Returning From an Afternoon Swim {poetry}

Shoes squish and splutter

across the muddy grass-pressed bank.

With every step my sockless toes are washed

and sprayed like dirty dishes in the sink.

The water squeezed back and forth

recycling remnants of Mr. McDowell’s pond

into a natural green clean machine.

I feel that I can wiggle my toes

inside their slobbering cases

the underside of lace and tongue

of sneaker canvas

lick along the gravel path back home

until they’ve scrubbed their subjects raw and red.

I tear them off.

They smell between soured water

used to scrub off dinner plates

and a cracked bucket from the barn

burrowed in a film of rainwater.

So I arrange them on the brick back porch

to bake beneath the sun’s sizzling scorch.

 

Traffic in the City

Like a flock of startled birds

flapping out their wings for flight

umbrellas in the crowd

 

open wide. They bob like

bottles in a stream, colors

catching eyes but secrets

 

corked inside. The taxi drivers

honk like geese & grab which

fish they can, pluck one

 

up then drag it off with

squeals and round the corners with

a calling screech.

Why Kermit Is My New Best Friend + Looking On the Bright Side

I have returned!

Hither from a magical land of falafels, wedding cake, and cousins.

I was told I should write a story about falafels gone wrong, but unfortunately, I was absent from the kitchen when the woeful event occurred and only heard tale of it later when I was asked to step out of the way as the huge can of burning oil was run out of the house to be disposed of.

When the Falafel Flopped does sound like a best seller though, doesn’t it?

And everyone wants to read a story where Whole Foods is the hero, right?

Well, amidst the busy kitchen bustle, the fountains of flowers, the family get-togthers, the glorious flood of frisbee games (in the middle of thunderstorms no less…), gyros and falafels, and the mysterious mosquito bites that appeared the day after the wedding, I have made a new best friend.

Reader, meet Kermit, Kermit meet reader.

Kermit is my new role model. And he really is a frog-of-all-trades.

I have found his wisdom in moments to be absolutely priceless and breathtakingly insightful.

Kermit… Kermit is one of those crazy-talented friends that just gets you. One of those people you respect.

For example.

When your first sibling gets engaged.

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And then gets married a few months later.

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And then when you realize school is just a few days away.

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And then you realize you still haven’t finished your book’s first draft like you were hoping…

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And then you spontaneously decide to make a goal of writing 10k this month.

But then achieve half of that goal in two days.

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And then someone asks the name of your brother’s “wife.”

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And then you discover that your little brother is officially taller than you even when you wear your high heels.

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And then you realize you’re the oldest non-legal adult out of the siblings…. your turn is next.

 

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And then you get stuck on the subject school again and realize you’re only a few years away from graduating high school….

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And then realize that the next academic Mock Trial season is coming and you can’t wait and so you begin flailing your arms and screaming.

But, of course, first grab a legal pad and your favorite black pen and throw on a suit.

Then cue the flailing.

And you end up screaming the Rules of Evidence and Hearsay Objections, instead of random gibberish.

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(For those who don’t know Mock Trial is simply the best sport ever and the only sport you play in high heels and suits and the only sport you get to scribble notes on legal pads and pretend you know everything or pretend to cry or pretend you’re British and the only sport you get to interrogate people during and the reason I have a strange sense of being home when at a courthouse. See why I’m flailing??)

Well sitting here eating a fresh slice of homemade zucchini bread and sipping some Irish tea and trying to sit still (because my mind is still stuck on Mock Trial…), I’m realizing that I’m not sure where to take this post.

My (not-so-little) little brother said that he has never seen a random post from me.

…even though I literally had a post named random.

He says I should just randomly end the post with a random “bye” and shrug off any sense of satisfaction and unconcluded flailing, and no lesson learned.

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Confirmed fact: My little brother is Fozzie Bear. 😉

Not that I don’t like silliness, jokes, or such wonderful-ness, it just feels so inadequate to leave you hanging. Especially after flailing in your face and internal screaming in excitement and shock.

