Friday, September 06, 2013

POSTCARD POEMS AND THE ART OF FINDING THE CARDS

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Six, count 'em, six cards arrived today! I love the way August keeps insinuating itself into September.

Here's my incoming wall now:




I've been doing this August poem thing since Paul and Lana dreamed it up in 2007 and I've now got quite a collection of cards. More than I'll ever use in this lifetime, but I love them and am always interested in discovering a new source.

Postcards are not very hard to come by. You can usually find a rack or a stack of them by check-out counters in drugstores, gas stations, book stores, you name it. Hotels have them in drawers, along side the Gideon's. Artists and writers get them made up as a form of networking. This year two of the people on my list got cards with poems by Vancouver Island poet Wendy Morton on them—two for the price of one stamp, if you will. 

Whenever I go to Vancouver I like to take a trip to Granville Island so I can stock up on bookmaking supplies at Paper Ya. Imagine my surprise when, in the same building, I discovered The Postcard Place,  a little shop that is devoted to selling postcards! That's where I found the box with pictures of the first thirty Nancy Drew covers. And this year I found a box of Darth Vader and Son cards, a couple of which went out last month and I'm sending them sporadically to my grandson who is very into Star Wars right now. And then there's the box of Onion headline cards I got on one of my forages. 

But probably my most diverse cards have come to me from Nancy Lee, my amazing English aunt who died last year a few weeks after her 102nd birthday. Nancy loved to travel, and, I discovered when I was dismantling her dozens of photograph albums, in addition to taking lots of pictures, she loved to buy postcards of the places she visited. Consequently, I now have cards from Turkey, and Afghanistan, Egypt and Syria, all over Western Europe and the UK, several countries in Asia, and Australia and New Zealand. 

Oh, and occasionally I take a blank card and colour it with pencils. One of these years I want to get a little fancier about making my own, but meanwhile...

Here are some more of the cards I sent out this year:



“wherever I go
            I hear them
            I see them.”
                                    Ghassan Zaqtan

            There is no barrier
            so great we cannot
            pass through, laughing
            at time’s inconsequential
            digs and yes, sometimes
            its anger. We are
            alone, yet not.
                        Shouting in
                        silence.


“Some of the
            animals will die and be tasted
            and fear it.”
                                    Jennifer Maiden

            She said, ‘You are my rock’
            but who believed her
            when only the shadows of the moon
            spilled against the impossible
            could rouse her. Such faint
            and rugged rinds the orange
            leaves at the bottom of the
            bowl. How sad the truth
            the cat dragged in. A
            favored trinket clutched, a
            newborn’s cry. How telling.


“But not today, not now,
                                                not ever again.”
                                    Alan Shapiro

            A lifting of the chin
            a glance, a little smile
            —eye contact!
            So we drop deeper
            into trust
            So begins the wonder
            of a sip, a slip, a shudder,
            til it’s gone, we look away,
            and nothing’s changed
            but everything.     

“That loud hub of us,
            meat stub of us, beating us
            senseless.”
Brenda Shaughnessy

 Trot out the words, tell them where to go,
            herd them into lines of long ago.

            Search the empty cavern for a clue
            you don’t know how to write—and then you do.
           
            Whether or not it’s noble to be kind
            you need to try, or quick be left behind.

            These unplanned rhymes arrive from who knows where,
            enough to rouse a hibernating bear.

            You know the sort—he’ll eat your garden through
            till all that’s left’s a faded rose for you.
      

            “Success goes hand in hand with shame
            but failure has a nobler sort of name.”
                                    David W. McFadden

      All the colours are there
            in that joyful rainbow flag
            —red, of course,
                 for the bloody mouth,
            —green for the three-day-old
                 bruise on the cheek
                 (blue for the new one)
            —yellow for the cowardice
            that craves the fist,
            the stick, the bottle’s
            jagged edge, all in the name
            of what’s natural.           

This one's dedicated to Heather Dale who I met back in 1991 in the same writing class where I met my husband and whose writing left me with several very distinct images, including one that came out in this poem.  

“Some nights I stand before my bookcase,
            touching the spines.”  James Pollock

            Once I knew a writer who said
            her poetry books were cowboys,
            lean and sexy, something like that.
            Today I made my way
            to the secondhand store,
            found the poetry section
            couched, deliberately, in the back.
            When I knew no one was watching
            I slid my fingers down a spine or two,
            felt the ones that breathed back,
            took them away with me
            so they can have their ways with me
            later, and later, and later.

“Right. None of this happened
            overnight, you understand. Right.”
                                    Ian Williams

            And what if we could
            talk to animals, and they’d reply,
            what if the world we think
            we know is no world at all,
            just a conglomeration of thoughts
            we choose to think, thoughts
            that soar and plummet,
            dig and die, while all around us
            sleep the innocent, the fond,
            the foolish, and what of us—
            what chance have we
            to dream the right thing.
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4 comments:

Paul Nelson said...

Am so envious of your postcard collection! So glad you continue to be involved. Abrazos, Paul

S.E.Ingraham said...

It's like a double-whammy of wow to receive one of your cards and poems and then get to see it again on your blog and know it's hanging up in your place...got that spine-tingling thing going on all over again thanks!

rinebird said...

I love your site.The J. Pollack quote about feeling the spine of his books, is great.I have many books.My son & his wife say you will never read them all....I say I love my books each & every one.I can just pick one up & read whatever mood I may be in.My son suggested I take a poetry course in 1996...I was physically "ill" for many months & he knew this would help me...I won a scholarship for an essay I wrote about the Humanities. This lead to a degree,BSN, I started many years ago & on to my MSN, at some point, it too will be finished.My son buys me the Best of American Poetry book every year since 1996.I just want to say what I did after illness has brought me to you & the PC Poetry Fest 2013 & Mod Po again.Congrats on your beautiful Blog.I love the scenic card with lots of color,posted after your PCPF cards.Thank you,linda roller

Linda Crosfield said...

Thank you, Paul, Sharon, and Linda. (Linda, you're on my list of people to send cards to who weren't on my "list", and this just confirms why!) You have a sensible son.