{missing: one perfect dress}

This is the story of the Technicolor Dream Dress.

It’s a really short story.

Once upon a time, I was asked to attend a big work party for Tech Boy’s job, and tried to find a dress that would say that I was smart and gracious and well-educated and chill, and nice, and a good partner to my Person. Once upon a time, I thought The Right Dress could be the magic to speak all these things, things that would defuse questions like, “where did you meet?” or worse, “where did he find you?” or “I would never have pictured the two of you together,” questions and commentary for which there is really no appropriate response. Once I believed the Right Dress could turn “have you written anything I’ve read?” which means “should i make the effort to know you because you’ll be famous and make money?” into “Oh, a writer. Interesting.”

Dresses, however, are just clothes. Laying all of that at the thin and insubstantial hem of a mere dress was an insidious lie, and a little sneaky way of allowing the -isms to dissolve me, a way to attach moral authority and social privilege to appearance and race and gender.

identity crisis

once upon a time
i wore what i wanted to
played hard and scraped knees –
actions spoke louder than clothes.

now i am at sea
fallen in over my head
and ready to drown
now i bleat out plaintively
“is this ‘right?’ is this dress ‘me?'”

Once upon a time, I realized I will never find the perfect dress. And, after a few deep breaths, that will be all right.

{pf: p7 repeats the anaphora}

Happy November!

We’ve made it this far! Only a few more days ’til the Midterm Election madness is OVAH! …and then, we start the next Presidential cycle… God Almighty, preserve us…

Okay, so today the Seven Sisters are not honestly repeating a poetic form – this is a new one for us. I’m punning on the repeating pattern of words in the anaphora, which I love. (Also, shout out to my sisters, none of whom are actually nuns, though the idea of a nice long dark dress and a contemplative lifestyle definitely has its merits just now!) Our theme was, loosely, grace in the face of loss. Gratitude, while letting go. The end of the season, the end of a day, these are losses in their own way. I have a poem about surrendering the cares of the day in my head but it didn’t get finished in time…

The anaphora poetic form is, in some respects, fairly simple. It’s not confined to syllables or pentameter – any style of prose or poem will do, as long as one uses the repetition of a word or phase. It worked for Winston Churchill and Martin Luther King, Jr. It’s part of the swinging cadence of sermons and political speeches (which we’re all paying avid attention to this month so we can VOTE, right? Right). So, on the surface, this was one of the easier challenges I could come up with for a very, very busy month.

Do you ever get the feeling that October is like kicking a ball downhill that only picks up speed in November? Most of us have snatched a moment here or there for poetry this month, but it’s not been a time to stop and smell the roses for many of us. Thus, today’s poem is… meant to recapture the last time we really could slow and observe things as we wanted to — childhood. I thought of Robert Louis Stevenson’s 1929 “A Child’s Garden of Verses,” and this became a child’s autumn verse – celebrating the moon and the muck and the bugs in a new season, and all the adventures to be had evading bedtime, at the end of the day. If I’d thought about it, I could have finished the poem with the morning and giving up the loss of night time, but, oh well. I’m taking a page out of Laura’s book today, and combining the poem with an illustration.

I’m grateful this poem came to me, because everything else I came up with was really heavy and dark, and — no. Enough with that right now. This is a month of gratitude, and so I’m thankful for the opportunity to stop and hunker down in the weeds to see what treasures might be discovered.

Other discoveries this month are at Laura’s blog. Tricia’s poem – which she is probably still tweaking – is here. Liz is ,a href=”http://lizgartonscanlon.com/2018/11/poetry-project-november-2018/”>burying her lede. Andi joins us again this month, Kelly’s poem she composed on the fly while Sara’s traveling and will post later this month.

Happy month of gratitude. I’m thankful that Poetry Friday today is hosted over at the amazing and vote-centric Alphabet Soup by Jama-j, who is all things awesome.