I remember one time chatting with some friends and one offered a template: Thanks to the family who birthed me, raised me, and taught me to _____.

I filled that blank in with “laughter.”

My family has a talent of being able to step back and laugh when everything goes wrong. Not in a mean or flippant way, but just in a fun, spunky, relieving-sort-of-way.

Like when the fire alarm goes off at a hotel in the middle of the night after a day running around at a rollercoaster park, even though it turned out there was no fire, and we end up standing in the middle of a parking lot for three hours, with no shoes and in our pajamas seven firetrucks blinking and flashing until our heads hurt.

Dad says: “Hey let’s see if someone will take a family picture of us in front of one!”

Or during a road trip when we are just chilling on top of a mountain in New Mexico and a huge thunderstorm suddenly covers the sky and pelts us in huge pieces of ice and freezing rain that drenches us to the bones until we can’t feel our limbs are sloshing down as fast as we can, crying so hard we’re laughing, and laughing so hard until we’re crying.

Dad says: “Hey this is a great time to take a video to send to our friends back home!”

 

 

Or the week of a huge move, when a hurricane decides to have in on the fun. Our power goes out for days straight (and we were on a well so that means no water. Period.) while we were hosting my brother and his co-worker for furniture market. (no showers…) and then a friend comes over to help us take apart furniture only to get stranded when our favorite tree (and one of our thickest, largest trees) throws a fit about our abandoning him and tries to smash the first moving trailer that shows up, but barely misses and barricades our driveway instead. And trying to pack everything into the moving trucks (which get stuck in the mud in our yard and are there for many hours) until we are loading in the pitch dark with fifty people in our house (remember no water. Which means no toilet flushing) tripping over each other with boxes of books and bed railing and big fat heavy dressers.

Bright side? I will never forget my last week in my childhood house. It seemed so fitting too and I wouldn’t want it to have ended any other way.

Of course I struggle.

Being stuck in a house with a handful of other people for a week with literally nothing to do or even to sit on but the hard cold floor, can get tense and chaotic. Dramatic. Crazy. Without books (except your Latin textbooks) and no furniture (but sleeping bags) suddenly everyone’s personal bubbles are a bit easier to rub against.

Between the glares, strange new character voices bubble to the surface and are added to our repertoire. The strangest pieces of art work splatter out of our brains and the weirdest inside jokes or newest sarcastic comebacks.

I still find myself worrying over things going-wrong too, which is probably why movies like Father of the Bride and Meet the Parents are just plain… painful.

Views which just make my family laugh harder, as I cringe and groan and consider hiding under a blanket and covering my eyes and ears.

Kermit nervous
me when watching those types of romcoms ^^
Kermit laughing
^^ my siblings

 

I guess when I sit down for entertainment I’m not looking to cringe and laugh and wince at how everything goes wrong in everyone else’s lives.

Too close to home maybe.

Kermit not this humor

Or maybe its the fact that the characters never seem to get it. Instead of making a fool out of yourself and trying to make it look like you’re brilliant and nothing goes wrong under your watch, why not laugh it off and just clean the spilled (chocolate) milk up with a cheap roll of paper towels from Dollar Tree?

After spending a whole week surrounded on all side with siblings, working all together, our super-duper superpower has come out even more. Even when the falafel-mission failed and all we had left were some strange form of hushpuppies and a can of burning oil, everything was fine because my siblings focused on what mattered.

The food didn’t need to be perfect. The décor didn’t need to be exact. We definitely worked hard to make it beautiful and special, but if something small popped or cracked, we went with Plan B. Pulled out the super glue and paint supplies. Trimmed the bushes with leaves brown and dying from the power wash.

Why?

Because it was all about family and love and laughter and fellowship, not about being perfect.

