The Writing Garden ~ Issue Thirteen


Cover Image ~ Christmas Cruising
Anne Highfield ~ Flickr
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Days I Delighted In Everything
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I was listening to a book on tape while driving
and when the author said, “Those days I delighted in everything,”
I pulled over and found a pencil and a parking ticket stub
because surely there was a passage of life where I thought
“These days I delight in everything,” right there in the
present, because they almost all feel like that now,
memory having markered only the outline while evaporating
the inner anxieties of earlier times.  Did I not disparage
my body for years on end, for instance, although, in contrast
that younger one now strikes me as near-Olympian?
And the crushing preoccupations of that same younger self
might seem magically diluted, as though a dictator
in hindsight, had only been an overboard character—
but not so.  Where went the fear, dense as the sudden
dark in the woods, of being alone, or the bruise of 3:30 pm
in a silent apartment, when the disenfranchised live
only with the sunlight through the blinds, just prey
caught betwixt and between, and also heartbreak, and
again, heartbreak.  I didn’t have whatever that time of life
then demanded — a book, a wedding band, a baby —
but the present, like the lie of “fair and balanced” news reporting
where creationists are granted air time with the scientists,
the present might have me believe that “in those days
I delighted in everything.”  But to be … fair and balanced …
I do trust the strict part of memory, the only archivist
to have savored a passage of time and have preserved it
with the translucent green hinges licked by stamp collectors,
attaching it without hurting it, so I wanted the quote
exactly, and go back to hunt and tag those months where I
delighted in everything — then I couldn’t find the ticket stub.
I rummaged through the recycling but no luck, and I
couldn’t go back to find the passage on tape, and then I realized
I had bought the book for my husband, so I started leafing through it,
not wanting to start too far back, and not wanting
my eyes to fall on a passage in the future, the one where
she realizes that “Those days I delighted in everything,”
but it was never to happen again, just the present, from here on in.
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Jessica Greenbaum
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Dream Of A River
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chris-r-0843-2

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The flame in his chest
Uncertain but unceasing
Burning and beating
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A retreat
A winding track
The long way back
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Not breaking the surface
The splash of his feet
Sleepwalking along a
water filled street
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Eyes wide to see all he has missed
But waking not reaching the bridge
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Mark Renney ~ markrenney1.wordpress.com
Image ~ Christine Renney
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Marrow’s Mediocrity
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Having met life’s fate in the winter of my youth, I’ve lived my passions in pursuit of the truth.  Stigma and fear jailed my beliefs, keeping my love under lock and key, found near starvation in rags of hand-me-downs, sucking on pebbles to silence the hunger, blocking the ritual: speaking in tongues.  Necromancy of the resurrection, all memories have since fallen away, swirling as leaves on a tempestuous day.  Vacant lots of strange-strangers: the half-past dead, unknowing stand-ins for what’s ahead.  While waiting for the Four Winds to carry me away, I’m wondering — what’s the weight of a human soul?
Mia ~ coppercranes.wordpress.com
Image ~ Historias Visuales
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Beautiful Things
ft. Van Gogh and Allen Ginsberg

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tumblr_nzeuu1fqvu1u9ncb3o1_500

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I long to make beautiful things.
To roll French r’s as I cut
Through my French toast and
French kiss my French fries.
To scratch the walls of an elevator
With bare fingernails
Then paint them blue
Like the August sky like the Atlantic.
Flying or drowning or both.
To take in a starry night
With starry stars swirling
In circles splattered all over
The canvas while Vincent,
Who longed to make beautiful things,
Chopped off his ear and
Possibly probably supposedly
Hoped it would grow back
Like a lizard tail. I long
So much to make beautiful things
But Allen Ginsberg
In a supermarket in California
Didn’t understand what he was doing
And he did
Beautiful things
Anyway.
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Benedetta P. Fabris ~ benedettafabris.wordpress.com

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WHY: Part II—Precious Fragments

