Veronica's Garden

I originally started this blog to promote my novel, Post Rock Limestone Caryatids. Now I write essays and poetry about everything, including the Flint Hills, healing, parenting, etc. WARNING: emotional content, sometimes intense. Read at own risk of feeling.

Tag: poetry

Flight of Unknown Birds

Flight of Unknown BirdsI’m very pleased to announce that my new book of poetry, Flight of Unknown Birds, is available on Amazon. Some of the poems in it you’ve seen here at Veronica’s Garden, some have never been shared publicly, and some that had been published here have been revised.

I am very appreciative of you readers here at the blog, especially those who have commented. Dialog and critique are essential for developing writing skills, and several of you are named in the acknowledgements in the book. Much gratitude to you.

It’s currently only electronic, but if you prefer a print book, watch for a print run early in 2019.

This was one of my goals for the year, and it was more difficult than I expected, but I did it! What did you achieve this year?

Soon, very soon now . . .

Flight of Unknown BirdsAfter I completed NaPoWriMo, I had enough material for a chapbook, and I decided not to waste any time on it. I printed up some of my best in order to shuffle them around and decide on the order, but I misplaced the file a few days later. Eventually I gave up on finding it, so I started over. Made some revisions and additions and removed some because I didn’t think they were thematically consistent, so it’s a better book for my having lost it (which still rankles, anyway).

Some months later I was ready to take it to the bookstore that has a printing system, only to find out that their machine won’t be in working order until sometime after the new year. So I had the choice, wait some more, or epublish now. I decided not to wait, but still publish in print as soon as I can.

There were technical delays, and now the year is in its final days, like an old cat who’s moved into the bathroom to die. Nobody will get my book for Christmas. But the good news is, it’s been submitted! So maybe your friend who’s getting a reader for Christmas will download it the day after, or during those in-between days before the New Year.

So Merry Christmas, Wondrous Solstice, Joyous whatever holiday you like! I am not a total deadbeat, I have produced something for the world, which I think has some value. It can be yours very soon.

NaNo Rebel

blank book pages desk green

Photo by Pixabay on

I’m not NaNoing* this year, still haven’t finished the last NaNo novel I wrote, and I have several other projects I need to finish up before I start a new novel. But my daughter informed me that I can be a NaNo rebel, and do whatever I want, so I decided to commit myself to cleaning up some things and getting them out. I’ve been working on a poetry book. I’d thought I would publish a print version, but that seems to be stalling out, so as a last-ditch effort, I’m going to publish it electronically and maybe put it into print early next year. In any case, it will have a lot of the poems you’ve seen here at Veronica’s Garden, some revised and improved; and there will also be poems I haven’t ever published.

After that I have a couple short stories in the works, and maybe I’ll work on that other novel this month, too. It will be better for my having taken a break from it, but only if I actually do finish it.

As for the notorious NaNo word count, I’m arbitrarily assigning word counts to the formatting and revising work I’m doing, based loosely on how I feel I’ve done in a day. Yesterday I gave myself 800, for a good effort but only about an hour of work. Today I spent more time and felt like I moved forward well, even to the point of designing a cover! So I gave myself 1600. That’s almost the NaNo daily goal to reach 50,000 words by the end of the month. Look at me! I can be so successful when I make up my own goals and arbitrarily decide whether I’ve met them or not.

What are you doing for NaNoWriMo?

*NaNoWriMo is National Novel Writing Month.

Mind vs. Body

Dang, but my poetry is messy these days. It’s why I haven’t been posting much, though I’m still writing. I feel like everything needs major work before it’ll make any sense whatsoever. This one is a perfect example, but I think it’s kind of about the messiness while demonstrating it, so I’m posting right away, and you can take it or leave it.

Mind vs. Body

What does the body mean,
when it changes or moves
or doesn’t move? This
conglomeration of tissues, organs,
fluids, that somehow manages
to be one animal, presided over
by a mind which thinks itself
separate. Godammit, listen to me,
the body says. Things are changing
and we need time to adjust. You
off floating around in outer space,
pondering unimaginable enormities
while we are down here performing chemistry,
digesting molecules, identifying that which
needs to be gotten rid of, constantly breathing,
pumping, organizing, keeping house.
Give us a freakin break.
Okay, says mind, but there’s
a little thing called a checkbook.
It’s just a thing to you, but to me
it represents abstractions that,
long story short, are relevant
to stuff you care about, like food,
and a comfortable bed to sleep in.
Don’t get me started on geopolitics and
Oh for heaven’s sake, shut it.
Balance your goddam checkbook
instead of yoga, we get it.

