Nightland

Scan-023b_back_yard_delano (Medium)

We lived for years and everything
was easy. Our fingers understood
thorns, so we could touch each
other’s hair and roses had a scent
that the mind wasn’t forced to imagine.
Clouds appeared and passed slowly,
so we only had to look up.
In life — Dear God — there were oranges,
rivers, violins, and hours just
waiting for the bread to rise.

In the Nightland, years go by
as we struggle just to remember
those gifts. There is no fruit
no sense of taste, no gentle breeze
to bring the clouds toward us
from the sea. We spend a century
imagining brown hair tucked
behind a girl’s ear, then go on thinking
of papers tacked to a crumbling wall.
Because now we are merely dreams
that never end, forever fading,
slowly forgetting the living world.

J. Kyle Kimberlin
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I took the photo above about 30 years ago, in the back yard of my grandparents’ home in Delano, California. As I was editing the poem I began to think about the photo, which I hadn’t seen in years, and about trying to find it in the old albums. All photos start out as images of places, things, or people. But over time, some become images of memories.

The photo has been cropped above. See the original here.

Tiny Kites

These are my words.
See how each lines up
behind another and they wait
like tiny kites to be lifted
by the wind. I think
maybe they are nervous,
shocked by the fall to earth.
So they lie among shards
of paperbark in the long grass,
strangely happy, just glad
to see that I am near.

J. Kyle Kimberlin
4th Draft, 10.05.2014
Creative Commons Licensed

Hate Distractions?

Me too. I’d rather have writers block – I prefer the term writer’s clog – than be set upon by distractions when I’m trying to write, read, study, pray, or simply cogitate. Maybe ideate is a better word. You know, ponder the next few most fitting words and their best order.

Here’s a nice little common sense article on minimizing distraction.

I’m a big fan of distraction-free full screen plain text writing apps. My favorite, as I’ve said before, is WriteMonkey. It’s free and it’s awesome.

I notice that there’s no mention of trying to influence other people not to create unnecessary distractions. It’s highly unlikely to do any good. We all know that there are ways to engage – such as email – that merge with a person’s workflow instead of stopping it. But there are always things that seem for the moment to be too urgent to wait for the next email check. So it goes.

Don’t get me started on voicemail. Too late. If I had my druthers, we’d all stop using that neolithic timesuck tomorrow and never look back. … Oh, I suppose I can see where it’s still needed to get contact from people who are using a landline phone. But why anyone with a smartphone leaves a voice recording for another person with a smartphone is beyond me. But I have digressed.

The article’s suggestion not to listen to music you especially like isn’t a surprise to me. I usually don’t. Not only is the desire to listen closely a distraction in itself, but I find song lyrics influence what I’m doing, for better or worse. So I like to have white noise – nature sounds – playing in the background when I’m trying to concentrate.

Tonight I have the sounds of thunder and rain, which nature has all but forgotten here in southern California. I don’t think it has helped me write a very good blog post, but maybe it will bring us good luck otherwise.

Wish for Rain

I wish it would rain
every morning
while we have coffee.

There the dog waits
in cool shadow, there
the fountains rise and fall.

Heavy gray drops
the size of grapes.

Pray for blue skies
each afternoon
with the birds singing,

eating seeds as the rain
moves away. And a following
wind on the sea.

J. Kyle Kimberlin
September 17, 2014

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I see that we are

a new poem

Nothing and More 

Buzzards_2014-09-03b

Now I see, we are flesh and reason,
bone and fear.
I see that we are wind and feather,
stone and love,
and dust on the tired furniture.

Now I hear that we are symphony and snarl,
the buzz of bees
and the growl of the highway.
I hear that we are
mockingbird and newborn scream.

Now I know, we are blade at the throat
and a bed
of blue flowers. We are hawk’s flight
and mass grave,
starlight and gunfire.

We are nothing and more
than we have ever believed.

J. Kyle Kimberlin
September 15, 2014

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