum in Columbia, Pennsylvania. I could fill several posts just [...]

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Obviously, several of my poems that have been accepted by journals lately are coming live in time for National Poetry Month. I’ll have another herd thundering through in June.
I want to put in a plug for PoetryCircle.com. It features a “front page,” an online journal that features some wonderful and often funky poetry and prose. [...]

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Previously published in The Baltimore Review and the poetry anthology Blood and Tears. Upcoming in Avatar Review.
Make Soup, You Said
I’m making a soup
to fill my bowl.
I’m after that carrot of consolation
you dangle.
I would remember
a recipe
uttered
in that season of my childhood
without language.
The three sisters–
corn, beans and squash…
When they hold hands
they can give weight
while they dance and [...]

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44 Poems and a Reason to Live

Wren on March 29th, 2017

Last summer I needed meaning. My health has been poor for years and my partner and I stress over bills until we pause from exhaustion. Other than baby goat antics we have little to make us smile. Last summer, I decided to distract myself and hopefully build my ego up a bit by submitting some [...]

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Heathcote Cabin Road in Fall

Wren on October 22nd, 2016

Organizing some old writings, I came upon this from eighteen or twenty years ago. Heathcote Community, Maryland:
A walk will clear my mind, align my north and south poles with some psychic axis. Just to lay foot to gravel is to become a child walking safely down the hallway in my mother’s house. As I watch [...]

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A Baby Goat Makes Many Things Better

Wren on February 24th, 2016

I’m often taken aback when someone asks me why I have goats. My usual response is to ask why they don’t. This doesn’t get them any closer to understanding the attraction, but do they ask parents why they have children? Children are lots of work, they’re loud and messy, they destroy things, disobey, they eat [...]

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He arrived home after a flood to find me, a stranger, on hands and knees in his garden. I was a visitor to Heathcote Community and I had been assigned work exchange: the task of picking up gravel that had washed into the main garden from the parking pad. Charles had been traveling and we [...]

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