No Degrees of Separation

Happy Poetry Friday! (Wondering what Poetry Friday is? Click here.)

Logo by Linda Mitchell

Howdy, poetry friends, and welcome! During November, lots of writers were doing NaNoWriMo. I don’t write novels nor want to, so I sometimes come up with some other challenge for November. This year, in my Facebook Group just for Patrons, I opened up a 30-day challenge, and a few of us picked specific goals. Then we checked in with each other. These were mostly small, manageable things (except Jessica Coupe, who watched a lesson/tutorial and tried a new digital illustration technique every single day!). I vowed to write a first draft of a poem every day, and I shared it with the group–not for critique, but just to be accountable. I did it! A poem a day! Okay, a few times it was 9 pm before I remembered to do it. But whee! And many of the drafts are terrible, but that’s just part of the process.

Here’s draft 2 or 3 of a first draft I liked. I started it while standing outside Great Clips in 8‑degree weather waiting for it to open! (And no, the poem has nothing to do with hair.) And then it went from there. I posted a video in the FB Group sharing the whole process. It’s so strange to see documentation of my process, because if I don’t share about it immediately, I usually can’t remember many of the details!

This still needs work, but something in there feels worth working on. Last weekend, my husband and I went to a Leonid & Friends concert. A Moscow-based band that does covers of Chicago and other bands with horns. But they have members from all over Eastern Europe–Ukraine, Belarus, Romania, etc. And their message is one of unity. Of music bringing us together, and NOT of borders and wars and killing. Even though I only knew maybe 1/3 of the songs, it was really just a joyful experience and vibe.

And for lots of wonderful poetry, don’t miss the Poetry Friday Roundupwith watercolorist and poet Michelle Kogan!

28 Responses

  1. Your work is always lovely, whether it’s an early draft or a polished poem. Thanks for sharing your words.

  2. I agree with Janet F. Sheets here! I really like your poem, its message and all that goes with this crazy world we are part of. I love how you have the fragile wings. We are all fragile and strong and the sadness of all those who are lost way before their time because of anger and craziness in this world. I pray for everyone. No one deserves these terrible loses from violence and hate. I am too involved in several projects but I still love your posts that come to me via my email. Love to you, Laura. BTW I noticed on your video yesterday that you looked particularly lovely with maybe a shorter style and then saw you last night, So nice.

    1. Thanks, Janet–fragile and strong, exactly. Thanks–got a haircut recently–same haircut I was showing up to get when I brainstormed this poem, in fact :>D

  3. As always, thank you for your words and generosity, Laura. I mostly made my November goal, but am definitely learning to be more poetic in my daily musings.

  4. I admire the goal, Laura, & that you made it happen! This poem feels important, a strong message for us that no matter the circumstances, gun-toting or airy wings, they are all us! That feels good! Thanks for sharing & have a nice weekend!

  5. Thanks for sharing your poem — agree that it has a strong message. Love the dragonfly’s slim airy wings bearing slivers of dreams! And congrats on meeting your November challenge goal!

    Leonid & Friends is a very talented cover group. They’ve become somewhat controversial lately because of the Russian war with Ukraine (Serge T., former lead singer who’s from Ukraine left the group because of political differences). He cannot fathom how his former bandmates and friends could carry on touring the U.S. as usual while Russia is murdering his countrymen. He’s bitter that they haven’t done anything to protest the war (silence is compliance).

  6. Beautiful, Laura. Wow. That’s an awesome draft. I like your approach to NaNoWriMo, too: a time for accountability.

  7. Your poem (draft) draws me in with its very real and scary realization, but I’m especially drawn to the glimmer of hope in dragonfly wings, so fragile and so beautiful.

    1. Thanks, Margaret. There are bits of this draft I love. Parts of it don’t quite hang together, but I hope to come back to it…

  8. Oooh, there’s a lot of depth and uniqueness in this draft. This is a new avenue for your poetry and I’m here for it.

  9. Hi Laura! That d r a f t is a stunner. I held my breath about the handgun tucked into the waistband. And so beautiful, to hear & feel the beat of that International music time. Recently I’ve appreciated convos with health care provider, from Russia & feel fortunate to hear about young adults in a small city of that country.
    Thank you for this post.

    1. THanks, Jan, for your kind words. I wondered about leaving that gun hanging, so to speak. But…guns are everywhere. Sometimes it’s a low-grade anxiety rather than outright fear, because they’re so prevalent I can’t muster fear about them constantly. Ugh. Isn’t it good to talk to individuals from a country and remember that the government of a country so often doesn’t represent the wishes of the individuals. God knows Trump did not represent my feelings or attitudes in any way, shape, or form!

  10. Your poem is breathtaking! That dragonfly wing-width that represents the closeness of our shared humanity…wow.

  11. Thanks for this beautiful and powerful poem written between a “dragonfly’s slim airy wings” and “bearing slivers of dreams—“lovely Laura! And what a wonderful night of music it looks like you had.

    1. Thanks, Michelle. (I worked hard on those two lines, and I’m so happy they resonated :>)

  12. This is such a beautiful post, capped by your poem. Draft or not…it’s the truth and that’s what hits me as a reader. I love a good monthly poem challenge. I find it really difficult to do during November which is a busy, busy month for me at my day job. I’m proud of you for sticking to it and being able to say, done! Yay!

    1. Thanks, Linda! I was SO proud of meeting my challenge. I mean, a lot of my first drafts were throwaways, but it was a commitment of at least a few minutes per day to focus on my favorite thing–poetry! You do have to pick the right month, though! No sense sabotaging yourself by adding a challenge to a month when you’re already in the weeds! xo.

  13. Beautiful poem! And you know I love a good challenge. Today, I’m finishing a 5 for 30 challenge for myself where I dabbled in a picture book for at least 5 minutes every day for 30 days. I started out with a lot of lack of direction. I’m finishing with a rough draft! That’s a win.

    1. That IS a win! I’m now curious about how many different picture books you dabbled in throughout the month. Isn’t “dabble” a great, low-pressure word?

  14. Wow, Laura, that’s a very powerful poem. I did not expect that turn from Kevin Bacon to the dragonfly’s wings. That is quite a thought trip in so few words — just great.

  15. I tried to comment earlier, Laura, but I don’t think it ever went through? This is powerful!

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