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The first time I was completely vulnerable with a man, it changed my being.  Bringing it back now, I feel exactly the same as I did in that moment.  My breath is ragged and my chest is warm.  I have a sense of exhilaration that it happened, but also sadness that my moment with him has passed.   The most important part of it, though, was that I felt liberated.
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Whenever I go back and read the poems I wrote for my college thesis, I am so impressed at how much raw emotion I allowed to spill onto the pages.  I wasn’t scared of making someone uncomfortable with my words or that they would judge me.  I didn’t fear my teacher would read the lines and immediately fail me because I wasn’t Sylvia Plath at 22.  I just wrote anything and everything that was inside of me, and it was good stuff!
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I hear a song, 25 years later, and it reminds me of the times I danced in the summer darkness among the lightning bugs, and how I felt in the very heart of it.  I remember the feeling of being absolutely free, absolutely me, without a care in the world.  Granted, I was 10 years old at the time and wasn’t concerned with having a 401k or what I would be when I grew up, but so often, even as children, we burden ourselves with too many thoughts.  You know that blonde chick that everyone makes fun of because she’s empty-headed?  Sometimes, I envy her.  Sometimes it is essential to let go of our thoughts and just feel.
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One thing my belly dance teacher always reminds me to do is to let my emotion out while I’m dancing.  Claudia says that a dancer can have the most technically precise moves and the most beautiful costume, but without tarab, there can be no complete dance. Tarab has no exact English definition, but the closest I can come up with is “a shared experience of musical ecstasy.”  Or “When reaching the epic moment of a feeling derived from hearing music, whether it instrumental or voice or both together expressing either joy, pain sorrow or any other intense emotion.” (Written by Mohamed Shahin and Hanna St. John) This, to me, is exactly what it means to show one’s inner truth.
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I have a friend who comments that his son lives fully in the moment, every minute of every day.  His face lights up when he talks about how happy it makes him to see his child in this way.  Wouldn’t it be great if we all lived in the moment like that?
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These days it’s much rarer for me to let go. Is it because I’m older, set in my ways?  It still happens occasionally if I’m dancing, if I am feeling particularly brave, or if I’m in a foreign place and just don’t care what anyone thinks.  The most interesting times are when I’m wearing a costume or a wig;  I’ve noticed it gives me a mental get-out-of-jail-free card.  I wish I could let down this wall I have built with more regularity—I have the potential to free myself at any time.  Why don’t I? Why don’t any of us?
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I read a piece by Wayne Dyer before Christmas about making peace with relatives during the holidays.  It struck me that, regardless of the focus on relatives, it turned out to be entirely fitting for this post.
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The conflict seems too often to be a choice between being authentic, which means no peace with certain relatives, or having peace at the price of being inauthentic.  Being peaceful and authentic can define your relationship with your relatives. First, though, you may have to assess your relationship with the closest relative of all—you.
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Can I be extra real with you guys for a minute? Extra-extra real? It seems like, in the past, when I’ve taken those chances and displayed my authentically weird-silly-petrified-confident-lost-found-Quakerific-dancing fool-giggly-imperfect self, I haven’t gotten the results that I’ve wanted.  And it crushed me.  So I sit, and I reflect on Dr. Dyer’s words, and I wonder, can I be brave again? Is it worth it?  I think we all know that the answer is, unequivocally, YES.  In our minds we know it, in our hearts we hold it. The answer will always be yes.
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In the light of the coming New Year, let’s carry on the tradition of challenging ourselves to be better, to improve something about our lives and to make peace with our authentic selves—whoever that turns out to be.  You could make a list, like I did last year, or just hold the intention in your heart.  Either way, I dare you to love and express the true YOU in 2015!  If you’d like, please share one thing you intend on doing in the New Year that will create a more genuine you.
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Becky Swank ~ thiscuriousuniverse.wordpress.com/Linkedin/Twitter/Instagram
Image ~ Rafa Machado Photography

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writing-is-a-job-a-talent-but-its-also-the-place-to-go-in-your-head-it-is-the-imaginary-friend-you-drink-your-tea-with-in-the-afternoon-ann-patchettjpg

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Alabaster Sylvia

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Writer's Block by Seraphina-Song
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a life of white aprons
& doctor’s bills
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you, a lonely neon light,
bright as the head of a tulip
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sad-faced, broken-down
rust-embracing soul
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feebly moving fingers
on ribboned typewriter
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the sad tictacking
of gloomy poesy
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fat words strung
in perfect meter
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wheezing threats,
in a shrill gaiety
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my lovely, my Sylvia
walk out of that door
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run, run into the sun
in that melancholy apron
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faintly smelling of yesterday’s
cigarettes & anesthesia
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look above
the smiling octopus
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rays, waving like tentacles
caressing your brain
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touch it, touch it with
jagged edge of certainty
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speak out, scream
till voice becomes blood
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one day, someone will take
your pain & make it
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an alabaster statue
of modernity
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Bibek Adhikari ~ writingtilltheend.wordpress.com/Twitter
ImageSeraphina-Song

