Poetry Slam Success!

Last night I joined in the Poem City Open Poetry Slam at City Hall in Montpelier (Vermont). There were 25 readers of all ages… and I got 3rd place!

Last night, I joined in the Poem City Open Poetry Slam at City Hall in Montpelier (Vermont). There were 25 readers of all ages, and it was an “anything goes” line-up with songs, pianos, guitars, dancing, and more. I was excited to get 3rd place with this poem! Though I was nervous to read it due to the fact that it’s so controversial for a white person to speak on racism these days, especially here in the US.

So here it is, and tell me what you think. I’m going to work on memorizing this and editing it. A stronger performance with some rewriting to the poem could get me a 1st or 2nd place at another show… or that’s my hope.

 

Open Poetry at Bear Pond Books, Tonight…

So, I’m hoping to get in on the open poetry reading tonight at Bear Pond books. It’s all done by lottery now, a policy which seems to have lowered the number of participants, since its institution a couple of years ago. Crossing my fingers… Meanwhile, here are some new poems.

Jackrabbit

Jackrabbit sits

On your breastbone

Skitters across ribs

Does nothing to bring solace – alone

You press sweaty palms to cool linoleum

And cry…

Black out poem from a page in “Summer Girls,” by Mary Alice Munro

From the west

Across heaven

Straight to the edge,

Her heart

Clutched

Leaped

Leaned…

She almost lingered there,

Stopped at the edge,

Called,

Called out,

She said,

“Oh!”

Angel In the Fire

Life is short. We’ve all heard/thought/been told this fact, but I am experiencing it viscerally this year. I’m going to be 52 soon. I have. No surviving parents. My aunt on my mother’s side just turned 83, and I have lost friends and relatives to sickness, old age, cancer, and addiction related organ failure.

Recently, my sister contacted one of my cousins and he told her that the old farm in Ferriburgh is now owned by one of my “grand-cousins” (I know – that’s just not the term, but you get it.) He and his wife are now running a beef farm on the old dairy farm! It’s exciting, and strange. How is it a place, or a building can hold such nostalgia for us? Change happens.

So, in light of this I am pledging to myself to begin creating a REAL FULL production of my choreo-play, “Angel in the Fire” in the next year or two. To that end, and because I am now learning how to do it, I have recorded some of the poems as podcasts. As I move along, I will keep you abreast of the progress on this project.

Enjoy!

Kim

This is: “Angel in the Fire” the theme poem:

 

 

Bringing Pagan symbols into my poetry…

Many years ago, while in a full time relationship, working a job I hated but needed, and helping to raise my sister’s eldest son, who was twelve, I took a year off from work to recoup from, well, all of that, and began to study and practice seriously as a Pagan.

I took that opportunity to study a set of ancient symbols which had always fascinated me, the Runes. What I learned about ancient magical ideas, Icelandic, Norse, German, and Anglo Saxon ancient cultures, the appropriation of the Elder Futhark (a set of runes originated by some Teutonic tribes in the area of Germany) into the Nazi regime and symbolism, were all fodder for my creative mind.

I found that Futhark stood for the first 6 runes in that system, (Fehu, Uruz, Thurisaz, Ansuz, Raido, Kenaz) just as Alphabet stands for the first two Greek characters that now make up our alphabet (Alpha Beta). I also learned that the generous images needed to be grounded in my own experiences, culture, language, and time.

To that end, I began to write some single stanza poems about each of the 24 Runes. My plan has always been to create some sort of collection with them.

My question about it has always been, does the poetry translate for anyone but me? Here are two of the first poems – not necessarily in the order in which they come in the Futhark – “Fehu,” which stands for “cattle or prosperity”, and Ansuz, which stands for “God or Word of God”.

Fehu

Fehu, fussy calf, short pink tongue questing,

Prosperity, your cattle are huddle in the field,

Feoh, that fuzzy-at-the-horn-root calf

You know if you come close to the fence

I’ll offer my hand as a sloppy sacrifice,

Just to feel your slick tongue seeking.

Look upon me with your dark eyes. The fields

Are still wet with dew, and my head is full of dreams.

 Ansuz

Ansuz, God, mouth of time,

Moth of words, wisdom of the Wyrd.

Inside that hole, we part, Grandmother.

God takes the tongue and roots it elsewhere, lights your bones

With eternal flame, sets them deep beneath my own skin.

Goddess slips her tongue over your buried bones,

Drills the cipher to my life deeply against my

Hip, and shin, breast and skull,

And the blessings burn.

Compelling? Confusing? Intriguing? What would you call these? I was reading a lot of old Icelandic poetry in translation while studying these, and I worked to try to follow the single stanza/syllabically-styled poetry, while giving the individual Rune name, followed by its definition, followed by my own interpretation of what the symbol meant, at least in my experience of modern Northern New England Culture. Oftentimes, what ended up coming from that was longer poetry with more of my own narrative. Poems like Green Mountain Runes, which is included in the Birchsong, Vol II that is out this month, and which incorporates the idea of Fehu/Cattle into the poem with the lines “…Fehu, prosperity/ which, first generation, meant sheep,/ more sheep than one woman could sheer/ and not go bleary-eyed, and bloody-handed, home…”

I will leave rest of this poem where it is (inside of the Birchsong collection) so you can read that when you grab yourself a copy of it from Northshire Books. or listen to it on April 14th, when I will be reading at the launch, at Northshire, in Manchester, VT.

 

Meanwhile, write on, McDuff!

Kim

Happy Poetry Month

Here is one of the poems I have out now, in Birchsong Volume 2: Poems Centered in Vermont.

Recipe for Honey

Becoming the sound of bees is not as easy as you would think.
First, take a cup of despondency & fold in
With a pocketful of compasses made of afternoon light
& late summer pollen with just a pinch of sky.
Sprinkle some loyalty to a singular woman on top.
Add a penchant for following the crowd.
Stir in a saucepan on low-heat –
The kind of warmth that comes from
A late August sun at Lughnasa –
Once it all comes to temperature
Simmer and wait for the sound to come.
When it does,
Dive in headfirst
And hum.

I had a couple of poems in Volume 1, as well, a few years ago. You can purchase Volume 2 here