confession tuesday

Posted in prose with tags , , , on May 4, 2010 by Katherine Parker Richmond

I’m so glad NaPoWriMo is over. So. Glad. But also very pleased with about 1/10 of what I produced, which is, statistically, about the same as last year. Over all, a good haul.

***

I ate two bowls of potato chips yesterday, even though they are a trigger food and always make me feel sick after I eat them. I was feeling stressed out after I took the kids–who usually play well together–to weed our plot at the community garden. I didn’t get much weeding done because I spent most of the hour and a half refereeing their arguments over who got to play with which of two small plastic trucks.

[Sigh.]

My muscles were tight and I strained something in my neck and came home disappointed and wanting to not hurt. Note to self: eating chips does hurt. My stomach is still trying to right itself.

***

My poem “Forestalled” went up at EDP yesterday. So far the feedback is better than with “Waiting for Charon”, which is nice.

***

I’m now 14 weeks along and easing myself into feeling closer to this baby. It was so much of a relief two weeks ago to have an ultrasound: to see the small, busy body and hear my OB say everything looked good so far.

Feeling cautiously optimistic, I bought some nice cotton fat quarters in shades of red, white and blue for a baby quilt. I’m planning on a simple nine-patch pattern called (appropriately) “Sunshine and Shadows”

Jim and I have agreed on a possible girl’s name (no mean feat this early in the game) and I’m trying–and totally failing–to think of a boy name that both of us won’t hate. A happy problem, as Kim Stafford likes to say.

confession tuesday

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on February 23, 2010 by Katherine Parker Richmond

I’ve been feeling guilty about not participating more on my favorite poetry community site, Read Write Poem. Over the past couple months I’ve made a few attempts to get more involved, to read the posts of other poets and comment.

But.

It seems like it’s all or nothing with me. Either I spend way too much time there, or not enough time to feel like it’s fair to post my own work, since I’m not contributing enough to others. I’m having a hard time finding the balance. And I’m trying to be realistic about my own limitations, to allow myself to be okay with the idea that maybe now is just not the time for me to be involved in an online community, when so much of my time needs to go to my children and their education.

Now that I’ve successfully started a real-life poetry group (with three other members!!), and am working harder to get out of my shell and get to know some of the great local poets at the open mic nights down in Yakima, as well as generally feeling confident and motivated with my revision and publication process, maybe it’s time to stop putting pressure on myself to be involved in the virtual poetry community. To put down the mouse and step away. To know when to scale back. To give up on the dream nightmare of trying to “do it all.” To do just enough, not too much.

***

Closely linked to my search for creative balance is my new-found practice of yoga. I started back at the beginning of January, doing 2-3 sessions a week. I’ve worked my way up to 4-5 times a week now.

Generally I practice early in the morning before my husband and kids get up, but over the past few weeks, my husband has been getting up and doing yoga with me.

As I read more about the philosophy behind yoga, I feel like it’s a very healthy thing for me to be doing right now, not just physically and spiritually, but also creatively. I have a hard time observing. Just sitting and being with the present. Listening. Yoga is helping me with that, and I feel like it’s already had a positive effect on my writing process.

***

I think I might be pregnant again, and I’m scared. Not of being pregnant, but of getting too excited, too invested, of obsessing about it, loving too much too soon–and then the pain that will inevitably follow if I miscarry again. I’m a few days late, and I’m forcing myself to wait another week before taking a test, just to make myself take it easy.

starting over, day 3

Posted in Uncategorized on January 12, 2010 by Katherine Parker Richmond

I’ve been temporarily derailed by jury duty, which I got called in for last Friday. Not that I mind doing my civic duty. I was empaneled, sat on a jury, and we were able to deliberate and return a verdict just in time for dinner.

I’ve been playing catch-up all weekend, and just now am getting around to more poetry.

***

0-0

Chalk shrieks
down blackboard
too shrill
to ignore

coated in
gypsum
my hands
underscore

over
and over
and one
hundred more

till white
buries black
and I’ve
lost the score

time to
forgive I
can’t count
anymore.

starting over, day 2

Posted in Uncategorized on January 7, 2010 by Katherine Parker Richmond

In trying to dig deep, I may have dug too far. I know I’m still far too close to this to write a poem about it and work on it objectively, but here it is–for better or not better.