It goes on like that all day,
mind and body struggling
to get their needs met,
both knowing they need each other,
but not sure exactly why,
or what they’re even talking about.

Where The Wall Meets The Floor

Bugs come in through cracks around the windows and doors
and probably also along the line where the wall meets the floor.
Seal up the cracks? Trade crickets for gnats.

Bugs come in, and they draw spiders
like a movie star trails friends,
prey and predator inextricable.
Spiders make webs, eat bugs, leave tiny black and white spots
on the floor, lay eggs, make many more tinier spiders,
make lots more webs.

A Sisyphean task, keeping the webs down, endless sweeping.
But even if you closed the door and walked away and
did not enter that room for many years, the process would continue,
if not intensify. There’s no avoiding it. Nothing to do

but keep sweeping. Scrub those tiny black spots.
Keep an eye out for webs. They’re all around the windows and doors,
also along the line where the wall meets the floor.

Vulture Girl Drives Through a Rainbow

(Note from Veronica: Here’s a quaint poem from Rachel, who lived back in the early twenty-first century, in the days of casual driving. I like to think we might have been friends, had we lived in the same time. I share with her a love of rainbows and vultures.)

Vulture Girl Drives Through a Rainbow

I’m driving to town, going to the bank to fix some problems,
looking for a place to sell some watches which I have
recently inherited. There were too many to keep, though
I am wearing on my wrist one very elegant, oversized (for me,
small of wrist, as it is said was also my ancestor who has unknowingly
bestowed upon me his collection of watches) timepiece which
uses the natural movement of my body as its power
source. Automatic seems too rote a word for this fine thing.
I’m appreciating perhaps for the first time the admiration
some carry for a watch. I open my heart to let go.
To hold tightly to a fine, precision time-measuring
device, oh, too cruel the irony. I imagine
that my barely-known ancestor, the one with the small wrists
like myself, a former doctor who saw lives end as well as begin,
was a man of enough wisdom to enjoy a nice watch simply.

There is a new force in me of late, or an absence of something
which was once there, a dissipation of attachment to the material
which formerly held me. Ever clumsy at transformation, I have been
assured that my ancestor would have approved of my
changing these fine things to pure medium of exchange.
It is fitting. I’ve long claimed the vulture as my totem,
feathery escort to the next place, teacher of the love of the end,
which marks the beginning. I’ve never loved life more than now,
this year closing to fall, but I intend to love it simply.
May I be eaten by vultures when I no longer inhabit my body.
There is no death.

I’m driving to town on a sunny mid-afternoon,
and I see a rainbow, which is uncharacteristic for this place,
a place where sun, rain, and horizon synchronize and synthesize rainbows
casually as a summer storm, but late in the day, as the rain
clears over before the sun sets. Today there has been no rain.
The rainbow growing brighter. Will I move through it?
Which I believe is impossible, or rather
that it is not how one usually sees rainbows. Anything
is possible. Anything is possible. The rainbow is always there,
always everywhere, a phenomenon of the sun and earth and
her atmosphere, of light and waves and air, of sphericality.
The eye being only one part of many, which happens to catch the
visibility, upon occasion, of an event which is always happening.

Driving and watching this rainbow, growing brighter, closer,
I see rain from the clouds behind it, rain
which hasn’t fallen on my home today, and, being in
the east, will not. This is uncharacteristic, as storms
move west to east. Driving into a storm which
quickly changes from tiny sprinkles to big plopping drops,
wipers wiping as fast as they go, the
rainbow no longer visible, or visible only behind.
A freak storm, manifesting on the other side of me
from where it never was.

Driving out of the rain, it’s only been a few miles and
it dissipates back to droplets, then the windshield is dry.
Then vultures, a hundred or more, gliding
high, high, neat rows as if in formation. They ride the heat
rising off the highway, or the currents in front of a storm.
They always leave earlier than other migrants,
well before the freeze: they need the warm air
to lift them to flight. Year after year I’ve missed
their autumn leaving, only noticed they were gone.
I’d sought fruitlessly to study the midwestern leg of their long,
long, migration to where the seasons turn upside down.
O blessed day, today I am selling off
the watches and seeing a rainbow and high up the
vultures, circling slowly to the south. O blessed blessed
creatures who see air, effortless gliders, dark eaters of that
which is left behind, my heart beating gratitude for your
luscious, lovely gift.


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