Category Archives: Hyacynth

Everyday Creators: If You Don’t Think You’re a Poet

Editor’s note: Every month at BPB we pick a theme to ponder and help lead us into deeper creativity. This month’s theme is PLANT. April is also poetry month, so every Monday we’re indulging in creatively through sharing poetry. Today, the second Monday of the month, we’re sharing a little inspiration from everyday creators in our community who weave creativity into the everyday. 

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Last island hurrah for the year. Say it ain't so.by Hyacynth of Undercover Mother

Poetry stirs myriad emotions through the writing of it, the reading of it and the mere mention of it.

Maybe when you first read that BPB was celebrating poetry month by sharing our poems every Monday you mentally checked out. Maybe our mind flashed back to trying to write a perfectly metered poem in high school or dissecting the meaning of a poem in English class.

Or maybe you thought about how you love reading poetry but you could never actually write a poem that didn’t begin with “roses are red.”

If your initial thought was something along the lines of “I’m a writer or blogger, not a poet,” this is written especially to your heart from mine.

Writing tells a story; as writers we are storytellers and conveyors of thought interwoven with emotion. To me, poetry is a dialect of writing.  The more we practice “speaking” it, the more fluent we become.

When I write poetry instead of a fully-scripted and explained post, I’m aiming to write as vividly as possible with as few powerfully placed words as possible.

Most often these days I write what Melissa termed as “Everyday Poetry,” which tells a story but doesn’t necessarily adhere to any rules of meter or stanzas or rhyming patterns.

And again, the basic idea of Everyday Poetry is to convey deep emotion with as few carefully chosen words as possible.

When writing Everyday Poetry, it’s often helpful to begin by just writing out what you’re feeling and thinking about and then pick out stand out phrases and words.

Often an entire poem will develop from one strong phrase or image in my mind.

In the poem below, the phrase that sparked the whole poem was “but what did we know of love.” This phrase carries the reader through the poem and provides a central theme.

When building upon the phrase or image, I write short, power-packed sentences and try to end and begin each line with strong words.

The goal at the end of each line is to either end a thought or draw the reader into following the thought into the next line.

When writing Everyday Poetry, I try to stay away from trite terms like “saying I do,” when talking about marriage, but sometimes I do use a term term like that simply so I can mix it up and put a new spin on it like in the poem below :

I followed him a few months later

a sparkling diamond on my ring finger

back to his old stomping grounds

promised I did and I do and I would.

But what did I know of vows.”

In developing my poem, I often try to remember to use solid visuals that are specific not only to me and my life but also ones that are universal, ones with which others can empathize. Some of the strength in a poem or story is being able to help the person reading relate deeply to what you’re writing about. Like in the poem below, I think most people who have been in a romantic relationship can relate to this scene:

Looked at each other, hands on hips,

from across the room some nights

before finally giving in,

melting into each other’s arms

wondering aloud

what we knew of love. “

After I’ve flushed out my idea and tried to use plenty of solid images and interesting ways of relaying emotions or experiences, I take out the old ax and begin hacking away at words that don’t add value.

I’m especially harsh with words like “that,” “the,” “about,” “like,” and “and.” It’s not that I never use those words. I do. And they often serve their purpose. I just make sure that they do add value.

Of course, these are just some tips to writing Everyday Poetry! There are really no rules because it’s mostly about conveying deep emotion with as few powerful words as possible.

Here’s the full poem I referenced throughout the post if you’re curious to see the end result.

I grabbed his hand and ran wild into roped off spaces

of ancient digs following a man with a machine gun into the shadows.

He said he knew then that he loved me;

why else would he have followed a wild-child

of a beautiful mess like me into the dark unknown of catacombs

half way around the world from

where he first read about them in books,

dreamed of a brown-eyed girl.

But what did he know of love.

I followed him a few months later

a sparkling diamond on my ring finger

back to his old stomping grounds

promised I did and I do and I would.

But what did I know of vows.

I birthed him two babies

and we built a life and planted a garden

of trust and tears and laughter

in our backyard and living room,

found out what sickness and worse

and pockets of poorer meant.

Looked at each other, hands on hips,

from across the room some nights

before finally giving in,

melting into each other’s arms

wondering aloud

what we knew of love.

I’ve stained his shirt with soft gray smudges of eyeliner

and hot tears more days than not now

in these four weeks and counting

since the baby in my womb traded

breathing amniotic fluid for angel air

And we’ve folded up into conversation

of babies gone

and sleeping soundly in the next room

of heavenly lights

and earthly darkness

of questions pleaded into the night

and answers given by morning sun

of a rugged tree where He was nailed

and an empty tomb where He was risen

Realizing exactly what we now know of love

and still also have yet to grasp.”

Remember: there’s no right or wrong way. Write from your heart, keep it short and punchy and convey your story with the most powerful words possible!

Can’t wait to see what you’ve got this week.

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Night Drives: Musical Inspiration {Hyacynth}

Night Drive

We sit in his parked car.

