Thursday, July 20, 2017

Hodgepodge 264/365 - Poetry (Sherilyn Lee)

Sherilyn is in my "howler" writing group: pretty much every morning three of us "meet" virtually, coming together from Kauai, Los Angeles (or lately, San Jose—long story), and Monterey, to spend ninety minutes writing or doing other creative work. (Me, I am not very good at the latter, but I enjoy meeting up and trying to be creative.) We call ourselves howlers because when we started, we used a cheesy iPhone app that features a howling wolf when time's up. It's wonderful, almost every day, to join forces, in virtual company.

(The three of us met in 2005 at Antioch University in Los Angeles as MFA students in Creative Writing.)

Even though we "write together," as a rule we don't share our work. But when Sherilyn finished her chapbook Bread & Butter, she sent the other two of us a copy. A lovely gift that I keep on my desk. A lovely reminder, too, of the beauty of friendship and co-creation.

I Tell Myself I Couldn't Have Seen It All at First

for Joseph Cornell

Joseph Cornell assemblage
Back then, eye mind recognized pieces parts,
a wind up green parrot walking in four
four time, whirring mechanic, walking
walking, tapped its beak into a silver ball
perched up on a ramp, energy transferred,
potential now kinetic, our first kiss on the
same night you shook Don Sutton's hand
in the bar of the Four Seasons. Later you
smiled, "I never thought meeting him
would be the second best part of any
day." The single-minded parrot silent,
on its side, orange feet stopped, as the silver
ball raced at full speed towards black
dominoes standing in tight, tidy rows.
Falling, sprawling, splayed.
Your fingers dovetailed with mine, that's what
I remember from the beginning but couldn't
see it all. Precarious, playful, well-timed like a
Rube Goldberg machine. I couldn't
see it all but I was in it. This was simpler
when I was a kid placing the silver ball
between two sticks on a wooden rack,
pulling them apart, aiming for one of
the green felt dots below. This is when
skill felt like chance. Now, a click leads
to a bump, strikes a match, ignites a flame,
the energy moves on. Still and silence in
its wake, designed tension rolls on its
edge towards the inevitable and I wonder
when to open my hand, release, let go.

1 comment:

  1. Waving from Kauai. And, look, poetry by Sherilyn. Thanks for sharing!