Poets and writers and artists all love to cross-pollinate. Yesterday I learned Jorie Graham paints to fuel her poetry. I’ve been reading her poems for years and should have known. The poet Mark McGuinness is best known as a creativity coach and voice behind Lateral Action.
The last time I wrote a poem, a real poem with the intention of writing poetry instead of whittling down words until they were stark and cold, was before I moved to Turkey.
There were years, though, years of decaf coffee in diner booths and rhubarb pie, where it seemed so normal to write poetry, and my writing companion and I agreed – it wasn’t the terrible coffee or the tart pie, it was the sitting in laundromats listening to our clothes tumble while writing, it was the delight in tag-team poems that taught us words were holy.
I didn’t hold up on my promise to read The Elegant Universe last week. I’ve been reading Word Painting instead, and falling in love with description all over again. As a perk of reading about active description and Monet’s floating paintings, I started thinking in poem again.
Cennet means heaven in Turkish.
This poem is with love to Jeannette, my grandmother, who taught me how to stitch, how to sew, and who let me eat sweets even if it ruined my dinner.
The foodstuffs in place of questions
The table set before I wish you were closer
and oh, they’re like that over there
pounded with flour into Swiss steak and decorated icebox cookies
The parting of bread, the offering up of rolls
Her hands, the flick flick of yarn needles
Votives and pixilated photos and prayer cards
Eggs spiked with tiny bits of ham
Last I looked, there were still jars of pearlescent candies
Easter assortment and jar-lidded
The jigsaw in the old nursery
Lawn ornaments and coolers packed with ice
The quilt still waiting, leafy and queen-sized in its box
To be torn apart by my inability to measure
Last night she turned on the light
And grabbed my big toe
Said, now I know what you’re talking about
– Rose Deniz, 2011