Fourth of July

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There’s this girl, you see, born on the Fourth of July. She erupted on the scene at a military base and grew to love all things military precision-like—minimalistic living and spartan saving with exacting expectations of herself—yet exploding with all the vibrant color of a rainbow. She’s an out of the box thinker—MacGyver’s met his match in her.

This girl, you see, is a firecracker, whip smart, and loud about things that matter like injustice, inequality, and freedom for all. She’s the yang to my yin, the bang for my buck, my soul sister, twin flame, and best friend. Happy Birthday, Tracy Jo! 🥰🎉🎊 💥

4th of July

It is hard to say when or where
Although why is not quite as hard
(synchronous orbits)to declare
that mysterious tidal heat
where in wonder science we meet.
Life whisks away what’s not needed,
brings the ebb and flow, completed
we move while the stars stand their guard.

—Carla Jeanne Picklo Jordan

Cheers To The Queer

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Photo Credit: Thanks 🙌
and shoutout to Wil Stewart

I chose another Balassi Stanza nine line poem today and combined it with the one sentence poem because… I can. 🥰

Cheers! 🍻

Cheers To The Queer

It was a very queer
time or maybe it was here
that I realized the plan
had gone terribly wrong;
maybe I wasn’t strong
hearted when I first began—
all things have their season
minds must yield to reason—
life lasts but a finger span.

—by Carla Jeanne Picklo Jordan

Theories

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Photo Credit: Big thanks and shoutout to Ricardo Gomez Angel

The prompt for today was to write a nine-line poem. I could choose any form I wished or use a free form verse. I chose a Balassi Stanza where it looks like this:

Rhyme scheme: a. a. d. b. b. d. c..c. d

Syllable count:.. 6. 6. 7. 6. 6. 7. 6. 6. 7

Of course, I chose this form mainly because Balint Balassi is Hungarian. Also, I am taking a crash course in music theory right now, so the poem reflects the terms swimming in my head.

theories

rhythms all frenetic,
cadences authentic
and deceptively half there.
appalachian folk tunes,
maqam modes that commune
and pulse with joy and despair.
musical collision,
lydian precision--
complexity that ensnares.

—Carla Picklo Jordan

The Dreamers

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Photo Credit: Thanks and shoutout to Dan Smedley

Lately I have been reading through the Poetry Foundation website like a novel. Sometimes I search a theme, sometimes I just read through the site recommendations.

By doing this, I have discovered some amazing poets who were previously unknown to me, and I have also discovered some interesting forms of rhyme and meter.

I experimented today with a rather unusual rhyme scheme in an eight line stanza. It’s been so refreshing to take time each day and write. I’ll tell you, it does something good for my soul.

Never stop dreaming big dreams, friends—it’s the only way you’ll ever attain them.

Dreamers

On small boats, through the long canals, they came
settling in the lowlands, digging ditches
building dykes and drains, trying hard to tame
the water running uphill. They resolved
to change their thinking; new habits evolved
and soon sleek dwellings began to appear
great in hope and greater in scope than fear
until the gleaming wheat claimed their riches.

Tell me why it is that hordes of locust
love to swarm in the warm, wet month of May.
Sudden rain like the mind keenly focused,
calls and corrals a throng of living things.
And so folks lived like paupers on shoe strings
eating barley grass and growing green beans
while listening to the constant humming
of water flowing and tymbal thrumming.
None too soon, the greedy beasts flew away.

And then more dreamers came, some in sleek boats
skimming through the canals, seeking reprieve
from the mundane and stale in hull-less oats;
some carting a lifetime of hopes and dreams
in broken barges with leaking seams.
But come they did with courageous fervor,
to be farmer, builder, and observer—
full of faith, hope, and the power to believe.

—Carla Jeanne Picklo Jordan

Gone Girl

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Photo Credit: https://unsplash.com/photos/ka8s6fgtXwc/

I’m not sure how to preface this poem. It’s funny how writing “overtakes” me, and some things just write themselves.

In saying that, I don’t mean to oversimplify the process—as though the writer is some kind of medium just repeating what the “writer spirit” says. This poem took me the better part of a full day, and I rewrote it completely three times—crossing out words, changing rhyme scenes, rearranging the form. It was a poem birthed in struggle.

And yet, the poem chose to be born from my pen. It wasn’t a topic or prompt or something that I was told to write about.

This process of writing everyday has been cathartic for me. Since I borderline on OCD whenever I commit to doing something, there is a certain compulsion now to write everyday.

