Taking Time, Making Time

I am tired. I realized yesterday that I have spread myself beyond thin, that I have said “yes” too many times to too many things and that I haven’t left enough time in a week for me to just sit and think and be with myself … except late at night when I’m already sleepy. This isn’t tenable. I started making a list last night of all my commitments, and today I started sorting it into the ones I need to get rid of first, the ones I probably need to get rid of but want to think about for another minute, and the ones I need to get rid of that won’t be jettisoned so easily.

This won’t be a simple list to check off. All of the things on the list are things I want to be doing/participating in. But I also need time to write, time to think, time to finish everything early enough to go to bed before midnight (before 2am, if I’m honest).

I wish me luck seeing this one through.

* * *

On the Golden Shovel front, I’m still slogging away. Choosing a line or a few lines to use has gotten easier, and I’m absolutely enjoying reading through Clifton’s work in search of source material, but … I’m not feeling more in love with the pieces I’m producing. A line here or there, but that’s it. And some of that may be my physical and mental exhaustion, but it’s more because of the “forced-ness” I feel with these poems. I can’t seem to get past that sense of the things I’ve been writing not really being mine.

Sigh. It’s been a strange month so far. This isn’t a way I am used to feeling. I may not always love the poems I write in April, but they always feel as if they are my own work.

The source text for tonight’s poem is Clifton’s “leda 1.”

What I Might Want

It's more than a year and
I can't call up your voice. I look at
your pictures, think of the night we met, the night
we drank and laughed and I put my
wariness away for a minute, let dreams
secret themselves in. Now I find they are
still there, buried deep, hands and mouths full.

National Poetry Month 2021: the Golden Shovel

As I’ve done for the last forever, I’ve chosen a poetic form, and I’m going to try to write a poem in that form every day for the month of April. I don’t always succeed, but I always give it my best shot. The “Golden Shovel” was created by Terrance Hayes in tribute to Gwendolyn Brooks. I learned about it from my friend Sonia (aka Red Emma). I’ll be using Lucille Clifton’s poems as my starting point this month. Here are the rules:

  • Take a line (or lines) from a poem you admire.
  • Use each word in the line (or lines) as the end word for each line in your poem.
  • Keep the end words in order.
  • Give credit to the poet who originally wrote the line (or lines).
  • The new poem does not have to be about the same subject as the poem that offers the end words.

If you pull a line with six words, your poem would be six lines long. If you pull a stanza with 24 words, your poem would be 24 lines long. And so on.

Should be interesting!

3 thoughts on “Taking Time, Making Time

  1. Lainie Levin

    This image of dreams “buried deep, hands and mouths full.” THAT is an image I will carry with me. Here’s another thing that I enjoy and admire about your work this month. I’ve just been thinking about this today – this idea that you’ve used Lucille Clifton in each of your works. And what I find interesting about that is…she has her style, and that’s readily apparent through the lines you’ve chosen. And through her style, you’ve shown us YOURS. There’s something so satisfying about being a reader and seeing that. So…thank you.


  2. “I put my
    wariness away for a minute, let dreams
    secret themselves in.”

    Dreams are fearless, I firmly believe to follow them they cannot share the same space as fear or wariness. So yes, you have to put wariness away to let dreams in.


  3. let dreams secret themselves in – you continue to amaze me. I hear how hard it is for you right now. I feel challenged by the fact that the weather and light are so amazing and yet my energy and creativity are no match for all the glory outside.


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