An Elegy for Birds & Bees

Lavender Kiss_Matthew Harper

“Lavender Kiss,” by Matthew Harper

An Elegy for Birds & Bees

“When a woman pretends to press her life down into a nice, tidy little package, all she accomplishes is spring-loading all her vital energy down into shadow. ‘Fine. I’m fine,’ such a woman says… Then one day, we hear she has taken up with a piccolo player and has run off to Tippicanoe (sic) to be a pool hall queen…”                               Clarissa Pinkola Estés

over & over in habitual drone
i repeat a phrase in my mind that no one knows i say
because i have not told
i am saying i’m done
but this being done
is how i know i will never be done
though my climbing son
a speck eighty feet high in a skyline of swaying cedars
can heft the storm clouds away
from his own silvery horizon
& my seeking daughter
has tenacity enough     without me
to prize out four leaf clovers
from speciously green reaches
_____but i will never release
this breath of finality that i keep
choked in my throat behind earnest songs for my children
no     & i will swallow the rising bile
when the Northern Flicker perches
on our aluminum chimney top     puffed-up
so proud in those marrow-less bones
of his impervious skull’s clever     territorial ricocheting

being done happened
within my own sinew-lined pelvis
the cracked bowl
filled     drained     & refilled
with meticulously rich essences
long after anything living had been fed
the relentlessly heavy     gnawing
red slough of losing myself
to nothing     for nothing
frightened me
_____& so     i had the offending flesh cut out
the fossilized rind that was left is now locked
with its un-told stories
beneath eons of hardened sediments

this being done happens in spring
while i am driving alone
it happens quickly
in instants of lapsed attention
in overzealous moments of stony apathy
when windshield wipers stick unexpectedly
or when sudden     pink shafts of evening sun
transmute newborn lambs bucking
for tender grass & mother’s milk
into silhouettes haunting the roadside
_____the being done
is all these countless     fleeting deaths
i tear into strips     soak in chewed glue
& fashion together to house myself
in a prodigal    crinkled    purgatorial prune

these tiny     stinging      imprudent suicides
should all be spirited away from their haughty blooms
& borne into the ancient hive
clutched industriously
to the undersides of fuzzy exoskeletons
_____there     my secret     greedy orchestrations
would become coded in sacred routines
my life programmed in dance
& propagated by ecstatic waggles & fastidious figure eights
to a crescendo of communal comprehension
of the one     seminal purpose
of the being done that shall be

done at all costs
the Queen’s Royal Jelly must be
sealed with wax in her hexagonal vaults

STEPHANIE L. HARPER

“An Elegy for Birds & Bees” first appeared in the 2015 edition of Slippery Elm Literary Journal — thank you editor Dave Essinger for your gracious and validating support of my work! — and is the title poem of my new chapbook, This Being Done, available NOW for order at Finishing Line Press, and scheduled for release in June 2018.  For more insight into this piece’s inception and the role it played in informing the collection as a whole, check out my recent Q&A with Robert Okaji.

My heartfelt gratitude goes out to everyone for your investment in (as well as your abiding engagement with and enthusiasm for) my work. It truly means the world to me.

FIVE CREATIVE USES FOR MY BOOK, FROM EVERY MOMENT A SECOND

Hey Folks! Sir Robert Okaji of the Vorpal Pen has now added Trend-Setter and Guru of Repurposing to his C.V.! Let’s just say, Kerouac’s got nothing on Okaji in terms of name-dropping-acquired “street-cred” — not to mention the latter’s impeccable taste in *cover art* 😜!
Bottom line: No home should be left un-accessorized — much less unprotected — by these scorpion-swatting (equally effective on spiders for domiciles of more northerly latitudes) symbols of social aplomb!

O at the Edges

More than just poetry!

So you don’t read poetry? No worries. This book is a multi-tasker’s dream. Buy it and let your practical nature take over. No reading necessary!

1) Scorpion swatter – let the aggressive, pain-inducing arachnid know the full weight of poetry! SLAM! No more second moments for you, scorpion!

