Flavour–a found poem

I cheated. I didn’t write a new poem this time. I just used the same poem that I did last time I took WordPress’ Intro to Poetry course, but in my defense, it was Easter weekend and there was a lot of chocolate around. This poem still really resonates with me and explains my relationship with food and body image. No matter how many years removed I am from the most active years of my ED, the basic feelings are still there. You will be happy to know that I have a copy of The Body Image Workbook: An 8 Step Program. You will perhaps be less happy to hear that I’m still stuck on Step 2. When the critical words have been sounding for so long and so loud, it’s really hard to fight them. Even with years of therapy and a workbook. At any rate, enjoy the poem. And as always, thoughts and suggestions are welcome. https://www.amazon.ca/Body-Image-Workbook-Eight-Step-Learning/dp/1572245468/ref=asc_df_1572245468/?tag=googlemobshop-20&linkCode=df0&hvadid=292878870607&hvpos=&hvnetw=g&hvrand=9722736123658970086&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=&hvdev=m&hvdvcmdl=&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=9001194&hvtargid=pla-439226669252&psc=1&ref_=d6k_applink_bb_dls

Judy, Judy (with thanks and apologies to Bill Martin Jr. and Eric Carle)

Judy, Judy
What do you see?
I see a fat girl looking at me.

Fat girl, fat girl
What do you see?
I see an overbite looking at me.

Overbite, overbite
What do you see?
I see tired eyes looking at me.

Tired eyes, tired eyes
What do you see?
I see an ugly face looking at me.

Ugly face, ugly face
What do you see?
I see Judy looking at me.

Judy, Judy
What do you see?
I see a woman who barely believes
In her need to be.
Yes, this is what I see.
How can I break free?
From this vision that I see?

Judy, Judy
Time may set you free.
Time may set you free.


judy (Photo credit: capturalosaccidentes)

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I’m not even sure what day of the Intro to Poetry Writing Course it is. All I know is that I am behind. This is Day 6–the prompt is Screen. I know that a mirror may not be considered a screen, but I figure it’s close enough. Plus, every time I have to teach my students online, I see my face staring back at me the entire time, and it’s not a pleasant feeling. So maybe a poem about my reflection is just fine, since the Zoom world of the last two years has only made me focus on my flaws even more than I did before. Sigh. The poem is patterned after the classic children’s board book, by Bill Martin Jr. with illustrations by the late, great Eric Carle. Not sure if my new thing is to just try to imitate other writers within my own writing, since I’m just getting back into things and can’t seem to find my rhythm yet, but this seems to be what I’m posting lately. I remember Stephen King writing in his book, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft, that writers learned by imitating other writers and that it was good practice. Of course, I can’t for the life of me find the book at the moment to pull out the exact quote and I cannot find the quote online, but I swear he said this! As always, thanks for reading and feel free to comment below or email me just, even if it’s just to say hello! It is always appreciated!



Intro to Poetry, Day 4: Imperfect

There once was a poet named Judy
Whose writing was really quite moody
She strove for perfection…

Photo by ivabalk, http://www.pixabay.com
As I get further into WordPress’ Intro to Poetry course, the less motivated I am to complete it. Take Day 4: the topic is Imperfect, and the challenge was to write a limerick. Rhyming poems have never been my thing, but I decided to try anyway. And not surprisingly, I have failed and am left with a half written limerick. However, this might just be a brilliant move on my part to embrace the theme—for what is more imperfect than an unfinished poem? Yeah, that’s what I’m going to stick with. This imperfection was intentional. And now dear readers, will you help me finish what I started? All suggestions welcome. 

I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry (with thanks and apologies to Hank Williams)

See that lonesome, lonely girl
She looks too weak to try
The Sixty Bus is late again
I'm so lonesome I could cry 

I've never seen a class like this
I sit and wonder why
I ever thought it was for me
I go home and start to cry

Did you ever meet a girl like me
Who let you say goodbye?
When I loved you more than you could know
I'm so lonesome I could cry

The tired sun sinks to the earth
Lights up the prairie sky
And as I wonder who I am
I hang my head and cry

                                       J. Amy (2016)

Today's WordPress prompt was "Journey." Technically, it was the prompt from two days ago, but I'm a bit behind. I wrote this a few years ago about my university days, and I figured that fit the theme, and since I don't think I've posted it before, I thought, why not? A dear friend recorded my version for me, but unfortunately, my WordPress plan doesn't include audio, so you will have to sing it on your own. 