Quite frankly, I’m loving this compulsion. It feels freeing even as it commits me to a task. Crazy, huh?

With all that said, this poem is dedicated to a long time family friend who lost a daughter eight years ago this week. The heartbreak never ends.

In her own words, “No matter how many years go by, our arms never forget the babies we are no longer able to hold.”

Gone Girl

I laid my weary bones in the spot
where your heart beat for the last time;
I wondered at the peaceful sky—
how life has been such a hard, hard climb.

Life works out that way at last—
the present lives in tandem with the past.

My eyes cried tears dried up by grief
as I danced to the tune of woe
like a puppet poised on a string
moving in ways I didn’t know.

Life works out that way at last—
the present lives in tandem with the past.

The past isn’t past until we say,
but I don’t know what you need now.
You exist in all who loved you—
I feel the soul lingers on somehow.

Life works out that way at last—
the present lives in tandem with the past.

Yes you are with me though you’re gone—
in everything, it’s you I see.
I feel your presence in my life song,
casting a sweet spell over me.

Life works out that way at last—
the present lives in tandem with the past.

—Carla Jeanne Picklo Jordan

A Pantoum For My Pops

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My Pops

Happy Father’s Day to all the Pops, Dads, Daddies, Papas, Papis, Babas, Role Models, Mentors, and Step Wonders!

Today is Father’s Day, and so naturally I wanted to honor my dad. My Pops was hands-down the best dad on this planet for me.

I chose a new-to-me form called a “pantoum” (a Malay form from Indonesia) because pantoums are about memory and usually compare the present to the past in some way.

Pantoums are made of quatrains of any meter (though syllables are typically regular between stanzas), have no set rhyme scheme, and are really dependent on their repetition of whole lines.

The repetition looks like this: 
The first stanza
A
B
C
D

Second stanza
B
E
D
F

Third stanza
E
G
F
H

Fourth stanza
A
I
C
J

The pantoum carries this continuous pattern until, typically, it ends with lines A and C repeated in the last stanza. (For my pantoum this was the fourth stanza)

Here are some good examples: “Pantoum of the Great Depression” (Justice), “She Put on Her Lipstick in the Dark” (Dischell)

For Pops

Pops loved the simple things in life;
he loved God, his family, his wife.
Music was part of his being—
healthy, whole, and utterly free.

He loved God, his family, his wife—
walking alongside with kindness,
healthy, whole, and utterly free—
a man of solid conviction.

Walking alongside with kindness,
he had a gentle demeanor—
a man of solid conviction
and eyes with a hint of mischief.

Pops loved the simple things in life—
a lake, a dock, his fishing pole.
Music was part of his being—
my life the refrain for his song.

—Carla Jeanne Picklo Jordan

The Game of Shame

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Photo Credit

Sometimes things happen, and I respond with a very quick knee-jerk reactions. Other times, I respond slower, but from a deep level of understanding and personal experience.

This week I was triggered by a parent not allowing their male child to buy a pink graphic t-shirt because he was a boy and wearing pink might offend the grandmother. Since when is a child responsible for someone else’s reaction—to a color, no less?!

I say nay nay.

Keep your oppressive shame to yourself. Don’t heap it on to a child who happens to be quite comfortable in his own skin. Don’t try to cram someone else, especially a child, into a box that you have chosen for yourself.

Thanks, but no thanks. That’s a hard pass for me.

F*** shame.

The Game of Shame

Oppressive shaming
Gotta get gaming
Passing out naming
Labeling and framing
Really just aiming
at a child’s heart.

Please tell me
you know about this—
saying to a child
he will be remiss
if he wears something
grandma won’t like.

It’s oppressive,
it’s aggressive,
it’s obsessive
and regressive.
It tears at a child’s heart.

Generational cycles
repeating and repeating.
Don’t you know
that fashion is fleeting?
Colors don’t reflect
“manliness” or sexuality.

It’s oppressive,
it’s aggressive,
it’s obsessive
and regressive.
It tears at a child’s heart.

It’s not ok to place
that weight upon a child
to tell him he’s responsible,
to make him feel exiled
all because he’s comfortable
inside his own skin.

It’s oppressive,
it’s aggressive,
it’s obsessive
and regressive.
It tears at a child’s heart.

I’m sure I did it,
I know that I lived it,
but I’m breaking that cycle
because I can admit it.
I can share my story
and overcome the past.

It’s oppressive,
it’s aggressive,
it’s obsessive
and regressive.
It tears at a child’s heart.

