Posts Categorized: writing + blogs

Paul’s Cocktails – Open at 6am

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Today, Wed. July 2nd, as I was taking my bike ride to the Orange Plaza Post Office to see if I had any good mail and then to Rod’s for my daily LA Times, I watched a few of the Resident Drunks (hard core regulars) outside of Paul’s Cocktails (kitty corner to Rod’s and the Ex-Mormons for Jesus), screaming at some folks who had gotten into a car accident.
Up to this point, I had been experiencing some big time writer’s block on my 3 page story due in my Fiction I class this evening. Thanks to the drunks outside of Paul’s for providing me some fodder. I suppose that I ought to go buy them a drink…

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Poem: William the Conqueror

William the Conqueror
for Jessica Heather Martin
Fly Purple Martin Fly
The only thing purple in the
chapel, besides the tint of your
Grandma Martin’s hair,
were the flowers in the funeral bouquets
fore and aft of your open coffin.
Fly Purple Martin Fly
Some said, after, that your wings
were first broken at twelve,
others said you had a broken picker.
Last time we saw you alive,
you told how you were leaving
him, how you were moving
back to your mom’s in Yorba Linda.
Excited to fly again,
you and I made plans to visit
the Getty or the Norton Simon.
Fly, Purple Martin, Fly high
your healed wings soaring
No art museum, open casket,
so unreal.
At the wake, in your mom’s small dining room,
your brother whispered,
Don’t let my grandmas hear, not
today, it will upset them worse,
but she was murdered.
Fly high, Purple Martin, Fly high
On May 23, 2003
one year later, the LA Times’ sub paper
The Daily Pilot reported that he was found
guilty. 3 felony accounts.
Assault, spousal abuse, and
attempt to persuade a witness not to testify.
It came out in your trial
that twice before he had sent
women to the hospital by his own hand.
Fly, dip on the wing, soar
little Martin, Fly free
You got life. He gets
11 years.
They couldn’t prove murder
because none of the neighbors heard you cry out
as he slammed your head on the floor.
Didn’t they know that little Martins with scarred wings
can’t sing anymore?
— by Jenifer Hanen

Villanelle Update

File under the category of “Ooops”….
In class last night, I learned that I got the rhyme scheme in the villanelle wrong. Oops.
The teacher diagrammed a Villanelle for us like this:
A1
b
A2
a
b
A1
etc.
Now I, being a poetry newbie, interpreted the “A1” and “A2” as the refrains that had NO relation to the “a” of the rhyming scheme in the non-refrain lines. In my brain, the capital As with numbers where separate entities unto themselves.
Bad brain, bad brain on too much computer work….
It dawned on me slowly last night, while we were work shopping another classmate’s villanelle that the capital “A1” and “A2” of the refrain were to rhyme with the little “a”s of the main part of the poem. Oops.
The dawning of the realization that I had missed out on 50% of the villanelle’s form was rather like the time I was talking to my brother and he was telling me a long story about his friend “Jane” who was a dancer. Given that the story was mostly about her teenage kids, everytime my brother mentioned her dance career I envisioned that she ran a ballet studio for children. Over the course of the conversation, the realization that she was a dancer of another sort, the type who takes her clothes off in the course of dancing, came slowing over my consciousness rather like the sun creeping over the horizon slowing and then all the sudden SUN everywhere.
Last night was just like the conversation with my brother, after I realized that Jane was a stripper and that the Villanelle had a LOT more “a” rhyme than I put in it, I felt slow, naive, and rather embarrassed. At break I rushed over to the instructor, quickly explained my plight, and she appeared to have a moment herself. She didn’t realize that I, the student, did not already know that the captial A of the refrain and the minor a of the rhyme were not related.
My only defense of myself is that my education focused more on math classes where big As and little a’s had no numerical relational but were symbols for different ideas, and that sleeping through most of the required english classes as a teenager and college student has resulted in minor adult embarrassment. Oops.
Maybe not embarassment, but feeling silly in the midst of a paradigm shift that I assumed to be one way and folks who know poetry assume to be another way.

Villanelle Hell

Ok, tonight is poetry class, my efforts are…. small grumbling noises.
This week is the Villanelle and a spontaneous poem ala Frank O’Hara.
Here is the villanelle:
Dreams of London
As spring warms to summer, I dream of London
As Los Angeles heats, I melt and yearn.
Cool rain dripping off London plane tree leaves.
At times, walking in Westwood, a flash of
Sensation, diesel fumes, bustling people adjourn.
As spring warms to summer, I dream of London.
Garden Court Hotel, green canopy above
Kensington Gardens Square, Bayswater return.
Cool rain dripping off London plane tree leaves.
Month of May, afternoons in LA heat up over
Eighty-five, smog hugging the foothills burns.
As spring warms to summer, I dream of London.
Fantasy ruined, global warming shoves
London temps in April to record heat, U-Turn.
Cool rain dripping off London plan tree leaves.
Nomadic, itchy feet, I desire to rove
Imagine a new hometown, escape left arm sunburn.
As spring warms to summer, I dream of London
Cool rain dripping off London plan tree leaves.

Don’t wanna sleep (after Laura Litter)

I am taking a Creative Writing class in Poetry at UCLA on tuesday nights. This week and last week we had to write one sestina (evil!) and one villanelle (appears less evil, but really is more). I decided that I would write the sestina about my blog.
Don’t Wanna Sleep (after Laura Litter)
by Jenifer Hanen
May 12, 2003
Many nights I fight to stay awake,
I don’t wanna sleep, to sleep like a log,
The fear courses deep that I have not earned enough money.
Billable hours, hours billable, were there
a sufficient number of them on this day?
Cubicle land leads to numbness, I don’t want that program.
Can an artist learn to program
a computer? For the sake of pure cussedness, I stay awake.
Each year I gift myself a challenge on my birthday,
Two weeks ago, I downloaded, installed a weblog.
Not only a technical stretch waiting for me there,
But a daily stretch to write, capture ideas, try to be funny.
A computer scientist asks, “Sure you can do this honey?”
Do you have to have a CS degree to program?
I learned Italian, I can learn Perl and C++ despite all their
objections. Freelance writer and artist, I stay awake,
to push my technical and creative worlds, I blog.
The first iris of May,
That black gamecock from my garden on the 7th of May,
linking to articles, stories, and funny
ideas, posting fleeting fancies, a catalog
of events. Designers, artists, writers, thinkers, a futuristic telegram.
Hello world. Here I am, an archive of now, I am awake.
No need to slumber in that bed, in front of the computer I am there.
Don’t wanna sleep there,
in that bed, desire is strong to stretch the day,
into the night. My family may hold a wake,
thinking I have passed on, no sight of me when it is sunny.
To announce my departing from social life, mom might send a telegram
to Grandpa out on the high seas. Me, I would blog
it. Hello world. I have ceased to sleep like a log,
Now I can be found exclusively there,
online. I would live my life in the future program.
Friends and relatives could check each day
my site for my thoughts, doings, and photos. But does she make any money?
Probably not. But I am very awake.
Happy little blog, my gift to me on my birthday,
despite all objections about a waste of time and a lack of money,
I program now, I am awake.