Some things just aren’t worth getting upset over. Fretting about. In the end it’s the people and what you make out of what you have. And come on… it is kinda funny that the couple decided to have Greek food for their wedding and cook it all themselves the afternoon before even though they have never tried it before. Even sounds a little cliched ha.

Well, a thing about life: When it gets crazy, it only means you can make it crazy fun.

I even think part of my training in becoming a poet has greatly stemmed from the laughter my family has taught me.

Kermit Shocked

(I know you were wondering if I would make it through a post without a single mention of poetry… 😉 )

Being a poet is being someone who sees through surface things. As written in the song that Andrew Peterson sings, To All the Poets, they see “beauty in the common place, saw incarnation in a Baby’s face, and in a drop of rain the stars.”

My family has taught me how to see things. How to see the funny side to being stuck camping in a teepee with a gaping hole designed in the roof for a couple days of thunderstorms.

How to see the fun side of a literal 22 hour road trip (yes… we drove 22 hours straight. Yes, 22 hours in the car driving) or being able to have a conversation about how the kudzu in the dark makes it look like there’s a giant elephant sitting in our backyard. Either that or an old man wearing a hat.

Much of my playful limerick-type of playful poetry comes from true stories. But in a way don’t all fictional stories stem from a true story?

You just have to decide what type of genre you are living in. 😉

 

So, in closing, remember:

When your falafels flop, Whole Foods is always there.

Kermit Smiles

Love you fam.<3

 

**all gifs hunted and trapped by my personal internet minion squad via giphy**

A Pocketful of Palindrome Poetry

As I work through The Roar on the Other Side this year (amazing book on poetry, 10/10 recommend) I’ve been learning all types of poetry schemes, methods, and tropes.

Some of them are fairly simple while others seem nearly impossible.

Such as writing a poem with twenty six words, each one starting with a different letter of the alphabet, descending in order from A to Z.

I have yet to try that one, but one such daunting kind was palindrome poetry, which turned out very interesting and fun to write!

While the crafting is not so simple, the idea is: Palindrome poetry is composed so that read backwards it is the same, word for word, as it is read forwards.

 

I quickly discovered I couldn’t start the poem with a “the” or an “a,” or really use them at all.

Here was my first poem:

 

NIGHT

Darkness caught stars
with nets
maybe

or maybe nets with stars
caught darkness

 

I really enjoyed making it, so I tried another! (The night I wrote all these, I was amidst wading through Beowulf for school…)

 

BEOWULF

Hopes and memory of courage built Beowulf so
Beowulf built courage of memory and hopes.

 

That one was… okay, but didn’t turn out the way I had wanted it to, so I wrote a third one, which by far is my favorite.

 

TIME

Years waste bodies.
Our lives are frail and short.
Away slinks time.
We may understand that
Eyes and sight change.
Oh yes, we stumble.
We are wispy and hollow wind –
Hollow and wispy are we.
Stumble we, yes.
Oh change sight and eyes that
Understand may we
Time slinks away.
Short and frail are lives.
Our bodies waste years.

 

And so ended my little palindrome poetry session. (:

Which one do you like best?

~ evelyn ~

Of Books and Binders and Book Binder Poetry

Good morning!

It’s a beautiful Friday and we are back with our next installment of Evelyn-finds-something-neat-about-poetry-and-comes-to-share-it on The Rain-Drenched Writer!

Or, as my dad would say, “Have you heard Evelyn’s new poem? She didn’t write a single word!”

Well, I am sure we are all glad to be here. If you are new to these series, check out previous episodes: here and here and here. 😜

Today’s topic of discussion: book-binder poetry!

It’s a simple idea. You take a stack of books and arrange their titles into a poem.

(Quick note though: I do not necessarily recommend all the books displayed in this post. I have not read all of them but am only using them here for the purpose of poetry. :))

Here is the first poem I created:

 

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I began to realize quickly that verbs don’t show up much in titles. Neither do many “which” or “who” or “what.”

