Scribbling Counts

I worked hard earlier this month on two separate poetry submissions - polishing, questioning, reading aloud, re-writing, re-titling some pieces, and finally sending them off to meet deadlines.  Whether or not I'm accepted, the process of submitting helps hone my craft. Since then, I've taken a trip to Knoxville TN to visit one of my sisters, celebrated the birth of a new grand-nephew, cared for our lovable chocolate lab grand-dog while our daughter was away, celebrated my birthday and the arrival of the Spring Issue of Rattle in my mailbox. I haven't done much writing.

It's easy to panic in times like this, when poems hide from me or don't flow easily. But today I looked through my notebook, and it's full of scribbling. Snippets of conversations overheard in the American Airlines terminal, ekphrastic impressions of a major piece of glasswork by Richard Jolley at the Knoxville Museum of Art, playful outdoor sculpture at the nearby Botanical Gardens. Spiral-bound phrases popped into my head at random moments. Here's a little sampler: "the Tree of Auspicious Fruit" "Will the trout get his fill at mealtime before the soaring eagle drops its talons?" "Where is the poem in foster care?" "Noise canceling headphones - 4th and 5th chakras exposed to the sun."  For me, scribbling is part of my writing process -- a trail of visual and verbal bread crumbs to follow (or not) when I'm searching for new material. So don't be surprised if you see some of these phrases in a future poem of mine. My creative process doesn't travel in straight lines or adhere to a strict schedule. And that's fine with me.

On Robert Rothman's "Blackberries" poem

“Shadow Blue Square” by James W Johnson, acrylic/ink on panel, 20×20, 2014

“Shadow Blue Square” by James W Johnson, acrylic/ink on panel, 20×20, 2014

Robert Rothman is a California poet featured in the February 2018 Issue #36 of this literary journal, where I serve as Poetry Co-Editor. His poems positively drip with images and sensory details. Plus James Johnson's accompanying artwork selected by our Art Editor, Mark Benton, amplifies the poems so perfectly. It's no surprise I was especially drawn to his poem "Blackberries." Our family of four operated a small market garden in the late 90's, Blackberry Hill Gardens. The property came with a massive patch of cultivated blackberries. For several weeks every midsummer, we bled and swore and wore long sleeves and swatted mosquitoes while we tried to keep up with the harvest. We called it the "Mother Lode," and those berries fetched top dollar, nestled in half pints at the Burlington (VT) Farmers Market. We used our market earnings to take some memorable family vacations. Click here to read Robert's poems.