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How One Poem Came to Be

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Reading Bruce Holsapple’s new book, Wayward Shadow, I was struck by the line “It’s the way you fix yourself in place.” It made me stop to think about how each of us does that. I thought, I’d like to explore that idea in a poem of my own.

It seemed an idea that would benefit from repetition, which led me to consider using the villanelle form, which led me to looking through Holsapple’s book for a possible second line. Instead I found two fragments.

I still thought I would be writing a poem about myself, but I began to see in the lines that came to mind echoes of the ideas that permeate Wayward Shadow. It may be that the way I “fix myself in place” happens to be similar to Bruce’s. In the end, I felt I had captured something of the persona in his book. So this is now a villanelle for Bruce Holsapple.

In Place

Using lines from Wayward Shadow

Climb a mountain, formulate a phrase:
you settled on these deeds because you knew
it’s the way you fix yourself in place.

Life has taught you this. There will be days
when energy is slow to waken to
climb a mountain, formulate a phrase.

Outside and in you need to claim your space.
Shop, fill the fridge, set simmering a stew,
it’s the way you fix yourself in place.

Record the colors on the high rock’s face.
It’s a sure antidote for feeling blue
to climb a mountain, formulate a phrase.

A sentence to rewrite, steps to retrace?
What circles is the animal in you:
it’s the way you fix yourself in place.

As these familiar actions work to raise
your spirits, you may wonder why so few
climb a mountain, formulate a phrase.
It’s the way you fix yourself in place.

If you’d like to get to know the real Bruce Holsapple, Wayward Shadow is available on Amazon.

 

How Native Plants Behave

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primrose 2Several years ago I planted Mexican primrose.  I thought I had killed it after a year.  There was no sign of it the third year, nor the fourth.  If I had known it could still come back, I would not have planted the chamisa bush quite where I did.  But it turned out that this was just what the Mexican primrose wanted.  Native plants do not need to be spaced.  In fact, they are happier in each other’s shade.  And the Mexican primrose sends its stems in all directions to take its flowers to the sun.

Other native plants have been active.  Poppies come up where ever they choose.  This one is sharing space with a plant I know as “wire lettuce.”  It has a small pink flower, when it decides to bloom.P1000078

Yucca plants which spent years squeezed by a prickly pear cactus have taken advantage of the space in the course of the two years since the cactus collapsed in an unusually deep freeze.yucca close

The yucca is the state flower of New Mexico  There are many varieties and the legislature neglected (or perhaps refused?) to specify which one is the official one.

 

What’s There to Say About Coffee?

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Coffee0001Quite a lot, it turns out. Kind of a Hurricane Press has just come out with a 200 page anthology on the subject. 86 writers, plus the editors, are represented. Coffee has a lot to do with daily life and relationships, and there are many ways to talk about it.

A poem of mine, “Coffee in the Cup” is included. My poem is about colors. Have you ever tried to name the color of coffee with skim milk?   I came up with “French beige,” a new term for me this past year, or “taupe.” But is either quite right? It’s a very muted, dull color, distinctly different from coffee with cream.

The anthology, titled Something’s Brewing, is available from Amazon for $8.50, which is a good price for a 200 page book. Kind of a Hurricane Press has anthologies planned to come out about every two months. Submissions for the theme “Candy” are due May 31, for “Amusement Parks” July 31. and there are more to come. Check out: http://www.kindofahurricanepress.com/ for more on submissions or about the coffee anthology.

Another Stage of Spring

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The little mesquite tree in my backyard is leafing out.  I’ve been told this tree knows when frost is no longer an issue.  it is safe to plant out those tender plants now.  P1000064 Of course I am not ready.  The plants I started from seed two months ago are no where near large enough to transplant.P1000072 This mesquite tree is one of the triumphs of my uneven gardening career.  I bought it eight years ago in a seven inch pot.  I can no longer reach the top.P1000068Near the base of this tree I discovered a volunteer pansy.  Very small – it had sprouted with almost no water.  I was not expecting it there at all.  Most of the seeds from plants blow across the yard in the opposite direction. pansy volunteerNow I need to make it feel welcome – even though it is in the middle of a patch of sand.

Issue #18 Is Out

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As one of the editors, I consider this big news. I am proud of this issue, and grateful to Nancy Frost Begin for the cover art and Jenny Torres for the cover design.

Sin Fronteras/Writers Without Borders

sf 18 cover0001 Sin Fronteras/Writers Without Borders Journal # 18 has just arrived from the printer.  Contributors’ copies are in the mail.  Thirty-three writers have contributed to this issue – of which more later.

The cover art is by Nancy Frost Begin.

If you are considering submitting this year and have not been published in this Journal before, we recommend you buy a copy.  The current issue is $8.  A sample from a prior year is $5.  Add $2.00 for postage and send your check and your name and address to:

Sin Fronteras/Writers Without Borders
c/o DAAC
PO Box 1721
Las Cruces, NM 88004

Then watch this site for updates on submission guidelines.

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