Open Poetry at Bear Pond Books, Tonight…

So, I’m hoping to get in on the open poetry reading tonight at Bear Pond books. It’s all done by lottery now, a policy which seems to have lowered the number of participants, since its institution a couple of years ago. Crossing my fingers… Meanwhile, here are some new poems.

Jackrabbit

Jackrabbit sits

On your breastbone

Skitters across ribs

Does nothing to bring solace – alone

You press sweaty palms to cool linoleum

And cry…

Black out poem from a page in “Summer Girls,” by Mary Alice Munro

From the west

Across heaven

Straight to the edge,

Her heart

Clutched

Leaped

Leaned…

She almost lingered there,

Stopped at the edge,

Called,

Called out,

She said,

“Oh!”

Angel In the Fire

Life is short. We’ve all heard/thought/been told this fact, but I am experiencing it viscerally this year. I’m going to be 52 soon. I have. No surviving parents. My aunt on my mother’s side just turned 83, and I have lost friends and relatives to sickness, old age, cancer, and addiction related organ failure.

Recently, my sister contacted one of my cousins and he told her that the old farm in Ferriburgh is now owned by one of my “grand-cousins” (I know – that’s just not the term, but you get it.) He and his wife are now running a beef farm on the old dairy farm! It’s exciting, and strange. How is it a place, or a building can hold such nostalgia for us? Change happens.

So, in light of this I am pledging to myself to begin creating a REAL FULL production of my choreo-play, “Angel in the Fire” in the next year or two. To that end, and because I am now learning how to do it, I have recorded some of the poems as podcasts. As I move along, I will keep you abreast of the progress on this project.

Enjoy!

Kim

This is: “Angel in the Fire” the theme poem:

 

 

Bringing Pagan symbols into my poetry…

Many years ago, while in a full time relationship, working a job I hated but needed, and helping to raise my sister’s eldest son, who was twelve, I took a year off from work to recoup from, well, all of that, and began to study and practice seriously as a Pagan.

I took that opportunity to study a set of ancient symbols which had always fascinated me, the Runes. What I learned about ancient magical ideas, Icelandic, Norse, German, and Anglo Saxon ancient cultures, the appropriation of the Elder Futhark (a set of runes originated by some Teutonic tribes in the area of Germany) into the Nazi regime and symbolism, were all fodder for my creative mind.

I found that Futhark stood for the first 6 runes in that system, (Fehu, Uruz, Thurisaz, Ansuz, Raido, Kenaz) just as Alphabet stands for the first two Greek characters that now make up our alphabet (Alpha Beta). I also learned that the generous images needed to be grounded in my own experiences, culture, language, and time.

To that end, I began to write some single stanza poems about each of the 24 Runes. My plan has always been to create some sort of collection with them.

My question about it has always been, does the poetry translate for anyone but me? Here are two of the first poems – not necessarily in the order in which they come in the Futhark – “Fehu,” which stands for “cattle or prosperity”, and Ansuz, which stands for “God or Word of God”.

Fehu

Fehu, fussy calf, short pink tongue questing,

Prosperity, your cattle are huddle in the field,

Feoh, that fuzzy-at-the-horn-root calf

You know if you come close to the fence

I’ll offer my hand as a sloppy sacrifice,

Just to feel your slick tongue seeking.

Look upon me with your dark eyes. The fields

Are still wet with dew, and my head is full of dreams.

 Ansuz

Ansuz, God, mouth of time,

Moth of words, wisdom of the Wyrd.

Inside that hole, we part, Grandmother.

God takes the tongue and roots it elsewhere, lights your bones

With eternal flame, sets them deep beneath my own skin.

Goddess slips her tongue over your buried bones,

Drills the cipher to my life deeply against my

Hip, and shin, breast and skull,

And the blessings burn.

Compelling? Confusing? Intriguing? What would you call these? I was reading a lot of old Icelandic poetry in translation while studying these, and I worked to try to follow the single stanza/syllabically-styled poetry, while giving the individual Rune name, followed by its definition, followed by my own interpretation of what the symbol meant, at least in my experience of modern Northern New England Culture. Oftentimes, what ended up coming from that was longer poetry with more of my own narrative. Poems like Green Mountain Runes, which is included in the Birchsong, Vol II that is out this month, and which incorporates the idea of Fehu/Cattle into the poem with the lines “…Fehu, prosperity/ which, first generation, meant sheep,/ more sheep than one woman could sheer/ and not go bleary-eyed, and bloody-handed, home…”

I will leave rest of this poem where it is (inside of the Birchsong collection) so you can read that when you grab yourself a copy of it from Northshire Books. or listen to it on April 14th, when I will be reading at the launch, at Northshire, in Manchester, VT.

 

Meanwhile, write on, McDuff!

