cut and paste

this is my voice. there are many like it. but this one is mine.

sabrina ward harrison

sabrina ward harrison

for the last 6 weeks or so, i’ve been spending my Thursday mornings with the brave art makers at Green Wood Coalition writing poems. we put down paints and brushes for a while, and picked up paper and pens. and we’ve been writing our way down courageous roads, opening new doors inside ourselves, and unleashing our honest-loving-wounded-hearts.

it’s been nothing short of amazing.

we decided at the start that it wasn’t about writing poems that rhymed (though some of them do), or that even necessarily followed any sort of form (though some of them did). it wasn’t going to be about proper spelling, or vast vocabulary, or even being very good at reading.

poems didn’t have to be long. they didn’t need to be succinct.
they just needed to be true. to be honest.

we just needed to start to believe that we all had something worth saying, and we were all worthy of being heard.

and i think we’ve done that.
at least i hope we have.

this Thursday night, at Harry\’s Little City of Bricks in Port Hope, at 7pm, this brave group of new writers is going to be host to an Open Mic poetry night. we want everyone to come, armed with some words to share. we’re going to try our best to share some of what we’ve been working on, including a self-published poetry Zine of some of our selected writing,  that will be for sale that night.

we’d love to see you there with poems in hand. you don’t have to have it perfect. you can even do it afraid. you’ll be in good company.

you’ve got something worth saying, and we’d love to hear it.

come join us. it’s gonna be great.

……

Unmistakably, unstoppably

57

What remains, always: a hope, stubborn and inimitable. A loyalty to her own heart. The knowledge embedded in her bones. Someone could have said to her, “Look how blue the ocean is,” but she – bent on seeing green – would have refused to believe it. A trick of the eye, she would have told herself, and sure enough, the light would bend and the blue would go away and in its place the greenest green, an unequivocal, incontestable green. This is the way it always is. She must see it to know it. She must taste it in her mouth, hold it in her hands, feel the truth of it on her own terms, with her own senses. It is sometimes inconvenient to be so optimistic. Her faith in implausible outcomes creates confusion and, occasionally, anxiety, in others, her compass illegible as hieroglyphics. But when stops trying to make things easier, more palatable for someone else, when she resists the urge to package and perform, when she allows the river of her wild instinct to carve its way around the cumbersome opinions of others, she comes face to face with the real contours of her own life. And it is messy and imprecise and muddy and frayed at the seams, and it is whole and light and depth and wonder and it is unmistakably, unstoppably hers.

– Maya Stein

……

Burning The Old Year

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Letters swallow themselves in seconds.
Notes friends tied to the doorknob,
transparent scarlet paper,
sizzle like moth wings,
marry the air.

So much of any year is flammable,
lists of vegetables, partial poems.
Orange swirling flame of days,
so little is a stone.

Where there was something and suddenly isn’t,
an absence shouts, celebrates, leaves a space.
I begin again with the smallest numbers.

Quick dance, shuffle of losses and leaves,
only the things I didn’t do
crackle after the blazing dies.

– Naomi Shihab Nye

……

there are things to write about every time i blink my eyes

the ever wonderful Tanya Davis has long held a place of honor in this Blackbird nest. she writes words and sings songs that touch the most shadowy and tender of places…they linger long in my lungs…they curl up inside me and make themselves at home. both her poems and her person have become so very important to my wanderings in this world.

Photo Credit: Mark Maryanovitch

Photo Credit: Mark Maryanovitch

today Tanya posted this link to an interview with her and CBC, about poems and words and how she does what she does. it’s well worth the read. i’m pretty sure you could ask her questions about anything and the answers would come out sounding like poems.

speaking of poems, if you haven’t heard one recently, you should give this one a listen.

a found poem, or something like it.

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It’s Saturday afternoon, the end of March. There was snow on the rooftops this morning, but that didn’t last long. I saw two crows fight it out in an eavestrough, while at another house, the hyacinth bloomed. By noon the sun was so hot coming through the window of the Mexican restaurant that our skin was feeling parched. My legs are stretched out on the brown striped couch in front of me. For a couple of hours they sat cross-legged on a carpeted floor. A live version of Such Great Heights is floating up to my window from a car speaker a few stories below. Today those kids really sang the blues.

I made the hot chocolate a bit too hot, but the almond milk was a nice touch. That cactus salad sure is hard to beat. Where does cancer come from and why does it happen and why did they have to die so soon? If you sang the song of your past it sure would be a heartbreaker.