For my second one I was very glad to find a book titled With. I ended up using this book a lot… it was very helpful! (Keep in mind to ignore it’s subtitle… 😛 )

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My third one, I am quite fond of! I titled this one, Gossip.

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To my delight, after that, I found two books about a watchman…

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Then I decided to take a visit to the Christian-living bookshelf in our household and see what I could find there.

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Suddenly my poems became a lot less poetic and star-spangled, but more blunt and foreboding…img_1369-1

 

And finally, my very last one which I found quite by accident as these books were already right by each other, separated by only two other books:

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Which one is your favorite? Have you ever played around with book-binder poetry?

~ evelyn ~

i am a writer

I’m a writer, I’m a poet, I’m a
chapter I’ve written. A character built
out of nothing but my life and hands. They
stain my pages because I bleed and wilt.

I’m a writer, I’m a poet, I form
worlds out of words and people out of trees.
Watch me resurrect a dragon, a storm,
a tower of Babel out of dust and debris.

I’m a writer, I’m a poet, I see
angels in the dirt. There are pilgrims who
cross the dusty roads of life with me
shadows behind them of friend that they knew.

I’m a writer, I’m a poet, I play
with hearts of the young and dreams of the old.
I try to weave a story that may
drip in their house tiny drops of rose gold.

I’m a writer, I’m a poet, but just
a person too, striving to catch meaning
out of air, catch something to cling to. Gusts
of the wind in my bucket are singing.

Ode To The Family’s 2003 Chrysler Town & Country Minivan

Sometimes inspiration rises from the everyday happenings that feel so forlorn and bland.

Everyone has a unique experience and while they might overlook common formalities: another dinner, another drive, another drag of school. They can all be captured.

The art of the poet is to see the beauty in the commonplace; to encompass and package a little breath of truth to bring a little light, a little hope, a little sense of understanding to another human being.

Well, lately I’ve been focusing on metaphors and similes, and imagination in general within my poetry, as well as using familiar and everyday objects/activities as my subjects. Through these experiments, I’ve fallen in love with a more subtle rhyming method, where the rhymes do not fall at the end of every sentence and sentences carry over lines. Apparently the term for that is enjambment or run-over lines as opposed to end-stopped.

Here is a poem I wrote this week about my family’s minivan, which, unfortunately, appears to be living out its final days.

I hope you enjoy! (:


 

Ode To The Family’s 2003 Chrysler Town & Country Minivan

You are as old as me and yet somehow

still older. Every time we step into

your arms, your legs buckle, groan, and bow.

When you try to move from your night bed, you

try once, then twice before you lurch off the

gravel perch and stumble, for a moment

on the verge of crashing a pot with your knee

unable to command numb limbs so aged and spent.

Words are merely slurred and mumbled. We stop

to feed you morning coffee, the liquid

pools in your mouth, you taste it burn and smell

bitter potentness. It stains fingers amid

digestion. Even up and wakened well,

every pothole and stick rattles your teeth.

Your joints creak with every bend and you wheeze

that it’s always too hot or too far beneath,

for comfort, or life for that matter. We

give your back massages and clean your chipped

glasses. We even sit you in shades of trees

during outings. But time is time however kept,

We dread the coming day you’ll breathe your last,

And we pray that long you will stay steadfast.

Blackout Poetry

Good evening, friends!

Friday is here and I am later than normal with a post, but no matter. I have been gone most of the day, volunteering at a camp in a class of seven and eight-year-olds. Hence, I am a bit tired, but here to share some blackout poetry.

I made these yesterday evening. The first one didn’t take very long, but the second one I had trouble deciding on the wording. It must have changed fifteen times, but out of the two, it is my favorite.

For those unfamiliar with it, blackout poetry is when one takes a sheet of paper from a book or newspaper and creates a freestyle poem by blacking out (or sometimes doodling over) words.

I have actually bought a 50 cent copy of Jane Austen’s Emma for the purpose of blackout poetry and decoupage crafts. In this case, however, I printed out some pages from the handy-dandy internet, because the print in Emma is extremely small.

