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Archive for July, 2010

Summer Coming Of Age

Dead Girl’s Road

Julie Buffaloe-Yoder

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It’s not the dead ones

you should be afraid of

Jimmy said that time

.

when we were kids

sneaking out

after midnight to hunt

.

for glowing ghost lights

down Dead Girl’s Road.

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The woods were thick

with ticking crickets,

frogs and bicycle tires

.

and we had Cherry Nehi

on our sticky lips and

walkie talkies made with

two tin cans on a string.

.

We sat in August steam

shivering on a rotten log,

while the big round eyes

of souls rose slowly over

.

warm dark water–a foxfire

of red, yellow and green

around our bare feet.

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I could feel the heat

of spirits sighing,

climbing up my legs,

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and he held my thigh

tight to keep me

from running away.

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Then high school came

and cramps and breasts

swelled and Jimmy

loved me for a while,

.

then he died trying

to chase dragons

made out of cocaine.

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I was still too young

to hold the moaning

sorrow of ghosts.

.

Instead, I kept the fear

and his spirit clinging

to my bare thighs like

.

summer lights alive

and breathing fire

down Dead Girl’s Road.

.

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I will be offline again this week.  As of tomorrow, I won’t have internet connection at all for a few days.  If you leave a comment after today, I’ll get it posted by early next week.  If you don’t, that’s cool, too.  Thanks for stopping by.

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I’ve been looking through my Stack O’ Crazy for a see you next week poem.  Hmmm.  I’ll have to write that one.

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But here’s an older poem about love, intentions, and how good it feels to just sink under the mud sometimes.  I was also intent on coming home.  It’s one of my intentions that actually became reality.

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Many thanks to Ouroboros Review for publishing it last year.  Please take some time to read all of their issues.  I hope you have a great week.  See you soon!

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Intentions

.

Alligators have them.

Silent, surfacing slow,

searching for dens

in winter, forgetting

water, food, breath.

.

I have them, too.

Salt-blue, suspended,

closing the lenses–

waiting for wind

.

to take me down

low, shifting

black water trails

.

between sweet

cypress knees,

creaking pine, sky

split open, red,

.

where you and I

will dig deep

then sink soft

.

into a muddy bed

of bubbled swamp

past sleeping snakes

through dark roots

.

one half-moment

of slow beats,

so warm, gone.

Julie Buffaloe-Yoder

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.

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This one was inspired by an e-mail exchange with a younger poet who was just getting started.  She asked for publication advice, and I gave her all the usual blah-blah about submissions.  Her response was, “But can’t I just give my work to editors when I go to parties?”

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Bless her heart.  She thinks it’s a glamorous life.  Actually, she might end up on the cover of Poets & Writers.  She is very talented and is in a situation where she may meet some big connections.

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Still, I warned her about thinking in those terms.  I urged her to think about what motivates her.  Why is she writing? For applause?  Bright lights?  So she can go to parties?

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Our motivation affects what we produce.

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Many poets (myself included) love to be published.  I’m no big deal, even in the small scheme of things.  But I love when it happens–publications, awards, grants, pats on the back, free food, or whatever any kind person will give me.  A truck driver out West reads my poems to his buddies, and that thrills my soul as much as a publication does.  I love all the acknowledgment.

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If you tell me you don’t like praise, I raise my eyebrow in instant suspicion.

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I also love to come on here and tell everyone about it.  Maybe a few people will continue to read in the future.  If I ever become a big deal, will I like that, too?  You bet I will.  It’s my work, my real job.  It’s one of the reasons I was born.

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I spent over a decade not showing my work to anyone, not even family, and now I think I was nuts.  What’s the point of hiding it under a desk?  The dust bunnies and spiders don’t give a crap what I have to say.

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But if your goal is publication, you’re missing the whole point.

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Most of us are not in situations where some big wig will open an ivory tower door and invite us inside.  Many of us will die in obscurity.

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None of that matters.

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What matters is the craft.  A real poet or writer keeps working and learning, no matter what the world thinks.  No matter how tough times get.

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We should never forget the art.  Or the reality.  Or the work and the sweat.  Or the stories that need to be told.  Or the sheer pleasure of creation and communication with another human being.

When Asked By A Younger Poet

For Publication Advice

Julie Buffaloe-Yoder

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Stay at home and read

when all the pretty people

are at the pretty reading.

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Punch yourself in the face.

Strip naked and run through

a funeral procession.

.

Dive head first off a cliff.

Sell your blood to pay the rent.

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Go stand outside a university

or a bar or a publishing house

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and ask someone’s protégé

to slam the door on your foot

every day for the next decade.

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Rub yourself with Limburger cheese

and make the folks at the clubhouse

love you just for your lovely words.

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Enjoy the praise you get today.

Tomorrow, your name will be who?

.

Have this tattooed on your forehead:

Published Poets Are A Dime A Dozen.

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Never stop telling what needs to be told.

Never be satisfied with what you’ve done.

.

Twenty years from now,

your mother will still love you.

.

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