I’ve been here for two weeks, with a weekend break teaching in Albuquerque. It is difficult to arrive at an artist’s residency, and difficult to depart, as if there is an invisible ring of fire around the experience. I’ve had unlimited soaking in hot springs, slow quiet days in a funky town, written about the solar system, and my childhood.
Things I Already Knew:
I’m easily bored.
I’m in pain.
New Mexico makes me happy.
I don’t care about the “poetry biz.”
Things I Realized:
I might naturally be pretty happy.
I can enjoy Giant Walmart.
My subconscious isn’t under my control–dreams, associations.
I don’t know what “spiritual” means.
Home tomorrow, God willing and the creek don’t rise.
I’ve been fretting over a poem I’m writing about Pluto. Michael sent me a poem of his that references the planet. To read this beautiful piece, do click to enlarge.
Poem first appeared in Borderlands, Issue Number 50, 2019.
My First Creative Moment
by Karla Linn Merrifield
Many, many moons ago—in 1967—my brother inspired my first poem, a short one of two stanzas that lamented our relationship: “I love him much/he loved me one,” went one line. I copied the poem out of my diary and onto a scrap of notepaper, which I passed the next day to my boyfriend Victor during English class. Our teacher, the wonderfully engaging but draconian man named Dennis McGuire, spied my surreptitious action, swooped down the aisle and snatched the note before it reached its destination in Victor’s hands. Without further ado, Mr. McGuire tucked the poem into his planner. I expected punishment. A special report on Ivanhoe? Writing “I will not pass notes in class” a hundred times? A conference with my parents? But, no punishment came. Whew! I guess the embarrassment was enough in my teacher’s eyes.
But the poem didn’t languish. Several months later, the junior/senior high school literary magazine appeared, and there between the covers was my poem! Mr. Maguire had submitted it on my behalf and suddenly I was a published poet! What a thrill to see my words—and my name—in print. And classmates were stopping me in the hallways to congratulate me and rain kudos upon me!
I never looked back. To become a poet was my destiny and it remains so these fifty-three years and 800+ published poems later. I’m still striving to live up to the man who saw in me a potential I had no idea I possessed even though he’s been gone from this Earth for two decades. His wonder never ceases.
I met her in a residency, Art and Soul, in Truth or Consequences, New Mexico. Compelling!
made by a writing workshop I taught at Jules Poetry Playhouse in Placitas.
Healing Machine (untitled component)
Outsider Art Visionary Worlds and Trauma
John Michael Kohler Arts Center Collection