Archive for ‘Doug’

January 28, 2020

Too Anything

by HemmingPlay

She said it was too hot,
too slow,
too fat,
too skinny,
too long,
too short,
too near,
too far,
too messy,
too loose,
too tight,
too much,
too little,
too soon,
too late.

We were too drunk. Too stoned. Then, in the afternoon,
too sober.

But it was not, and never would be, too anything.
Except, maybe, too unkind.

January 28, 2020

School of the Electric Fence

by HemmingPlay

Photo by Richard Calmes

I suppose I knew this,
once upon a time,
but love is a little like
the electric fence I used to
crawl through to get to the woods.

You have to be cautious, not timid.

(I wouldn’t go so far as to agree with
Crosby when he said being with Joni was
like falling into a cement mixer.)

read more »

January 26, 2020

Grief Journey

by HemmingPlay

 

Loss and pains.
though just part of living…
set us apart,
others didn’t understand.
But we knew. We just knew. 

We wrapped ourselves 
in each other’s griefs,
grateful to need no explanations,, 
understanding without words;
afraid of more losses
(can I go through that again?) 
resisting pain, 
change and the unknown.

January 7, 2020

Primitive

by HemmingPlay

 

By Sharon Olds

Sharon Olds

 

I have heard about the civilized,
the marriages run on talk, elegant and
honest, rational. But you and I are
savages. You come in with a bag,
hold it out to me in silence.
I know Moo Shu Pork when I smell it
and understand the message: I have
pleased you greatly last night. We sit
quietly, side by side, to eat
the long pancakes dangling and spilling,
fragrant sauce dripping out,
and glance at each other askance, wordless,
the corners of our eyes clear as spear points
laid along the sill to show
a friend sits with a friend here.

January 5, 2020

How To Write Poetry

by HemmingPlay
wisaawa-szymborskaAdvice for blocked writers and aspiring poets from a Nobel Prize winner’s newspaper column. 

INTRODUCTION

From: https://www.poetryfoundation.org/features/articles/detail/68657

In the Polish newspaper Literary Life, Nobel Prize winning poet Wislawa Szymborska answered letters from ordinary people who wanted to write poetry. Clare Cavanagh, translates these selections.


The following are selections from columns originally published in the Polish newspaper
Literary Life. In these columns, famed poet Wislawa Szymborska answered letters from ordinary people who wanted to write poetry. Translated by Clare Cavanagh.

To Heliodor from Przemysl: “You write, ‘I know my poems have many faults, but so what, I’m not going to stop and fix them.’ And why is that, oh Heliodor? Perhaps because you hold poetry so sacred? Or maybe you consider it insignificant? Both ways of treating poetry are mistaken, and what’s worse, they free the novice poet from the necessity of working on his verses. It’s pleasant and rewarding to tell our acquaintances that the bardic spirit seized us on Friday at 2:45 p.m. and began whispering mysterious secrets in our ear with such ardor that we scarcely had time to take them down. But at home, behind closed doors, they assiduously corrected, crossed out, and revised those otherworldly utterances. Spirits are fine and dandy, but even poetry has its prosaic side.”

To H.O. from Poznan, a would-be translator: “The translator is obliged to be faithful not only to the text. He must also reveal the full beauty of the poetry while retaining its form and preserving as completely as possible the epoch’s spirit and style.”

To Grazyna from Starachowice: “Let’s take the wings off and try writing on foot, shall we?”

To Mr. G. Kr. of Warsaw: “You need a new pen. The one you’re using makes a lot of mistakes. It must be foreign.”

read more »

January 3, 2020

Finding Home

by HemmingPlay

I can’t go home, because
home has not stopped
moving yet.
But I do know that
this moment is real;
I know how your lips feel,
I know the heat and
weight of you
In the dark,
or pressed against me
at a dock, oblivious
of jealous eyes,
saying a goodbye,
wordlessly telling
me what feels right.
I know loneliness
melts
in the heat of the
grace of you.
Stay with me a while, dancer.
Let’s walk on the beach,
and look in the sands for courage,
and sit at dawn,
watching the day come up like thunder.

