Cathexis Northwest Press
Arched Living Room; How I Found Me; Moonlit Leaves
By: Diane Corson
Arched Living Room
The house feels different now, chairs, a table, bare now, there is a buffet laid with unopened mail, to do lists left undone, there is a curtain never drawn, never thought upon, open, or closed—through the next arch there is a kitchen that is left not entertained by you and some other one who came then, and left a note on a side table roughly in a screwed up ball, that when opened read the theory to everything—we never saw him again or his muddy motorcycle boots and his words to come again the next time on his way around the world and where you always sat in that same switched out chair because you didn’t like the one that sat there, because it felt like you were leaving the planet in a slingshot and where the girls always sat on the sofa as they arrived in the same order like their personalities that would resonate with such beauty in their laughs and the way they slapped their thighs or the one next to them, or the way that they would look at each other in the deepest blur and would agree with the last remark or when you would always ask the same question of the same man—the room would go quiet and they would all listen to his caved-in chest and to his gas fireplace in the background, not for heat really, but drama, and then it would all end abruptly and they would all leave down the steps and the living room and the arches would go back to being the way they are now without you
How I Found Me
I remember you were always
away, my eyes followed trails
once you left me a pink glove—
other times only broken windows—
In the snow your kisses—woke the bees
melted snow, made streams
your loosened hair
cascaded and puddled
under the shouts of children
puddles were meant
to teach me something—
my thoughts bled— into a confluence
where melting snow
your bay took my imagination everywhere
on little sailboats—
nameless winds wrapped promises
sleep looked hard to find me—
I recall a lamentation of onions and citrus—
a revelation from a wound, a knife cut
the ritual of corn
and the penance
I wanted to crawl
under your fingernails
so I could remember
what your hands had been like there
How the light lies
on these leaves
while they fondle my neck
the moonlit leaves
not on purpose do they
in their moonlit evening
from a leaf’s touch
while I picked the
moon from the sky
placed it gently on your forehead
the leaves jittered,
a moon-lit night
from your limbs to my limbs
on my neck where the leaves have
that touched me and fondled me
Some poems of the poet’s are in the collection of Oregon Poetry at the University of Oregon Library. Poems have been published in the 2003 Poetry Anthology, Theory Magazine, Terratory Journal, the North Coast Squid, Cirque Journal, 2017, Cirque Journal, 2018, and Terra Incognita, and Pif Magazine, 2020, and pan di mic, anthology Oregon Poetry Association. The author has written and designed three chapbooks: Poor Tree, 2013, elemental, 2016, and There Being: Interiority, 2018. The poet was a board member with Oregon Poetry Association for three years. The author has an art and design degree from Montana State University in Bozeman, Montana, where she lived a fairly primitive life for thirty years before moving to the sophisticated Pacific Northwest.
Interview with the Poet:
Cathexis Northwest Press:
How long have you been writing poetry?
Not long enough, I started late but when one does it will be fine, just keep doing it. Now in my
senior years, I can say I started late but I have never been happier. Mostly I write from my visual
stimuli, whether it is imagined in my mind, or something I’ve seen. I try to reference things in my phone, like the beginnings or a couple of lines to remember the feeling I had so that will then become a poem.
Can you remember the first poem you read that made you fall in love with poetry?
This is easily Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s entire book, A Coney Island of the Mind, because of its outright freedom and creativity where anything goes. I still have my original copy from about 1968 which will never wear out.
Who are your favorite poets? Any specific poems?
My current favorite poet to throw in a contemporary is Alice Oswald who is English and is crazy about water as am I. She often does an entire collection on a theme like people who work along the River Dart in England or a spin on Homer. She rarely uses any grammar markings which I also don’t like but sometimes I use anyway out of guilt for the cult love of the English language.
Can you share for us a little bit about your writing process? Any specific rituals that get you in the zone?
My writing process is no process at all. It’s all quite random. I have ADD and I think it has made me crazy and unable to do one thing for very long, like reading, dah, so I change things up very often and I can be quite jumpy or erratic, thus the poems can seem random but do quite convincingly come together along their way. I want them to be original, like nothing else you’ve read anyway, so I think I’m safe there. So, there is no magic that has to happen you just have to sit the fuck down or talk into your phone while you are driving and there you have the beginnings of a poem, which I find will take me right back to that feeling of its beginnings and I’m able to continue working on it again and probably again and again. It’s also seriously good to have a writing support and critique group.
How do you decide the form for your poems? Do you start writing with a form in mind, or do you let the poem tell you what it will look like as you go?
That’s the easy part, the poem does it, and I’m usually amazed that it is either 6 line stanzas or 4 or very random and sketchy like Ferlinghetti’s for the most part that just go along their way. Rarely will I change the form once it’s basically written but will drop a word down or move a few one way or another, but the poem needs its own expression to furnish itself and get decked out for the ball. I never start with a form in mind but I might try it. I find it stifling though.
Any advice for poets who have yet to find their voice?
If you want to be a poet I imagine you already are one. I’ve never wanted to be a poet, I just am. As I am an artist as well with my world being very visual and imaginative.
What is your editing process like?
I usually look forward to this and feel like I can roll up my sleeves and really go to work, like get tough, but I also do not like poems to become too perfect after all, they are human. It’s kind of like housework, something you have to do every so often. So, I rarely do it only when putting together a collection or trying to submit a few to some worthy journals, which is one thing I do not like to do, because writing poetry is fun and dashing and stimulating and the editing and submitting are more analytical and didactic.
When do you know that a poem is finished?
I think they’re never finished, much like a painting, that just happens to get caught in being sold, or printed, (like my painting on my husband’s book cover), but even then a poet could go around with a big fat ugly red marker and reference all your printed matter that contains your poems.