Saturday, April 23, 2011

On the Lam/Rant

On the Lam

The math police have found my poems
and tell me they do not add up.
Something is missing O not meaning,
we don’t read for meaning, just for obedience,
for the drumming of integers, 
the solid thumping of cadential boots
the singsong buzz of stinging stresses strung just so.
Unsequential imperfect necklaces must be 
snapped and broken
and the  beads of lapis words
that drop crushed underfoot.

I slink to my hidden den of vines,
wild witch dodging the hobnails
aimed at my pagan bastard's
face. All my life I've run 
from the dominion of zealotry.
There's only death for such as us
in the mind that closes around what it knows
and sees nothing else.
Here in words, there in ideas.

And what do I care if my iambs are lost lambs?
I hang my lines, my life, to fly a banner
not build your pillars of fault.

What matters is that the words stick
like a hooked seed in the fur
of  thought, barb themselves in
till they release in comprehension
shake loose, or rot.

The words are eggs not clockwork birds,
sitting on a mental wire in a robotic row. 
However scrambled, they invite a broodiness.
So I dip my finger in sour yogurt
and write graffiti on a white wall
where only the flies 
and the one who comes to clean
get close enough to see.

I come and go to whisper and sigh,
laugh not replicate. I've run from the shapers
since the day I dropped from my mother's womb, 
and it's my pure pleasure now
to flip them off, along with their droning coercion
to give, give, give
the asked for thing
the wanted word, demand for justification
and my own invalidation in a
graceful surrender, useless denial,
automatic agreement
and/or respectful silence.

I’m old and
done with that.
I'm on the lam, baby. 
And I've got 
one more silver dollar.

April 2011

Image courtesy Scientific American


  1. LOL. I find it hard to believe anyone would find fault with your work, but, I have seen the goblins, myself.

    Love this. : )

  2. Joy, anyone who faults your work is simply and irrevocably jealous. You are a wonderful weaver of words. To hell with them.


  3. As always, I've read your poem several times. One of these days I'll put all the thoughts I have (the seeds that hook in fur)down on paper - just for the fun of it. I would sorely miss your writing and so would many others. The math police---whatever.
    I'd wish you Happy Easter but perhaps not, I guess. I send happy thoughts anyway. Keep writing. I'll risk saying that even the God you might not believe in (pardon my boldness)surely cannot help smiling at your cleverness. If you self-publish I'll be first in line.

  4. Thanks all. Just had to get this out of my system.
    Appreciate the votes of confidence much.

    @Ann, well, if god is out there, I definitely want him/her/it smiling at me. ;-) And Happy Easter to you as well.

  5. Joy, this poem is as brilliant and wonderful as all of your work. I cant imagine anyone criticizing your work. I especially love "I hang my fly a banner"...YES!!!!!! And your last stanza is my theme song! Love it!

  6. Consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds, dearie. I'll hang out at the yogurt wall with you anytime. You're the bestest poetess in the western world, that's what I think. Except for STW, but there may be more than literary appreciation going on there. ;-)

    At Word Garden, as you know, I write a lot of free verse and narrative poetry, and even when I do rhyme, I use the Golden ar method most of the time. As a result, I don't know how many times commenters have said I write wonderful "prose." Thanks...I think. And here's a dictionary. I even had one person, a published author himself, suggest that i really ought to try writing poetry. Gee, I'll think it over, Hoss. LOL!

    The Peanut Gallery is what it is. Those aren't your real friends or your real fans. We love you and appreciate what you do for the marvel that it really is. "Hedgerider's Lament"? "My New Dragon"? Get the fuck out. You're the best.

  7. Golden EAR Method...not Golden ar Method. Arrrr, swab the plank and walk the deck, ye lubber. LOL @ me.

  8. Been fighting with your poetry friends again?

    (When reading this, I hear Leonard Cohen singing it. Go figure.)

  9. You go girl! I meditated on some of the same thoughts today while outside painting the frame of a screen I presume to be re-fabricating. I've always thought of you as much more formal poet than I, adhering much more to formal structures; sometimes I've heard a note of sadness in your comments that I don't write with more felicity to those forms. Yet I think of myself as a much more careful poet than some I read, who happily embrace the flash of the first draft and leave it at that. I've been among spoken-word poets who are really closer to stage singers than poets -- the performance there is all. I find myself siding with the care or husbandry of poetry, caring for a thing until it has wings. But what institution is left for poetry, anyway? I hate academia (though I once wanted to teach), and was frustrated with publication by gatekeepers who had a poetic I couldn't fathom. So here the raison d'etre of writing poetry in 2011 -- "I come and go to whisper and sigh,/laugh not replicate." Poetry without heart and heat is like pregnancy without the sex -- endless labor, and for what? We're writing on the remnant of the wind. We do our best so words fly over what little is left. So fly on, night rider, and drop those silver dollars on us whenever you can; they're pure gold. Hope you enjoyed your Hedgy fit. I sure did. - Brendan

  10. Something tells me you've got more than a dollar in your purse. Imagine how lifeless literature would be if everyone just followed the adage "write what you know". It's when you flout that and then move into the unknown that things start to happen.

  11. I have gone a bit ranty and hissy here, I admit. But every so often the lid blows off my boiling pot of melodrama. ;-)

    @FB--I was wondering about the Golden Ar method, me hearties. Thanks, and while I think you might be a little biased on who is the most wonderfullest poet, I appreciate the feeling behind it, and whoever told you you should "try" writing poetry has his head up his ass.

    @Prime J--not fighting, educating. :P

    @Brendan: You know I love what you write-- straying away from form or formalness doesn't make me sad--it just makes me work harder. ;-) I think a lot of form is excellent, valid and I love writing it and reading it. I think writing is work like any other, and deserves ones best skills and attention and as you say, husbandry. But when a syllable count is more important than an actual word or image, someone has gotten lost and it ain't the midnight rider.

  12. woo! i just did the one man wave...this is rich you can tell those that read out of obeience by the comments they leave, hehe...

    What matters is that the words stick
    like a hooked seed in the fur
    of thought, barb themselves in
    till they release in comprehension
    shake loose, or rot

    amen, sista, lay it down....i really like this one hedge...

  13. Hooyah! Brian's favorite stanza is also mine, but that sour yogurt wall is some fine writing, too.

    HW, you are one kick-ass wordsmith, and I'm so glad I've gotten to know you-- rhyming, forming, or running free.

  14. I agree with all the above..your work is wonderful and I am in awe of the depth you weave in and out of myth earthy and pull in aspects that I can only dream of...and that is what so great about takes me to a place, places I have not is good to get it out...glad you friend...bkm

  15. just wait til the thought police hear about this! :O lol

    great classic rock, btw...

  16. "I hang my lines, my life, to fly a banner
    not build your pillars of fault."
    Speak to me!

    I like your blog very much.

  17. "And what do I care if my iambs are lost lambs"
    this poem blows my mind, the brilliant mixing of math and art.
    its beautiful.

  18. I love this, hedgewitch. I've lived in fear of the Math Police my whole life and now that I'm much much older (though wiser doesn't necessarily follow), I'm glad I don't add up :)


"We make out of the quarrel with others, rhetoric, out of the quarrel with ourselves, poetry." ~William Butler Yeats