I can probably recite at least some of the lyrics to most of Hank Williams' songs. I don't usually listen to music when I'm writing, but when I do, it's almost always Hank Williams. I can listen to Hank Williams for hours...

Hank Williams was my father's favourite singer-songwriter and I was introduced to his music at a young age. On our long summer road trips, we heard a lot of Hank Williams. At first my sister and I made fun of the yodelling that made Hank stand out from the other musicians our parents subjected us too, but after a while we settled back into our seats and just listened. And after about five summers, my sister and I didn't even feign dislike. We just listened, and sometimes we even sang along. As teenagers, we had already intimately experienced the heartache Hank was singing about. 

Bob Dylan said of Williams that "The sound of his voice went through me like an electric rod." I suspect that my father felt the same way. After my dad died, I tried to figure out why Hank Williams had such meaning for him. I played his music over and over, trying to find a definitive connection, only to find that the connection I was looking for wasn't between my father and myself, or between Hank Williams and my father. 

The connection was between the darkness and the light that Hank sang about, through deceptively simple melodies. In the film "I Saw The Light" (2016), there's a line where Hank Williams says, "Everybody has a little darkness in them. I show it to them, and they don't have to take it home." The light and darkness of which Hank sang connected everybody, and by god, if Hank Williams could see the light amidst all of his darkness, there should be a chance for the rest of us. 
One of Hank Williams' most famous songs is I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry. I have always loved this song, and the beautiful way the lyrics and melody go together. I rewrote this song for my Master's Thesis Project, creating my own personal version. Although nothing can compare to the haunting sounds of the original, sometimes it's nice to hear something that is written just for you, by you. 

Picture by Anemone123

Why I support wearing masks ad infinitum

They keep people warm in windy Winnipeg winters.
They prevent Greek salad breath from escaping and infecting others.
They hide the luxurious handlebar moustaches that
Many men (and women) have grown over the past two years. 
(Neither of which need to be seen.) 

They stop people seeing the snot running down my nose 
When I'm cold or when I'm crying.
They conceal my failed attempts at using bronzer.
They hide my Resting Bitch Face
And no man tells me to smile.  

They prevent people from impulsively kissing someone they shouldn't--
Which is okay, because
Invariably people's faces are more disappointing 
When they remove their masks. 
Like Cicero said, 
Ut imago est animi voltus sic indices oculi.

                                                                        --J. Amy, 2022
The poet, hiding her luxurious handlebar moustache behind a mask, earlier this year. (2022)

This is a rush job. I fully admit this. I am behind in my marking, my planning, and everything else that comes with being a good teacher, and which prevents me from taking the time to dwell in the words and figure out just what it is that I want to say. Nonetheless, I’m not unhappy with the poem–I’m just not satisfied. But am I ever? Today’s WordPress Challenge was “Faces”, something I haven’t seen very many of in the past two some years, so I decided to look at the benefits of wearing masks. Hit me up with some more (preferably silly) reasons why continuing to wear masks is a good thing. Cheers!

Water: a tanka

Tears run down my face

Mingling with the shower spray

And into the drain.

My sadness remains my own.

No one else will ever know.

Photo by Semevent, https://pixabay.com/photos/drain-bathroom-sink-sanitary-water-2454608/

Can this actually be a return to writing and possibly even blogging? I don’t want to get my hopes up, but hopefully it is a new beginning of sorts. I’ve been away for so long that I decided to get help from a WordPress course, but to my surprise they are re-using the same prompts from the last time I took the course. Oh well, hopefully after my long hiatus I will have some fresh ideas. Although, when I look at my old “Water” poem, it looks like not much has changed.

Thoughts? I am unsure of whether to use “And” or “Then” in the third line and am wondering if the tears should run down my face or spill down my cheeks. I’m also struggling to figure out the formatting on my iPad, so the visual is not ideal. I would appreciate any feedback, and as always, thanks for reading.

Morning Makeup

I put on my eyeliner.
My hand trembles and the
Straight line is
No more.
I have failed.

I wipe it off and begin again.