Kim

Happy Poetry Month

Here is one of the poems I have out now, in Birchsong Volume 2: Poems Centered in Vermont.

Recipe for Honey

Becoming the sound of bees is not as easy as you would think.
First, take a cup of despondency & fold in
With a pocketful of compasses made of afternoon light
& late summer pollen with just a pinch of sky.
Sprinkle some loyalty to a singular woman on top.
Add a penchant for following the crowd.
Stir in a saucepan on low-heat –
The kind of warmth that comes from
A late August sun at Lughnasa –
Once it all comes to temperature
Simmer and wait for the sound to come.
When it does,
Dive in headfirst
And hum.

I had a couple of poems in Volume 1, as well, a few years ago. You can purchase Volume 2 here

Comedy… a Young Man’s Game Full of Dick Picks and Vagina Jokes??

KimWard Unicorn
No Penis Envy Here… just a Uniquecorny (not to be confused with being  uniquely horny)

So I’ve been resting on my laurels a bit since finishing my ‘whirlwind tour’ of 4 open mics last month. For a newbie in comedy not a bad start, especially since I’ve got several other irons in the fire. I’m going to go ahead and do the local open mics again this month. Laugh Local and Stroke Yer Joke, in that order (more below on that).

The other night I went to see FemCom over in Barre at Cafe Espresso Bueno. The night started with the sweet voice of Linda Young and for a set the wonderful jazz guitar of Danielle O’Hallisey. Local musicians performing some lovely music by which to dream of spring.

Afterward, the comedy got started. Five women doing comedy. Riotous! And such a wonderful feeling of solidarity to see all women doing comedy on stage. As many of you may know already, the world of comedy is not so different from the world of Role Playing, Magic the Gathering, and (at times) Gamergate  in that it is full of MEN, dick pics, and vagina jokes. Not something I am opposed to at all – men doing comedy – men in general – dicks or vaginas  in general (or in jokes for that matter) – but when the scales tip so precipitously to all-male showcases and media, it really pisses me off and bores me.

I never did get up at the open mic in Burlington last month, due to our late arrival and all that white knuckle driving in icy weather on my crap bald tires of my crap Toyota Yaris… but when I got there, the numbers seemed a bit better in terms of the male-to-female ratio. What was astonishing – even though I know it to be true – was the extremely young demographic at the Burlington open mic, and the fact that a younger crowd onstage seems to skew all of the subject matter toward Tinder, dating, dick pics and vagina jokes…again, funny now and then but thin in the long term and boring after 20 comics in a row.

There’s a reason that some of my favorite comics are Jackie Kashian, Kathleen Madigan, Maria Bamford, Eddie Izzard, Jim Gaffigan, Robin Williams, (like he NEEDs a link here) and Mike Birbiglia. These comedians have something ELSE to talk about besides sex. And low and behold, they are all currently over the age of 30. Coincidence? A symptom of slowly seeping hormones & bone degeneration? Or a sign of maturity? You decide.

The male dominance in stand up comedy IS changing, but that’s like saying “But we won Roe v. Wade!” Then looking at the folks running for office at every level in this country not right now, not to mention the curren
Oh yeah! I’m a Unicorn (Unique and Corny)t case load at the US Supreme Court level.

Another example you say? TRY to set up a channel for comedy on Pandora without typing the word woman or ‘women in comedy’ and see what comes up; ALL MEN for hours and hours, male comedians from time immemorial to present day. Where are the women? How about Moms Mabley or Jean Carol? How about Phyllis Diller or Joan Rivers? How about Lilly Tomlin or Tig Notaro? Hell, how about Jackie Kashian or Maria Bamford? Nope. But when I play the ‘Women in Comedy’ station, after about five women, I start getting Louis CK and Jim Gaffagan as ‘people like Jackie Kashian.’ Really guys?! And I don’t say “people” here for a reason. WTF Folks? I love both of those male comedians, but don’t you see the problem?

OK – Rant over. You can see me at the following shows this March, probably with no dick pic jokes – (maybe with some vagina jokes…)

  • Laugh Local – TONIGHT – Friday March 11 at 8pm (Free) at the American Legion Hall, Main Street, Montpelier.
  • Stroke Yer Joke – Friday March 18th 8pm (Free) at Cafe Espresso Bueno, Main Street, Barre.
  • Vermont Comedy ClubWednesday March 30th at 7pm (Free) If the weather’s good (& I’ve bought new tires so we’re good there!) 101 Main Street, Burlington – CANCELED Due to other projects…

Keep laughing folks, it’s the only thing that keeps me sane some days…

Kim Ward, aka Girlusinterruptus

 

Time for Sleeping Beauty to Wake The Fuck UP!

