One Poem. One Planet. April 6, 2017

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6.
We love Tomahawks,
said General McCaffey,
but they aren’t effective
if you’re trying to crater
an airstrip

while the news clip shows
a Tomahawk busting
down the sky
to get at it’s target

He went on: The Air Force
has some amazing weapons
for cratering an airstrip

But tonight we’re using Tomahawks–
on this first night of war
our generals speak of love.

–Arlitia Jones, April 6, 2017

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One Poem. One Planet. April 5, 2017

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5.
Though we have shattered our throats with rage
our words bounce like rocks against armored walls

when you call dead children
somebody else’s responsibility

nothing means anything
and we choke on babble

our mouths fill with disgust
revulsion, despair
and it means nothing

Then today, I found a new fear
holding up the palace of grief,

if they have already taken our outrage
what’s next but our wonder and awe

yesterday, turning from the wound of the world
for a moment I saw a lynx in the woods

pale as smoke padding across pocked snow.
She was gray and brown, let me bear witness,

her ears were tufted. Quiet awareness among the trees.
She was not tremendous. Or fantastic.

Nothing terrific about her, and she’s never said
really really nice things about anyone.

She was a surprise encounter
on painful day and I almost forgot to mention her.

–Arlitia Jones, April 5, 2017

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One Poem. One Planet. April 4, 2017

  
4. 

No gray spin today
only the whitened skin
of children sprawled in death

There are people whose job
it is to pull bodies from rubble

There are people whose job
it is to stand at the edges
of this place on earth
everything closed
their faces, hearts and fists,

the borders closed. No refuge.
People whose job it is
to improve and restock chemical weapons
went to work today.

–Arlitia Jones, April 4, 2017

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One Poem. One Planet. April 3, 2017

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3.
Fragment from a notebook

War answers our need
to kill other countries’ children

Extinguished flames
rise in white arrows

War is
our need to kill children

-Arlitia Jones
April 3, 2017

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One Poem. One Planet. April 2, 2017

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2.
When his nurse enters his room
he does not turn to her
but remains steadfast
as any dying man can be
witnessing a revelation
only he can see

“What has happened, Herr Kafka?”

when he does not answer
she re-smooths the fever
against his skull, bringing him back
to his tremors, to his bed
while beyond the window frame
something brilliant shatters
and drops silent as snow
out of a broken sky that reveals
nothing more than average weather
for the rest of his life.

Ulcerations in his throat
have consumed his speech
weeks prior and still the healthy
converse through their memories of him
avoiding the future

Something happened in this room

but the nurse does not catch on
and shuts the drapes so he will rest.

After he is dead, the last things to go,
scraps of paper on his bedside table
how he tried to tell them
the sentence in his own handwriting

There was a bird in the room.

-Arlitia Jones
April 2, 1017

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One Poem. One Planet. April 1, 2017

d7ead3400cfdacec44803e2baa164189April is National Poetry Month in this particular spot on the planet. This year, to celebrate, I’m embarking on a journey of my own writing and poeming and wondering. My goal this year is to write a month long cycle of poems, one leading into the next.

No destination in mind.

Nothing earth-shattering.

No isms.

My goal is simply to keep setting out each day for a month of witnessing life on this planet as I know it. A poem a day for the sheer joy of writing a poem a day. You’re welcome to read and comment, and perhaps you’ll join in with your own poem about your spot on this big blue complex marble.

So here it is, the first offering, a love poem to get us rolling:

 

1.
It’s spring again,
our time to comb the entirety
of earth’s green memory
for our first touch, the unfolding bud
of infatuation splitting the smooth bark
of our selves

look closer at the shape of my eye
the blue pathway surrounding
the dark well where you used to draw
the water of me
up and out

how weightless you were
that first time you pitched forward
tumbling through the red cave of my ear
the echo of your voice
marking the depths as you fell,
so many times you called my name
until it grew wings
and wings and wings
and flared and flew
up to the rafters and no coaxing
would bring it back down

Maybe that’s why I leave the window open
at night, or why you always close it
when you come to bed, and why I rise in the dark
to open it again after you’ve fallen asleep

 

 

 Tomorrow’s poem

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A YEAR IN YOGA PANTS

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My first rule of yoga pants: no boring black. 

