Weekly Writing Challenge: the justice of ribbons

Today’s poem was written in response to this picture inspiration from the Daily Post’s Weekly Writing Challenge. The poem’s title is the justice of ribbons.

Image from Cheri Lucas Rowlands

my heart is ribbons
once it stayed whole
a kaleidoscope of colour and light
blended till no one know who was anything anymore

shredded
by a physical blow made of words
the colours separate
i have to tie them together
hope they play nice

my heart is ribbons
tightly coiled
smaller than it was

when it was whole
it beat for the whole world
it contained multitudes

my heart is ribbons
and beating just for me almost unravels it
it contains only my sorrow and rage

my once-whole heart
has been braided into cords
twisted together
ribbons sliding against each other
silk saturated in blood

i guard it jealously
afraid to let it travel past the walls
of its bonewhite cage

you’re safe here
no one can hurt you now

but in my dreams
the trumpet sounds
and in my dreams i know the call
it tells me what i must do

i cup my ribbon heart in my hands,
hold it close to my chest
as if it were a small animal I must set free
from its blunder into my busy city life

I walk on moon-kissed floors to the window

far below
people writhe in a world of grey
stumbling through dark and fog
breathing despair and drinking fear

cracked and scarred, my feet
climb to the ledge
and I balance on bent knees, rocking back and forth

trembling, I am a bird afraid to fall from the nest
half-crouched as if the stars might burn me.

I tip my cupped hands out over the world
and watch my ribbon heart
spill away from me

from between my breasts
a rainbow of colour curls out
and around
wrapping itself into each and every life
ribbons wending themselves through homes and heads
bringing colour to the grey
bringing light to the fog

my heart is ribbons
it touches all lives
it contains multitudes
it binds me in love
to all else who suffer.

BYOB(ookworm)

Today’s daily prompt from the Daily Post:

Write the blurb for the book jacket of the book you’d write, if only you had the time and inclination.

I think responding to this would be cheating. I’m a published author; currently I have out two novels, a book of poetry, a self-published short story and a self-published collection of short fiction.

Time and inclination? Lots of the second; little of the first, but I still get the books done. So it’s not so much an imaginary blurb I’d have to come up with…as just copy and pasting the blurb from Bellica or Stranger Skies. (You can read Bellica online here, by the way, and the advance reading copy of Stranger Skies is being posted here.)

So today, I’m answering the second part of the prompt:

Photographers, artists, poets: show us BOOKS.

Here is a photo I took yesterday, of, yes, my own book — it just arrived in the mail a little while ago and I unpacked the box and put the books on the shelf.

Oh hey look at that, my books are here. Cover art by Autumn Skye Morrison; she's amazing.

And a poem, Water Cycle, which you can find in glasstown.

I am always in a rush in a hurry
to fill up my notebooks with blather –
and maybe
it is because so many empty ones sit
continually staring me in the face
that I feel guilty
for not feeding them –
we’re starving! they cry out
but so is the streambed of my thought
dry for so many years – I sit to write
to enjoy what flows but it’s only a trickle
and so when I can I write

 BIG

or

   l     e      n       g     t      h     y

so that I take up as much
of the page as possible
and I write on both sides
and sometimes I gush
but my hand can’t keep up with my thoughts
and I’ll get distracted and
—oh, fuck, I did it again,
the stream is dry once more;
I’ve thrown this poem on the floor
and resorted to crappy rhyme
to buy some more time
so that my words can spurt forth—
and shine.

But it’s grabbing me, this undercurrent
and I fear I can’t turn it to my will
and soon I’ll be dragged
underneath the weight of my creativity
spitting out the saltiness of tears unshed
choking on the wet juicy areas of my mind:
dark, locked up, till I find
explosives and blow the dam
and I write till my hand might fall off
with the pain
but I can’t stop until I do.

And begin again.

Books I Think You Should Pick Up (And Read, Obviously).

Cover for the poetry book "glasstown" by Katje van Loon

Yep, I designed that by myself.

So, I heard about something called The Friday Five, and apparently it’s something you do on your blog each week. There seem to be sites that generate questions for it, but I’ve been told you can also just list five things you want to share.

I’ve decided to do it. As this is the blog of a writer and an avid reader, my topic will be Books I Think You Should Pick Up (And Read, Obviously). This will probably remain the topic for a while, but I will always post the topic as the title for the entry.

  1. The City of Ember, by Jeanne DuPrau. YA literature is not just for young people and The City of Ember is highly enjoyable. (Though, if you plan on seeing the film as well I recommend watching the movie first, so it doesn’t spoil your enjoyment of the book.)
  2. Green Grass, Running Water, by Thomas King. I’ve blogged about this great book before, but I think it bears reiterating that it’s well worth your time to pick up this novel and give it a read. It starts out a bit wonky, as King doesn’t adhere to traditional rules in novel writing, but persevere — it’s worth it.
  3. glasstown, by yours truly. This is my poetry book, and I think a lot of people should pick it up (by which I mean buy it) and read it. Just saying.
  4. The Undomestic Goddess, by Sophie Kinsella. This is a good story about a high-powered lawyer who finds out who she really is in the unlikeliest of places — the kitchen of a rich family. It’s not “chick lit”* because it’s not about how important it is to have a boyfriend — it’s about how important it is to be true to yourself. (The fact that there’s a hot guy involved? Bonus!)
  5. The Fifth Sacred Thing, by Starhawk. Another great book I’ve blogged about. Seriously, pick this up and read it. The film has reached its funding goal on Kickstarter, which means that soon pre-production will begin. I’m sending an email to Starhawk to ask for the chance to audition. So, who knows — you might see me on the silver screen in a few years. 😉 Regardless what happens, read this book. You won’t regret it.

*Coming soon: a rant about the sexism inherent in the very existence of the genre of “chick lit” and how it makes my blood boil.