Six Months Later: Blogging versus Life

Cajas National Park

Cajas National Park

Travel – Columbia, Ecuador, London, Amsterdam, New York City, Pittsburgh – requires time.  Time to plan, time to go, time to recover.

The Saint John’s Bible exhibit at the Chazen required study and time to conduct tours between travels. http://www.saintjohnsbible.org/promotions/heritage/

Writing and submitting poems takes time.  And has about a ten percent success rate.

Waiting for workmen to install water heaters and softeners, furnaces and air conditioners takes time, and is boring.

Diversions into spring and summer yard work take a lot of time.

So, one small success.  A poem called “Dad” was published in Blue Heron Review.

Dad

I can see you sitting at the desk that’s now in our den and you’re bending, bending to write a letter on Sunday after midday supper of roast and carrots and potatoes from which you’ll make hash and bending you write the weather is fine, or not, your health is fine, or not, Mother is…probably not, and then you get up and put on your cap and drive to the Post Office to mail it on Sunday so I will receive it on Tuesday.

Every Tuesday, a letter.  You probably hoped if you mailed a letter on Sunday that I received on Tuesday, I would have time to write a response on Wednesday, mail it on Thursday and you would receive it on Saturday and then you could reply on Sunday.  But I never did.

One day in another of my attempts to get Mother to understand me, to see me, to love me, my husband said, Your Father loves you. 

He writes every week.

Blue Heron Review / Issue 3, Winter 2015

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A Long Year Already

Cape Cod Beach

Mid-January and already my New Year’s Resolution is being tested.  I resolved to worry less.  Worry – disquiet, unease, anxiety.    In the first six days of the year I celebrated my birthday and was involved in a minor car accident.  Then, on the 7th of January, gunmen attacked Charlie Hebdo in Paris.

Today, I read a poem about an injured deer that finds shelter in a shed and is found in the spring.  It ends like this:  All deer die. / This one is a testament.

Does the poet mean that deer is a metaphor for testament, which is a covenant between god and humans?  Or is the deer a metaphor for god?  As though the human-made shed was not for wood or tools, but for a god, a creator or a spirit.  I will shelter you.

Yesterday, trying to identify a building in one of my photos from our trip to Boston in September, I found the image: Site of the Boston Massacre.  Five colonists were killed by British soldiers on March 5, 1770.  The Brits were occupiers and the locals didn’t like it.  The colonists provoked the soldiers, then attacked them.  The soldiers fired.  Later, most of the soldiers were acquitted because they did not fire until attacked.

Today, a Saudi Imam banned the building of snowmen because nothing can be built or drawn by man that has a soul; only god can do that.

Massacre – an indiscriminant and brutal slaughter of people.  How many deaths equal a massacre?  One black man?  Five colonists?  Twelve cartoonists and staff?  The 66 journalists killed in 2014?  The list is long and historic.

If the image of man cannot be made by man, how then is it souls are so easily destroyed?  How do we remember the dead without names and faces, without knowing their histories?  If a deer is a testament, what are people killed by man?  Testaments to their beliefs?

 

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One Hour, Eight Minutes

Boston Library Cat

Boston Library Cat

One hour and eight minutes was all it took to receive a rejection email after submitting to a publication seeking material for a triptych, a poem in three columns, commenting on itself on the side.  I was certain I had the right stuff, but the reply that zipped back said the readers just “didn’t love it enough” to pass it along to the editors. Scamps!  Judge for yourself.  (I cannot show columns in WordPress, so use your imagination!)

Column One

Qualities of a Body Parts Model

 Long fingers,

   no veins showing

 Skin free of blemishes, scars or large pores

 Legs free of cellulite

The industry’s most comprehensive catalog of Bumpers, Grilles,Fenders, Hoods, Door Handles, Window Regulators, Bumper Covers, Radiator Supports, Mirrors, Headlights, Tail Lights, Cornering Lights and more!

Whoops.  Wrong type of part!

Unusual Parts – photo of a Jack Russell Terrier.

Click here to apply:

Dear Potential Talent,

Thank you for your interest…

We are a catalog of parts to the industry. What industry, you ask? THE industry-that includes television, film, commercials, movie posters, print ads, multimedia, and just about any industry where a perfect part may be inserted.

Column Two

Body Parts Model

I have a perfect body part I want to put on PartsModel.com where the best feet, hands, legs, eyes and necks are showcased, each part hoping to be chosen to model hand cream, leggings, shoes, watches, rings or mascara.  I post my part, a long, smooth-skinned white neck well-defined clavicle the perfect landscape for a necklace studded with diamonds.

Next to my photo I see even longer necks in deep shades of brown and ebony and shorter necks with creamier skin.  My perfect part looks perfectly ordinary.  Rejections appear in the comment section:  We are unable to use…our selection process is very competitive…  We want you to know each part was carefully examined by at least three members of our staff…We appreciate the chance to review your part.  We really do.  A flashing sign on the side of the screen catches my eye.

LeaseYourBody.com offers to put a temporary tattoo on my forehead:  Logos, Brands,  Directions.  Someone will pay me to strut a swish, an ad or an icon that is even more desirable, and lucrative, than my ambitious body part.

 Column Three

For rent: Your forehead for $5,000

Our Participants agree to wear temporary tattoos (logos) supplied by Advertisers. By doing so, YOU can earn BIG $$$$$.In exchange, Advertisers (companies) can gain novel exposure for their business.

You will be sent a temporary tattoo that you can apply yourself at home. Once applied, you take a picture and send it to our administrators. Once the picture is received, you will be paid half the amount (minus the Lease Your Body fee). Once your assignment is half-way through, you are required to send an update picture showing you are still wearing the tattoo. You will then be paid the rest of the money.

