Category Archives: Uncategorized

WriOursWhoMo – April Poems: Marci Calabretta Cancio-Bello’s “In the Animal Garden of My Body”

abstract graffiti, containing an eye and some red flowersIn the Animal Garden of My Body
Marci Calabretta Cancio-Bello

Ask me again how the story should go. How much the underbelly of my garden held to bring forth spring, how much hunger I had to devour to get the sweetness I wanted from it. Did this devouring frighten you? I frightened myself in how much I promised to tell you if you asked me again about the water the water the water. What errors I made calculating the downward trajectory of memory rattling loose in the inhale, sharp in the shoulder blades exhaling like wings or whales or swizzles of light. Ask me again what I offered as a sacrifice to the rooster crowing his betrayal of morning. Forgiveness, what a sharp blade I press my body hard against.

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WriOursWhoMo – April Poems: Robert Bly’s Things to Think

photo of a leaf and tendril spray painted on the sidewalk at the base of a pipeGood morning, good morning. It’s early morning in Boston, where it doesn’t really ever get dark – there’s always light from the nearby buildings, the cityscape. I’m not awake yet and I want my tea. My feet are chilly but it’s too warm in the radiator apartment for the wool socks I brought down with me. My car is on the street here – it’s strange for city life to begin to feel foreign. Across the street from me is an MIT frathouse, an old heritage building, probably once a single-family mansion now turned into dorm plus gathering space for the smartypantses of America. On the second floor, there’s a huge window shaped like a bishop’s hat, stained glass amid interlocking arches at the top, and through this I can see a faded oriental rug, dark wood floors, bright lights, a couple of benches. I can’t help wondering how many times that rug has been thrown up on, cried near, how many feet have pressed soles into its shortening naps. I can’t help wondering what that rug has seen.

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Things to Think
~Robert Bly

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WriOursWhoMo – April Poems: Sheila Nickerson’s Fairy Tale

graffiti image of a woman holding her hands over her chest; branches are growing out of her

Lisbon street art

 

 

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when we’re not ok

graffiti, two people holding balloons, talking to each otherGood morning, good morning. I was up again in the middle of the night last night, and didn’t get back to sleep until probably 2:30 or so. So when my alarm went off at 4 o’clock, my body laughed quietly, hit snooze, and proceeded to sleep for another hour.

The last several days, I take a dance class in the afternoon – which consists of me watching videos created months ago.  I’ve been dancing along to a video that the instructors put together in honor of breast cancer awareness, and in the mix are two songs about okness, it’s ok not to be ok, and another one, the name of which I don’t know, but which always makes me cry: the singer is telling a friend or maybe even me, her listener, that I’m going to be ok, that I just need to keep going, keep on. (I look it up: Keep on, it’s called.) This song has been making me cry – fortunately, this song comes during the cool down part of the workout, so I’m not weeping through burpees or grapevines or something.

Something in me is grieving, is feeling a big loss. I wonder if it’s something that I’ve held in my body since 2012, when I qut my day job in order to focus my attention only on the workshops and writing, and proceeded immediately to have a huge back spasm that almost immobilized me for a month or more. Though the big pain eventually wore off, I’ve had a lingering tightness in my piriformis  or sacroiliac joint (or something) that created some numbness down my leg and into my foot. Nothing too alarming, at least for me – I could move, I could walk and run and exercise and dance, and the more I moved, the more the numbness would let up. I just figured I needed to keep working, and eventually that little remaining tightness would release. It wasn’t exactly ok, but it was all right.

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reaching for joy

Berkeley graffiti -- red flowers on a yellow background, beneath the words "Be Courageous"

Good morning, good morning. It’s chilly here this morning, and I’m in my little
writing room with the candles lit the music very low, the dog curled up in her chair in a tight, small ball. We go walking a little in the yard under the misty moon. March is still winter in New England, but I have been finding some impossible signs of spring.

I had a very surprising experience yesterday – I felt wild joy. On Wednesday, after going for the first non-cone walk on the beach with Sophie after an operation to remove a little bit of her jaw (to remove a cancerous growth), I looked in the dry leaves and brown grass, made visible after all the snow melted over the weekend, and there, peeking up between branches and hay, were the tiny green shoots of crocus leaves. It seems altogether too early for this.

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when we let the bell ring

graffiti of the word "maybe: over a drawing of a little bird

(Content note: There’s some talk of sexual abuse in today’s piece. Just be easy with you, ok?)

Good morning, good morning. It’s chilly this morning, and there’re some scatters of overnight snow on the ground, but at least our 80 mph winds with the below-zero windchill have died down for the moment.

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writing into this new reality

Jen wearing a light-colored mask

My mom has been sewing masks for us. Here, I’m getting ready to go to the post office – I’m smiling under there, you just can’t see!

Hello hello hello –

Hey, I have a new book out! I’ll tell you more about it at the end of this post, ok?

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Hell hath no fury… (Night Hands now available!)

I am beyond delighted to share the news about a new e-publication with The Massachusetts Review’s Working Titles series! – Jen

Finish your book! Join us in Dive Deep

Stencil graffiti -- insert your life story hereHello writers & writers-to-be!

I hope the summer words are finding their way to the page through your fingers…

Just a reminder: Our third Dive Deep trimester begins in September. Read on for more details, and let me know if you can join us!

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Is it the same if everything’s different?

graffiti of the words "love your imagination" next to a woman holding an umbrella, apparently floating...

Good morning, good morning. It’s 5:30 and outside it’s windy and active — the birds are talking and the BART shines its whispery greeting beneath their song. it’s early, my eyes aren’t quite working yet.

In an hour, or less, actually, I’ll get in the shower and get ready to go to work. Many things have changed in the last couple of months. I let go of the workshop space in Oakland. I took a job at Book Passage and then I let that go, too. And I’ve gone back to a job at UCSF — yesterday I managed to read a complete novel during my commute (and then while waiting in line to get the photo for my id badge taken and then while waiting for the new employee training to start and then while on the shuttle from Laurel Heights to Parnassus and then again after I got home and before bed — there may not be nearly so much reading time today).

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