Dear Tribe of Mat & Pen~
How are your self-care practices sustaining you in this time of COVID?
Me, I go to Star Market in a bandana facemark and grey plastic gloves mailed to me from my mother in Florida, buy the roasted chicken someone I'll never meet at 8:30am took out of the oven, ticked the time with black magic marker beneath the cardboard carrier's handle so I'd know when it arrived. And the guy in the dry goods aisle, restocking the shelves, masskless, gloveless, sees me searching for slow rice, asks if I need any more help because he too is desperate for connection. And CVS can do 1-2 day prescription delivery--only my insurance doesn't allow it, so I arrive to the automated door, to shelves empty of toilet tissue until 8 am tomorrow, while Flour bakery has figured out how to create contactless takeout five days a week, and a sticker on the bag with my first name, last initial and a hand-drawn smiley face above tips on how to stay healthy.
This current health crisis presents us with a paradox: I know firsthand how hard it can be to step into creative space when the world is full of uncertainty. And yet it's been poetry that has guided me through the darkest of nights, and my own free verse continues to find undying truth in these words by poet Robert Hass: "The metrical poem begins with an assumption of human life which takes place in a pattern of orderly recurrence with which the poet must come to terms, the free-verse poem with an assumption of openness or chaos in which an order must be discovered. The free-verse poem insists on the first stage of sensual attention, of possibility and emergence."
It’s also been proven scientifically that deep creative flow states nourish our rest, digest and reflect response and help us build emotional resiliency. During times like these, and in crafting our poetry, we need to have people who mirror back to us our commitment to emergence and possibility, who embody our undying connection to sensual attention and our shared humanity, like the masked sales clerk whose native language isn't English but could hear me from behind my makeshift mask after I dropped my chicken on tthe concrete outside Star Market's automatic door, and helped me when I asked for an exchange. A chaos that made way for a re-discovered order.
I'm calling out to you one last time to be part of our “6 Weeks, 6 Poems” remote poetry community hosted by GrubStreet. Starting next Tuesday, May 5, we’ll meet every Tuesday from 10:30am-1:30pm for virtual coffee, tea and poetry. We’ll talk craft, workshop our poems, read contemporary poetry and connect in creative community. We’ll tend to our basic human needs for oxygen, community, giving voice to our humanity and creating beauty in this equal parts beautiful and broken-open world.
6 Weeks, 6 Poems
Begins Tuesday, May 5 10:30am-1:30pm
Space is limited to 12 and the virtual classroom is continuing to fill: CLICK HERE for more info & to secure your spot.
In Poetry & Creative Sustainability,