By Laura Grimes
I’ve been blog quiet much too long. I can’t explain these things, but just accept them. My writer brain has languished. I’ve seen glimpses of it, fragments, but capturing a cohesive sense has been a struggle.
For me, poetry often serves as a toddling way back to recovery, a voice for the broken. Not broken as in destroyed, or sad, though sometimes that can be the case, too, but in this instance, I consider it more a voice for the misshapen. It’s a bunch of puzzle pieces that need realigning. Again, I don’t question these things, I’m just grateful.
I thought I lost my poetry touch a few years ago. I never realized it was leaving, it just wasn’t there anymore and it took me a while to notice it was gone, but by then it was too late. So I’m surprised now by its sudden return, unannounced and unbidden, like a shadowed figure seeking shelter from a storm who shows up wet on my doorstep smelling of the natural order of things. Irresistible, really. But why?
Continue reading A poem to catch a writing breeze
By Bob Hicks
So this is the way it gets.
Lying in bed awake
at 3:17 a.m.
my wife’s heavy breathing
the weight of the dog on my leg
I am visited by the ghosts
of past mistakes
and dance to a symphony
I wouldn’t change a thing
This is who I am
counting my blessings
in the dark morning
That’s Portland writer Charles Deemer’s poem The Bottom Line, from his new collection In My Old Age, just out from Round Bend Press. Those of you who follow Deemer’s bracing, political, personal, sometimes crotchety blog The Writing Life II will remember a while back when poems started poking out, almost on their own, as if demanding voice among the general background noise of sports rants and teaching woes and struggling with scripts and ramming one’s head against the broad national venality and extolling the virtues of a simple cup of coffee and a good plate of scrapple in the morning. Old men, Deemer has discovered to his delight, get to say and do pretty much what they like, or at least what they’re still capable of saying and doing. This book is the result of that irascible fit of creativity, and I, for one, am happy for it.
Continue reading In his old age: Deemer at 3:17 a.m.
By Laura Grimes
Today the blog takes a moment of silence. Richard Vincent Grimes passed away 20 years ago today, but that’s not really the day I’m honoring. I’m remembering instead a quiet moment I shared with my dad nine months after he died.
Continue reading Death: Not an ending, just a quieting
By Laura Grimes
I said hello and called her name. She sat on the side of her twin bed, reading an aged book. She didn’t respond. I called her name again. I stood in front of her for several moments. I raised my voice. Nothing. I finally stooped down and looked into her face.
Josephine raised her head just a little, looked at me and smiled. She put a mark in her book and closed it. Gold serif type spelled out two words on the blue cloth cover: Silent Spring.
I put my bag on the floor and moved a portable potty out of the way to give her a sideways hug.
I looked at her square in the front again. “Hello,” she said cheerfully. “It’s been a long time.”
“I know. I never meant to stay away so long.” It had been more than four months.
I looked around for the low wooden stool I usually sit on and found it under a wastebasket. She was wearing a purple dress with white polka dots, the material a thin synthetic. Two strands of Mardi Gras beads matched the color of her dress, one of little hearts and one of little dice. She wore a short-sleeve jacket with a cut out lacy design on the collar, all white like her hair.
Continue reading Josephine, Chapter 2: The long return
I’ve been keeping someone to myself much too long. I’ve collected reams of notes and have a stack of material. Now I feel somewhat prodded, thanks to Rose City Reader, who posted this review of Anne Fadiman’s “Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader.”
I left this comment on her post:
My copy of this book first belonged to my friend, Josephine, who was exactly twice my age when I first met her. She writes in pen in all of her books. She underlines words she doesn’t know, she makes little comments, she traces routes on maps, and on the very last page of every book she reads she signs and dates it and sometimes writes a short comment. It doesn’t matter if it’s a paperback or a gorgeous leatherbound edition from Easton Press. When I pointed this out, she shrugged and said simply she was a carnal book lover. When I was confused, she said I had to read this book and gave me her copy. In the middle of Fadiman’s essay about courtly vs. carnal book lovers, Josephine wrote in very scratchy script at the bottom of Page 40: “Mom used to use a bill to mark her place in a book. She told me to look through her books when she died. Yes, I found a few bills. I was astounded a couple of months ago to find $60 in a book I had read some time before. My mother’s daughter.” The last page is signed: “J.D.P. Jan. 16, 2009. Truly loved this book!” She was 92 years old at the time.
Continue reading Books are for lovers: Meet Josephine