.. or how one day I decided to change everything

The pants don’t make the yogi.

Or do they? Probably not, but yoga pants, in my perennially available opinion, are the best things on the planet.

Truthfully, I have no idea what makes a yogi. I’m new to the whole downward dog scene and still find all the sanskrit names for the positions bewildering. I have no idea what position my teachers have just called for the class to move into, something with a lot of musical syllables, meanwhile I’m on my mat making a split second decision between what is my left side and what is my right, usually getting it wrong–Twister without the dots. I’m hoping one day to really nail this down, which is left and which is right. It will be truly life changing.

This isn’t a how-to column about yoga. This isn’t a column, I don’t think. It’s an experiment. I’ve been wondering the past few weeks of how my life would change, if I spent a year in yoga pants. This is not about fashion, or rebelling against dress codes, or selling a brand or yoga studio memberships.

This is about answering the question: how would my life change, if I wore yoga pants for a year?

In the meantime, I practice left/right left/right and I wear yoga pants.

When I first started in the class, I could hardly move. My body felt like it was made out of peanut brittle. Child’s pose was challenging–that’s the one where you curl up and relax like a baby and just lay there. In theory.

I have stuck with it, though and after three months there are welcome changes in my body and in my life and a growing number of yoga pants in my closet.

This isn’t a how-to column about yoga. This isn’t a column, I don’t think. It’s an experiment. I’ve been wondering the past few weeks of how my life would change, if I spent a year in yoga pants. This is not about fashion, or rebelling against dress codes, or selling a brand or yoga studio memberships.

This is about answering the question: how would my life change, if I wore yoga pants for a year?

I already have a hypothesis: I’ll be a lot more comfortable. But what else?

It’s day 2 of 2017 and so far I’m cruising happy. I am comfortable and colorful in my bird of paradise yoga pants with the sky blue background. I look like I look, who cares, and I feel like I can accomplish anything I put my mind and body to, which is my real aim.

It could be that I’m really gonna miss a non-stretch waistband digging into my kidneys. It could be I’ll miss scratchy fabric with no give whatsoever. But I doubt it.

As I begin, here are some rules I will follow:

  • No boring black yoga pants. Give me color! Give me pattern! Give me daisy legs! (But not Daisy Duke legs.)
  • Yoga pants can be worn under dresses, tunics, sweaters, and can be tucked in boots as the mood calls for.
  • All yoga pants MUST BE CLEAN at the outset of every wearing. None of this digging through the dirty clothes for the least offensive pair.
  • Yoga pants are not an excuse to be slovenly. There are enough other things that cause me to be slovenly, I don’t need to blame the pants.
  • Yoga pants are considered yoga pants if they allow this movement:
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A variation of Uttanasana, I think, the high lunge pose. I chose this photo because her pants are red and she’s awesome!

You never know, during the course of the day when you will need to open those hip flexors and throw down a good deep lunge. In yoga pants, I will be ready.

In yoga pants, I will move freely. It’s also my hope that I will laugh, love, think, and fail freely.

Stay tuned. Or better yet, join me.

#yearinyogapants

 

Friday Night Writes–You In?

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The rain outside my window is a gift and a sign–it’s time to hunker down and write.

Friday Night Writes tonight. I have revisions to work on, certainly, but the great thing about Friday Night Writes is it allows space and time for the unlooked-for inspiration to pop in.

Here’s the drill. Get home from work tonight. Make yourself a pot of tea, grab a bikkie and a sit down and write. Write til your hand cramps. Write til you can’t hold your head up. Write til the dog completely gives up on you and goes to bed on her own. Write til your familiar walls fall away and you are on your own mountain watching the sun sink down behind a horizon you created.

Write. Write. Write.

You want to join me?