December 27, 2019

Magic Flows in the Wounded Places

by HemmingPlay

Magic flows in the
wounded places,
brings new life,
growing pains,
new patterns,
new hope.
But the risks…
it’s hard to take the risks.
We’re surrounded by
unfinished things,
always taking the present
and turning it into the future,
over and over and over and over…
it doesn’t end until we do.
Creating courage never ends,
is never perfect,
always full of doubt,
always becoming
—but only through risk.

read more »

May 25, 2019

Survivor’s Guilt

by HemmingPlay

(Note: written several months ago as part of the recovery process.) 

Hissing down Highway 1
in the rain,
Baltimore in the rear view.

Brushing against old pain
repressed for 20 years,
but suddenly bleeding
through my chest,
three grey hours ahead.

I wasn’t the one
who was sick, I said.
Not the one who died.
I was just the supporting cast
the nameless crew member
in the red tunic.

read more »

April 6, 2019

What Comes Before Silence

by HemmingPlay

Death is not bitter
death is a silence
But dying is bitter.
Dying is hard.
With you,
it was the sound.

It was like drowning,
no detail spared,
in slow motion…

with metastases of cancer
that filled the lungs
and grew, sending out
ghastly spawn to live in bone

read more »

April 4, 2019

Memories Over A Glass of Wine

by HemmingPlay

I Want To Dance with You_Kiku Xue

You weren’t my first summer girl—
But were the first one to take me over
Body and soul (and OK, I admit, it wasn’t all that hard to do)
But you are the one from the early days I remember

With only a few sharp regrets, since softened by time.

But also rises in me a wistful toast
To our being so young and eager, so serious, so clumsy,
So lost in hormones and music on the radio
Sitting on the lawn under a black sky sprinkled with stars,
Fumbling, clutching, giddy with freedom, while
Bullfrogs’ song charged the humid darkness with need.

read more »

April 1, 2019

Standing

by HemmingPlay

daro.jpg
And oh, my dear,
what joy
to hear the robin’s call,
the cardinal’s challenge,
the excited chatter
of all the returning
migrants, full of stories
about tropical fruits
and sunny days and
nights among the
trumpet vines and
camellia blooms
on the Gulf of Mexico.

read more »

February 27, 2019

It Was the Sound

by HemmingPlay

Note: Don’t be alarmed. I am OK. This poem deals with something that happened nearly a year ago, but I’m just able to work my way into it objectively. It will be in a collection soon to be published, but as I prepare the pieces, I find there are still loose ends that need to be tied up by remembering. This was one.

Death is not bitter…
death is a silence
But, the dying is bitter.
Dying is full of the noise
of the going out.
It was the sound, I think,
that still haunts me,
the sound of your
struggle, the
death rattle.
(Such a bland phrase,
nothing like the
horror of the real thing.)

It was a drowning,
slowly,
inevitably,
the lungs full of fluids produced by
the metastases of cancer
the ravisher of lungs,
scatterer of foul seeds,
ghastly, evil children to stick in bone
and brain.

The relentless
sounds of drowning, your
poor, battered breastbone lifting,
tough heart refusing to stop
long after it should have.
Morphine hid the pain
but took your mind,
filled it full of phantasms
but it at least lay a
warm blanket over the pain

But the lungs were full
and drowned you deep
in dreamy waters, hours
after your spirit had
abandoned the failing husk.
An old friend said you visited her
in a dream hours before.

You had a spirit body,
alive and vigorous and young, happy, she said,
dressed in spring clothes
and driving a sky-blue convertible.
While I tried to give the body
some peace, and listened to
the rising dreamy waters, rattling,
It was a comfort to learn
you had escaped, and
driven away on your
great adventure.

