The CDC Poetry Project isn’t affiliated with the Centers for Disease Control. It is the (evidence-based) brainchild of Sarah Freligh and Amy Lemmon, who launched the project shortly (very shortly), after the CDC’s list of banned, um, discouraged words became public.
I’m grateful for their efforts and grateful that they chose my poem among the many fine poems they have been posting since January 1.
Check out their site! Write a poem and send it.
Yes, I realize that it’s already Epiphany, and I’m just now getting around to posting my well wishes here. My apologies–and I hope your year is off to a great start!
I’ve already received my first 2018 rejection for a little something I wrote on December 31 and sent to Rattle Poets Respond.
For the fun of it, or the heck of it, here it is:
Baby, What Will We Do with This Baby?
The man at the side of the street stuffs
balloons into the van, bunches of white, black,
silver helium-filled, buoyancy bubbling
into the van’s gullet packed to the gills
for some celebration, the year’s end,
the nascent next, how America used
to worship the new and now embraces
one past or another, the years we barely
remember sticking like gum to our shoes,
and driving by these bobbling clusters, I blot out
thoughts of them popping into the ocean,
rubbery rags snagged in tern, turtle, tuna.
Instead, picture them a constellation of suns
brightening the later night, lifting lighter
than the air we’re breathing, and might this year
we all rise to each of our own occasions.
Walking home today, I saw that one of the neighborhood Little Libraries lay in pieces, apparently from a July 4th cherry bomb.
This was the first Little Library that I ever encountered–the little building a wonderful reproduction of the house behind it.
I told the owner (and library host) how sorry I was. She said, “It will be rebuilt.”
That’s what I mean by a good attitude.
She also mentioned that when she spoke with other people about it, they said they’d done similar things in their youth–putting firecrackers in mailboxes. (I was not one of those people–always way too much of a chickenshit.)
Looking at the photo now, I see above the sign’s question the title Presumed Innocent.
For a poem, David Whyte’s The House of Belonging.
Imagine looking out over the port, where orange and white cranes rise like steel dinosaurs above a colorful assortment of shipping containers, the city all around, and the mountains further east.
I took the photo, but it’s on my phone downstairs (or I thought I took it and didn’t click hard enough?), and the booming is just enough to concern the cat, so I don’t want to disrupt him by making any more changes (or moving at all).
But that mountain maritime view is where I was writing, or trying to write, or writing about trying to write. (There’s always reading, so I read.)
Then I helped my daughter fix the food and enjoyed a dinner with family–good times.
For a poem, today I was reading Jenny Johnson’s book In Full Velvet, and here is Summoning the Body That Is Mine When I Shut My Eyes.
Since restarting the Gratitude Journal, I’ve noticed that sometimes I’m grateful for things that I do–I’m actively pursuing what will fill me with thanks. For example, meeting my mom for lunch. Other times, gratitude is mixed with wonder when the universe just hands something down and points my head in that direction. Through this practice, I hoped to become more observant, more open to the world in all its textures—definitely helpful for writing and for being a human being. Here, I hoped to share those brief joys with you.
I guess that today I cheated—I went looking for that moment. Late in the afternoon, I really wanted to see ducklings, so I walked up the hill to the waterlily ponds. I hadn’t seen any ducklings there a few weeks ago, but today, I was the lucky duck!
At first I saw two or three, then five, then nine little fluffs zipping like motorboats among the lily pads. One decided to walk up the ramp, followed by mother duck, who watched closely as he stepped off the board and began to walk along the pool’s cement edge, maybe a foot above the water. Wait? What am I doing up here? After several quick looks and a few paces back and forth, he jumped and plopped down with a tiny splash.
For the poem today, not ducks, but sheep—Sally Fisher’s Here in the Psalm.