Please, Please, a Do-Over, Please

Hurray for the new year! Time to wonder whether it’s possible to make changes for the better, to learn to behave as if we truly love ourselves, instead of indulge ourselves like little kids who are given cookies to make us shut up. Time to dust off the old resolutions, rewrite them in prettier ink or fonts, print them on better paper. Or, stare them down, demanding they bend to our will this year, stop mocking us, and cooperate. This time.

I spent the last half of 2014 fighting a health issue that ended up interfering with my ability to DO things, be active, work to make my young bionic knee strong, powerful, and support me, mentally and physically.

I named the new knee “Jezebel” and wrote about her in 2013, shortly after she came into my life, literally. We were gonna raise hell, dance on tables, do outrageous things. We weren’t going to let age get in our way, me and Jez. Right.

I’m not high on the marathon of motivation, especially when it involves sweating and working out. Jezebel gave me an opportunity to change, and I did for several months. Then the door slammed, from mid-August until early January. The healing process under way. I’m much better now, and found that weapon of hope I’d misplaced earlier to battle with the resolution-breaking demons.

I wrote this poem when I was waiting to see whether I’d royally screwed up poor Jez, or if she and I are salvageable. I’m still not certain I can exercise and stretch away the scar tissue that formed, or if I’ll have to have some roto-rooter surgery to remove it. But I’m working on it, and making progress.

As I do this, other actions are falling into line. My body isn’t quite sure what’s going on as I flip my food intake from about 80% junk to almost no junk. (Chocolate breakfast bars with 30 g of protein are not junk!). Sleep? Well, it’s happening when I let it — which is a huge leap.

This was written as a PAD prompt for 11-3-14, a BLANKET POEM.
 

Please, Please, a Do-Over, Please

Slocum Orthopedic Center
snugs around my knee
surrounds my tender parts
with pillars and posts,
people, potions, props

a year ago, Jezebel was new
ready to swallow the world
climb towers, dive deep,
jump and tap her way
to forbidden excesses
denied so long

now she’s here, waiting
waiting to hear how she failed
to push when she needed to,
slog thru the tough times
be real, beyond a mesh
of titanium and plastic parts

If we’re lucky, Jez and I,
this can be a DO OVER
with great success
an unstuckness of scar
holding everything back
where it doesn’t need to be

so, it’s waiting again
hoping this time we’ll do it
RIGHT, fix the flaw
of immobility and fear

grab that elusive ring
the one that lets us dance,
sleep, eat fine
and generally stand up,
accountable, no squirming,
living each moment fully

no excuses, only choices
made with self love
for what’s left of time

Michele Graf
11/3/14

Lifelines and Apollo’s Lyre nominated for P&E Awards

(Updated with corrected links)

Critters / Critique.org  hosts the annual Preditors & Editors™ Readers’ Poll which honors print & electronic publications published during 2011. (Click here for the official rules.)

DEADLINE FOR VOTING IS JAN. 10, 2012.

Lifelines, our Poetic Muselings anthology, is nominated in several categories. Also, Apollo’s Lyre is nominated in three categories, including Best Poetry ezine — as editor of the poetry column, I’m especially excited. Links and details are below.

To vote in this poll, you must fill in your name and email and the scrambled letters in a “captcha” box — this way they can decide that a real person is voting. You will receive an email with a confirming link to follow, which validates your vote.

Nominees are listed alphabetically in each category, so you can find your favorites that way. We would appreciate your support and your vote for us in the following categories:

Anthology — (Lifelines)
http://critters.org/predpoll/antho.shtml

Book cover, Lifelines, Lin Neiswender
http://www.critters.org/predpoll/bookart.shtml

Poets, Poetic Muselings
http://critters.org/predpoll/poet.shtml

Poetry ezine — Apollo’s Lyre
http://critters.org/predpoll/poetryzine.shtml

There are many other categories being honored. Please check them out including:

Other Apollo’s Lyre nominations are Fiction ezine and ezine editor Jim Harrington   http://critters.org/predpoll/fictionzine.shtml,  http://critters.org/predpoll/zineeditor.shtml

ThePoetic Muselings grew out of the Muse Online Writers Conference, which is nominated under best writers workshops. Learn more about this outstanding conference by following the link with the poll:
http://critters.org/predpoll/writerws.shtml

And we have publishers to vote for, too. InkSpotter, our publisher, is on the list, as is MuseItUp, connected to the Muse Conference:
http://critters.org/predpoll/ebookpublisher.shtml

We thank you for your consideration of us on this poll, and would be happy to hear your comments.

Coming on Friday — the long-awaited results of our contest. Very difficult challenge, but we are ready to post it. Again, our deepest thanks to all of out participants.

Lifelines and Apollo's Lyre nominated for P&E Awards

(Updated with corrected links)

Critters / Critique.org  hosts the annual Preditors & Editors™ Readers’ Poll which honors print & electronic publications published during 2011. (Click here for the official rules.)

DEADLINE FOR VOTING IS JAN. 10, 2012.