In bright sunshine,
free, in a blue convertible, like the
one you had when we met
50 years before.

hemmingplay.com

February 23, 2019

Kintsugi

by HemmingPlay

thesink I will remember the kisses
our lips raw with love
and how you gave me
everything you had
and how I
offered you what was left of
me

–Charles Bukowski

And now, for a time, I must find the parts of me I’ve lost, and glue them back into a new whole. Kintsugi, finding beauty in imperfection; the art of precious scars. Perhaps I’ll mend the broken edges with gold this time.

1*2wxN1DsROOl4o0sHhYkDWA

 

February 22, 2019

The World’s Longest Epitaph

by HemmingPlay

dreamstime_s_112061186

“It’s over, at last. Don’t you wonder what I can see now? I can’t tell you; it’s the rules. But all the stuff you worry about and fear and hate is so utterly petty I can’t be bothered with it any more. It’s just not important.

This will be quick…

You’ll get here soon enough. You’ll find out. I did the best I could there, and I don’t have anything to feel ashamed of. If you can say that, it’ll be OK.

I’m going, now. I won’t be back. (Ghosts are fake news. Why would anyone come back to this after seeing the truth.?) Try to do the best you can.

Just be kind. Just that.”

http://hemmingplay.com

February 1, 2019

A Morning*

by HemmingPlay

I remember certain things,
how it was a Sunday in
April, and the daffodils were late.
How the sun was out and
poured through the bay windows
of the bedroom, happy and warm,
like nothing was wrong,
like everything was normal.

I can’t feel it now, the exhaustion
of that awful last night,
blessed by how the brain
softens certain things with time.

read more »

December 2, 2018

Why Do I Do This?

by HemmingPlay

A writer of modest talent can only hope one day to put together a word or two—on on a rare week, a phrase—that’s worth keeping. This is not the conceit of perfectionism. This is just the reality of a mediocre vision that cannot totally grasp and share what floats in and out of view. It’s the frustration that has to be managed—The gap between what might be glimpsed, a brief impression of something sublime, and the skill that, were it a painting, only produces stick figure drawings.

So the experience is one of enduring a sense of constant failure, working to press my cheek up against the foggy glass that keeps me from the truth, but still trying to catch a scent of it and convey it honestly….Throwing the lariat a thousand times at a stallion that prances just out of reach, hoping that one more throw will tame the beast and bring him nearer to feel the heat and the true wild life of him.

That’s the job. (Neurotic? Of course it is. But what’s a little neurosis among friends?). It’s just a matter of putting up with failure long enough to feel the hot breath of something beautiful. It is insanity. But oh, so seductive.

December 2, 2018

Lighthearted At The End of the World

by HemmingPlay
Ed: I’m researching one or more works on climate fiction –CliFi–that will tiptoe through a increasingly alarming future. In the process, I’m finding some previous works that, while dark, are also windows into the subject. So, to brighten your day, here are two:

A Song on the End of the World

BY CZESLAW MILOSZ

On the day the world ends|
A bee circles a clover,
A fisherman mends a glimmering net.
Happy porpoises jump in the sea,

By the rainspout young sparrows are playing
And the snake is gold-skinned as it should always be.

On the day the world ends
Women walk through the fields under their umbrellas,

A drunkard grows sleepy at the edge of a lawn,
Vegetable peddlers shout in the street
And a yellow-sailed boat comes nearer the island,

read more »

November 19, 2018

Common Grief

by HemmingPlay


A local story tells
of a dam that blocked a creek in late ’60.
The water rose, year by year,
seeped over a poor family’s
rocky homestead,
the one that was supposed
to be an assured future.
58 years under
the dark, cool waves,
bass and perch swimming past
foundation stones covered in mud and algae.
The loss of a dream
is a reason

read more »

October 5, 2018

I Come From A Place of Fireflies

by HemmingPlay

img_2961

I came from a place of fireflies,
where men were reasonable and tall,
Where people knew me by who my grandfather was, and his, and his.
Where farmers didn’t block views with trees,
To see at a glance from the kitchen window
How the corn was doing, the soybeans.

read more »

August 17, 2018

Crying

by HemmingPlay

*Part of the “Saying Goodbye” collection to be published soon. 

