Verse Exercises

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Archive for the ‘Reflexes’ Category

What I like about plants

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What I like about plants is they’re so busy creating and I’m only here observing. I may spend a day in full sun, hands working the soil, clearing the weeds until the hand’s nails are caked with dirt, the skin stained by earth; stains that no amount of washing can clean without a scrub – but all that is nothing, all that only serves to usher the plants on because it is the plant that does all the creating, though it doesn’t mind my crowding. It’s too busy to be bothered, seeking the sun, breathing the air, tasting the earth.

I am left to fumble for better vocabulary, to describe leaves and nodes in stems, to differentiate rhizomes from roots. So as not to feel left out of the garden’s oeuvre, I hasten to grow my lexicon with a gardener’s jargon so I’m not sidelined, so I can still be here.

Written by thedoe

February 3, 2014 at 10:04 pm

Posted in Reflexes

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Nothing

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You insist upon nothing.
You insist upon
nothing.
It is nothing.
It is
nothing.
The cave that is your chest
is empty.
Nothing
there
but for air.
Now warmed
by sudden flame,
unwanted
pain.
This is
nothing.

Written by thedoe

December 16, 2013 at 11:16 pm

Posted in Reflexes

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Reader Risks

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you onion-skin lady, fond of loose paper
sustaining injuries from the things you love dearly
each turn of leaf furthers your history,
bought at times with pain
your fingers  brave, they love at risk
the page that often yields to touch
may without warning cut
but you never stop, you always turn
the page in search of story

Written by thedoe

December 14, 2013 at 10:10 pm

Posted in Character Study, Reflexes

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Misinformed of your death, I wrote

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on the occasion of
hearing your death, D.

To this list
of names

of people     now
once here    no longer

lingering in
brief lives

I add one
more name

I lose
one more

friend to
symbols.

Written by thedoe

October 21, 2013 at 1:43 am

I’ve stopped hunting

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I’ve stopped hunting for mere words. Younger,
I had flipped through dictionaries and books in search,
filled with a fascination for arcane, archetypal, archaic, old, very old and antique,
filled with a history, and at the same time musical,
somnolent, susurrus, sibilant, menagerie, oracular, chiron, avuncular words.

These days I am no longer a word collector.
There’s too much to keep in; my memory keeps failing. Instead,
I pore over books alerted by description of action, one
or another. Negotiating and navigating within
this universe of language, always familiar and foreign.

I note the means to name, to utter, to bring into the page – the world,
to record action, motion in still frames:

She grabbed the towel and patted her hair dry.

She wrung her hair of water and grabbed
for the towel and patted her body dry.

The hawker on the street called out
to the passersby but not one of their heads lifted.

Furtively, I cast my eyes sideways, glancing from the edge of my vision; the monkeys
holding their cymbals, huge grins plastered on their taught faces.

Written by thedoe

October 3, 2013 at 4:49 pm

Posted in Reflexes

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Monday Morning Transit

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Second Note of the Series: Scrounging Up a Worker’s Retrospective

I hurled myself off the bed with a force to rise to another Monday morning, perhaps the worst, most challenging day of the week. Went to the bath and performed the perfunctory workweek ablution. I had to grit my teeth through the repeated assault of frigid water against my person. All thanks to the -ber month weather. The ordeal finally over, I jumped into my clothes and I was off.

CommuterI might as well have rolled up my sleeves. What awaited me was an exercise in either aggression or passivity. I’m talking about train rides, and before I get ahead of myself, train lines, that mass of man, woman, and child crowding the platform, stretching and coiling down flights of stairs, spilling out onto the sidewalks, snaking along the streets, all the while buzzing with complaint, gossiping, laughing, tsk tsking, fanning, swatting, shifting, and mostly just hot, sweaty, and waiting.

Somewhere in that mass of sweaty, shifting man, woman, and child, I am reduced to a body taking up space, a body against a body, a body behind, in front of, to the left of another. Herded like an animal so early in the morning having shown up for my daily training in waiting, following orders, and keeping silent as I suffer. But there is also room for learning violence, a daily plethora of examples for the vicarious learner: elbowing, snapping, grumbling, bitching, pinching, and the occasional threat of fisticuffs.

 

Written by thedoe

September 10, 2013 at 4:04 pm

What To Do With An Hour

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First Note of a Series: Scrounging Up a Worker’s Retrospective

Image

As my disenchantment grew, the more the desire in me bloomed to be physically absent, to extricate myself from the the desk and the chair, the cubicle and the monitor, the proximity card and the glass door that held me captive, not as prisoner by way of restrained flesh, but by way of restrained mind through the symbols they represented – labor, duty, and privileged access. I would begin counting the minutes, calling forth my elementary mathematics, my trusty arithmetic, to sum up the precious time I could get away-from the long tortuous interlude of shooting down the building on the elevator, and then finally, out the building and onto the streets of Ayala-to walk among the automatons and caffeine-infused zombies heading purposefully to the all important job or milling about sucking a drag from their filtered sin-taxed cigarettes (with the same air of importance). I had nowhere to go, nowhere to be but out here, outside, where the wind blew, without shield from sun and rain and all the menace that weather could muster: golden afternoon sunshine and its warming heat, the gloom of an overcast sky, and the occasional drizzle; tender and light on the skin. I would lose myself in the side streets, aimless, but for once, that day, alive, myself, breathing.

Read the next note in the series: Monday Morning Transit

Written by thedoe

September 8, 2013 at 11:11 pm