2) Coaster – a half-dozen copies of the book will keep you out of the doghouse, if you, like certain unnamed poets, occasionally, and without malice, set sweating pint glasses of frothy ale directly on antique cherry end-tables. Just place a copy of From Every Moment a Secondon all tabletops and flat surfaces around the home, and never worry about marring the furniture. Put your beverage glass directly upon the colorful cover, and let the poetry perform its magic. Who knew that paper was so absorbent!

3) Body armor – well, maybe not. The pen is mightier…

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Recording of Bottom, Falling

Have a listen to Sir Robert Okaji’s impeccable voice — to accompany his masterful, must-own collection, FROM EVERY MOMENT A SECOND, now available for prepublication order (see link below!) at Finishing Line Press!

O at the Edges

bird silhouette

“Bottom, Falling” was published in Into the Void in October, 2016, and appears in my forthcoming chapbook, From Every Moment a Second, available for prepublication order at Finishing Line Press.

femas-mock-cover

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Order Link for Robert Okaji’s New Chapbook is Now Up

This sublime, new collection by our favorite poet in this world, Robert Okaji, is not to be missed!

Bob enlisted me to be his cover artist for FROM EVERY MOMENT A SECOND, and the ensuing creative endeavor proved to be nothing short of the honor and privilege of a lifetime, the result of which I’ll be unveiling on this blog soon!

O at the Edges

From Every Moment a Second

The prepublication sales period for my new chapbook,From Every Moment a Second, begins today, June 13, and runs through August 11. The book’s tentative release date is October 6. Please note: prepublication sales determine the print run, which means this stage is crucial in terms of how many copies will be printed and the number of copies I’ll receive as payment. So if you feel inclined to help, and are able, please purchase your copy during this period.Order here.

Many thanks to the members of this blog community for supporting my writing. I sit alone in my shack to write, but you are there with me, just a keyboard away. I am truly grateful for your wisdom and humor and willingness to help me traverse the strange and wonderful worlds of poetry and publication.

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May 2017 Tupelo Press 30/30 Challenge!

TP3030-logo-360

I’ve really done it now… Starting today, for the month of May 2017, I will be participating in the Tupelo Press  30/30 Challenge—a program that both raises funds for a non-profit champion of the literary arts, and provides an online platform for poets to showcase their humiliat-er-heroic efforts to take their writing practices to new, poetic heights—which means that I will be relying on a month-long, panic-induced adrenaline surge to compose a new poem each day for 30 days!

But wait…there’s more!

In order to make my poetic endeavors as fruitful and rewarding as possible for all involved (because, face it, I will involve you, one way or the other), and to encourage your generous funding of a cornerstone of literary excellence in the independent publishing industry, Tupelo Press, I hereby offer these valuable incentives for DONATIONS in the following amounts:

$15: Commission a Sonnet! Shall I write of Rainbows? Broccoli? A Colonoscopy? Porcupines? A Holiday or Event? Your wish is my command (as long as it won’t get me arrested)!

$15: Specify 3 words for me to include a poem. If it’s Google-able, it’s fair game!

$15: Name that Title! You provide the title, and I’ll provide its poem in an unspecified format (probably free verse, but it could end up being rhymey and/or metrical). If you can think it up, I’ll give it my best shot to do it justice!

$25: Combo Deal! Choose any two of the three options (Sonnet and Words, Words and Title, or Sonnet and Title).

$35: Best bang for your buck! Combine all three options!

Donate Here , then submit your assignments to me via my email . Your requests will be honored in the order in which they are received.

$Any Amount: Express your support for this worthy cause at your discretion! Your vote of confidence in me (and in the poetic arts) will be of enormous help!

Thank you, Everyone, for your support and enthusiasm as I take on this unprecedented (for me…) challenge!

Let’s make some poetry!

My poem, “Prologue to My Birth” is up at Bonnie McClellan’s International Poetry Month Celebration

Lavender Kiss_Matthew Harper

My poem, “Prologue to My Birth,” is up at esteemed editor, translator, poet and artist, Bonnie McClellan’s 2017 International Poetry Month Celebration! Bonnie will be featuring a poem per day for 28 days following this year’s theme, “Neural Networks: The Creative Power of Language.” I hope you’ll enjoy following this rich, diverse, international network of creative voices. Thank you for your support!