Gazing at Ghazals

The ghazal continues its relentless battering of my brain. I really can’t express how painful it is wrenching these lines out onto the page. When I wrote my month (month plus) of tanka, I was struck by how fluidly the poems seemed to fall out of me. That form was, somehow, entirely mine, entirely in sync with my brain. The same is most definitely not true of the ghazal. The ghazal is like a language so foreign its alphabet and sounds cannot be produced with the rudimentary tools at my disposal. Folks who speak the language strain their ears toward me, but all I give back is cacophony.

Oy.

The ghazal is, clearly, going to kill me dead. What even is this form? It’s clearly something conjured up specifically to drive me over the edge. It’s too bad, too, because it’s such a cool-seeming form. I’m a lover of repetition and thought the refrain would click for me and help me deal with the rhyme. Um … not even close.

Yes, it’s still early in the ordeal. Anything’s possible. I’m worried because the 9th is fast approaching. That’s my niece’s birthday, and I always write a poem for her birthday … but usually I’ve got more of a handle on the year’s form by then and can turn out something workable. I have serious doubt about whether that will happen this year.

So, tonight’s poem. Ugh.

Shitty First Drafts (after Anne Lamott)

Entreaties in the midst of drama need hearing.
Of course, of course. Stop all tasks to speed hearing.

There's a rich magic in patience and empathy
and the power of both can seed hearing.

Thick silence enfolds and closes around us
pushing and pushing us all to plead hearing.

Bubbling through stories that flow urgently
grabbing up plot twists and all endings freed, hearing

questions, conversations, ideas shaken and stirred
dialog turning inward to bleed hearing.

And I, Stacie -- head against this concrete wall --
insisting, reaching for more than a screed, hearing.

National Poetry Month 2022: the Ghazal

As I’ve done for more than ten years (what?!), 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 … and I’m saying that boldly, knowing that I’ve already failed. I couldn’t find my way through to a poem on Day One, but I’m determined to continue.

The “Ghazal” is the form I’ve chosen for this year. Here is the structure and a little backstory (thank you Poetry Foundation):

“Originally an Arabic verse form dealing with loss and romantic love, medieval Persian poets embraced the ghazal, eventually making it their own. Consisting of syntactically and grammatically complete couplets, the form also has an intricate rhyme scheme. Each couplet ends on the same word or phrase (the radif), and is preceded by the couplet’s rhyming word (the qafia, which appears twice in the first couplet). The last couplet includes a proper name, often of the poet’s. In the Persian tradition, each couplet was of the same meter and length, and the subject matter included both erotic longing and religious belief or mysticism.”

Should be interesting!

Sometimes that paper trail …

… is from a ticker tape parade!

Tuesday, I wrote about an unpleasant colleague, someone I cannot trust but with whom I have no option but to work. At the end of my workday, it was clear that I was needed to prepare for one of our ugly interactions.

So I prepared. I made a plan. I was going to go into work this morning so I’d have time to download our emails as backup for my telling of events. I was going to review the notes I’d taken in meetings to be sure I had all the necessary information I needed to feel confident of my position.

In the end, none of my preparation was necessary. The nonsense never materialized … and I have no idea why.

Okay, not entirely true. I have a suspicion of why. The late-Tuesday email that hinted at foolishness to come on Wednesday wasn’t addressed only to me. My colleague’s boss, my boss, and a couple of other senior staff were included. It was a bold move on my colleague’s part, but I think it backfired. Two of the women on that email have shown themselves to have no kind of time for that kind of mess. I’m thinking one or both of them shut the whole business down. And for this I am grateful.

Maybe this will mark a turning point in this relationship. Maybe my colleague will finally straighten up and fly right!

Hey, a girl can dream!


It’s March, so it’s the Slice of Life Story Challenge over at Two Writing Teachers! Twelve years and going stronger than ever. Click over to read a few slices, see what that eclectic group of bloggers is up to. And maybe write some slices of your own this month!

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Cranky Pants and Pink Shoelaces

(a polka-dot vest and man oh man …)

I’m actually not so cranky, but I scolded myself earlier for my cranky response to something, and immediately this song was in my head, and the title wasn’t far behind.

This silly song is older than I am, but I remember it getting a significant amount of airtime when I was growing up … further evidence that the sleepy town I grew up in was caught in a 1950s timewarp.

Other songs whose steady rotation during my childhood confirmed for me our firm position in that timewarp:

  • “Beep Beep,” the Little Nash Rambler song
  • “Peggy Sue”
  • “Wake Up, Little Susie”
  • “Greenfields”
  • “Chances Are”
  • “That’ll Be the Day”
  • “Be-Bop-A-Lula”

(That this is my post for today tells you how sleepy I am.)


It’s March, so it’s the Slice of Life Story Challenge over at Two Writing Teachers! Twelve years and going stronger than ever. Click over to read a few slices, see what that eclectic group of bloggers is up to. And maybe write some slices of your own this month!

original-slicer-girlgriot

 

Paper Trail

This morning I had a lengthy email exchange with someone I neither like nor trust but with whom I must work often. Because this person has shown themselves to be untrustworthy, I avoid phone calls with them whenever I can and conduct our conversations through email. I want a written record of everything we do so that when this person claims never to have said something or agreed to something or taken responsibility for something, I have the email chain as evidence.

This isn’t a way I like to work, and it’s annoying to me that I’m put in a position to have no choice but to work like this. I am grateful to have my email archive, however, and grateful to be able to come with receipts when I need them.

As I left work this afternoon, I saw an email that made it clear that I will be needing those receipts tomorrow. This is pretty fast turnaround between our initial conversation and the denial of said conversation, but sometimes that’s the way it happens. So I’ll go in a little early and download the necessary evidence and be ready for the mess when it spills into my space.

I really don’t like working like this, but that doesn’t mean I can’t. If folks want to be foolish, I’m ready for them.


It’s March, so it’s the Slice of Life Story Challenge over at Two Writing Teachers! Twelve years and going stronger than ever. Click over to read a few slices, see what that eclectic group of bloggers is up to. And maybe write some slices of your own this month!

original-slicer-girlgriot

That moment …

So many of us have been there. At least, so many of us women have been there. You’re in your day, you’re minding your business, harming no one. And then it happens.

For me it happened in a meeting. I reached into the oddments pocket of my purse to pull out my lip balm. Instead, I discovered that my hand lotion had opened and spread itself liberally over and into all my bits of whatnot, all over my fingers.

Blech.

There’s no graceful exit from that moment. You have to pull your hand out of the bag or people will begin to notice that you’re sitting in a meeting with your hand awkwardly stuck in your bag. And when you pull your hand back into the light, it will broadcast its lotion-befouled stickiness to everyone.

The woman across from me smiled sympathetically. She had clearly had that moment and she understood. I pulled off my rings so I could de-goop them and somehow only two other people at the table seemed aware of my messy mishap.

And that is a good result, but it’s also true that I spent the rest of the meeting thinking about the mess in my purse, wondering if lotion had gotten into my business card case, wondering how easily it would be cleaned from the lining fabric, if it was in the zipper teeth of the little interior pocket. Yuck.

But my hands? Super moisturized and soft! :/


It’s the annual Slice of Life Story Challenge over at Two Writing Teachers! With hundreds of folks participating, there’s more than a little something for everyone … and plenty of room for you to join in!