Thursday, August 4, 2011

Draft Process: Inventing Rain

92º ~ rain to the north and west of us, not likely to head our way, the skies already lightening from dense gray to hazy blue, angry at being passed over again

In case you've missed my quite obvious obsession, I do not do well with long stretches of extreme weather.  This past spring, we had flooding rains for weeks and weeks, which included the unprecedented closure of the interstate between Little Rock and Memphis.  Now, we have record breaking heat.  Yesterday, we topped out at 114º before the heat index was calculated.  Today, we are supposed to get to 106º.  I've lost track of the number of 100+º days.

As I set about writing a draft for today, I couldn't shake my obsession.  As I sat at the desk with my BIC (butt-in-chair), staring at the sad leaves on the tree outside my window, I noticed something.  No cicadas.  I have no idea if they are gone for the season or not, but they've been my accompanists these past weeks, and now, silence.  Thus began my drafting.

Listen.  Today the cicadas are silent.

No drilling, persistent rattle,
but plenty of perfect skin-forms
still cling to the siding and trees.

(Eerily, just as I typed the above, I began to hear the cicadas again...I hope I haven't angered the cicada gods, as I'm not fond of the little buggers or their skins.)

The poem became "Inventing a Rain Spell" as the speaker went about collecting the skins and creating her own ritual to get it to rain.  The poem alternates between single-line stanzas and tercets, beginning and ending on single lines. 

Close friends know that I am, frankly, freaked out by these skin-shells.  My husband, C., likes to collect them in his man cave.  They give me the willies.  Too perfect for me to believe they are dead tissue, I imagine them flicking back to life at any second.  So, the poem was a bit of a departure for me as the speaker actually handles the skins.  Also, just getting the picture for the blog today was grossing me out.  I can't really look at the image directly.

For something prettier, I finished my journal today.  Here's what it looks like.  BTW: I realize there's some thing going around the internet about "putting a bird on it" and how women should stop doing that.  Well, pppppplllllllllbbbbbbbbbbbttttttt (raspberries) to that.  I love birds and I won't stop just because some hipster thinks they've become a cliche.  So there.


Nancy Devine said...

i find long stretches of hot weather exhausting....cold, not at all.
i've not seen the "put a bird on it" thing.

Erin Lynn said...

Sandy - - I love the first few lines of your new poem - cool!

Sandy Longhorn said...

Nancy, go to It's from some online series called Portlandia...I think. I saw it on another site, can't remember which that basically made fun of women who put handmade things up for sale on Etsy featuring things with birds on them. I still say, plllllbbbbbbbbbtttthhhhh.

Erin, thanks so much!

Kathleen said...

OK, I have seen a photo of a bug expert friend of mine eating a cicada. (Just to creep you out.)

Likewise, raspberries! AND I think I planted some black raspberries yesterday by burying some I got in Michigan. Hey, it worked with my cantaloupe, now blooming!

Sandy Longhorn said...

Kathleen, please ask your bug expert friend to seek the help of medical professionals. That's just wrong! :)

I love the idea of burying fruit and then seeing what happens. No investment beyond the sweat of the shovel.