7 Minutes: Hidden Spaces

Scan 26

I am lost in a garden at the end of the earth

sliding on its slippery mercury current,

the goddess just turned the dial back to zero

and there is absolutely nothing to do.

This is a place where people come to,

stuck all night, or maybe for eternity.

They carry crystals for cosmic blessings

under a silver path of moonlight.

They are at the water-coming-down-place,

wishing they could levitate.

I am with them, lost at the edge,

lost in hidden spaces,

sometimes in a space suit,

sometimes swimming with a watery child

who does not want me to speak.

At the edge of the earth

there are trumpeting squash blossoms,

a silent cat, and a brick wall

that know my secrets better than I,

 I am at the edge with their blessings

and the light of the slippery moon.

This is more of a hybrid poem (a term I’m just making up) than a found poem.  I used pictures from an article about gardening called “Hidden Spaces” and the text in the collage from another article called “Lost Coast Generations” by Chiori Santiago, both in old issues of Examiner Magazine.  

I see this whole “series” as exercises.  Quick art when time and life do not allow for other things. Piggybacking on the words of others…especially if they are well written words…makes me feel that the Poetry Police might come knocking at my door. I have no intentions for the poems other than offering them here.  Yet, I am finding the process one of depth and emotional relevance. As I mentioned in my last post, I’m leaving the idea of pure found poetry (admitting it may have not been totally pure in the way I’ve been playing with it…but the intention was there). Setting the limit of 7 minutes to write (extra time for catching typos and adjusting words here and there) is allowing me to do a daily practice of “journaling”.  I like structure… limits in what I work with… my blue marker is fading out but I like using it for as long as I can.  Also, glue stick, magazines, markers…something that doesn’t have to be set up.  Materials easy and readably accessible.  

7 Minutes: The Experience Can Be Shocking

Scan 23

Don’t expect to be impressed with the secrets of my garden.

Some imagination is needed.  There is a certain majesty in being undressed.

The experience can be shocking, let me tell you,

And I’m not half so kind where the vocabulary of size is concerned.

I’m tough, and I can speak roughly, look in the mirror and not flinch.

I can groom the flowers that are reluctant to grow and seize upon the strangest

to fall in love with, usually the ones with slimy tendrils, unformed and alien.

Don’t be impressed with anything I tell you as I spout lies left and right

and cover them with dust, Mars-y red and dry.  I am the speaker at the strange microphone,

the frozen naked woman who has given birth to the little bastards, broken toothed,

but who scream with honesty.  How I love each one of them.

Words that started this poem were “harvested”…sorry for the bad pun…from the article The Kindest Cut by Sara Stein (Examiner’s magazine) about the importance of being rough with garden plants….toughen up that ground cover!  Feeling the need to not do “pretty” work right now.


Scan 21

                           Think of what binds you.

             Marvel at the strength.

                      You want to understand the mutable nature of love,

                           Disappointments stitched in the larger patchwork.

  Embody the give and take affixed to the dining room walls.

                               Think of what binds you

                when your narrative moves smoothly,

                             Lines arranged upon the husband,

                                                                     Experiences that mark a marriage.

The words were pulled tonight from a 1991 review of the novel How To Make An American Quilt in an old American Crafts magazine.  I happened to teach this novel to other teachers in the early 90s using Bay Area Literature Project curriculum. I thought poem and picture were going to have to be separate until, after I’d arranged the poem, I saw that the word MARKS was on the lefthand side of the collage.  Then I found the picture of the man who reminded me of my husband Bill (who builds). 

What I find best about the collage and found poetry I’m doing now is that I can manage one of these short projects from beginning to end after a day of teaching.  I’m filling up a journal, and this series will be done when I get to the last page.  I feel happily obsessive right now.


Scan 20

The eye has crossed some interstellar time,

black purple flecked like the night’s sky

with ornamental comet tails.

Obscene allusions invite and forbid touch.

Earthenware vessel recall flesh and blood,

concomitant rage, rhythm and blues and lounge music,

quasi-occult record stores, a secret world.

Vessels often bear signs as if they ‘re giving birth,

a warning light on engorged erogenous zones

with the absence of protruding parts.

There will be a hole.

Close that hole.

Don’t touch me there.

