The Way of Beauty

“You can put yourself in the way of beauty.”

“This has the power to fill you up again, if you’ll let it.”

“My life -like all lives- mysterious, irrevocable and sacred, so very close, so very present, so very belonging to me. How wild it was, to let it be.”

Wild by Cheryl Strayed

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The Creek – Mohawk Park, Tulsa, OK – taken with Galaxy Note 4

I am fortunate to be in a new, long-term, romantic relationship with a fearless, beautiful, loving, polyamorous woman, who calls me her Mond (the German word for Moon.) I call her my Wolf. On one of our first dates, my she-Wolf and I watched the movie, Wild, with Reese Witherspoon in the lead role. Throughout her excellent performance, I was struck by the courage of Cheryl Strayed, who set out to conquer the Pacific Crest Trail, and succeeded, then wrote her memoirs about the life-changing experience of finding herself, and the woman her mother knew she could be.

I was also touched by the several literary references, the quotes of poetry, and the quotable passages from Cheryl’s book, Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail. It has now found it’s home on my ‘books to-be-read’ list. Watching the movie planted a seed in me. It made me ache to push and challenge myself in a new way. By the time it was finished, I was determined to find opportunities to ‘put myself in the way of beauty’.

I have, for too many years, been the girl who let her physical limitations get the best of her. I’ve been out of shape for a long time, and haven’t chosen to do much about it. I have been convinced that I couldn’t, and shouldn’t risk it, when it came to intense physical activity, and though I know that intensity is relative, what I previously considered too risky, and a bad idea, really isn’t. I’m learning I was wrong.

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My Favorite Bridge – Mohawk Park, Tulsa, OK – taken with Galaxy Note 4

The past several weeks have been both wonderful, and deeply stressful, and that is nothing new. I’ve chosen a complex, crowded, polyamorous life, with a house full of my three adult children, a son-in-law, two grandsons, my husband, three pets, multiple polyamorous lovers and metamours, and often more people than beds or chairs in which to sit– and with it comes all the agony and ecstasy one person can hold.

I wouldn’t trade my life for the entire world.

The thing you should know about my she-Wolf is that she is strong, and fierce, and physical! She’s a master welder, a hiker, a runner, a primal, dominant woman who is most at home in the woods. Our very first date, we spent sitting on a huge bolder overlooking a ravine, and we talked about everything under the sun, as it set behind the trees. Even that evening, she challenged me to face my fear of heights, and trust her to keep me safe.

Her quiet strength has been something I needed before I ever knew I would. She came along and made a place in my heart and life, just in time to offer me a very different kind of strength from any other I know, which is remarkable, because I have several amazing, rewarding, romantic relationships with incredibly strong, smart people. I spent some time on the phone this morning with my she-Wolf’s wife — an equally beautiful, strong, intelligent woman, and we both agree — we are stronger, empowered beside her. She brings out belief in ourselves, and that is an incredible thing to discover next to someone so very generous and strong.

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Mirrored Trees – Mohawk Park, Tulsa, OK – taken with Galaxy Note 4

My she-Wolf pulls strength from me; she challenges me to be better, to try harder, and to attempt new things I wouldn’t have tried six months ago. In the past few weeks, because of her, I’ve found my feet climbing over stones and boulders, stepping around sleeping snakes and poison ivy, standing on remote, rocky paths through thick underbrush and magnificent trees — chasing sunlight, chasing shadows, chasing peace.

I’ve often sat listening in the woods — where the nearest human being was well out of sight and earshot. No doubt there were birds, snakes, beavers, mice, deer, badgers and a host of other animals much nearer than any person who might be able to hear my voice. I have found, as I stood or sat in this wilderness, I am mostly listening to myself. I have been pushing myself farther down the trail, deeper into the forest, stretching my sore muscles, and I’ve kept going when before, I might have given up and turned back.

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My Feet on the Path – Mohawk Park, Tulsa, OK – taken with Galaxy Note 4

It’s an amazing feeling to step off of the well-traveled road, and onto the rocky path through the trees like Robert Frost. It feeds my spirit to see such beauty — the sinking sun setting the the trees on fire, the stillness of a creek so placid that it mirrors the sky, the rocks that look like the back of some great dragon beneath the earth, and even the leaf-strewn dirt beneath my feet. It feels incredibly satisfying to challenge and push myself this way — and it is partly inspired by the way she looks at me, the way with all her strength and beauty, she believes in me.  She makes me want to be a better version of myself, to be the stronger, brighter light she sees in me. I am different, because of who she is when she’s with me, who she is with everyone I’ve had the privilege to see and know, and that is the most incredible gift.