I’ve had Caitlin Moran’s ‘How to be a Woman’ signed out from work for a week. I’m only supposed to sign books out one at a time, and only for a week. Yet I haven’t cracked the cover. I’ve meant to read the book since I first saw it in the bookstore. I began reading her new book “Moranthology,’ today while at work. I’d finished a new post for this very blog, while on lunch and thought, “God/dess I’ve got to work on my blogging skills,” when I discovered Moranthology on the shelves. She had me at “People like people who bring cake!” And I had to finish the book. So I bought it. So I’m halfway through it. While her book, How To Be a Woman sits languishing, whispering, “I’m do back at the store, Sweetie!” In a creepy Poltergeist-y, ‘there here!’ voice. I’m hooked.

Is it the allure of consumerism that made me buy the newer book while the free signed-out book sat languishing? Or was it just my frustration at my own prose and the fact that I usually want to crack the cover on something escapist when I go to bed, and so avoid nonfiction in the wee hours of the night?

So I was supposed to go to the house of some friends to see the last episode EVER of Downton Abby tonight, an invitation which I have habitually blown off the last two seasons. The only excuse I could come up with for not going has been that it’s cold in winter in Vermont, and DARK… <petulant foot kick> and I don’t feel like going out once I get home and comfy in my chair with my cat shedding in my lap… All of which are true. This weekend, I was determined to go.

“See you SUNDAY!” I said with a pointy gunny finger and a wink, but the time came and – yeah, nope.

So I was watching a documentary “Winter on Fire” on Netflix when the time came to go. So I’d been struggling to write all day with some kind of – ANY kind of – clarity and feeling like it just wasn’t happening. So I had a wicked headache as I watched the Maidan Square in the city of Kiev in the Ukraine burn and the police beat the shit out of people who had been protesting peacefully and was feeling a bit like – really? We’re going to go watch a PBS show about the dying aristocracy in England circa 19th century while the Ukraine STILL continues to burn? (At the time that I am writing this, the body count for the Ukraine Civil War is 9,000+) while Donald Trump gets more and more popular here in the US even though his speeches have been paralleled to Hitlers? (And yes, let me say I am not unaware of how many comparisons to Hitler have been made during the five decades since WWII ended and how often they’ve been conflated.)

And it dawned on me that I just couldn’t do it. I couldn’t indulge in escapist television tonight, even though the main goal was socializing. I feel so strongly that our society here in the States has gotten further and further anesthetized to the realities of the world – I’ve been likening the US to the last days of Rome for a good many decades – since college – and I just realized THAT 30 year reunion has come and gone recently – that I couldn’t spend the night imitating the country we broke from over 20 years ago – for good reason.

It’s time for Sleeping Beauty to wake up. Perhaps she needs to be willing to be pricked by a few needles. Perhaps she needs to just put on some chain-mail gloves and just spin the fucking spinning wheel. Get out there and DO something. Kill her TV.

It is done…

Said the creepy man in the horror film… Moo ah ha hahah…

I did it. 4 Shows in a month. January 31st through February 19th, I got up onstage and did my funny thing. Overall it was a success. My god! You’re kidding me!?!?!? Last night’s show – open mic at Cafe Espresso Bueno. It was a small but appreciative crowd and the folks were funny. Thanks to Espresso Bueno and Soshanna for hosting us!.

This week I’ve decide to start collecting funny sounding words and phrases. I share this week’s with you here:

  1. Wiffenpoof
  2. Whiply Weedlash (aka Sniedly Whiplash)
  3. Toxic Tickledicks
  4. Venomous Plot Garglers
  5. Gardyloo! (Exclamation required)

To explain…The Whiffenpoofs, and acapella group from Yale will be performing in Montpelier, Barre and I think at the Flynn this week… Gotta say that several times… Wiffenpoofs, Poofinwiffs (gives another whole connotation, doesn’t it?) My sister was trying and couldn’t for the life of her remember Sniedly Whiplash’s correct name the other day. All she could come up with was Whiply Weedlash? Weedly Sneidlash? WTF is his name, Kim?! While in the other room, her boyfriend as going “It’s Sniedly Whiplash!” And the 3rd and 4th on the list come froms that old chestnut, Chuck Wendig. These are a couple of insults he was throwing out to the losers at Huffington post who were bragging that they don’t pay their authors on their blogs  because, and I paraphrase here, divorced of money their bloggers’ posts are ‘more authentic’ because they WANT to write. Assholes. And finally, Gardyloo! Is a term used in Ireland when someone would throw the fillings of their bedpan out the window. Originally in French: “garde à l’eau! look out for the water!”

So with that in mind, I go out in search for more interesting words and etymologies to entertain myself and you! If you have any cool words you’re enamoured with, give a shout out in the comments section below.

“May the funny be with you”