Do you remember our babies’
crying through the night
with colic, red-faced, kicking,
little fists clenched, punching the air?
We took turns with
futile soothings,
new at this baby thing,
desperate to comfort, to
silence that infernal noise
so we could go to work
in a few hours and not
fall asleep in the elevator.

They didn’t seem to want
comfort, did they?

read more »

August 15, 2018

August Request

by HemmingPlay

Please consider picking up a copy of “Snowflakes & Ashes…” at Amazon or Barnes & Noble online. The links are below. It’s not a beach book, I’m afraid. But that’s not all bad this time of year.

But don’t take my word for it. From one of the reviews.

read more »

August 14, 2018

Secret

by HemmingPlay

When the sands
of our deeper selves
shift, slide, scald
at 3 a.m.,
when buried grief
slithers out again,
the night holds its
breath a moment,
exhales and the Eastern
sky brightens.
Safe again, we wake.

read more »

July 12, 2018

Dear Readers and Fellow Writers…

by HemmingPlay

A gentle reminder for July’s sales (going gangbusters!.. probably): if you meant to get a copy of “Snowflakes & Ashes….” and haven’t yet, it’s available through several channels, including  Barnes and Noble. (Links to US stores below, but searchable internationally.)

read more »

June 28, 2018

Slender Thread

by HemmingPlay

coast_stones_sea_water_sky_mountain_island_ultra_3840x2160_hd-wallpaper-149153

Different time zones

different continents

different days,

some days….

Different morn and night

hard to tell sometimes…

read more »

June 25, 2018

Martian Sunset

by HemmingPlay

 

“Not again,” He saw the ignition begin behind her eyes. 

“God’s an amazing artist,” she said, gathering her righteous energies to spring into the “do you know Jesus? speech”. 

“I just said I’d seen a sunset as though it were for the first time. Don’t make this all about you.”

“But.. “

“No. Just don’t. I was trying to tell you something, and you were about to use my pain to evangelize. It’s selfish. It’s unworthy of you.”

read more »

May 26, 2018

Snowflakes and Ashes

by HemmingPlay

41H2AS9iQaLI’m happy to announce that I’ve just published (via Gatekeeper Press), “Snowflakes and Ashes: Meditations on the Temporary.” It’s still being propagated through the internet, but Amazon and Barnes & Noble have it up already. Distribution will also be through independent bookstores, libraries and academic users.

For now, you can take a peek at https://amzn.to/2kpYDLC

Steve Jobs said once that we can’t connect the dots of our lives looking forward. It’s only later, after the journey has a few miles on it, that one can look back and draw some conclusions and see the patterns that are usually invisible at the time. Some things we know, but some things are surprises. I wrote this out of the jumble of my own life, but have the conceit that my experiences and accidental insights are probably similar to some of yours. I hope so. (Solitary journeys can be lonely. Glad to have some company.) I’ll be posting some promo codes as soon as I get them if you can’t handle buying a book at the moment. I am gladly welcoming reviews, however.

 

April 21, 2018

Reluctant Spirits

by HemmingPlay

A woman I know,
a believer, told me
she saw angels hovering
over our house.
I can’t see them, but
it wouldn’t surprise me.

Sitting by your bed
through the long nights,
feeling you slip away
a bit at a time as the cancer
races through you,

read more »

January 23, 2018

On Missing You Too Soon

by HemmingPlay

I find myself imagining
how the differences will
play out…
The unfamiliar,
lengthening silences,
stretching into the dusk.
The way dust devils will
gather in corners, waiting
for something that
will never come.

read more »