Saturday, June 27, 2015

21 Zs for Lisa: Omen Hunting at Yo El Rey Roasting

Photo by Robyn Beattie
Detail, Marvin Lipofsky mold blown glass
Today’s poem is for Lisa Rizzo. I challenged her to write me a poem using the letter z. Read her response, “Firenze Poem.” Here’s mine. Please add your “z” poem in comments…bring on your “z”…

Omen Hunting at Yo El Rey Roasting
                                    For Lisa Rizzo

Tart brine of a dozen fresh ground coffees
cuts Calistoga’s fog. We sit at salvaged gate
turned table, its slats varnished red and inset

with maze of silver zero rims of a typewriter’s
harvested keys minus striker arms and metal
host. A stanza eleven lines thick zigzags counter’s

horizontal face on a full-length chalkboard we quell
the urge to erase, revise. Lazy regulars stand
obscuring all but opening phrase, Wanted

to work on the poem... straight from some Writers’
Workshop post-reading party. I’m thinking of Hafiz:
“Fear is the cheapest room in the house.” At my elbow,

the letter “z,” and next to it, alongside all my reasons
for not writing today, the “Shift Key.” Surely
I’ll walk out of here with my one “z” name--

my two “z” friend Rizzo with hers--changed,
grey zipped to the sky, all former griefs
unswathed from gazebo of memory like Isadora

Duncan’s silk scarf unspooling from axle, neck,
body moving in reverse back to morning’s dreams,
azalea dye pooling in our upraised palms, long may she

sleep past noon. Here, neither czarinas of dance
nor Jezebels, we remain profoundly ourselves.
Our reflections in a storefront layer a painting

of a scarlet stallion running diagonal as a mirage
or a zither, a hundred violet mares on verge
of bursting past his blazing mane to reach zenith first.

Last line of stanza 4 is from the poem, Your Mother and My Mother, "The Gift," by Hafiz, tr. Daniel Ladinsky.

Photo by Robyn Beattie
Related Poetry News:

I will be reading from November Butterfly in Santa Fe with poets Barbara Rockman and Robyn Hunt on Sunday, August 9 at 2:00 p.m. at Garcia Books, 376 Garcia Street, Santa Fe.

I will also be attending A Room of Her Own Foundation’s 2015 August Retreat as the Marg Chandler Fellow. In addition to teaching a studio hour, I will be offering poetry feedback in conjunction with Tarot Readings (Tarot as Poet’s Mirror). I will blog more about Tarot Poetry consults shortly. They are tremendously fun and I love generating poetry prompts based on the cards specific to the poet's project.

Photos are by my poetry movie collaborator Robyn Beattie with the exception of the "Shift Key." The photo at the top of the post is a detail from a larger work by Marvin Lipofsky and is mold blown glass, cut, sandblasted, acid etched.

And do add your "z", "shift", or "coffee shop" poem to comments if you wish.

Link to post with original "z" poem invitation: June Gloom and the Letter Z

Friday, June 19, 2015

June Gloom and the Letter Z: Poetry Tour of the Forms Class

Stop looking for God in the sky; let’s find him on Earth. On the Tower Arcanum, from The Way of Tarot: The Spiritual Teacher in the Cards, Alejandro Jodorowsky with Marianne Costa

To counter the overcast “June Gloom” we wake to in summer on Coronado Island, here’s a red table from a darling coffee shop, Yo El Rey Roasting, that I visited in Calistoga this winter. I love the embedded typewriter keys in the table and the fact that the coffee shop doubles as an art gallery/literary venue. In the window was a copy of Michelle Wing’s Body on the Wall, and all across the base of the front counter, a chalkboard covered in words…words…words…

In the early morning February fog, I sipped coffee with my poet friend Lisa Rizzo, our writing notebooks closed in front of us. Often separated by miles, we agreed we could just revel in one another’s company and save the morning writing for another time. 

Photo by Robyn Beattie
Today finds Lisa writing in a blue-tiled room in Sorrento and Naples, blogging and posting photographs at Poet Teacher Seeks World. I’m raising my home brewed coffee to you Lisa, and to the letter “Z.” Write me a poem from Sorrento using the letter “z”, and I’ll write you one from here!

In celebration of fogginess, or at least its’ enchanting pewter hue, here’s a photo of a bull nestled in my wedding veil by my poetry movie collaborator Robyn Beattie. 

The moment I saw the bull I wanted to write a fairytale for him. But it’s been done: I’m thinking of "The Brown Bull of Norrowa," starring a princess (tossing her three glass balls into the sky) and a snorting bull (uprooter of trees); I first found the tale in The Tapestry Room, A Child's Romance by Mrs. Mary Louisa Molesworth (1839-1921) and illustrated by Walter Crane (1845-1915); published London: Macmillan and Co., 1893. 

There’s a night ride for which the princess is a willing captive on the back of the bull and a lonely Tower toward which they ride that houses riddle of bull’s past. 

Illustration by Walter Crane
Here’s an illustration by Walter Crane from my pale blue volume (all the way from England, gift from my Aunt) which sits on the top shelf of my roll top desk. I’m living with the bull…listening…he’s in the dreamfield…making his way towards inevitable poem or tale or translation.

The Tarot Tower

In synchronicity, for the Wheel of Archetypal Selves Tarot class I’m teaching, we are in Tower week, living our way to an understanding of the Tower card. For me that means writing some Haiku, blogging at Tarot for Two with Mary, and comparing Deck interpretations as I did earlier this month with the Temperance card. I love this line by Eden Grey from A Complete Guide to the Tarot: As we learn to transfer the Life force from the imagination (moon) to the activity of the conscious (sun), the will is developed and the imagination purified so that in pouring from the silver cup to the golden one we lose nothing. You’ll remember that this card features a guardian angel dipping her toe into a river, two cups in her hands between which stream an elixer. I began to think of the cups as the hearts of two lovers, the elixer a form of love:
Illustration by Walter Crane

Angel wields two cups
Ash blue elixer between
My chalice: my heart.

Lover then, you form
The second cup, Art’s angel
Brutal, winged, firm, kind.

Cupless my two hands—
All I’ve done or craved blessed by
Silver mobius.

Guardian witness.
Seer, keeper of secrets
My turn to translate.

Poetry Play: A Tour of the Forms

If you are looking for the kinship of writing and translating your experiences in poetry with others, join me for six weeks of sheer poetry play. We will try our hand at haiku, haibun, sonnets, sestinas, and more in person at San Diego Writers, Ink, located in what I think of as one of San Diego’s best kept “secret gardens” of art and chocolate…during Poetry Play: A Tour of the Forms we will be writing upstairs around the corner from Chi Chocolat and Con Pane Rustic Breads and CafĂ© and all manner of art studios and shops (including Moment Bicycles sure to please triathletes like my husband). Poetry class runs from six Thursdays starting already this coming Thursday, June 25 ($180 SDWI members, $216 non-members). We meet from 10-12 noon in Inspirations Gallery in Liberty Station. Sign up here: Poetry Play: A Tour of the Forms; for further links and a full description, visit my website.

Story Circle Network Reviews November Butterfly

My gratitude goes to Susan Schoch at Story Circle Network for this latest review of my poetry collection November Butterfly:

If there is truth to Pryputniewicz's voice, and I believe there is, it is in her search for the beauty to be found in dark places. Certainly her title poem reflects that, as she takes "...a butterfly with a frayed / wing pinned living / to the windshield" and makes the gesture of liberating that wounded yet vibrant creature. It is a liberation of all our wounded selves and our sorrows.--Susan Schoch

To read other reviews and for information about how to order November Butterfly visit my website