Dimmed moonlight seeps in through the open windows, tattooing temporary tiny shadows onto the cloth seats and my freshly sun-kissed arms as I stare at the silhouettes of leaves resting quietly on massive, solid oak branches, gentle patterns pressed against the starlight sky.

Even with the windows down, the air is heavy; it’s been working diligently at drenching our naked skin with humidity, leaving tiny footprints of moisture along our brows, hair lines, napes of our necks for the past two hours.

We’ve barely gone beyond making little effort to engage in conversation; there’s no need for words anymore. We’ve run the entire soundtrack of each other’s self-proclaimed best album of all time in one summer, letting each layer, each chord, each harmony and each lyric soak press into our skins. And tonight we’re both hearing the words from a song we’ve listened to a thousand times before but never really heard.

“I’ll take your words as if you were talking to me.
So say what I know you’ll say.
Say it through your teeth.
Now in the deep and down, your heart moves.
I don’t know how, but I know I want out. 
Wait for something better, will I know when it can be us?”

There’s not much to say that hasn’t already been hung out to dry with last week’s laundry. I know what he’s thinking; he’s got my number, too. My sentiments remain as heavy, stagnant as the humid August air. I desperately need a breeze to sweep me away, take my heart hostage and run until it can’t recognize a single scene in the landscape.

This drive on this night, it’s such a contrast from ones past. Night drives where the chill of May still clung in the early summer air, driving goosebumps over my arms just beneath my light sweater, brimmed with conversations that weaved through the time and space inside his old car until we could see small hints of sunlight creeping over the bluffs, peaking in between leaves dancing in a slight breeze.

“Hands around your waist.
Nameless, standing cold.
Take in restraint like a breath.
My lungs are so numb from holding back.”

Night drives where we’d stripped off our sweaters, kicked off our shoes, talking about sweeping philosophical generalizations that were actually little glimpses of self-confessed truths.

“I said it out loud over and over but what do I know.
I said it out loud but it did not help.
I’ll stop now.
Just so I can hear you I stay up as late as it takes, as long as it takes.”

Night drives where each truth that was unraveled undressed another layer we’d cloaked our outer selves in, dying to undress, shed a shirt, jeans in the thickening summer heat.

“When the time we have now ends,
When the big hand goes round again.
Can you still feel the butterflies? 
Can you still hear the last goodnight?”

Night drives where we found ourselves tangled in each other’s discarded clothes, layers of history, clinging to each other’s underwear-clad bodies while hoping for this time to be different, praying for the current of love to swim against the undertow of reality.

“Feelings change so fast. 
Safety scares them away.
I can’t bring myself to say it;
it’s my own advice I need.
Nowhere and then nowhere.
Living trapped inside the chase.”

Until we’re left here, on a night drive where we’ve found we’re left naked, stripped completely of all our layers, souls barred, secrets shared, staring at each other and wondering how the flesh looks so starkly different from the clothing.

“Wait for something better?
I shouldn’t, it’s not enough.
Pull one excuse from another.
Just one excuse from another.
This time it means us.”

We’re left here. Listening. Finally listening. In your car. Only shadows covering our nakedness, temporary tattoos that will disappear come morning when we layer our clothes, redress our souls. And we find the layers of our soundtrack –the harmony, the melody, the chords — are just clothing to the lyrics we’ve been trying to undress from our first night drive.

All lyrics in quotations marks from songs from Clarity, Jimmy Eat World.

_____
Next week we will be wrapping up our month of Music Creativity with links from all of you. Don’t forget you still have time to compose a blog post, create a playlist or snap some photos inspired by our prompt or your own musical inspiration. Don’t forget to tag your photos #BPCREATES and submit you post on our Facebook. We can’t wait to see your inspiration.

Writing Me: I Remember {hyacynth}

Writing Me is Bigger Picture Blogs series of writing exercises created to help our community dive deeper into writing, grow creatively, and learn about ourselves and each other. This quarter we are writing from the prompt “I Remember…” and each week we will feature one of our community members.

This week’s post comes to us from Hyacynth.

~~~~~~

I remember him when my oldest cuts open his finger

while we’re driving down the interstate

and I pull out a bandage, wipe

from the emergency kit he put in my car

nine years ago when I drove to start my junior year of college.

I remember him when sunlight hits

my boys’ hair and the same coppery tones

highlight the dark locks they share.

I remember him when I catch a slight hint

of cigar smoke wafting through thick summer air during

nightly walks around our neighborhood with his grandkids.

And I remember him when I see the roof of the house

that was almost him peaking through the dancing leaves

of trees in our backyard.

I remember him when I least it expect it

when I’m in the middle of living life loudly

when his memory sneaks up on me

and startles me back to the realization

that all I really have left of my father

are genes expressed in little boys

an emergency kit lingering long after expiration date in my car

and memories

to which I cling tighter every time I realize he’s gone.

~~~~~~

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