I put on my blush.
I look closer and see that
The colour is
I have failed.

I wipe it off and begin again.

I put on my lipgloss.
The lustrous pink sheen
Is tarnished by
My overbite.
I have failed.

I wipe it off and begin again.

I continue placing
Layers upon layers
On my face
Hoping to hide
How I feel.

My time is up.

I walk out into the world:
At the first place I stop,
I am told
I look lovely.
(Happy by implication)

I have succeeded.

One more day and the tears
Remain hidden behind
Applied black

I have succeeded.

–J. Amy Amy, 2018

Photo By: Shyla86

Notes: As with everything I write, this poem is a rough draft and a work in progress, although with my schedule I doubt it will progress any time soon. Question for readers: Yea or nay to the last paragraph? Is it overkill? 

NB: Thanks to those of you who continue to wonder where I went and whether I will write again. I wonder these things as well. 

If you’d like to contact me about this post or about anything else you’ve read, please tweet me @JudyAmy74

Signs and Inspiration: For L.M.

Inspiration shows up in the strangest of places at the strangest of times. A while ago I met a lovely person through a colleague. Today this woman and I found out that we were linked in other ways, through other people. Then this woman told me that she followed my blog. A couple of years ago, I would have been thrilled to hear this. Now I’m just embarrassed because I am one of those failed bloggers who keeps promising to write more, post more…and then doesn’t. I could go into several reasons why I haven’t written but then I’d be even more embarrassed. So instead, I’ll take her acknowledgement of being a follower as a sign. I won’t promise to write more often because every time I make such a promise, I break it. Today I will see the sign and be inspired to try again–to take time to allow myself to be creative, to play with language and form, to write freely without harsh self-criticism–with no strings attached. Here’s to (today’s) new beginning.

Letting go of something without really being
Aware of the fact is often more
Upsetting than
Recognizing that you are leaving it behind until
Eventually someone reminds you of who you once were and you realize that
Nothing is forever and that you can start over again, at any time.

If you’d like to contact me about this post or about anything else you’ve read,
please email me: judyamy74(at)gmail.com or tweet me @JudyAmy74.

Book Advent Calendar 2017–Day 10: The Little Drummer Boy

One theme ends and another continues. Here’s the second in a row of an illustrated Christmas song, although this one is not revised or reworked. We’re not a religious family but my kids love, love, love this song, and this book. I’m not sure about the song but I totally agree with them on the book. If you know Ezra Jack Keats, the Caldecott Medal award winning artist and writer of The Snowy Day, you’ll know that his illustrations are simple, imaginative, and vivid. All of these elements are evident in The Little Drummer Boy. Music for the song appears at the back of the book as well. And if for some reason you don’t know the story here’s a quick recap: The little drummer boy doesn’t know what to bring as a gift for the baby Jesus until he learns that a gift from the heart is the best gift of all.

Photo: J. Amy Amy

I’m both happy and sad to say that I bought this book from a bunch of discarded books at my local library. I’m happy because we have a lovely hardcover copy with a protective library cover, but sad because the library is now without another Christmas classic. If you’re unable to get a copy of The Little Drummer Boy and/or you don’t know E.J.K. take a moment to get to know him with The Snowy Day. While not a holiday book, it’s a really important piece of 20th Century children’s literature. That’s an entirely different post though. While I’m not going to write about it at the moment, I would encourage you to peruse the Ezra Jack Keats Foundation website. It’s a rabbit hole well worth delving into.

Overall Rating: EX, due solely to Keats’ extraordinary artwork. Suggested age range: anyone who enjoys hearing a Christmas song accompanied by vibrant images.

Book Advent Calendar 2017–Day 9: Deck The Halls–A Canadian Christmas Carol

Photo: J. Amy Amy

I guess there might be a bit of a theme going on here that I didn’t pay attention to–this is the second book in a row that re-invents and re-works an older story or song. Deck the Halls: A Canadian Christmas Carol is written by Helaine Becker and illustrated by Werner Zimmermann. The story and pictures about Beaver and other quintessential Canadian wildlife characters decorating for Christmas are both charming and funny.  At the end of the book, there is a musical arrangement of the traditional Christmas carol which is a nice added touch.

Overall Rating: VG, especially if you’re a Canadian. All ages.