Tuesday, February 16, 2010

pick it up

Last night I read for San Diego Writers, Ink A Year in Ink Vol III Anthology release party. I read a poem I wrote last April for the poem-a-day challenge called all I want is to stop wanting. I dig the poem, particularly the line the emotional inhabitants of never-never land. The anthology has some very strong writing in it. I had a couple of drinks beforehand with my friend Tammy, whose memoir, when she finishes it, will be a best-seller. I read excerpts of it almost a year ago and I still think about it.

I'm looking for something really good to read. I'm craving a strong narrative with complex characters. Lately (okay, always), I've been on a fantasy kick and have reread many favorites by Charles de Lint and tons of Neil Gaiman. A few years ago a friend of mine was reading a book about pirates in space fighting dragons and I loved the cover of the book but forgot what it was called and my friend is too famous to talk to me anymore so I may never find out. *sigh*

I'm supposed to go to Key West next month but the friend I'm to stay with is embroiled in some personal things and I may cancel my trip. My father has offered to buy my plane ticket to send me to La Pedregosa, the little village he was born in in Mexico, to visit my grandparents. I may go, even though I always feel incredibly awkward when I'm there. But, I can collect stories. If I go I want to take a video camera and interview everyone for their home-remedies and for the odd bits of family history that fascinate me. And I really should collect my grandfather's WWII stories.

This poem has been in heavy rotation on my reading list and probably will be for a while. I worked with Jane Hirshfield in January and it was everything I hoped it would be. I came away from the workshop with tools that will serve me again and again in my writing.

by Jane Hirschfield

If the gods bring to you
a strange and frightening creature,
accept the gift
as if it were one you had chosen.

Say the accustomed prayers,
oil the hooves well,
caress the small ears with praise.

Have the new halter of woven silver
embedded with jewels.
Spare no expense, pay what is asked,
when a gift arrives from the sea.

Treat it as you yourself
would be treated, brought speechless and naked
into the court of a king.

And when the request finally comes,
do not hesitate even an instant –

stroke the white throat,
the heavy, trembling dewlaps
you’d come to believe were yours,
and plunge in the knife.

Not once
did you enter the pasture
without pause,
without yourself trembling,
that you came to love it, that was the gift.

Let the envious gods take back what they can.

1 comment:

strum the sky said...

Great Hirschfield poem!

Perhaps the book you're thinking of is "Dragons in the Stars" by Jeffery A. Carver...? It's fun, as is a lot of the "new space opera" genre.