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From Shireen Madon:

September 22, 2017

They pull roses

from your mouth,

thorns intact.

You wear a beautiful

story.

You mistook a ghost

for a deity,

lost count of your wars,

and now you are gone, too.

– from Poem after Zinaida Serebriakova’s Young Woman in Profile, Marrakesh, 1932, from Asian American Writers’ Workshop

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From Gemma Wong (age 8)

September 19, 2017

The sleeping lion
The living bones
The paper world
The matchstick bag
The book of secrets
Life and death.

The Secret of Life, from Rattle’s Young Poetry Anthology 2017

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From Anne Sexton:

September 8, 2017

if you have endured a great despair,
then you did it alone,
getting a transfusion from the fire,
picking the scabs off your heart,
then wringing it out like a sock.
Next, my kinsman, you powdered your sorrow,
you gave it a back rub
and then you covered it with a blanket
and after it had slept a while
it woke to the wings of the roses
and was transformed.

Courage

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From Audre Lord:

September 6, 2017

I have been woman
for a long time
beware my smile
I am treacherous with old magic
and the noon’s new fury
with all your wide futures
promised

A Woman Speaks

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From Tracy K. Smith:

September 4, 2017

Go for a while into your life,
But meet me come dusk
At a bar where music sweeps outs

From a jukebox choked with ragged bills.
We’ll wander back barefoot at night,
Carrying our shoes to save them
From the rain. We’ll laugh

To remember all the things
That slaughtered us a lifetime ago

Willed in Autumn

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From H.D.:

August 26, 2017

Weed, moss-weed,
root tangled in sand,
sea-iris, brittle flower,
one petal like a shell
is broken,
and you print a shadow
like a thin twig.
Fortunate one,
scented and stinging,
rigid myrrh-bud,
camphor-flower,
sweet and salt—you are wind
in our nostrils.

Sea Iris

lack of reading

August 24, 2017

i try to set myself a goodreads book challenge every year (and i use goodreads because it makes me accountable, because it’s all tracked online and other people can see it). most years, i aim for 25-30 books, which seems like a lot to me. but then i see people on twitter doing #95books. NINETY-FIVE BOOKS IN A YEAR. if you read a lot of poetry, this would be absolutely doable. but novels? i’d have to put my nose to the grindstone and really work hard at hitting the goal, and for me… i’m not sure that would be pleasurable. i want to read when i want to read, not because i feel obligated to.

which brings me to the main point: i’ve barely read anything this year. i’m so behind on my reading challenge, and my little goodreads ticker on the right side of this blog has been woefully un-updated. i just don’t have the urge. which is weird for me. but i also figure that i’m doing so much writing that my written-word reserves might be tapped, and so my brain doesn’t want me to pick up a heavy novel and dive into it.

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this is something i’ve found, working in news. i read all day, every day. i get into work and open up a story and just go, non-stop, from there. if i’m not copy-editing, i’m proofing pages. if i’m not proofing, i’m designing pages and working with words. it’s completely word-oriented work, and i’m good at it, and i like it, but it also means that i never get onto the subway after work and want to crack open a book. usually, i have a headache and dry eyes from squinting at a screen for eight hours straight. it’s often preferable to put on a podcast and close my eyes for the 30-minute ride. factor in my own writing, and my own editing, and i’m a word wreck.

it’s a bit distressing, not wanting to read and having lost the urge to. i have books by good friends just sitting on my bedside table. i bought them to support people i love, but now i can’t join the conversation because i’m lazy/tired/sapped/tapping out because of all the words that i deal with in other aspects of my life.

but i think i just need to let and let god. im writing. im writing my brains out. i’m editing my own work in the mornings and im going to work and editing globe and mail writers’ work all night. all day every day, im involved with words. i think i just have to trust that once the book edits are done, i’ll rebound. or maybe, if writing books becomes my life, i’ll have to learn how to adapt, how to be able to read vociferously like i used to while still writing my own words. i think it’s a journey, and so far, my first few steps haven’t been great. but maybe i’ll just trust that it’ll all even out and, some way down the road, i’ll be carting big books around on the subway again.

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