>nine doors down from the alley


You are stillness. I am roam.
This is the beginning of a poem I am working on. The rest of it won’t  come. And so, this past weekend I went for a drive, looking for moments like these instead:
On one side of the alley, the mixture of sun and shade apparently had been just right (said Goldilocks). The opposite side of same alley, too much sun and not enough shade had finished the berries off (said Sherry who writes about there being too much August and not enough snow).
I was feeling fairly pleased with myself, finding the photo-ops I had hoped for. Autumn here is uncertain, sometimes it wears an exaggerated face. We never know when the Artic Front will blow in, wiping out fall colors.
So caught up with withering and ripe berries, I had my macro-focus going on. This means the batteries  drain ten times faster. And this means not being aware of the background. I had forgotten about the poem I could not write, about the lack of balance in my life (of course I had to bring that up), about the approaching northern front. I didn’t think about how I might look to the casual observer: my face two inches from the vines, scrunched down in muddy tire ruts in an unnamed alley (are any alleys named?), two feet away from a collective dumpster.
Eventually I stood up. Stretched the kinks out of my legs, my back, my feet, my macro-focus trigger finger. And noticed what I hadn’t found. What had been waiting for me to notice. This was when I saw the doors, and when more of the poem showed up.
 When I leave I’ll do so poorly. Remember this — I run when I am lost. 


About redmitten

author of Cracking Geodes Open, Making Good Use of August, and The Peppermint Bottle. poetry editor for IthacaLit. website: https://toomuchaugust.wordpress.com

12 responses to “>nine doors down from the alley

  1. >Love the doors, the berries, the lines, the account of your process!I also love "macro-focus" on its own. The word. What it might be if not part of a camera. I love it as part of the camera, too…..

  2. >Beautiful photos, and how you described the oneness with oneself; I love the developing poem.

  3. >I love old doors. These are inviting pictures.I like the way the dry leaf is wrapped around the berries.

  4. >There's the yellow hat…where's Curious George?

  5. >Such impact! I hope I age as beautifully as those withered berries.

  6. >Thanks Sherry for dwelling in this small space where as writers we spend a long time. I am inspired today by your post, which is significant since I am supposed to be working on getting a first draft of my thesis done by the end of the month. The month has almost slipped by.I too am waiting for the second line to show up.Perhaps writers block is a door, not a block:-)Your comment about alleys made me think of a poem I wrote in collaboration with my husband, which appeared in Mutating the Signature issue of qarrtsiluni. Ironically, the alley in the title has a name, only because it is a historic alley. But I think most do not, which makes them also such interesting places to think about. http://qarrtsiluni.com/2009/02/26/blood_alleyinterstital_syntax/

  7. >Thank you for the beauty and the insight dear Sherry. Your own macro-focus is pretty good too.I wonder why birds have not eaten those berries.Ann*O'Dyne sends you her best regards also.

  8. >I love the composition and colors of the doors and the berries, the opening of your poem, and this line: "I run when I am lost."

  9. >Hi, Sherry — I love your photographs on this post, especially the ones of those beautiful, poignant doors. Great poem you've got going, too.

  10. >kathleen- that's so cool you like "macro-focus" also and what would it be if not part of a camera? i feel at times i have that switch and sometimes it doesn't toggle back to the normal focus as fast as it should.ankyuk – good to hear from you here. i wish the developing poem would finish, but it hasn't. perhaps i need to venture out some more…see if a few more lines might show up.kass- i keep waiting for my family to say to me "enough with the dried leaves photos"…but yeah, i liked how this leaf dried around the berries. you can gain a sense of where the sun was and wasn't, and how the berries and the leaf were in partnership with one another.daniela – good to hear from you. oh i really like your poem…esp the part about the short cuts threading the longest paths. look forward to reading more of your work.marshall – i need to come by and "see" anne. my regards to you! i enjoyed your POV on the berries (why hadn't the birds eaten them?) i dunno! i used to have a canadian chokecherry tree in my front yard and the day i knew they'd be ripe, the birds knew 4 hours before me. i'd go out to pick ripe berries- but they'd be long gone.annie- good to hear you like that line. it occurred to me recently that this is the truth about me. hmmmmm, what to do about it?christine- oh those doors! i want to knock on one of them and meet the person who would answer. good to hear you like the lines in the *thus-far* poem.

  11. >The words that have come cause me to wish for more, for you and for us. And the doors…I will think on doors. Thank you.

  12. >marylinn,i think of doors often. most of the time two doors are always open and yet i find myself wanting (and searching for) (and holding out for) door number three. i told my daughter this the other day and she said, but mom! that is door number one, not three.

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