Woman tattoos forehead for $10K

Auctioning space on her forehead brought one young woman $10,000 and a permanent tattoo.  Claiming to love to be the center of attention…oh, well, that’s just sick.

 

 

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Stroking the Ego, Not Lying Down

Pebbles, Cape Cod

Beach Pebbles, Cape Cod

I sent out several poems last weekend and there are December 15 and 31 deadlines to meet.  It’s one thing to write a poem and edit and polish it.  It’s another thing to find likely publications, follow the submission guidelines, meet the deadlines, keep track of what’s been submitted and what’s been rejected.  All of that business is very time consuming.  And, I wonder whether it’s worth it.  It’s definitely a stroke to the ego to get an acceptance e-mail, especially when it’s about a one in ten chance.  But..why?  I’m not going to make a career out of this like the teaching poets.  Establishing (some) credibility is probably part of it.

Or does getting published giving my life a purpose?  Here’s a quote from Sharon Olds that I cut out and pasted in my journal:  “Writing or making anything – a poem, a bird feeder, a chocolate cake – has self respect in it.  You’re working.  You’re trying.  You’re not lying down on the ground, having given up.”

I was fortunate to have some poems published this fall.  The first, in Zo Magazine, was in response to a call to write a poem about a photo called The Nightly Unfolding of Madame de Loynes by Luis Jose Estremadoyro.  Here is a link to my poem http://www.zomagazine.com/what-grass/  It is called Doubled Over (scroll down a bit).

Three poems were included in Silly Tree Anthology, which just appeared as a Kindle book.   You can check it out here http://www.amazon.com/Way-Light-Slants-Catherine-MacKenzie-ebook/dp/B00QHEGKCK/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1417570626&sr=1-1&keywords=The+Way+the+Light+Slants.  My poems are Seascape, Cardiac Event, a Canticle and Let’s Sleep Under the Stars.  

A haiku was published in Mariposa 31.  Mariposa is the journal of the Haiku Poets of Northern California.  I’m very pleased about this one because I have submitted previously and this is the first haiku of mine they have accepted.

pulling old paper / from nursery wall / Mother’s lullaby

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Gabriel Uses GPS to Find Mary

Tiedeman's Walk

Tiedeman’s Walk

The prompt at my poetry group was to assume the persona of a famous person from mythology, the Bible or history.  I “assumed” the Archangel Gabriel who announced to the Virgin Mary that she would be with child.

The Vernal Equinox is considered the calendar date for The Annunciation.  You can do the math.

 

Gabriel Uses GPS to Find Mary

 

Early March.  Crocuses are up

but there is still ice in shadows.

The call comes about noon.

You have a week, God says.

 

I get on the internet.

Homeland won’t make this easy.

I pull documents from the safe.

My leather jacket covers the wings.

 

A rental Renault.  I’d have preferred

an Audi.  A few olive trees and a citrus

orchard later and I’m at the farm house.

Mary is lovely, so serene, reading a book.

 

God, do we have to do the ray thing?

Can’t you send the Holy Spirit later?

You know, it’s usually done in private,

in a bedroom, at night, with the door shut.

 

 

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Of Heaven and Earth

Rhino

 

Beauty.  A Rhinoceros or an Italian painting from the Late Middle Ages and Renaissance?

I attended an exhibit of 500 years of Italian painting from Glasgow Museums at the Milwaukee Art Museum (MAM) last week.  It was a great romp through art history – who was influenced by whom and who were the influencers.  The images selected for the MAM website are the best ones, I think.  http://mam.org/of-heaven-and-earth/

One of the centerpiece works in the exhibition is a painting of the Annunciation by Sandro Botticelli.  Mary’s expression is what interests me when I see paintings of The Annunciation.  How does she react when the Angel Gabriel appears to tell her she is about to be with child.  Therefore, I was especially fond of Botticelli’s version from Glasgow Museums, painted 1490-95.  Botticelli uses sparkling gold lines to symbolize the Holy Spirit piercing Mary, a symbol used by Medieval artists.  On the other hand, he is almost severe in the depiction of the interior arches and columns that separate Gabriel and Mary, exploring the early Renaissance of perspective drawing.

Botticelli painted other versions of the Annunciation.  One, from 1485, is in the Metropolitan Museum in New York City is similar to the Glasgow painting.  http://www.metmuseum.org/collection/the-collection-online/search/459016

There is another Botticelli Annunciation in the Uffizi Gallery in Florence from 1489-90 that places Gabriel directly in front of Mary. Here, Botticelli emphasizes the use of perspective as the eye follows out the window to the countryside beyond. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cestello_Annunciation_(Botticelli)#mediaviewer/File:Botticelli,_annunciazione_di_cestello_02.jpg

In all of the Botticelli versions, Mary looks serene and thoughtful, but in other artists’ hands she can look startled, shocked, disbelieving and even dismayed.  Or she can look most pleased and delighted.

Imagine a virgin rhino

Visited by an angel

Touched by the Holy Spirit

The pleasure spreading

Over the tough hide

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Haiku Moments

Maple close up

The maples are spectacular right now.  Always last to show and always worth the wait.

We raked and raked leaves yesterday and by mid-morning today the lawn was full of them.  I moaned about all the leaves still on the trees but my husband said, “Just look at how beautiful the maples are.  It will be worth raking more later on just to experience this.”

The mindfulness of paying attention and finding one haiku moment each day used to be so important to me.  I don’t know why I stopped, but I have resumed the daily practice of keeping a haiku diary.

Here is my favorite haiku from the past week.

leaf clings

to rain-soaked windshield

never give up

 

 

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