Happy writing.

aj

 

#fridaynightwrites

Friday Night Writes: TONIGHT!

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Here’s what you do: Write.

Here’s how long you do it: For as long as humanly possible, until the stars come out and then go away again.

Here’s what you write: Anything. Write anything. Write.

Here’s when it starts: Right after the day job. Get your ass home and write.

Good luck.

 

#fridaynightwrites

 

One Poem. One Planet. 2016

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Today is the last day of National Poetry Month here in the United States. Today also marks the last of my daily posts for my One Poem. One Planet. project. I’m going to miss it.

When I set out on April 1, 2016 to show that poetry has no national affiliations or borders, I had no idea what expect. Would anyone read these posts? Would I be able to find poets in all corners of the world, translated into English, because I am mono-lingual, sad to say?

The answer is a resounding YES!

I set out to explore the world by hopping from poem to poem around the globe, discovering poets I’d never heard of before, bumping into familiar poets and old favorites I as was so glad to revisit.

Below is a list of all the poems I found this year, listed by date, poet’s name and the country they come from–(In some cases, the country they were exiled from because poets are still dangerous in this day and age.)

I want to thank everyone who read and retweeted and liked and clicked. My first goal was to read more poetry from around the world. I realize now my secondary goal was to make some kind of connection–tenuous and electronic though it be–it is still a connection with people beyond my small local view.

I checked my stats, you know the part where it lists the countries that readers come from, and WOW!!! In addition to readers in the the United States this month, I had readers from 22 countries: Philippines, Serbia, Ghana, Italy, India, United Kingdom, Russia, European Union, Canada, Ukraine, Ireland, Egypt, Germany, Belgium, New Zealand, France, Netherlands, Turkey, Vietnam, Kenya, Australia and Taiwan.

I started #onepoemoneplanet to capture these postings. I encourage anyone who wants to use the hashtag and share the poems that speak to your life with the world. I will continue to do so as well, throughout the rest of the year. And I will be back next year for sure, with a whole new batch of poets from everywhere I can think of!

Happy Poetry Month!

One poem. One Planet.

 

This year’s poets:

April 1, 2016: Wislawa Szymborska (Poland)

April 2, 2016: Keorapetse Kgositsile (South Africa)

April 3, 2016: Anonymous,( Greenland)

April 4, 2016: Lorna Goodison (Jamaica)

April 5, 2016: Pablo Neruda (Chile)

April 6, 2016: Hiromi Ito (Japan)

April 7, 2016: Derek Walcott (Saint Lucia)

April 8, 2016: Mizra Asadullah Khan Ghalib (Persia)

April 9, 2016 Claribel Alegria (El Salvador)

April 10, 2016 Kim Kwangsop (North Korea)

April 11, 2016 Ahmed Fouad Negm (Egypt)

April 12, 2016 Mang Ke (China)

April 13, 2016 Marjorie Evasco (Philippines)

April 14, 2016 Armand Garnet Ruffo (Canada)

April 15, 2016 Katherine Ellis Barrett (Patagonia)

April 16, 2016 Rainer Maria Rilke (Austro-Hungarian Empire)

April 17, 2016 Gunnar Ekelof (Sweden)

April 18, 2016 Lucretuis (Rome) 99-55BC

April 19, 2016 Patrick Kavanagh (Ireland)

April 20, 2016 Anna Akhmatova (Russia)

April 21, 2016 Jorge Luis Borges (Argentina)

April 22, 2016 Cesar Vallejo (Peru)

April 23, 2016 Muriel Rukeyser (USA)

April 24, 2016 Janos Pilinszky (Hungary)

April 25, 2016 Federico Garcia Lorca (Spain)

April 26, 2016 Sherko Bekas (Iraq)

April 27, 2016 Robert Gray (Australia)

April 28, 2016 Ferreira Gullar (Brazil)

April 29, 2016 Taslima Nasrin (Bangladesh)

April 30, 2016 Circe Maia (Uruguay)

And one bonus poem for April 30, 2016 from me: The First Miracle of the Day 

 

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