That guy on the rollerblades must have been in the military. Lightening bolts on his head and all. As soon as you took off your glasses, I remembered everything. Fireflies don’t always bring light to dark places. It was 2 years yesterday, I wish I’d remembered.

You want to bring her back to life to make your future bright. That monster still sleeps in your sweater pocket. I wish it was easier for all of us to live with our losses. What should we do when our fears keep us up at night? It’s tradition now, you know. I could tell by your face that I’d lost you. I’m just not sure why you left.  I want to change my address too. Damn knocking.  You asked the question we’ve all been dying to know, little sage: If God is real, why doesn’t she answer?

……

Getting lost is another exercise in navigation

3

It will be all right in the end, and maybe even in the middle. You will not suffer as long as you think you will. You are not fated to be unhappy. You are not destined for failure. Remember who you are. Let me say it again. Remember who you are. Be gentle. Practice exquisite acts of self-care. You don’t have to be as strong as you think you do. You don’t have to be wise and certain about your path. Your frailty is beautiful, and your innocence too. Getting lost is another exercise in navigation. You can’t fix everything you touch. You won’t break everything you touch. Don’t apologize if you’re tired. Don’t second-guess your stomach. Maintain eye contact with everything, especially yourself. Fall to your knees at least once a day. Say yes at least twice. Love daringly, wholly, unapologetically. Believe in magic. Befriend your fear. Look up. Listen. The birds will tell you everything you need to know about flight. Forgive yourself your great sadness. Unlock what hurts. Make a prayer for loss. Unpen your words. Get messier than anyone thinks you should. You’ll know when you’re ready. I’ll say it again. You’ll know when you’re ready.

–  You Will Know, by Maya Stein

Revival

...yearning...

...yearning...

( special thanks to Marie for starting my day with this poem…)

March. I am beginning
to anticipate a thaw. Early mornings
the earth, old unbeliever, is still crusted with frost
where the moles have nosed up their
cold castings, and the ground cover
in shadow under the cedars hasn’t softened
for months, fogs layering their slow, complicated ice
around foliage and stem
night by night,

but as the light lengthens, preacher
of good news, evangelizing leaves and branches,
his large gestures beckon green
out of gray. Pinpricks of coral bursting
from the cotoneasters. A single bee
finding the white heather. Eager lemon-yellow
aconites glowing, low to the ground like
little uplifted faces. A crocus shooting up
a purple hand here, there, as I stand
on my doorstep, my own face drinking in heat
and light like a bud welcoming resurrection,
and my hand up, too, ready to sign on
for conversion.

– Luci Shaw

……

Bump, Bump, Bump Little Heart

by Audrey Kawasaki

by Audrey Kawasaki

Bump, bump, bump, little heart

along this journey

we’ve gone together,

you piping all the fuel.

You’re fistsize, and fistlike

you clench and unclench,

clench and unclench

keeping this head upright

to batter its way

through the walls of the day.


– Milton Acorn

……

your distance is already among the stars

“Therefore, dear sir, love your solitude and bear with sweet-sounding lamentation the suffering it causes you. For those who are near you are far, you say, and that shows it is beginning to grow wide about you. And when what is near you is far, then your distance is already among the stars and very large; rejoice in your growth, in which you naturally can take no one with you, and be kind to those who remain behind, and be sure and calm before them and do not torment them with your doubts and do not frighten them with your confidence or joy, which they could not understand. Seek yourself some sort of simple and loyal community with them, which need not necessarily change as you yourself become different and again different; love in them life in an unfamiliar form and be considerate of aging people, who fear that being-alone in which you trust. Avoid contributing material to the drama that is always stretched taut between parents and children; it uses up much of the children’s energy and consumes the love of their elders, which is effective and warming even if it does not comprehend. Ask no advice from them and count upon no understanding; but believe in a love that is being stored up for you like an inheritance and trust that in this love there is strength and a blessing…”

– Rainer Maria Rilke, from Letters To A Young Poet

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Unless otherwise noted, all original photography and text are property of Raechelle Kennedy. If you see or read something here and feel inspired to share it somehow, please be considerate and give the artist (me!) credit, or even better, drop me a note and make sure I don’t mind.
Thank you!

Here + There

Secondhand Sainthood and the gift of losing it all – Topology Magazine, December 2015

Ten Things Made – Topology Magazine, December 2015

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