After the Burn

21 Apr

AfterBurnpurpled bark, skin thin and curling at the corners,

crumbles like old love letters and oaths

misremembered,

pine cones with copper underbellies bleed out

and black waxy leaves cemented to their arching branches

fall like paper soldiers,

brittle needles crunch underfoot

and thorns, whetted by fire, draw blood with vengeance

tree limbs laid out, untidy as the dead,

powdered by cinder and ash,

a bleak situation,

the forest, a phoenix, burned up

to be born again,

and for the green and tender shoots clawing through the gloom,

a resurrection.

 

Easter Weekend, 2014

Twitterview with M. Molly Backes, author of Princesses of Iowa

3 Sep
A 140-character limit Twitter Q & A with M. Molly Backes, author of Princesses of Iowa, conducted around midnight on Sept 2, 2013. Yay!
PrincessesOfIowa
Laura: With @mollybackes author of #PrincessesOfIowa M, from the Iowa 80 to small-town life, you seem to know Willow Grove intimately. Connection?

Molly: Willow Grove is fictional, but I went to college in small-town Iowa & grew up in small-town Wisconsin. I heart small towns.

Laura: What came first for you, the small-town setting, the character of Paige, or something else entirely?

Molly: Paige came first, but I was living in NM at the time, and homesick for the Midwest, so Iowa was always important.

Laura: Paige is a complex character who grows much throughout #PrincessesOfIowa What do you see as her greatest weakness? Strength?

Molly: Thanks! I think her greatest weakness is her extremely narrow world-view. She is the center of her own universe to a fault. So conversely her greatest strength is her willingness to start expanding her understanding of herself & the world.

Laura: You give a wide array of personalities in #PrincessesOfIowa Who did you most enjoy getting to know throughout the process?

Molly: Of course I love them all, but I think that Nikki is my favorite. She always made me laugh. & Paige’s mom was wickedly fun.

Laura: Does your mother bear resemblance to the mothers of Willow Grove in #PrincessesOfIowa Or, did you know these women growing up?

Molly: I have known some critical mothers! Not my mom, but other women in my family, the mothers of my students…they’re out there.

Laura: You wove many themes in #PrincessesOfIowa bigotry/tolerance, popular/not so, interior/exterior. What was your initial spark?

Molly: The initial spark was the way we label ourselves & each other, & how those labels keep us from seeing deeper, truer selves. Which I think is the thematic umbrella for all other issues: popularity, homophobia, class, race, gender, expectations, etc.

Laura: Confession time: Are you, or have you ever been, a princess of Iowa?

Molly: Ha, that depends on your definition of princess. I once crowned myself the “Rabbit Princess,” but have no idea why. #college

Laura: Lacey is what one might term a “mean girl” in #PrincessesOfIowa How do you feel about this label in general and/or for her?

Molly: I think it’s a popular trope for a reason, but I also believe that every human is far more complex than any trope would allow

Laura: What is your favorite scene in #PrincessesOfIowa? Why?

Molly: The argument between Shanti & Ethan about whether it’s better to do nothing & look cool, or do something & look stupid. It’s a small moment, but it was something that I absolutely believed in, & was proud to put out in the world.

Laura: Shanti and Ethan were v. enlightened throughout #PrincessesOfIowa Now a writerly Q, what are you working on now?

Molly: Oh lord, who knows. I’m battling my way through the jungle of doubt, self-loathing, & procrastination that is a first draft.

Laura: You sound like a writer! Last Q: What would you say to young women on both sides of the #PrincessesOfIowa spectrum?

Molly: Go easy on yourself. Take a deep breath. Be thoughtful. Imagine the kind of person you’d like to be, and work toward that.

Laura: Thank you for letting me Twitterview you! What a great experience to read #PrincessesOfIowa and then be able to ask Qs live!

Molly: Awww, thank you! It was a good exercise in brevity. I could have answered every Q with a paragraph.

Unnamed by Anonymous

18 Aug

What if my words, designed to fly gracefully on the page, jeweled butterflies are instead dark, shiny and black, tiny beetles that slowly chew through the pages, now brittle, crumbling

No rehearsals here, just a long paralysis, no failure as terrible as the imagined

What is perfection?

