Poem Therapy September 27 12:08 P.M. - Navigating in the Dark by Erik Campbell

Navigating in the Dark
Erik Campbell

Papua, Indonesia

In this mining town in Papua the electricity
Has a habit of giving up at night, and this

Is a miracle of modern stasis, a secular Shabbat,
Reminding us of what is expendable, of how so few

Of us ever truly experience the dark. We are amazed,
My wife and I, with the heavy darkness

Of the no moon jungle, insect sounds lacerating
All illusions of silent places. “It’s so absolute,”

My wife says, and I like to think she means
More than the darkness; the naked places

Of ourselves we dress in sunlight, lamps,
And recorded music like antithetical

Blanche DeBois’s fearing a different sort
Of scrutiny. “We could pretend it’s 1940,”

I say, “put a Jack Benny tape on the short wave
And drink coffee, light candles.” She suggests

A walk outside instead, where there are dozens
Of others already out on paths bounded by jungle,

Stepping small and laughing loudly through various
Uncertainties; flashlights as eyes, ears like animals’.

Soon we are trying only to remember not to disappear
Altogether; everything is so absolutely, so darkly possible.

What is your definition or example of an absolute? It's difficult to think of absoultes. Even to consider absolutes takes a literal intake of breath, a slowing down to a halt. Perhaps this is so, because there's so much gray area between the absolute hemispheres of black and white of our lives, our realities.

I like the absolute black of a city block during a power outage. No ambient light fingering its way into your consciousness. It's only you and the darkness.

Text Message Poems 2010

As a writing warm up, I wrote this text message poem. This is my first draft, so of course I'll be back obsessively revising.

nail-biting New York sadness moss Chicago tornado purple

The Sadness of Moss

Moss is Nature's equivalent
of nail-biting
compulsive and unnecessary
insistent like a tornado twisting
into the sky
its bruise-colored scruff
twisting like a parasite until it locks
into the host
feeds and spreads

Trancendence - Guest Poet at Lostmythologies

I'm happy to introduce guest poet, l'chaim. Around this time last year I posted The Guardian's "How to Write a Text Message Poem", and l'chaim and I exchanged text poems. This is from that exchange. Happy reading and please leave comments. Also, read my Text Message How-to post and send me a poem or two.


And as the stones roll and all breathing becomes labored, the
gods, the serpents and the ancestors disperse in silence to the ether;

And I am lost and alone, and slake hollow comfort from the
derisen that others have sojourned this generation ending path countless times before;

And as in nightmares of days gone by, I am swept out upon a
raging sea as treason at last consumes all hope and there is no peace, no shelter and there is no calm;

And the struggle will not cease nor ease and exhaustion devours all strength and i give in to the storm that has depleted and buffeted the spirit of my soul;

And darkness envelopes all thought and the torment disperses
and in rushes the winds of unsettled fury, and my mind is not my own
and for a moment I pray for nothingness and it almost comes;

And then i awake from the induced darkness and still the torment grows louder and Venus knows no rest;

And at last I am broken and as I surrender i quietly slip below the surface and leave the battle for another and almost serenly I am lost to the combatant;

And the generations of Boaz are lost and Yazidis is all that remains: wandering the stark horizon, seeking that which it thought it had found;

And then unexpectedly, a source known but lost lifts the shroud of darkness and parts the ether and bridges the chasim, and the Beauty descends, and a softness not known for ages is tasted and sleep at last is mine and i dream...

And I dream of a strong and firm love, A love that quenches my thirsty soul. I dream of glistening eyes and quivering muscles, And spirits colliding as bodies intertwine in the night. I dream of safety, and peace and love;

And the light comes and i awake on the surface and the sea is calm and the softness and Beauty remain and i am free. And the first shall be last and the last shall be first; and I am whole.