I am changing. As I mentioned, the days of my life are filled lately with turmoil. My family is fighting for one of our own, as she battles against insidious mental illness. There are days when I feel powerful and determined. There are also days when I am not sure how much more I can take. But I usually find strength I didn’t know I had. I love fiercely, and am well aware that the love I’m given strengthens me for the days ahead. I purposely step into the woods, once or twice a week, just to replenish the well of reserve that we, as a family, so desperately need.

I put myself in the way of beauty, and I find it… in the trees, and on the path, in the eyes of my She-Wolf, and in other lovers who are amazing in my world. I count my blessings, and I draw from the gifts I hold in my open hands. My life is changed, and I hope every day that the people I love, find beauty and strength in me — as I do in them.

Joy Lessons from a Child

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When you are four it is
noteworthy to own a key that
might open a magic door.

All maps should have wheels,
and discovering a car in
Your pocket is a surprise!

When you are four and you find
a penny in the carpet, it’s good to
share it with someone you love.

Having a puppy on your shirt
is the very best kind of funny,
and hugs are better with growls.

Orbit

passing (2)

We are two celestial bodies — like ships —
weighed down with stars in a vast galaxy,
bursting at the seams with a cargo
of explosive, universe-creating energy.

Yet we cannot connect long enough,
to make exchange, to offload our cargo.
We pass each other –sailing in circles,
and occasionally our shadows kiss.

Our respective holds strain, and shift,
inner-voices — sailors to man rigging,
and mend sails — they grow tired
of these circling, endless journeys.

They are tired — I — am tired,
of seeing your smile from afar,
feeling the wake of your orbit,
and yet not casting out a rope.

I long to haul you in, to pull myself
into you. but you pass so quickly,
the briefest glimpse is shadowed
in darkness. So, I busy myself —

I check my charts, devise clever signals
to launch into the sky. Your response is
always, “Soon…” as bewildered by weather,
star charts, and creaking ships as I.

To Tie the Moon (a chance operation poem)

ropemoon

Women who tied
the moon, wrap it’s heart
strings, lows.
We dance, have
you again.

You rare body, to father,
belongs — but sorrow
on a shawl. Keep you
to you now.
It is a book of poems,
worked from your stay.

You loved man — absinthe,
poison and god.
Sweeten you — to
have your heart
to yourself like a diary.

Like ocean.

—–

POETIC FORM: A Chance Operation Poem

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PROMPT:

SpacedOut

 

To earn the “Spaced Out” badge, start with two dice and your source text. You’ll want to work with a smaller section of the text for this one. For each line in the text, roll the dice. Erase or remove the word in that line that corresponds with the number that comes up (i.e., if you roll an eight, erase the eighth word in that line). Continue to work through the text, re-rolling the dice for each line, until you’ve reached the end of your source text solution. Repeat this process, rolling the dice and removing additional words from each line, until you arrive at your poem. Experiment with space, illustration or other visual presentation to engage with the relative silence created. Post your poem to the site, accompanied by a source text citation.
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PoMoSco (Poetry Month Scouts)
Found Poetry Review’s 2015 National Poetry Month Project

– April 2015 – 213 poets joined together as a troop to earn digital merit badges for completing experimental and found poetry prompts.
– Prompts are divided into five categories – remixing, erasure, out and about, conceptual and chance operation.
– Each category offers six distinct badges to be earned.
– Poets choose their own source text.
– For more information, check out pomosco.com.

A dear friend and fabulous poet, Von Thompson,  is a participant. When she told me about the challenge, I decided to play along at home.

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SOURCE:

 

When You Feel Stuck (a chance operation poem)

stuck-in-mud

this change waited
feeling responsibility
feeling quicksand
stuck

waited forever felt
the pull possible
nothing
stuck

within the need born
destiny here, while
conditions procrastinate
stuck

what fixed future —
we feeling spiritual
feeling truly
stuck

wept change
when someone
felt nothing
you stuck

that feeling — change
with response
overwhelming responsibility
it stuck

whatever the changing
reality
(circumstances forever
feeling pull)
encounters you

when they change
with nearly nothing
surprisingly —
yourself

—–

POETIC FORM: A Chance Operation Poem

—–

PROMPT:

 

 

SpellingBee

 