Oppressive shaming
Gotta get gaming
Passing out naming
Labeling and framing
Really just aiming
at a child’s heart.

—Carla Picklo Jordan

Waiting Part 2

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Thanks to Meritt Thomas @merittthomas for making this photo available freely on Unsplash 🎁 https://unsplash.com/photos/4vM2SHXh_M0

We never heard back from RIM, but we did pray that the right door would open up.

As of tomorrow morning, Trace will be at an inpatient rehab in Rochester.

I’m hoping beyond hope that she is home soon, but more than that we want her to be able to walk again. We are missing her so much.

Thank you all for your prayers and for hanging in there with us on this adventure.

As far as my poem for today goes, I have been working on the Trijan Refrain, a poetry form created by Jan Turner. It consists of three 9-line stanzas, a total of 27 lines. Line 1 is usually the same in all three stanzas, although a variation of the form is not to repeat that same line with each stanza. I chose to repeat half the line.

In this form, the first four syllables of line 5 in each stanza are repeated as the double-refrain for lines 7 and 8.

The Trijan Refrain is a rhyming poem with a set meter and rhyme scheme as follows:

x. x. x. x. x. x. x. a. 8
x. x. x. x. x b. 6
x. x. x. x. x. x. x. a. 8
x. x. x. x. x. b. 6
R. R. R. R. x. x. x. c. 8
x. x. x. x. x. x. x. c. 8
R. R. R. R. 4
R. R. R. R. 4
x. x. x. x. x. x. x. c. 8

It’s a tricky little form, but I rather like it. I’m going to post the poem today with stanza 1 and 2 together. Tomorrow I will add the third and final verse.

1.
friendship unpacks a history
rich with joy and sorrow
and days unfold with mystery
where twists and turns abound
walk in the light when days grow dark
and life seems bleak and rather stark
walk in the light
walk in the light
rejoicing in each tender spark.

2.
friendship unpacks a new season
that’s not at all thrilling
I know things happen with reason
without our request or willing
walk in the light when times get tough
walk in the light when times are rough
walk in the light
walk in the light
finding hope when life seems enough.

—a work in progress by Carla Picklo Jordan

The Face of Brave

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Today was a hard writing day for me, so I decided to pick a poetry form and see if that would help guide my writing. I chose the Ae Freislighe or Irish quatrain.

The ae freislighe is a complex and intense form. Here are the guidelines: quatrain stanzas (4-line stanzas), 7 syllables per line, lines 1 and 3 rhyme together, but they rhyme as three syllables (xxa), lines 2 and 4 rhyme together as two syllables (xb), and the final line of the entire poem should be the same as the entire poem begins (the poetic term for this is dunadh).

Whew! I picked a good, hard form all right. Leave to the brilliant and resilient Irish to create this form.

As for news on the home front, everything is set with RIM having a bed for Trace. Now we wait and hope and pray that on Monday the insurance authorization will arrive.

She is improving everyday, but the function of her left leg (her previously good and strong leg) is still not very high. Her muscles are activating, but the weakness in her hip flexors prevent her from walking without difficulty.

But she is determined.

And strong.

Even in her weakness.

She inspires me to push through difficulties and to carry on courageously.

She is the face of brave to me.

Bravery

Bravery lives to clarify
that less strong is not weaker—
that strength seeks to satisfy
and to protect the seeker

of truth, the one courageous
person whose strength is beyond
ordinary—contagious
in every way. I respond—

the shy strength of fortitude
does bolster and dignify.
So I say with gratitude:
Bravery lives to clarify.


—Carla Jeanne Picklo Jordan

Rainy Days

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Thanks to dylan nolte @dylan_nolte for making this photo available freely on Unsplash 🎁 https://unsplash.com/photos/J4lbSEF1xbI

Today the sun was scorching and poetry had to be written, so I went searching for a new form to explore.

That’s when I discovered the “rispetto”. A rispetto is a short poetic form of Italian origin comprising of 11 syllables per line. It has 8 lines. Rispetto typically uses the ababccdd rhyme scheme.

So here is my Sunday offering. A rispetto about rain on a scorching day. Wishing all of you that respite of rain.

Rainy Days

Somewhere in my mind it is always raining—
like the sound of thundering rooftop dancing,
while cozy fires burns brightly maintaining
the mood. And all the signs are there enhancing
the idea that I am moving toward
sound so powerful it cannot be ignored.
Refreshed, re-energized, and renewed I rise—
much like flowers after that rain, I surmise.

— Carla Jeanne Picklo Jordan

What refreshes you?