- l'chaim

How to Write A Found Poem


1. Cut random words from magazines.
ii. Order and arrange to create meaning.
iii. Using the words as inspiration, write without editing for fifteen minutes.
iv. Revise the poem until you are happy with it.
v. Put it away for at least a week.
vi. Begin the real writing process: deep revision.



Deconstructing Myself

I am busy constructing my own myth
weaving the cloth of narratives to drape
over my shoulders and call my life
the loom's warp and weft
holding the threads
a complex pattern emerging

I am busy deconstructing my own myth
pulling the threads from the cloth
like Penelope endlessly at her loom
weaving the funeral cloak
then unraveling the cloth each evening
to stave off the inevitable

I am busy restucturing my own myth
knowing that this life will not be kept waiting
while I dress the loom with a new narrative
that this life waits for no one
not even the dead

What I Made Today - Hammered Brass Bracelets with Charms

I've been teaching non artists to solder simple nickel, brass, and sterling silver rings this week.

In between classes, I soldered and hammered ten brass bracelets that I joined in fives with a small soldered jump ring. I added the charms later. Yes, brass is the poor man's gold, but I love how the hammered brass catches and reflects the light.

The bracelet are for a friend, but I intend to make five set, at the very least, for myself.

Rapidwrite - September 7, 2010 1:19 A.M.

It is not the darkness that is to be feared. It is the sound of darkness. Each of us lie seperately in our own darkness, listening to its low rumble fill our ears. Here in my own darkness I listen to the voice filling empty space and think to run, but know the voice is constant, ever present, that there is no escaping it, just as there is no escaping the face in the mirror. The bones inside this body hold the knowledge of all that has been or ever will. This, the darkness knows. This the darkness must speak, the words spiraling into the soft coil of our ears, spinning, insisting, until they are heard.

Mary Olver poems -
Wild Geese
White Owl Flies Into and Out of the Field
The Kookaburras

How to Deal with a Difficult Situation - Strategy Four: Disguise Yourself


If all else fails, disguise yourself so that no one recognizes you. This will buy you a little time, and incidentally, may be fun, although, there is a possibility you just might create more difficulties for yourself and then you'll have to start all over again with strategy one.

A caution: Use judgement when choosing a disquise. Wearing a costume or a mask into a public place, unless it's Carnival or Halloween, is going to cause problems. Think about pinning your hair under a hat and wearing dark glasses, instead.

How to Deal with a Difficult Situation - Strategy Three: Carry the Weight

Carry That Weight - Edison Rex edisonrex.etsy.com

If denial or power animals fail you, retreat.

It's probably better to just sit with the problem, so get out your favorite comforter and curl up on the couch and think deep thoughts, examine your issue from all angles to the point it feels that one more thought just might crush you.

Don't you dare do anything to feel better. Stay away from the ice cream in the freezer, do not go shopping, stop channel surfing or any kind of activity that distracts you from your problem. Just sit there and take it.

Do pet the dog and be kind to those who live with you. No need for everyone to suffer because you're miserable.

More than likely, you'll carry the weight until you decide you don't need it. For all our sake's, let's hope that's soon.

How to Deal with a Difficult Situation - Strategy Two: WWPBD?

Pink Bunny by Nicole FitzGibbon NicoleFitzGibbon.etsy.com

What Would Pink Bunny Do?

If denial or simply putting aside today's troubles for tomorrow, doesn't work for you, another fine strategy is to look to our animal friends for answers.

Today I chose rabbit, a.k.a. Pink Bunny, as my guide. Perhaps it seems primeval to look to animals, especially a bunny, for answers, well, you would be correct: Psychoanalyst Carl Jung made extensive use of primeval symbolism in understanding humanity

A quick google search will provide an avalanche of information. I typed in 'rabbit symbolism" and found that bunnies range from the sacred to the profane.

Research an animal that appeals to you and learn how its positive and negative aspects may serve you with your present dilemma.

