Poem

Clean

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Greetings, poetry lovers! As National Poetry Month draws to a close, I wanted to share some poetry-related news with you.

First, I’m excited to announce that my poem “The Morning After” has been chosen to appear in the 2017 Texas Poetry Calendar. The calendar is always beautiful and I know I’ll be in good company there. My piece will most likely be in the month of December because it’s a Christmas poem of sorts, but that’s all I’ll say about it. You’ll have to pick up a copy of the calendar to find out more.

But wait, I have more good news! Last week, The Bohemian Freethinker interviewed me as a featured poet on her blog. What an honor! To read the interview, click here.

Also, my good friend Ashley Davis—horror writer, poet, and mother of twins—posted a great list of poem recommendations on her blog. While many of the selections are ones I knew, “Sleep Suite” by Sharon Olds and “Home (Initial Findings)” by Franny Choi were both new to me and both blew me away. Plus, Ashley was kind enough to include one of my poems in her list, and I thank her for that.

And finally, last Thursday was Poem In Your Pocket Day. I spent the afternoon with some lovely students at McCallum High School, talking about poetry and sharing some of my work. And, of course, I carried a poem in my pocket.

Below is my poem, “Clean,” published here for the first time:

Clean

Thursday, April 21st
was “Poem in Your Pocket” Day—
between folds of denim
I tucked a haiku away.
The verse gave form to my footsteps
and structure to my weekday.
Seventeen lightweight syllables,
a literary stowaway.

April 22nd was Laundry Day.

productivity
eclipses poetry—I
wash my pocket poem

Unfolding the damp remnant,
I see the poem has transformed,
gone through a cold-rinse revision.
Words/melt/together,
            syllables slide
from one line
            to the next,
abandoning the rules of the haiku
for something softer,
           fresher
and entirely
            more free.

 

© Carie Juettner, 2016

Wildflower Season

Spring has sprung here in Austin, and the roads are decorated with our state flower. In honor of these brilliant blooms, I’d like to share my poem, “Wildflower Season.” This poem won first place in the Austin Poetry Society’s Mary Oliver Award in 2015 and is published in Best Austin Poetry 2014-2015.

Wildflower Season

Highways are bridges across red seas,
oceans of blue—
bodies of color that wave
when the wind blows.

Tourists in our own land, we wade
through ankle-high blooms, then venture deeper—
trying to capture something
that can’t be caught in a photo.

What we want to remember
is our moment of awe
when we crested that hill
and gasped at the painted landscape.

One bluebonnet looks just like the next
up close.
They are not zebra stripes, nor snowflakes.
Their power lies in the collective,
beauty in numbers.

Let’s put down our cameras,
keep our kids in the car,
stop stopping on the side of the road
to see the blanket turn to threads,
the ocean of blue become a dried up lake
of bald spots and litter.

Let’s just drive, look,
enjoy with our windows down.

Make a U-turn if we must.

© Carie Juettner

BluebonnetsAtDusk

Bluebonnets at dusk, photo by Carie Juettner, March 15, 2016

The Night Before Deadline

TheDesk

 

The Night Before Deadline

‘Twas the night before deadline, and all over my desk
not a character stirred—the manuscript was a mess.
The computer was on, the cursor was blinking
in hopes that a plotline would soon enter my thinking.

The coffee cups were empty, the blogs had been read,
yet nothing—no nothing!—danced in my head.
I’d just poured the wine and sat down in my chair,
lamenting the fact that life’s so unfair

when suddenly in the back of my mind came a spark,
a tiny dim flame that lit up the dark.
Away to the keyboard I flew like a bat,
toppling my wine and disturbing the cat.

The monitor glowed with a whiteness so bright,
illuminating a screen empty of type
when my desperate eyes, full of repentance,
saw letters and words and even a sentence!

With such clever language and the skill to enthuse,
I knew in a moment it must be my muse.
At eighty words per minute, her ideas arrived,
and she crafted and molded them, brought them alive

with similes and metaphors and unique turns of phrase,
without tropes or adverbs, nor worn out clichés.
From exposition to denouement,
she filled my story with suspense and awe.

When the last word was written, the document saved,
I thanked my muse and decided to be brave.
“Please,” I said, “will you show yourself?
I’ve no idea if you’re human or elf.”

“I yearn to behold the face of the being
who inspires the writing I do that’s worth reading.”
There was a jingling sound, a flash and a shimmer,
and the air in the room seemed to get thinner.

For only a moment, my vision was blurred,
then on my desk perched a girl like a bird.
Her fingers were pencils, her toes were erasers,
her teeth, when she smiled, were sharper than razors,

perfect for cutting unneeded description
and murdering darlings with flawless precision.
Her feathery hair was purple and long,
and her delicate wings were the color of song.

She wore loose-fitting clothing with numerous pockets;
around her neck, hung trinkets and lockets.
Her colorful pants were rolled up to the knees
and ornamented with stitched memories.

She wiggled her nose and winked one green eye,
then stretched out her wings and started to fly.
“Wait!” I called, finally finding my voice,
“Can’t you stay? Must you go? Is there no other choice?”

“Think of the work I could do in a year
if only you stayed by my side, always near.”
She blew me a kiss and tickled the cat,
and said, “Silly writer, where’s the fun in that?”

Then, with the jingle bell laugh of a sprite,
my muse fluttered out into the dark night,
but I heard her whisper as she took to the skies,
“Now that it’s written, don’t forget to revise!”

© Carie Juettner, 2015

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HAPPY HOLIDAYS to all the writers out there! :)

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[Remember– if you comment on my blog posts between now and December 31, 2015, you’ll be entered to win my book giveaway!]