Lifelines, our Poetic Muselings anthology, is nominated in several categories. Also, Apollo’s Lyre is nominated in three categories, including Best Poetry ezine — as editor of the poetry column, I’m especially excited. Links and details are below.

To vote in this poll, you must fill in your name and email and the scrambled letters in a “captcha” box — this way they can decide that a real person is voting. You will receive an email with a confirming link to follow, which validates your vote.

Nominees are listed alphabetically in each category, so you can find your favorites that way. We would appreciate your support and your vote for us in the following categories:

Anthology — (Lifelines)
http://critters.org/predpoll/antho.shtml

Book cover, Lifelines, Lin Neiswender
http://www.critters.org/predpoll/bookart.shtml

Poets, Poetic Muselings
http://critters.org/predpoll/poet.shtml

Poetry ezine — Apollo’s Lyre
http://critters.org/predpoll/poetryzine.shtml

There are many other categories being honored. Please check them out including:

Other Apollo’s Lyre nominations are Fiction ezine and ezine editor Jim Harrington   http://critters.org/predpoll/fictionzine.shtml,  http://critters.org/predpoll/zineeditor.shtml

ThePoetic Muselings grew out of the Muse Online Writers Conference, which is nominated under best writers workshops. Learn more about this outstanding conference by following the link with the poll:
http://critters.org/predpoll/writerws.shtml

And we have publishers to vote for, too. InkSpotter, our publisher, is on the list, as is MuseItUp, connected to the Muse Conference:
http://critters.org/predpoll/ebookpublisher.shtml

We thank you for your consideration of us on this poll, and would be happy to hear your comments.

Coming on Friday — the long-awaited results of our contest. Very difficult challenge, but we are ready to post it. Again, our deepest thanks to all of out participants.

Our Virtual Global Village and Lifeline

It takes a virtual global village for words to become a worthy poem. Ours extended from Australia, Nova Scotia and Montreal, Canada, to Southern California and the San Francisco Bay Area — our mentors and Publisher — besides our scattered band of poets.

We must also mention the broader world’s contribution: almost all of our poems started from on-line writing prompts — especially Poetic Asides PAD Challenges (Poem A Day) in April and November 2009, and the April Haiku Challenges at Forward Motion. How they ended up were very different, but that spark and the need to write daily (or as close as we could come to it), shoved our inner critics away and we wrote.

Each of us also worked with local critique groups, who helped hone our words, thoughts, and shared their reactions. Each poem is stronger for that lifeline. One of mine in particular, written when my brother was dying, led to an hour-long discussion with my local group, and several rewrites on my part. So, thank you “P-42″ for being there for me, and Scott at Tsunami Bookstore, for hosting not only this poetry group, but all the other community events to support local artists, writers, and musicians. I did my first Open Mic at Tsunami, with an encouraging crowd.

We all applied these insights as we worked with each other. One of the best things a colleague said about one of my poems was that part of it didn’t make sense. After I got over the initial shock, I realized I was too close to it to see what was wrong. That one is not only stronger for the criticism, but is much closer to what I intended to write.

Over the next few months, we will share what we’ve learned about critique groups (on-line and in-person), tips for setting schedules, levels of review, how to ask for what you want in a review, how to give and receive feedback, how we’ve provided each other with encouragement and strategic kicks when needed, and how to work towards goals.

We have many other topics planned, since we come from such diverse backgrounds and interests. We hope you enjoy meeting us, will join in the discussion as we all grow, and encourage you to find your voice and courage to try, just as we did, and are still doing.

We’re very excited that our collaboration has led to this beautiful book, Lifelines, which is now available at Amazon.com (see sidebar). We’re working on ideas to include our local bookstores, too.

If you read our book, we’d love to have you post a review on Amazon.com, and to send us a copy for our blog.  Thank you!

Michele's Musings

Turning Over Rocks

“Why be difficult
when you can always
be impossible?”

My family’s motto,
when I was growing up.

We lived in clouds,
ephemeral universe
All or nothing mind-set
badgered us into paralyzing inaction,
circular conundrums,
promises meant to stop questions,
not solve problem

“Don’t answer the phone!” admonitions
when I was home alone, sick,
escaping whatever had me
in its grip that day or week

Blame and shame
games and names
hiding in books read
by shadowed night-light
to tame the monsters
lurking under my bed,
in the closet,
beyond the toys
strewn across the floor
beyond the closed door
to my personal space and mind

Child of parents
whose fractured worlds
never resolved enough to give them
strength to shelter their offspring
the way this one needed

But I was loved
and encouraged to dream big,
reach beyond what was,
by my father
live his words
not the life we had

I gained my own,
tiny shard by shard
years later, loved,
protected, cherished,
with someone who believes in me,
loves me
without needing to understand
more than he does

learn to trust,
push past fears, worries
I’ll never be enough, do enough,
justify my own existence

Learn I have to prove
nothing to the world.
I have the right just to be,
eclectic, whimsical,
inconsistent entity
in love
with my life
as I inch
toward myself

Ⓒ Michele M. Graf
11-7-11