***

And Change

It’s been a month
And change
since my womb emptied itself
disgorged the bloody leavings
of what would have been
my child

some days I still see through
shades of blue and gray
curtains of rain and fog
some days the sun
shines so bright
it too makes me cry

I see my two children
with quick minds
perfectly formed bodies
reminding me I should feel lucky
so lucky that what wasn’t perfect
will never be

it’s been a week
and change
since my womb began again
its appointed ebb and flow
reminding me I’m not ready yet
to try again.

starting over, day 1

Posted in poetry with tags , on January 6, 2010 by Katherine Parker Richmond

I haven’t written anything new in quite a while. It’s definitely time.

Last night I stopped by Read Write Poem, was reminded of how much inspiration I’ve gotten from their prompts, and decided to take a chance by doing their newest “mini-challenge”. I’m fully prepared to really suck at this, but I think it will be good for me to write a poem every day for a week.

***

The Amnesty of Today

It doesn’t matter that yesterday I
hit the snooze button instead of working out
forgot my morning prayers
called in sick when I wasn’t
yelled at my kids
did 45 mph in a 20
flirted shamelessly to get out of a ticket
backdated the check for my phone bill by a week
ate two chocolate glazed donuts for lunch
went back for thirds
gossiped at the grocery store
didn’t tell the cashier when she gave me a ten instead of a one
looked the other way as I walked by a homeless man
yelled at my kids again
procrastinated scrubbing my toilet
lied about my weight on my new driver’s license
dined by drive-thru
told a friend what I really thought of her fiancé
slammed my front door in the faces of two young missionaries
watched TV instead of reading bedtime stories
yelled at my kids again
ignored a sink full of dirty dishes
and told my husband I had a headache

it doesn’t matter because that was yesterday
and today I won’t hit snooze.

confession tuesday

Posted in prose with tags , on January 6, 2010 by Katherine Parker Richmond

I’ve only done yoga once before today, and it was over five years ago. A friend gave me a post-partum yoga tape as a shower gift after my son was born. Eager to whittle off some pregnancy poundage, I gave it a go–and was in agony for three days after. Needless to say, the tape was immediately relegated to the darkest corner of our video shelf and has been collecting dust ever since.

Lately, though, I’ve been getting more realistic about the limitations of my schedule, specifically when and how I can squeeze in exercise while it’s still too dark to walk alone in the morning before my husband leaves for work (so I don’t have to try and cobble together child care every time I want to go for a walk).

In trying to be open-minded, I considered a home-based yoga work-out might be a good fit, and especially beneficial for my arthritic hips, so long as I steered clear of those pain-inflicting Kundalini poses (like the ones on the post-partum tape) until I knew a bit more about what I was doing.

So yes, I admit it: this morning at 6 a.m. I rolled out of bed, put on my thermal underwear (because the thermostat was turned off in our living room), fired up the DVD, and worked out to… Yoga for Dummies. Better safe than sore.

queue theme music from fiddler on the roof…

Posted in poetry with tags on December 31, 2009 by Katherine Parker Richmond

Revision!

Revision! (beat)

Revision!

***

Okay, so I really shouldn’t blog late at night because I always start thinking of movies I’ve watched and tying in very obscure references that probably make sense to no one else. But I wanted to post the most recent revision (with which I’m very pleased) of a poem that first appeared in a rather different form on my other blog. I wrote it for NaPoWriMo, and then a couple months ago, my poetry group partner suggested removing it from the larger poem and making it a stand-alone. Which immediately seemed very right to me. I’ve been tweaking it off and on since October, and I think I’m getting close. Now I’m trying to decide whether to submit it somewhere or sit on it until February and enter it in a local juried poetry contest.

(cue music)

Decisions!

***

Gooseberry Pie: a Disappointment in Three Acts

Hidden in the tall grass
gooseberries grow wild
along weather-silvered fence rails
low bushes heavy with translucent globes
of pale-veined, whiskery green
warm from hanging all day in the sun
my fingers pluck through prickly branches
weaving a delicate dance
to the soft one-by-one beat of berries
plunking against the bottom and sides
of my battered plastic bucket.

Nana measures butter, flour, sugar
levels each cup with the straight side of a table knife
rolls out a delicate crust
eases it into a blue glass pie plate
weaves a fragile lattice to crown the mound of berries
at last commends her masterpiece to the oven
and for a delicious hour
four walls strain to contain
the burgeoning aroma
of buttery crust and bubbling berries.

No sour scent forewarns
that I’ve braved thorns for bitter fruit
I suck my cheeks in hollow
after a single sharp bite
poke once at the sugary crust
and with a sigh
leave the rest still steaming on my plate.