To earn the “Spelling B” badge, you’ll need your source text and a “seed” phrase, Your seed phrase is a sentence or fragment that contains at least 20 characters and which can be related or not to your source. For instance, if your source text is a book on baseball, you might choose “Take me out to the ballgame” as your seed phrase. If your source text is on the Beatles, you might choose, “I Want to Hold Your Hand.” Visit the Diastic Poem Generator at http://www.languageisavirus.com/diastic-poem-generator.html. Enter your seed phrase and source text in the corresponding boxes, then click “Generate.” The program will create a “spell-through” of your text. Using the “take me out to the ballgame” example, the program will search through your text for the first word that has T in the first position (it might be a word like “the,” “travel,” or “true”) and add it to your word list. Next, it searches for a word that has “a” in the second position (e.g. “cap,” “batboy,” “game”), and so on, until it reaches the end of your seed text. Add the results to your word bank, and keep clicking “Generate” to add additional iterations. For a more experimental text, keep the resulting text intact. Otherwise, remove text to create your poem — but try to keep the words in order. Post your poem to the site, along with citations for your source text and seed phrase.

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PoMoSco (Poetry Month Scouts)
Found Poetry Review’s 2015 National Poetry Month Project

– April 2015 – 213 poets joined together as a troop to earn digital merit badges for completing experimental and found poetry prompts.
– Prompts are divided into five categories – remixing, erasure, out and about, conceptual and chance operation.
– Each category offers six distinct badges to be earned.
– Poets choose their own source text.
– For more information, check out pomosco.com.

A dear friend and fabulous poet, Von Thompson,  is a participant. When she told me about the challenge, I decided to play along at home.

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SOURCE: 10 Powerful Quotes to Read When We’re Feeling Stuck by Becky Volimer on Elephant Journal
SEED PHRASE: “When We’re Feeling Stuck”

Daughter (a chance operation poem)

motherdaughter

My compassionate daughter:
while tonight we feel this pain,
we touch today in affection.
We feel wanted, in pragmatism.

My empath daughter:
In partnerships, remove even this.
Be this affection, However we feel.
Today, we wanted them, too.
Tonight, even we feel lives.

—–

POETIC FORM: A Chance Operation Poem

—–

PROMPT:

RollTheDice

To earn the “Roll the Dice” badge, start with multiple dice and your source text. You can use regular six-sided dice, or ones with more sides (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dice#Non-cubic). Assign each line on your source text page a number — you can work consecutively (first line = 1, second line = 2), in reverse order (last line = 1, etc) or in any order you choose. Roll the dice — whatever line corresponds to the number that came up gets added to your word bank. Continue rolling the dice until you have a big enough word bank to craft a poem. For an extra challenge, retain the full original lines in your finished piece. Post your completed poem to the site, accompanied by your source text citation.
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PoMoSco (Poetry Month Scouts)
Found Poetry Review’s 2015 National Poetry Month Project

– April 2015 – 213 poets joined together as a troop to earn digital merit badges for completing experimental and found poetry prompts.
– Prompts are divided into five categories – remixing, erasure, out and about, conceptual and chance operation.
– Each category offers six distinct badges to be earned.
– Poets choose their own source text.
– For more information, check out pomosco.com.

A dear friend and fabulous poet, Von Thompson, is a participant. When she told me about the challenge, I decided to play along at home.

—–

SOURCE:

How to Love and Empath by Rebecca Lammersen on Elephant Journal

http://www.elephantjournal.com/2014/01/how-to-love-an-empath/

WORD LIST:

my, even, I, to, or, today, this, pain, daughter, compassionate, we, however, remove, touch, them, while, and, feel, pragmatism, too, tonight, in, wanted, empath, partnerships, feels, I, be, affection, if, lives

You’re the Only North (a conceptual poem)

couplefight

Call back time, Let felicity fly.
Blanket the bed, and kiss goodbye.

I was terribly lost, crossed and dark.
You’re the only north I would follow.

Fight back, bring on the break,
and blow to bits.

Dear, I was terribly crossed and dark.
But you’re the north I follow this far.

Keep an eye on hope,
Lest I blink and get nothing to say.

‘Cause you’re the blinding light
the saving grace of the saving grace.

God, I was lost and dark, dear.
You’re only this far… I would follow.

—–

POETIC FORM: A Conceptual Poem

—–

PROMPT:

BestLaidPlan

To earn the “Best Laid Plan” badge, approach a text with a plan to remove something. Think beyond just a single word and instead consider removing references to a subject or emotion, actions taken by certain characters, colors, etc. Whatever you choose, apply your approach and, keeping as much of the remaining text intact as possible, create your poem from results. Post your poem to the site, include a citation for your source text, as well as a note on your approach.