I culled the following from Terri Windling's The Symbolism of Rabbits and Hares:

In many mythic traditions, these animals were archetypal symbols of femininity, associated with the lunar cycle, fertility, longevity, and rebirth. But if we dig a little deeper into their stories we find that they are also contradictory, paradoxical creatures: symbols of both cleverness and foolishness, of femininity and androgyny, of cowardice and courage, of rampant sexuality and virginal purity.

In one old Chinese legend, Buddha summoned the animals to him before he departed from the earth, but only twelve representatives of the animal kingdom came to bid him farewell. He rewarded these twelve by naming a year after each one, in repeating cycles through eternity. The animal ruling the year in which a child born is the animal "hiding in the heart," casting a strong influence on personality, spirit, and fate. Rabbit was the fourth animal to arrive, and thus rules over the calendar in the fourth year of every twelve. People born into the Year of the Rabbit are said to be intelligent, intuitive, gracious, kind, loyal, sensitive to beauty, diplomatic and peace-loving, but prone to moodiness and periods of melancholy

In Egyptian myth, hares were also closely associated with the cycles of the moon, which was viewed as masculine when waxing and feminine when waning. Hares were likewise believed to be androgynous, shifting back and forth between the genders—not only in ancient Egypt but also in European folklore right up to the 18th century. A hare-headed god and goddess can be seen on the Egyptian temple walls of Dendera, where the female is believed to be the goddess Unut (or Wenet), while the male is most likely a representation of Osiris (also called Wepuat or Un-nefer), who was sacrificed to the Nile annually in the form of a hare.

In Greco-Roman myth, the hare represented romantic love, lust, abundance, and fecundity. Pliny the Elder recommended the meat of the hare as a cure for sterility, and wrote that a meal of hare enhanced sexual attraction for a period of nine days. Hares were associated with the Artemis, goddess of wild places and the hunt, and newborn hares were not to be killed but left to her protection. Rabbits were sacred to Aphrodite, the goddess of love, beauty, and marriage—for rabbits had “the gift of Aphrodite” (fertility) in great abundance. In Greece, the gift of a rabbit was a common love token from a man to his male or female lover. In Rome, the gift of a rabbit was intended to help a barren wife conceive. Carvings of rabbits eating grapes and figs appear on both Greek and Roman tombs, where they symbolize the transformative cycle of life, death, and rebirth.

How to Deal with a Difficult Situation - Strategy One - Attitude

blueskycloud.etsy.com http://www.flickr.com/photos/ralexandra/sets/

Attitude is everything.

No, this is not the typical Pollyanna solution where you think happy thoughts and your problems will dissolve into pink cotton candy air. Nor is it the standard realist mantra that you cannot control what is happening, that you can only control your reaction to what is happening.

Whatever. What if you are faced with barbarian invasion chaos? Pink thoughts will not stave off a barbarian horde. Nor will reacting calmly or logically. Yes, there are instances when both of these strategies will suffice, but in the majority of difficult situations, you really must paint yourself blue and go berserk.

Yes, attitude can be everything. But not today.

My solution for dealing with the current difficult situation is to go into full denial and just not worry about it, today. My mantra for the day is: Why Worry!

Exclamation. Not a question mark.

I'll think happy thoughts and focus on what is in my power to control...tomorrow.

Why Worry!

Rapidwrite - September 2, 2010 1:19 P.M

Hajif and Maufouz knocked on the door of my chest and asked for entry, assuming they would be granted their request, because of thier twinned lung shape, however diminuitive. They stated their purpose as karmic. They are here for payment. I have always known they would come, so it is no surprise, even though they are small, white beans that rest nicely in the cup of my hand. They were men in thier former lives, subject to the whims of the gods, but in this life, they act as intermediaries. Their mouths are full of sand and when they speak I smell their homeland. They are far from home and are sometimes meloncholy. Maufouz is the sad one. He refuses to speak. Hajif has words enough for both. He delights in life, regardless of the form it presents itself. He remembers the sweet taste of fig and longs for one last cup of hot tea and honey.

lima beans
suspended disbelief