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Welcome To The Liar’s Ball
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running thoughts by geissa
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For a second the curtains fall,
all is dark in the cafe, yet
the spotlight
is on.
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Loneliness replaces being alone.
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Bodies glide in perpetual motion,
faces smile, faces gaze,
faces lie; hiding
emotion,
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unsuccessfully to the keen eye.
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Welcome to the liar’s ball,
I hope your stay is
enjoyable.
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Here, the best vision is blurred.
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Excuse me, while I drink
enough to make
this
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anywhere
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that is
arguably nearest to pleasurable.
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While I numb my brain I can only
hope at some time the right
music will play.
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M.A. Tempels ~ definegodliness.tumblr.com
Image ~ geissa

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Convenient Dan

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The Fool by MarkWilkinson

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Convenient Dan
is the King of Fools
because he knows the rules
and will be obedient
if it’s convenient.
But if obedience
is not a convenience
then Dan
becomes a man
with a different plan
and banks on the charm of his smile
to gain forgiveness while
he breaks the rules with flair and style.
His motto seems to be,
“If a rule is stupid or silly
I won’t let it stop me.”
The King of Fools
likes to write his own rules.
Beware of Convenient Dan!
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ck ~ ck-sdays.com
Image ~ MarkWilkinson

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A Moment To Last A Lifetime
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Daffodils by zestkitten
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Attempting to capture a moment fleeting
is somewhat similar to trying to describe
the very nature and essence of daffodils
within a simple children’s nursery rhyme
perhaps time cannot will not ever be held
yet if there is a moment to last a lifetime
in spite of everything that has been lost
finding you I have finally discovered mine
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Mike Frawley ~ mikefrawley.tumblr.com/dontcryitsonlymike.tumblr.com
Image ~ zestkitten

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¿Do You Want Horror?

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you are late to mid-
40s & you wake up
each morning in some
kind of reverse
groundhog day
where you can’t recall
& you can’t atone for
yesterday’s fuckups
your voice is clear
in your mind but
to others is a series
of gargled groans & grunts
you are in danger
of choking on your own
saliva & your body
can’t stop producing spit
strangers undress you
& for a while the urine smell
recedes into childhood
you notice the peg
sticking from your gut
& the stranger says –
with a mirthless smile
indicating she’s had enough
of your shit already –-
that it is there in case
you decide against eating
which of course is crazy
because you are so damn hungry
you need help to piss
in the mirror you see
a hollow face you don’t recognize
the stranger puts you in
someone else’s clothes
then in bed before turning up
the tv to unfathomable volume
you remember your extremities
hurt like madness you recall
fear is a roommate hiding
your clothes is a woman
named temperance puts
your liver on a plate is
a doctor sleeping in his bed
you remember every possibility
because failure has fingers
with needle nails pulling
off the wings of your brain
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bluemonkwrites.tumblr.com
Image ~ Peterio

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2385557_Lady_Lazarus-Sylvia_Plath

 

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Lady Lazarus
Image ~ Lady Lazarus, Sylvia Plath (Aleksej Daniel Djermanovic)

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11653493314_01e8d15618_bsvGrateful thanks to Anne Highfield for the striking photoart cover
Please do check out her (Flickr) page to see more of her beautiful creative work
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Issue Thirteen Writing Prompt

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If you have been inspired by this writing prompt to write poetry, a short story, or a spoken word recording on your website, writers page or social media, please give a clear indication at the end of your work it has been inspired by this prompt, accompanied by the url of issue twelve, then send me the url link of your post (by 12th March) through the submissions page.  In issue fourteen I will list the individual links in this section to all the creative work inspired by this prompt.

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If you’d like your poetry, spoken word, short story or essay included in a future issue, please see SubmissionsThe next issue will be published in March.

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26 comments on “The Writing Garden ~ Issue Thirteen

  1. these issues are so much more than just collections – threaded with your fine reader’s eye, Suzy … ‘how did she see this’, each word emphasiseable across five repetitions in turn

  2. Another fascinating and eclectic mix of poetry, prose and imagery, Suzy. Always interesting to read and get a fell of ‘new’ writers. Great to see a piece from the very talented Mark Renney too. Many thanks. Hope you are keeping well.

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