—–

PoMoSco (Poetry Month Scouts)
Found Poetry Review’s 2015 National Poetry Month Project

– April 2015 – 213 poets joined together as a troop to earn digital merit badges for completing experimental and found poetry prompts.
– Prompts are divided into five categories – remixing, erasure, out and about, conceptual and chance operation.
– Each category offers six distinct badges to be earned.
– Poets choose their own source text.
– For more information, check out pomosco.com.

A dear friend and fabulous poet, Von Thompson, is a participant. When she told me about the challenge, I decided to play along at home.

—–

SOURCE: “Galaxies” by Owl City
(www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/owlcity/galaxies.html)

Time Out (a conceptual poem)

cornertime (2)

 

if our lives have been a whirlwind
if we had the best of intentions
if our heads and hearts did finally match up
if we were finally in a place
(where we didn’t need to convince ourselves)
if we were able to just let go
if our decisions make sense or not
if we all simply received a time out

now
now it’s crucial for us to sit
now take a deep breath
now about time-lines or about keeping pace
now we are making the right choice
now exactly what we want and need
now is the time when it all comes together

—–

POETIC FORM: A Conceptual Poem

—–

PROMPT:

XY

 

To earn the “X:Y” badge, choose a syntactical relationship between words within a given text — look for patterns in how words are joined by punctuation or conjunctions, or how sentences are structured. Examples of syntactical relationships: “wine and cheese,” “man and wife,” “fear and loathing”, “this or that,” “him or me,” “wine or beer”, “The stove was hot.” “The room was silent.” “The table was dusty.”
“the wind blowing,” “the birds chirping,” “the mower whirring”, Choose a syntactical pattern, and go through your source text, making a list of all phrases and fragments that fit the pattern. Create a poem from your list. Example: Seth Abramson’s “Wii” (BOAAT): http://www.boaatpress.com/seth-abramson#wii Post your poem on the site, along with a citation of your source text.

—–

PoMoSco (Poetry Month Scouts)
Found Poetry Review’s 2015 National Poetry Month Project

– April 2015 – 213 poets joined together as a troop to earn digital merit badges for completing experimental and found poetry prompts.
– Prompts are divided into five categories – remixing, erasure, out and about, conceptual and chance operation.
– Each category offers six distinct badges to be earned.
– Poets choose their own source text.
– For more information, check out pomosco.com.

A dear friend and fabulous poet, Von Thompson, is a participant. When she told me about the challenge, I decided to play along at home.

—–

SOURCE:

http://www.elephantjournal.com/2015/06/mercury-retrograde-is-over-now-what/

Confessions Without Faces (a conceptual poem)

wpid-rosary-in-hand-bw.jpg

 

I feel conflicted about the
name of my adult life so far.
No one but me knows… I can’t
bring myself to get out of my head.

Would you like to discuss grief?
It’s like trying to eat a sour rock
to alleviate inner pain. Almost
every day, around people, I hide.

Always, I am wearing my secret —
poetry dripping from my tongue,
making people want to kiss me.
like a peach from the fridge.

All the time knowing — time
must come first — at the moment,
you are able to see my body,
to drink of its passion.

I struggle with this wish — to feel
and not feel — old but comfortable,
a yellow t-shirt in a paper bag,
in a mental hospital, reading, reading.

There was all that time, it was most
important to be shown that you matter.
And I think about doing it again —
instead of being what you want.

Gray shades of writing, and wearing
a blue sweatshirt, you are gorgeous.
I tell you, I think about it every night,
the first time I tasted you.

Not forbidden for me, but not good
for me –I’m not sorry, I’m grateful
for the way you stay with me,
forever in the best odds and ends.

—–

POETIC FORM: A Conceptual Poem

—–

PROMPT:

SurveySays

To earn the “Survey Says!” badge, create a questionnaire about a given topic that contains between 5-10 free response questions. Ask your family members, friends, or even complete strangers to complete the survey. Use their responses to compose a poem, and post it on the site. In your citation, list the questions you asked in your questionnaire.

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PoMoSco (Poetry Month Scouts)
Found Poetry Review’s 2015 National Poetry Month Project

– April 2015 – 213 poets joined together as a troop to earn digital merit badges for completing experimental and found poetry prompts.
– Prompts are divided into five categories – remixing, erasure, out and about, conceptual and chance operation.
– Each category offers six distinct badges to be earned.
– Poets choose their own source text.
– For more information, check out pomosco.com.

