farewell phyllis

on hearing a patron is ill and will not be returning to the library. 

babies are born
and there is death also,
not one after another
like the plucking of a broad grinn’d
gerber daisy, but huddled
together like passengers on a ferry
there will be times of loss
and then, just as suddenly
bounty.
Who will keep such a catalogue
of misery and joy, who
will collect the timestamps
of lives like a bookend.
I sat in wonder and forgot
just as suddenly.
There were emails to answer
after all.

–ECW

Coracle

for my father whose friend has passed

That silence spoke for itself
an infinity of wide open eyes
and I stood with you at the edge
with my hands on the brim of your
canoe and gave a gentle nudge.
Ours was a bond of time
as much as it was friendship
and after all these years,
my quiet hope for you is peace.
As it is for myself; as it is for my children.
We have seen enough to know
the difference between life and living
the difference between happiness
and the burden of hope. I wish
you carry all this life’s sweetness
with you on your journey, even
the bittersweetness,
which came with time.
–ECW

Petit Four 18: Casual Riders Inquire

50 mile bike rides cicra 2001: I remember my brother was in boyscouts and I wanted so badly to be in boyscouts too.. until he went for his biking merrit badge and I realized there’s merrit to being just a girl…

Petitfour18

Keep Writing

–ECW

Poem 82 Revised

Come crawl the window-still between the beams
Of light and night. Whip curtains to the sun
With stunts of crooked weaves and leaves, for now.
Rest. For now, be free to seize the grass roots
And soak their light, tonight your tender heart
Unfolds fern hands against a garden rod
Embrace the sod between toes and fingers
What tinkers there, meant for no mere mortal.
Spin reeds from weeds, button seeds in the earth
And know how the loom rows in the darkness.
No more cancer, no more cures. Your words are
Palms beneath mountains shoving them to peak
We speak of greatness from the ground what sound
Your soul that sows your linger’d love to life.
—ECW 

Poem 5 Editing

This is a question I hear all the time: You write poetry, huh, like song lyrics?

No, nothing like song lyrics. My best friend writes and performs her music and in the most basic fundamental elementary down-to-the-atoms way poetry is the opposite of song lyrics…
Poetry must stand on its own, it must bring a melody that carries through words rather than sound, it must be memorable without a rhythm to solidify its uniqueness, and finally (and most importantly) it survives on details rather than generalities.
My friend must make her experiences as general as possible to allow others to try them on and acclimate them to their own life. A song you hear is your song, about that time in college or when you took that trip. This is a skill separate from poetry, though it is just as difficult.
My poems must be specific, a reader should feel, smell, taste, touch and ache just as I did in the moment. A poem must be a tangible overwhelming truth, it also must be beautiful, memorable and realatible.
This poem has been edited before… the issues are in those details that no one will understand… The question becomes whether they add to the overall piece or if they alienate the reader too much. There is no perfect formula for this, you will just have to try over and over until you get it right…
That said this is also a personal poem, about a dear friend who shares many inside jokes and secret words with me… taking that out of the poem would deflate the meaning, but leaving it in ma alienate the reader… So the key is to make the message of friendship universal through our personal details.
Whenever I edit this poem I always worry about words like fish-hook and if burnt cupcakes are the items I really want to highlight… they are limiting in their relatability and yet contain exactly what I want to say about the friendship… There is also an underlying level of tension that reflects negatively on the comroderie that I always try to add to or clip out… I could edit this 1,000 more times and it will never be right… which sometimes means its done.
THE TAKEAWAY
Your poem must be about your life… When you struggle to write about something deeply personal, remember to balance those needed details with generalities that are universal. In this case, friendship is a universal commodity. While there is only one friendship like this one, the notion of secrets, a language all our own and details that are singular in their nature, there are millions of friendships that grow apart and millions of nostalgic readers who could relate to the ending of this poem… In this case it goes from small to big. As long as the universal and the singular exist in harmony, the poem is a success.