Poetry Month Is Fast Approaching–Send Miriam’s Well A Poem!

Happy spring equinox! Hot Springs is in my rear view mirror-sad to leave, happy to be home! Or actually, headed out on some more travels, and then home! It’s a restless time of year–spring fever!

Looking ahead–April is poetry month. I’ll be blogging a poem a day, often using work from the last year of the blog. But mostly YOUR work!

Miriam’s Well is glad to blog previously published work–just send the credit. Please send the poem in the body of the email as well as by attachment or pdf. Fancy indentations and italics don’t work too well in wordpress, so these may get lost. Also–looking for concrete poems, 1 word poems, tiny poems, images that might “count” as poems, haiga, translations, and more. Email for blog is msagan10#5@aol.com


Weathergrams done with kids–and some adults–at Ozark cultural center, Hot Springs National Park

Who’s Irish?

Who’s Irish? I love that story by Gish Jen, with its complicated answer. Yesterday, everyone in Hot Springs was wearing the green, including the springs.

I’ve long noted the compelling attraction between the Irish and members of my tribe. I won’t speculate as to why–just to say I’m delighted to have my son-in-law’s clan in my life.

Since I’m not Irish, I can’t really say say what it means to be Irish…but from the outside the good parts seem to include the never ending fight against oppression, the spiritual belief in freedom, and the search for justice.

Hot Springs, with its history of healing, currently houses a large program that trains disabled folk to enter the work force. The school also provides students and community with a 3 course lunch–for $1.69, as part of their culinary training.

Cutbacks would end all that. On St Pat’s, protestors made their point.

Out in the Community

Out in the Community

Last night, I went to the open mike at Kollective coffee house in Hot Springs. Billed as the longest running open mike in the USA—it has existed for well over a thousand Wednesday evenings.
Normally, at home, I probably wouldn’t go. I’ve spent an inordinate amount of time listening to poetry—often big groups. But here I wanted to see the Hot Springs scene.
The line-up was excellent, and very diverse. I knew I wasn’t in Santa Fe anymore when folks read about crashing a Confederate rally and some awkward confrontations with Jesus. And some poets just passing through on spring break. The headliners were from New Wave, a group of young African-American performance poets from Little Rock. Local favorites, they pulled off a strong combo of rap rhyme and personal vulnerability. Plus, an emphasis on collaboration and community. They got a standing ovation.
The MC did a special job—giving each reader a bit of recall and praise. I was touched to read about my experiences here, and get to plug the artists-in-residence program with the park. Some local folk had invited me and we sat and chatted—about moving to Santa Fe!
Santa Fe poetry’s scene can appear diverse in terms of people, but it has a shared aesthetic. Not everyone fits, but I’d summarize it as—emotionally open, imagistic, leaping poetry…and Pablo Neruda is God. It has one of my favorite audiences anywhere—with audible sighs of appreciation, oohs and aahs as if we were at a fireworks display.
But what I enjoyed in Hot Springs was just a deep level of acceptance for approach. However, a word of caution for the beginner. It seems that many people start off by writing about personal pain—the pain of isolation, and of romantic failure. Nothing wrong with this, but it isn’t enough. Even your pain at social injustice doesn’t completely do it. The world is a big place, and it has a lot more than you or me in it. Try and find that.
Hats off to the longest running open mike in a town that is also a national park!

Crossing The Stream

At the back of the campground–my temporary village that is now bustling with kids on bikes due to spring break–I heard there was a “wooden bridge” that crossed to a trail. I couldn’t find it, because it turns out it was stepping stones–at that point submerged due to a flow of rain.
Eventually they emerged–enticing, daunting. I’m pretty crippled, and slick is not my thing.

But I just had to cross. And let me say it was a lot more exciting for me than for the average person! On the other side, lovely woods with some redbud and a sudden feeling of being away…then a daunting flight of steps UP. I’ve been adding a few minutes every day. I don’t think I’ll get to town, the end of the trail. But at least I’ve gotten out.

It turns out that many of the visual artists who have stayed in the cabin have painted or photographed these very stones. They are a barrier, and they lead somewhere–the essence of creative process.

stepping stones
too old to cross
too young not to try