The unwritten book with gleaming pages,

The pure raw colours unmixed

The world at dawn of time with no people to slice and mix, to dig, to satirize

 

Voice by Zechariah Lange

14 May

I have another guest poet today, Zechariah Lange, has graced us with this lovely poem, Voice. I encourage poets of all ages to send me their poems for the possibility of letting me share them here on my blog. Email lauralascarso(at)yahoo(dot)com  Viva poetry!

Voice

Here stands a human being,

Gazing through a glass wall.

Some time now he has stood peering,

Waiting for his turn to take a step.

 

Searching, craving, yearning,

He stands using different tools,

Tools that were not of his own creation.

Understanding now the purpose of this wall.

 

Searching now within, the conjuring

Yields a force that is all his own.

Constructed of a love that is

Signed with a personal signature.

 

In world of universal truths,

He prioritizes these ingredients

With his own sense of worth.

Finally, this wall is a road.

A Poem for Archers by Anonymous

6 May

A target pinned and solid-seeming
but mine is all in motion
I draw the bowstring back
and farther back
Were I to let it fly would it sink deep?

But now my muscles shake
fingers torn against the string
velocity all misaimed
I cannot decipher which target is my own

Can I split this arrow with the force of my own wishing,
shower the sky with a quiverful,
live out each peculiar path?

Or must I choose now
release my hold
wide-eyed or blindfolded
poised or hamfisted

Should I lower the bow?

Anonymous, May 2013

Poetry Contest Winner

1 May

Congratulations to Paula Osborn who is the winner of a signed copy of Counting Backwards. Thank you to all those who submitted a poem during National Poetry Month, and to those who have been following along.

I hope you all will consider submitting poems to me throughout the year. Your verses will always be welcome here. Viva poetry!

What I Found When I Shook Out My Kitchen Rug

30 Apr

My beloved great grandmother, for starters,
She was baking a ricotta pie
A pair of My Little Pony skates, circa 1985
Seven lizards, minus their tails
An irrational fear of falling down stairs
250 hand-written sentences on responsibility
Blue chalk dust from a four-square court
Clair de Lune on flute.

The harder I shook, the more that fell—
The pursuit of perfection
Paired with a compulsivity to count
One cup of black coffee—no sugar, no cream
A Pentax camera with a lens flare
An application to Princeton, unsent
A long-term experiment in not caring,
hypothesis correct.

You’d think by now, it’d all be out,
That subject-predicate habit
A tendency to smile and shirk
The insatiable need to scratch till I bleed
Rushing through the downhill
To climb the mountain again
Unmatched silverware and unmade beds
Beginnings without endings
And one friend request from my father, still pending.

Dust

29 Apr

Today I’m excited to present a guest poem by Paula Osborn! Paula is a compulsive reader and YA writer who lives in Colorado at the base of the Rocky Mountains. Thank you, Paula, for your poignant expression!

 

Dust

 

Exhausted, straining to inhale a sliver of breath
I lie buried in the dust of another day
Desperate for the desire to crawl forward
Toward the rushing stream
With its promise of refreshment and desire
To smile one more day
Without trying

 

Tomorrow will be the last day of poetry month, and the winner of our contest will be announced May 1. Thank you to all those who’ve been keeping up with my poetry posts. I hope to extend this practice in the coming months. And, I welcome your poetry submissions year-round. A verse is the gift that keeps on giving!

 

The Art of Imperfection

26 Apr

Only 5 more days to submit a poem for a chance to win a copy of Counting Backwards…email it to lauralascarso(at)yahoo(dot)com

 

The Art of Imperfection

 

Practice imperfection

Until you get it right

A word misspoken

A moment too late

Revel in your mistakes

 

A lapsed deadline

An unpaid bill

Like fruit collecting flies

How quickly they multiply

 

A house unkept

a yard to neglect

There’s only so much you can do

Broken dish, unfed fish

So many rely on you

 

La Boheme

Follow your dream

Your words, your words

They’ll eat your words

But it’s rice and beans for you

 

Your worry stones won’t help you, girl

Your stress ball days are through

Pick yourself up off the floor

Imperfect yourself anew

Do Us Part

20 Apr

Bury me in a burlap sack

Facing southern light

Let the worms devour me

And make food for the plants

 

Mourn me

As I will mourn you

And after some time

Take a lover

 

We have met before

And we will meet again

When we do, it will be

as if we were never apart.

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