It’s Always Dark When I Put on My Lipstick For love of Stuart Dischell’s “She Put on Her Lipstick in the Dark” Oui, I met a man in Paris once, not the only man I’ve ever met in Paris. It was in a museum in a garden. I was looking at the statues; getting a feel for them with my fingers. Men want to walk me to the café, to the entrainer, and to the boutique. They want me with coffee and they want to help me to cross several rues. He sidled up to me, asking which statue I favoured. He said he would steal it for me; just say the word. I told him he needed a new line. I felt his metal security guard badge and his nightstick. I kissed him anyway and leaned my head on his warm chest. Paris was cold and I wore my aquamarine scarf. We sipped lovely cups of coffee near loud machines. I couldn’t see and I couldn’t hear. I nearly missed my train, Paris to Grenoble, seven hours and 45 minutes. I never saw him but I remember his face.
I ordered The Magnetic Poetry Book of Poetry with an Amazon gift card I received for Christmas. I have enjoyed Magnetic Poetry for as long as I have dabbled in poetry and this book is a great new edition to my collection!
As I read through Robert Pinsky’s introduction to the book, I couldn’t help but think about the words of my professor and mentor at National University, Frank Montesonti. In the week 6 lecture for MCW640B Advanced Workshop in Poetry II, Frank wrote of “associative leaping” and Dean Young.
“What Dean Young does in poems, I call “associative leaping.” After all, his movements through a poem are not random.
Robert Bly describes leaping: “in terms of language, leaping is the ability to associate fast. In a great poem, the considerable distance between the associations, that is, the distance the spark has to leap, gives the lines their bottomless feeling, their space, and the speed (of the association) increases the excitement of poetry.”
Sometimes Young’s associations may feel random, and sometimes he misses his mark, but where the excitement lies is in “the distance the spark has to leap.”
The pleasure in associative leaping is like the pleasure in feeling out the third term of a metaphor. The poem becomes an associative exercise–the poet takes you somewhere unexpected.”
I have found that many times the magic of magnetic poetry is in the associations that arise. The words wait impatiently in a mob on my refrigerator door. They wait for my poetic hand to sculpt them into a meaningful order, or is it further disorder? So often I look over the words and two or three of them catch my eye in an amusing, unexpected, and unique sequence that makes sense in the poetic context.
Currently, my wife and I use the refrigerator to write and rewrite magnetic poems back and forth. It’s a fun and engaging way to send each other modern love notes.
Montesonti, Frank. “Dean Young.” MCW640B Advanced Workshop in Poetry II, 22 June 2016, National University, La Jolla, CA. Lecture.
Do I title this “… Day 11 Assignment:…” or do I break the convention of only spelling out numbers ten and under to title it “Day Eleven Assignment:…”? I’ll keep to spelling it out through Day Fourteen.
WRITING PROMPTS! I KNOW THIS! I have countless (only because I haven’t physically counted them) books of poetry and writing prompts! I also subscribe to Poets & Writers “The Time is Now” poetry, fiction, and nonfiction writing prompts! Writing prompts are everywhere in the unfortunate event you find yourself pinned down by writer’s block or just can’t find the inspiration. Sometimes I use writing prompts even when I am full of inspiration. I might see a prompt for poetry, fiction, or even non-fiction that is particularly striking and I am compelled to use it.
This picture below is for Rattle’s monthly ekphrastic poetry challenge. This photograph is for the January 2017 challenge running from January 1st-31st. You can find a more scholarly definition of ekphrasis on The Poetry Foundation’s Glossary of Poetic Terms or The Academy of American Poets’ Library. In short, an ekphrastic poem is a poem directly inspired by a visual work of art – a painting, photograph, sculpture, etc.
Inspired by Harry Wilson’s image “Ileen’s Dance of the Old Year #1, San Francisco, 1984”
by Bryan Pitchford
Tomorrow is not promised today, still, I wait
to claim the future as my own.
I am the god of yesterday.
I am the Old Year,
though not so old
as Father Time.
I am the last days. The lost days
and with each passing day I grow,
a record of history.
Let me not serve as a reminder of what is lost,
but of knowledge gained.
I hope you find some inspiration today whether you are compelled to seek out a writing prompt or are working on a piece you haven’t been able to finish. Today is the day for you to complete it!
i lie in bed making snow angels
her sheets are white
like a frozen tundra
like a bridal gown
the assumption of purity
she loved the absurdity
im sprawled out
my left arm and leg hanging off the side
i woke up on the wrong side of this bed
the wrong side of the tracks with
the wrong girl
falling asleep and waking up
feeling trapped in some place
less exciting than
it was the night before
some nights i wish i had just stayed home
stayed up late
writing about girls
rather than putting up with them
she woke before i got up
i had been watching her
thinking of whirlpools
but it’s my life
who is she
i wrote her name on my hand so
i wouldnt forget
but who is she
you can leave now she said
trying to salvage small self-respect
thanks for your permission i said
already headed toward the door
are you coming back she said
something’s got to give