A dear friend and fabulous poet, Von Thompson,  is a participant. When she told me about the challenge, I decided to play along at home.

—–

SOURCE:

Word List:
2 50 a able about absolutely accidentally actually Adidas adult again all alleviate almost also always am an and another Arby’s are around art as ask assortment at ate baby back bacon bag band batch be beans being belly berry best better birthday black blouse blue body books boring both bought bread bring Bronte brothers brown brussel-sprouts burger but by can’t care cargo carrots cat cats cheese chips cider clothes color come comfortable companies company conflicted consists contains cookie cookies coping could crafting crush cuddle currently curtains cut cut-off cutter cutting damn dark date dates day definitely discuss dish disliked do doing don’t Dr Pepper drink dripping easily eat eggplant eggs ends equally etc. ever every express falling fan far favorite feel felt fiancé filter first flip-flops food for forbidden forever fresh fridge friend friendship from frozen fruit fruits get gluten-free go good goopy gorgeous got grabbed grateful gravy gray grey grief gross had hair haircut happily hard hardest have he head hearts hehe help helping her hide highly him hospital house household how hugs hummus husband I I’m Ian if important in inner insecure instead instead into into is it it’s its jamma jean jeans just keeps Kei’s kid kiss know knowing knows last life like list loaf love lunch mac majority makes making married maternity matter may maybe me me meats Memmi men’s mental Mercedes Mexico middle milk mini mix moment more most motorcycle much muffin must my myself n name navy Nazi Nazis need new New Mexico newer night night-gown no not nothing now oatmeal odds of ok old on one only or or originally other our out overly-sweet overnight pad pain paint paints pair pans panties pants paper parm Parmesan partners parts passion peach people Pepper perhaps person picking pictures pilot pink pinstripe plus poetry politely polka-dot postcard price Prilosec primal punisher put question ranch reading really regular rest restaurant right ripen rock rollers roommate running sandwich say scotch Seamus secret see set severely sex shades shirt shopping shorts should shown since sisters slacks sleeve slew so soap social socks someone something somewhat sorry sour space Spam spanking specific spent started stay still store stress struggle style stylized sweat sweatshirt sweetener sweeter swimsuit t t-shirt t-shirt tank Taos taste tasted Te teenager tell Tess texture Thai that the them then there they thing things think this three-quarter time to together tongue too top tortillas trying turquoise undercooked unexpectedly up used usual vegetables veggies vintage vodka Von vw waffles want was water way we wearing weird well were wet what what’s whether whiskey white whole why will wish with work worker worth would writing yellow yogurt you your
Questions:
1. What was the last thing you ate and disliked?
2. What is the one question you wish someone would ask you right now?
3.  What are you wearing?
4. Tell me a secret?
5. What’s on your shopping list?

 

Ceremonial Cranes (an out-and-about poem)

crane

Ask Vitruvius about beauty,
and look at the exalted cranes–
common and blue, red and
mechanical–models of
mathematical mythology.
A thousand timeless folded,
flying roosting and rusty,
they are positioned for power–
craning necks to extend
an eternal inked invitation
to vigilance, a visit from
Hiroshima, a ceremonial
origami celebration that
square by square calls out,
“Be here. Be. Here.”
with gregarious vocabulary,
in Tulsa, Oklahoma or
welcome, wherever you are.

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POETIC FORM: An out-and-about Poem

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PROMPT:
OffTheShelf

To earn the “Off the Shelf” badge, head to your local library or bookstore, making a mental note of things you see on your journey there — you might, for instance, see construction taking place, drive by a used car dealership, pass a printing shop or spot a group of birds  in the trees. Make one of the things you saw your research topic for the day and find five books related to that topic in your library or bookstore’s stacks. Compose a poem using only the words and phrases  found on the first five pages of each text, excluding introductory matter. Make a note of your sources and include the citations along with your completed poem. ( I used websites, and only words from the main page in each case.)
—–

PoMoSco (Poetry Month Scouts)
Found Poetry Review’s 2015 National Poetry Month Project

– April 2015 – 213 poets joined together as a troop to earn digital merit badges for completing experimental and found poetry prompts.
– Prompts are divided into five categories – remixing, erasure, out and about, conceptual and chance operation.
– Each category offers six distinct badges to be earned.
– Poets choose their own source text.
– For more information, check out pomosco.com.

A dear friend and fabulous poet, Von Thompson,  is a participant. When she told me about the challenge, I decided to play along at home.

—–

SOURCES:

Topic – Cranes