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

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

It’s Gonna Be Ok

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Tomorrow is Tracy’s surgery. She is having a spinal fusion, which is a pretty serious surgery. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous and a little scared about the unknowns.

But I am choosing to breathe positivity and healing and a full recovery into this day. So many folks have reached out and called to encourage us.

Their words have not gone unheeded.

I have taken them to heart and allowed them to remind me of what is important. I am so very grateful to God for good friends, for a supportive church community, and for a workplace that allows me to take time off.

I know it’s gonna be ok.

It’s Gonna Be Ok

They say it’s gonna be ok;
They say it’s ok to be terrified—
that everything will work out,
but right now I’m not so sure.

One breath at a time,
one foot in front of the other
even when the path is dark
and looming with uncertainties.

I am strong and brave,
I am a force of nature,
I am connected and whole—
vibrating like a horsehair bow
scraping against violin string.

Who could imagine the beauty
created from that tension?
Who could imagine how music
bravely brings back life—

bringing light to the darkness
breathing beauty into the ashes
bowing a beautiful harmony
into the lonely melody?

I have known defeat and
I have known struggle,
I have borne the weight of loss
and nearly drowned beneath it.

So I will lean into that knowing—
how to climb out of the depths,
and how to cling to gratitude
like a lifeline of hope.

—by Carla Jeanne Picklo Jordan

The Humming of Giraffe

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Thanks to Louise Pilgaard @toft_pilgaard for making this photo available freely on Unsplash

The poetry prompt for today came indirectly from Billy Collins via a Master Class on poetry. The challenge was to write a poem six to twelve lines long and containing only one sentence. My inspiration came from an article I read on giraffe humming.

Did you know that giraffe hum to one another when they sleep?

Well, at least giraffe in captivity do. The experts can only guess about what happens in the enclosures at night, but they have these amazing rich sound recordings of a deep harmonizing hum.

Many have hypothesized about the reason for the giraffe humming. Perhaps in captivity the songs are a way of connecting. Perhaps the sounds are snoring or maybe even dream sounds.

For me, I don’t need to know the reason why giraffe hum, I just need to listen to them. It’s the kind of sound that mends the earth.

Check out this article and listen to the sounds your self.

Hum of Giraffe

When the darkness comes
in low over the Serengeti
and the full moon rises
above the winding Mara,

you can hear the steady
irrepressible humming
like the deep harmonic rumble
of an ancient antiphonal choir

their sustained echos becoming
a healing drone, mending
the earth one solemn
soulful cry at a time.

—A draft by Carla Jeanne Picklo Jordan

May your day overflow with healing and peace.

NaPoWriMo 2021 Day One Official

The daily prompt for today was to get outside of my own head and learn to see the world in a new way. I was challenged to write a poem inspired by the animated version of “Seductive Fantasy” by Sun Ra and his Arkestra. To really understand the poem, click the link or go to YouTube and check it out.

After watching the video, I felt it fitting to write today’s poem as a sestina—a form which looks like a spiral as it is created. Six stanzas of six lines (each 10 syllables long) that use the ending word of each line in a repetitive pattern that reverberates in other worldly fashion. The last stanza has only three lines, each containing two of the now famous “last words”.

The last word in each line is used as the last word in the lines of the stanzas that follow in a spiraling order like this:

Stanza 1 - 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
Stanza 2 - 6, 1, 5, 2, 4, 3
Stanza 3 - 3, 6, 4, 1, 2, 5
Stanza 4 - 5, 3, 2, 6, 1, 4
Stanza 5 - 4, 5, 1, 3, 6, 2
Stanza 6 - 2, 4, 6, 5, 3, 1

A better way to visualize it is like this:

Once I made my decision to sestina, I put Sun Ra Arkestra on shuffle play in Spotify and wrote. Yes, it did blow my head off a bit, so be gentle with me. After all, this is only a draft.

The Arkestral Overture 

The world began in a technicolor
god-dream of pulsating psychedelic
wonder. Heralding a new connection
in this fantastic swirling dance of life—
the spiraling sestina of cosmos
sweeping away the chaos to bring peace.

And so we desire above all peace—
the kind of peace that glows technicolor
into the grey corners of the cosmos—
music rising out of psychedelic
rings that sing seductively of new life
and call the stars to ancient connection.

Born in chaos, we worship connection;
we long for tumultuous seas to know peace
and the galaxy to welcome new life.
So we watch as the bold technicolor
lights on the satellite psychedelic
shine awakening throughout the cosmos.

The satellites are spinning the cosmos—
a better day of hope and connection—
Saturn rings glowing with psychedelic
power and fused with primordial peace.
Music fusion rises technicolor
as Sun Ra plays permutations on life;

earth vibrates her diaspora of life
into the far reaches of the cosmos.
The astronomical technicolor
sending signs of an ancient connection,
vibrating to a different song of peace.
Is it any wonder psychedelic

winds of outer space blow psychedelic
thinking into the gray zones hiding life?
Spectrum living brings an alternate peace
to the hailstorm confounding the cosmos.
Longing for demon-angel connection
flowing through and from the technicolor.

Peace proclaiming the true psychedelic
gospel full of technicolor new life:
Come and now enter the cosmos of peace.

–A Draft Poem by Carla Jeanne 

Let me know what you think in the comments below. Share the love, write a poem, appreciate a good friend. Each moment is a new beginning.

Day #9

National Poetry Writing Month: Day #9

Today’s prompt was to take any random song play list and use the next five song titles on that randomized list in a poem.

I…um…well… I had so much fun with this prompt, I couldn’t stop at five. You can check out my random shuffle playlist below. Enjoy!

birds of a feather: we

i shall soon
be lost–
withoutatrace.

my head knows
i will be ok,
but my heart supposes
that a thousand inches
measured in distance feels
like a thousand years.

as a long time traveller
and a long time seeker
in royal pursuit of better things,
i have my eye on it–
this distance between us,
this great

chasm of space–
even though i can
find home in your heart
always,
i am already missing
your sunshine smile over

coffee, the cheery words
of your morning person ways
filling the silence with
pure joy.

i am certain you will
forget me not–
and even if i feel lost
withoutatrace,

a look at the stars
and rising moon
(the same ones that shine
and rise over you)
will allow me
to hang out in your heart
by proxy.

how
sweet
it
is.

Birds of a Feather, The Civil Wars
Be OK, Ingrid Michaelson
A Thousand Years, Christina Perri
Long Time Traveller, The Wailin’ Jennys
Royal Pursuit, from Frozen Soundtrack
Better Things, JJ Heller
Eye on It, Toby Mac
Find Home, The Honey Trees
Forget Me Not, The Civil Wars
Stars, Fun
Hang Out In Your Heart, Chely Wright
How Sweet It Is, James Taylor

a birthday poem

For my dear friend Peter…

on this day
I celebrate you; I celebrate us.
I celebrate our families
who are now joint families.
Happy Birthday, Peter!

**************************

an american in paris
by any other name
is still gershwin

(even years later, when
seated at a sidewalk cafe
eating warm goat cheese salad
and sipping red wine,
a memory of you pounding out
rhapsody in blue with your red hair
flapping in rhythm while little
varineau wailed on his clarinet
popped into my head–I swear
it’s true.)

and bench seats
crammed full of musicians
still breed a kind of dontmesswithmybandmate familiarity untouched by blood relation.

serendipity brought us together
as strangers and fellow musicians,
but love bound us as friends.