You are probably as tired of reading about my difficulty in doing any regular writing for the past few years as I am in saying and living it.
So I won't give any excuses, nor will I make any promises - except this one which I make to myself: I will spend 20 minutes every day engaged with writing. On some days, that will be the multiverse novel I'm fighting with. On other days, poetry.
A few weeks ago, I sent out a tweet asking for folks to give me 6 words that I would weave into a poem.
Want to help me dive back into #poetry ? Reply w/6 words & I'll see what I can do either using them as a prompt or including all 6 in a #bespoke #poem.— LJ Cohen@🏠 (@lisajanicecohen) October 29, 2021
*reserves the right not to use words that don't feel right.
*nastiness will be reported/blocked
And folks came through.
While I'm not participating in NaNoWriMo, I have been writing more steadily. Here are some of the first poems I've written, along with the words that created them:
For Laura Jane
When I try to wish my way
into silence, fallen branch snap
and leaf litter whisper insist
on conversation. Witness
trees slowly spin stories
in a language I almost understand:
a thousand words for wind and rain,
sun and soil, birds and moss, the tickle
of small creatures against bark
and root. And my clumsy
footfalls; a steady heartbeat.
-Lisa Janice Cohen 11/3/2021
(leaf, star*, rain, spin, whisper, wish)
*I had star in a line that I ended up cutting and didn't realize until I had already posted the poem
In the five centuries between
Father Falloppio's anatomy lessons
and the operation that removed
my ovaries and wayward tubes
I wonder how much wisdom we have accrued.
We still buy tickets to cancer's indifferent
lottery. Celebrate our losings
with extravagant meals--red wine, bitter
greens, ravioli, trying not to think
of rogue cells splitting open
like ripe fungi as we dine.
--Lisa Janice Cohen
(fallopian, wisdom, green, ravioli, indifferent, fungus)
I drive down roads without signs, streets
so familiar to the locals it would seem strange
to name them. Directions are always a story:
head up the lane a ways, look for the flying
pig on top of a red barn, turn left. Mind
you don't bottom out on the ruts. My survival
skills were made for a different landscape.
The farmer eyes my smile with mistrust,
would never describe his farm, his cows,
their breaths steaming in the chill morning air
as charming. His worry follows me. I fight
the urge to turn back and apologize for everything.
--Lisa Janice Cohen
(up, down, charmed, strange, bottom, top)
If you'd like to play along, tweet or comment with 6 words. (Same caveats apply as in the tweet above).