Miss Ottava Rima

shortly morning came to ever daring Patch
while babies mewed in circles, purely in cult.
skipping ‘cross blackened roads, tugging on my sash
apron brims with paper, food for the adult.
I rummage through my bag, reading of the clash
eggs now cracked on solid ground, meat for insult.
Patch looks over shoulders, asking who will creep –
Dandelion summers, when all oversleep

*Cat No. 10 of the 500 Cats Project

How a laptop became a limb.

 

“Hi Kris. I have an overall comment for you – a lot of your sentences were awkward and convoluted. Try to be as straightforward and concise as possible in all of your writing. You can view the tracked changes to see how sentences were revised to improve the flow. Let me know if you have any questions.”

Why thank you, kind editor. A reminder to not complete copywriting tasks three hours after midnight, drinking Red Bull with a thud in my chest. No such pressure balled into fists. Just a girl, her laptop, a notebook, and a can of the vilest sugar. It is my vice, quite honestly.

Technical and sales-oriented writing are new to me, bitter to the tongue but acquirable with time. Though tedious, it pays better than cashiering at the Italian restaurant across the street during a typical weekend. They have enough servers, and my experience hardly meets minimal expectations. I’ll stick with this course.

Web content, though speedily done once you’ve completed a good three or four tasks, makes me squirm. I like that I’m learning to write content in a space with little breathing room, but often, I’m desperately trying to touch the edge of that minimum. 250 words a section is hard. I’m not so attuned to the crisp and catchy. I tend to crowd…convolute. A bad habit? I wouldn’t call it that. More so, just a penguin out of place in Death Valley.

Aside from reading the extensive track changes that only remind me of the ways I drain just by speaking, I can say the following:

– I have learned that much of what we learn is absorbed through auditory pathways.
– Voiceover narratives may just decide whether your employees remember what blood borne pathogens are.
– Real estate lawyers can be guardian angels in the war against your Homeowner Association.
– A certain lawyer in America’s Southwest wants to take all cases to trial. Mediation’s criminal.
– Again, lawyers achieve utility, when family-owned ice cream shops endeavor to use real strawberries.

The organic anathema.

And copywriting is not organic. But I’m sure you could tell by the flavor on the label.

Chianti, beaches, beautiful women, and paradise in Rumors of Cortez

“Henri asked the angel what happened if you  had nothing to possess, his face pressed to the glass, trying to see the empty fields below.

The angel said, then the light will descend upon you and you will be clothed in it.”

Jeffrey Levine, man of assorted talents, not only writes poetry but maintains a blog at http://jeffreyelevine.com/, walking aspiring authors through the writing and traditional publishing processes. Here I came across Rumors of Cortez, a 2005 collection of poetry assembled in five parts. Often massaging a worry stone as I think of which of my many thoughts to say or write down, I thought I’d buy a copy, and take some time to listen. I tell you, these 83 pages of linguistic melody will be read, re-read, and kept as inspiration, both stylistically and conceptually.

Levine incorporates the extended line, while few poems in Rumors are presented with considerable white space. The writing I would call demonstrative of stream-of-consciousness or continual flow has the potential to overwhelm, bog the reader down and perhaps frustrate her to the point that she does away with the work. Rumors doesn’t do this. Each piece guides you on a journey, walking on a Downtown sidewalk where a beautiful woman waits, to admiring the majesty of the sun-kissed Galapagos. Of course, Part IV’s sojourn into Rome with Orpheus and Eurydice may emerge most memorable to readers. It can definitely hold its own among accompanying pieces, though verses of the Adam and Eve we can all relate to serve well as a sensual prelude. Where love drops by, longing lingers. “There’s a Hole in the Screen” reminds us,

“Bach was right. Joy is all in the desiring.”

Wanting, possessing, remembering. Levine’s implementation of these potentially heart-wrenching topics works to carve an image you can take anywhere, a fantastic conversation starter. Something relatable to much of what you see everyday. Those who appear in Rumors – Nana, Henri, Caruso, and others – possess a longing for love, adventure, passion. Chopin, Eurydice, Orpheus, and other prominent figures aren’t so intimidating when we see that they too, are blushingly imperfect. Remember a time you were so preoccupied with a gadget, a hobby, a video game? Orpheus develops a fixation with his camera, while Eurydice ventures through the catacombs, alone. I found this scene most striking in that it reminded me of relationships where one felt guilt, persisting in a disconnect while the beloved other was so close by. Think the man on his computer, surfing the Web, while his wife is asleep in the other room, wishing they could spend just a little more time together.

Levine couples the classic and contemporary to where the two become one. In essence, Rumors is “stopless.” I read these poems at a moderate pace, absorbing the richness of each long line, breathing in the fragrance of beaches, oceans, seagrass, the grand Pacific. The vitality of red, photographs of paradise, and descriptions of birds with personality recur throughout Rumors. While readers may leave this work thinking about that Ferrari, its preceding trinkets lend the collection a touch so richly organic.

Often, in the world of the average, everyday reader, life gets overwhelming. Simply, it’s “stopless.” Rumors serves as a constrained, yet intricate alternate universe, albeit so realistic. For the traveler, these poems may bring back fond, spectacular memories, despite the problem of characters forgetting from time to time. And even for one who hasn’t wandered out of her nest for quite a while, Rumors can comfort. Inspire. Inform. Pick up a book on French. Get introduced to Descartes. Learn basic Italian, and grow familiar with regional recipes. Plan that trip to Rome. Easter Island, Puerto Ayora. As the poem “Comprimario” states:

“When one is ready to leave, even a single wooden spoon is enough to stir the world.”

Rumor of Cortez is a worthy guide to worlds within a globe that keeps on spinning. Levine writes, “In our country the only currency, my best girl, is longing.” In multiple aspects, these poems suggest that maybe, we are all from that country.

I’m sorry for this potato.

This is what they call a “potato.”
an image obviously snuck away
with a mobile phone, in poor lighting.
but I don’t mind.
This is the norm.
It’s either this or sweet n’ sour chicken.
But, I don’t mind either.

Watch me from that bench,
snuggle me whole and cheerful.
do whatever you need to do.
before 8am tomorrow.

I will likely be here.
a yellow-eyed potato,
sleeplessly sitting on this bumpy floor.

*Cat No. 9 of the 500 Cats Project

Outside the Office of ____ & Associates

On this dreary day
skies of stoic timberwolf
remind me of the smirks
across Boss’ mouth
when groups of four, six
sometimes two
sit before his desk, an office of oak
discussing how to prove
the dismal Collide
mapping out the screenplay
of “Who hit who”
the past two weeks, indeed,
are opportune for business
me in a suit
something about putting myself
on a loud, wide billboard
something about the value
of my nine lives
I’ll tell you that these joints
are sore from time to time
but not because some kid
chose to drag race on my street
and while they cry and pester
I know it has more to do
with the silliness of his retainer
So, while this consultation
drags on into the evening
I’ll sit outside, the watchdog
hoping to God, you’ve got a D.D.

*Cat No. 8 of the 500 Cats Project