Monday, September 26, 2011

Sliver Time

You say you have no time to practice your art, and I bubble over with advice. I say “Choose a different form, one that is better suited to the precious slivers of time you still have. Write haiku or flash fiction. Paint watercolors. Compose etudes instead of symphonies, snapshots instead of studio shots. Make raku pots. If you can’t roast, stir-fry. Maybe art can’t be central, but it can be interstitial.” That’s the kind of thing I say.

I am sorry for all that advice, you may ignore it. Actually, you already ignore it. But worse than that, I ignore it. In all these years, I have never been able to settle on an artistic endeavor for myself that fit permanently and productively into my life.  And yet, when asked who I really really am, I say “poet.” I say “writer.” I say “artist.”

And then there is this blog, which I announced four years ago, and about which I blithely used the word “diary.” If this were actually a diary, there would have been nearly 1500 posts by now instead of 40. It hasn’t been daily, it hasn’t even been monthly.  My track record on that kind of dailiness, on any kind of dailiness, is poor. I never do the same thing two days in a row, never have done.

Still I suspect that it is now time to make art every day, because all I have is every day. So here’s a new idea. I will write here every day, and there will be only one excuse for not blogging, and that will be writing poetry. If I’m here, I hope I will bring you entertaining prose. If I’m missing, there will be a poem in the works. Feel free to ask for the poem, and if I don’t have it, give me a hard time about it.

Last week I started asking friends, colleagues and students to give me poetry assignments, and I’ve already received dozens. I’ve got my work cut out for me. Gotta go work. I'll see you tomorrow. Or better yet, I won't.


  1. What if you riffed off of what Frank Stafford wrote here to see where you might be able to take some surreal imagery to create a tangible experience (much like he did in his writing). At least that's my assignment tonight. I get inspired by reading others and then trying to see where my own imagery might be at that moment:

    from "Crest" by Frank Stanford

    "He had strummed the mandolin twice,
    A couple of sounds blue as a fox in trouble
    In a snowdrift on a ridge, like weeds
    Burning underwater, a few licks of silent fire.

    When I recognized the lookout
    The ferry wasn’t more than a few feet off the bank,
    So the mule made it aboard, easy;
    Its hooves on the planks like a mad, rough carpenter

    Nailing driftwood together.
    Oh, we made it across. We didn’t exactly
    Hit the dock on the head,
    But we floated on down to Vahalia’s Landing.

    We had a good time.
    The foreigner played the mandolin, the river
    Reached its crest,
    And the man on the mule and I drank way into the morning.

    They heard us, the ones on land.
    “We’re a floating whorehouse, without noun women.”
    And in the dead of night,
    Rain and all, we motioned them on."

  2. I believe you are supposed to produce an "Ode to Bella" at some point.


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