My weekend went off its rails in a spectacular but mostly enjoyable way, and I blame movies: Friday night’s excursion to see Sita Sings the Blues was followed by a nice dinner, during which one of my companions confessed she had never tasted a sazerac before, which then resulted in cocktails, port, and whisky back at our house (and her eventually staying the night).
Then, on Saturday, I saw My Neighbor Totoro, and spent the rest of the day resisting the urge write futurefic about its characters and to splurge on plushie slippers.
I resorted to concentrating on a difficult section in one of my existing fics-in-progress to help get my brain back into gear, but then I got engrossed in what the characters weren’t managing to say to each other, and what was supposed to have been a 500-word write-it-out-and-fix-it-later pre-supper indulgence turned into most of my weekend wrangling with multiple variations of three lines of dialogue (because the second line turned out to be a darling that needed killin’, only I didn’t get around to admitting that until after supper tonight). For a fic in a rare fandom that maybe five people will read. I have the stupidest compulsions this side of the Cumberland.
All that said, the 541 words I came up with delight me: a major reason I write fanfic is because it pushes me to engage more deeply with canon, and I end up surprising myself with dialogue and plot twists that weren’t anywhere in my consciousness when I started the story in question. That’s true of poetry as well: my piece for yesterday’s Poetic Asides prompt, “interactions,” was originally going to be something about William Shakespeare and Michael Jordan — I’d parked in space #23 in the Belcourt lot when I went to see Totoro, so that got me thinking about soaring and mastery and how neither Renaissance dramas nor NBA games are solo efforts (Shakespeare’s birthday/deathday is April 23, and Jordan’s jersey number in Chicago was #23).
But is that what I ended up with? No….
Practicing Jump Shots With William Shakespeare
Considering that I’m near-sighted, with
next-to-zero hand-eye coordination,
we’re definitely not in heaven, but
considering how many commandments I’ve trashed
and how he probably didn’t love his wife enough,
we’re in awfully good shape for the damned, and it helps
that we don’t actually get to talk, what with chasing
the eight out of ten balls we don’t quite manage
to catch from the shadows on the sidelines, and
then more chasing after the nine out of ten
that miss the hoop. The bounce and clunk of the balls
supply a rhythm — DAH-dah, DAH-dah-dah,
dah, dah-DAH, dah-DAH-dah-dah-DAH —
I ought to turn into a song, and on
the other side of the paint, I can tell
Mr. Shakespeare’s shooting to miss
different parts of the backboard, so he can see
for himself which parts actually shake
and which remain mute and unmoved.
If this were a different playground, I’d ride
his ass about his rot about “ever-fixed marks”
but no one’s keeping score, and when he lobs
a beautiful iamb my way — dah-DAH —
I fling it straight through the hoop, all net.
# # #
As for Sunday’s prompt, “anger,” I was originally stumped — not for lack of things to say on the topic, but “things to say” isn’t the same as “things I’m ready to say,” never mind “things sayable in lyric form.” There’s a page in my planner across which I scrawled a couple dozen ideas during lunchtime. When I finally sat down to do more with the tulips, my working title was “Remains” — but halfway through my original second stanza, I changed the title to “Aftermath,” and then I went back to the top of the poem and rewrote every line I’d typed in so far. (Today’s word for the writing process is definitely Sisyphean.)
This morning, the tulips were fresh
in a florist’s vase: four were candy pink,
four were butter yellow,
four were milk white,
and one was licorice purple-black.
Now they are confetti on the driveway.
The glass has been swept up, but I cannot
repair how the water blurred the “3”
on your daughter’s hopscotch trail.
I have been making a point
of preparing meals
that will keep for several days.
Even so, after you both
left the table before dessert,
I had to count to ten
while I rinsed the dishes.
[N.b. Not an autobiographical poem, but with friends whose marriages are breaking up, the topic has not been far from my mind.]