My blackout poetry never seems to turn out just right, though, so I find myself typing up the poem to play around with it until it sounds better. I guess I still have not learned quite how to pick the right combination of words. I’m still learning the ropes here and trying out different things. These two are my fourth and fifth blackout poems to have ever… written? blacked out?  Whatever the verb is there. (:

Well, enough talk in introduction! I hope the poems inspire you to try your own hand at blackout poetry.

Enjoy!


 

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Easter Morning // of sonnets and such

I have tried to write a sonnet many times, but this is the first time I have actually completed one.

For those curious, a sonnet is a fourteen line poem, typically (for English) with ten syllables per line and an iambic pentameter (meter consisting of a pattern of unstress, stress, unstress, stress, etc.)

However, there are different types of sonnets that entail different rules for rhyming schemes.

One is the Italian or Petrarchan sonnet which divides its fourteen lines into two sections: one of eight and one of six. The first section must have a ABBAABBA rhyming scheme, but the second section can have any variation of 2-3 rhymes that the poet picks.

The English/Shakespearean sonnet is split into three sections of four lines and then a concluding couplet. This format has a rhyme scheme of ABAB CDCD EFEF GG.

The later is the type I have been trying to handle. I have so many slips of paper, lined up with the pattern printed on the side and scribblings and scratchings filling the first two lines. My words spill into the margins as I cross out phrases again and again in the search for the perfect combination.

Simply, it’s a puzzle. And I have finally pieced one together.

It was certainly hard, but lots of fun, and hopefully, more will follow.

So, without further ado! Easter Morning.


 

Easter Morning

Last Friday it poured and rained. The world was

A mess of mud and muck. We walked right through

The parking lot, trying hard not to pause

In puddles, deep and dark; They swallow shoes.

 

But was there ever sunshine bright like this?

When birds sing so freely now as they hop

On the brilliant green lawn? The entrance

Of the church is circled, tulips a top.

 

Inside, the building swells with songs of praise,

The people gathered, singing, swaying, to their songs,

Their thanks, their love, their joy they raise.

For now the promise grows and stands so strong.

 

Yes risen! He is risen now indeed!

For Christ, our savior, death will not succeed.

 


 

The meter is not perfect, but I am satisfied. (:

Have you ever written sonnet? What was it about?

Until next Friday, my friend!

~ evelyn ~

2019 Camp NaNoWriMo Update // week 2

I had this strange moment of realization this week.

All day I had been curling up in my cardigan to work on school in the freezing basement, but then, when I was called to help bring in groceries, to my surprise I stepped outside only to find it sunny and warm.

I guess spring has finally come. 🙂

Over this past weekend, my family took a trip to Philadelphia to watch my older siblings compete in the National College Mock Trial Competition. I decided to pack no school, and brought some books to read and then my laptop for some NaNoWriMo writing.

Long car drives are the best, in my opinion. It’s just fun family time to cruise the country, listen to music, and play those car-trip games, that range from writing poetry to keeping track of license plates spotted to reciting Shakespeare lines.

Or it’s a nice time to just read a book. 😉


 

{stats}

Day 5: 1314 words

Day 6: 964 words

Day 7: 1727 words

Day 8: 1261 words

Day 9: 887 words

Day 10: 697 words

Day 11: 1783 words

 

That leaves my overall word count at 14,480 while I should be around 19,000 words. Hopefully I’ll catch up over upcoming Easter break! 🙂


 

{poetry}

I couldn’t pick out a favorite sentence written this week, but I have another small poem to share. I picked this one out because the world is finally waking from winter. The trees seemed to blossom over night and the grass is suddenly green again.

Change

Sweet summer slips into the Fall.

Fall drops to make way for the snow.

But winter turns into the spring,

So not all change is bad, you know.


 

I hope you have a wonderful day!

~ evelyn ~