From the article “Nagle Wares” by Bill Berkson, American Craft Magazine

Bird Songs by Jennifer Kelly

This morning I led an Art and Writing class.  I usually do a post for the class itself, but there were only two people who attended today.  Instead, I want to feature their work separately this month.  Jennifer Kelly created this poem from my novel HERON’S PATH (And yes, I now know that found poetry is supposed to be based on non-fiction. But I had the materials prepared, and it’s my class and MY novel, so there. )  I would LOVE to have this as a cover of a book someday…THANK YOU,  JENNIFER.

Bird Songs

Birds everywhere

scrub brush

pillars of rock

silvery talk

into the air.

Remake the dance.


about things

cricket’s songs

light breaking





Up the path, mountain


catching the world new each year


Birds everywhere

 The class is sponsored as Adult Education for the Middletown Unified School District, Middletown, CA.

Summer Floating Through the Gallery

Scan 19

This gradual pull could not be accidental,

the imagined infinity of faces

Between the firm earth we inhabit

And the top of the diffused watery light.

Beneath the earth at night,

The power of the boat in our minds

Winks and glimmers.

The tranquility of a refuge in the midst of storms.

How does the sun traverse the sky

Not to be hypnotized by this carousel?

A boat is not without ambiguities

and seeming paradox when used to explain

the summer, the earth, the water, the light.

From an the article “Now Voyager,” American Craft Magazine by Lisa K (apologies: last name was lost in the cutting process).  This was done this morning in the Art and Writing class. 

7 Minutes: The World Breathing Around me

worry 9_100 7-21-14Bed would be a wonderful place if I knew I could fall asleep.  How can I write the present if the past is all I see?  What a rare gift to be present…to feel safe…it’s been a long week of stuffing feelings, of finding myself with a child’s voice, at least in my head, and a child’s sense of powerlessness.  This isn’t true, isn’t me…but I can convince myself otherwise so easily.  To feel safe in the moment is such a rare occurrence.  Yet, you fall down…you get up…you fall down again only to be resurrected again…I read that somewhere recently.  And when I am THERE, in the moment, the rest of my life fits, the trauma, the anger, the feelings of incompleteness, the long lists of shoulds my Virgo mother installed in me, the fear of the future, of the dangers that might be lurking like a deer that waits for your car before it decides to run across the highway…all of that is silenced.  The mind is silent. The false self.  (So weary of that Alethea.)  And it is here, where there is only the moment, the place where love is found, where the Divine breathes and wants us to share our breath back toward Her.  Writing can bring that moment.  And now, I sit here, my world a bit more true and real around me.

She Appears Good at Holding a Secret


She appears to be good at holding a secret,

knowledge about the New World.

After a long draught, purple enameled wine.

She appears to be good at patience,

as I looked at her in sunrise,

The elms tall, unspoken amongst us,

her monthly courses,

her knowledge about plants.

lovemaking, blankets, a bit of medicinal bread.

Thoughts circulated unspoken.

A new world melted on my tongue.

This came from page 105 of The Creation of Eve by Lynn Cullen, a novel that has been on my nightstand unread for about a year.  I scratched out words last summer and did a draft of a poem on paper (actually two, the paper in the picture covers a first  poem I wrote in my journal.)  Tonight, a different poem emerged, one I like much better.  Since publishing this  and the previous post, I discovered true Found Poetry is only done with non-fiction material. When attempting new ones, I’ll play by these rules.

Have You Never Heard Voices?


Have you never claimed second sight

with your eyes shut, words in your head,

a small flicker of alarm at what the poet tells you?

Songs of other birds frown dangerously,

a blade inserted into the fatty flesh–into the ribs.

I pressed these invitations:

 Ezra Pound,

Amy Lowell,

 Archibald MacLeish

T.S. Eliot


Become disconcerting.

Volunteer truth.

Ask a mockingbird why he sings.

Speaking metaphorically is not a demon.

Have you never heard voices?

Have you never heard what the poet tries to tell you?

Found poetry from a short story by Joyce Carol Oates about Robert Frost.  I did a draft and blocked out the page last summer.  I don’t remember what magazine I found this…the New Yorker, perhaps…or the title of the story. As mentioned in next post, since doing this I learned that true found poetry uses only nonfiction material.

Closer to the Spirit


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 989 other followers

%d bloggers like this: