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Unmarked Crossings: a poet and her journeys

Oscar Night and Day Four

I can’t say why, but I am sleeping for nine or ten hours each night here. Perhaps it is the total silence or the nearly-total darkness (I leave the night light on in my bathroom, so I don’t become disoriented too badly should I have to get up in the night). Whatever the reason, I am getting ahead for at least two of my personal Three R’s (Writing, Rest, Rejuvenation)—rest and rejuvenation. I am writing, however.

Yesterday, I finished what I consider a pretty good first draft of my poem about the surviving victim of the 1966 Richard Speck murders. I had written several pages of notes, along with some attempts at a poem, but nothing was coming together. The manuscript in which I feel this poem will be placed has several form poems. There is a heroic sonnet crown (fifteen sonnets strung together by their first and last lines, with the last of the series being comprised of the first lines of the other fourteen sonnets). I have included several sijo poems (a Korean form that makes me economize and get to the point in poems that might otherwise drag on). The two title poems “Echo I” and “Echo II” (named after the two satellites sent up by the U.S. in 1960 and 1964) were written in the sestina form, so that repetition in the form “echoes” the cyclical nature of a satellite appearing then reappearing in the night sky.

For the Speck poem, I chose a Greek form, the anaphora. In the anaphora, a phrase is repeated over and over for emphasis. Since the poem reflects on the one girl of nine who escaped that night, I chose to connect her to the ninth muse, Melpomene, who was once a muse of singing and dancing, but became the muse of tragedy. It worked. I’m happy with the result.

Yesterday afternoon, Charles asked if any of us wanted to accompany him to an Academy Awards party at some friends’ home on the island. Of the six of us here at Kangaroo House, I was the only one who chose to go (primarily because I felt I had actually gotten some work done during the day yesterday). So, Charles loaded up Campbell, the resident B & B dog (who is of undetermined breed(s), but is about the size of a small pony) and we were on our way. We stopped at the market in Eastsound to pick up some snacks to take to the party. I also bought some food for the next day, as we are to provide our own meals here, except for the breakfast. I bought a roasted chicken, hummus & pita chips, and some deviled eggs. When we arrived at the place for the party, however, I realized I could not trust a ninety pound dog shut up in a car with a roasted chicken, so I took all my bags inside!

It was a great night. I only knew Charles, but was welcomed by the others there. The house was a sort of modern lodge-type structure with high ceilings covered in cedar and a huge stone fireplace at one end of the living area. There was a deck that spanned the west side of the house with a spectacular view of East Sound and Turtleback Mountain beyond. The food was wonderful—fabulous pizza with everything imaginable on it, fresh chicken soup, a salad with fruit and cheese in it, and some Lopez ice cream (made fresh on Lopez Island). it was great fun to be with some interesting people as we watched the Oscar program unfold. Great conversation and wonderful food in a new place—how cool is that?!

We returned about 9:30 (12:30 a.m. for this Kentuckian), but the house was already totally quiet. I checked email, peeked at Facebook, then read for half an hour before drifting off for the next ten hours (again!). I could get used to this, you know. When I came down this morning, there was orange juice, fruit, granola, and that great, locally roasted and ground coffee already awaiting me. Within twenty minutes, Charles came out of the kitchen with a plate of hot cherry/pecan scones, each with a drizzle of some citrus frosting. Yum! As others came down for breakfast, the talk turned to how each of us had met our significant others. That’s where I’ll stop. I don’t think anyone cares to know how I met my dogs…
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