Ghost Fern

By on Mar 27, 2016 in poetry | 0 comments

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ghost fernI took this picture in a shady forest in Oregon. I call it a ghost fern because that’s what it looks like to me. I don’t know what it’s actual name is.

Most of the poems that I’ve posted here so far were written by me within the last 5-8 years. None were written in 2014 or 2015 because I don’t think I wrote any poems in those years! Too much moving, too much change, confusion, turmoil, and not the kind poetry can help unravel.

My friend C has been moving and I was at the old house briefly helping just a little bit. They also moved last year, a major move, but what they did that time was, for the most part, just transport things from one house to the next. This time she is trying to purge and lighten the load. It’s both painstaking and freeing, even just to watch. I’ve known C and her family for many, many, many years. I knew her when I was much younger and running around LA late at night believing the night would never end and that I could be a poet, just because I wanted to, and everything would be all right. I don’t keep that many pictures of myself. I have some in a box in storage, mixed in with other personal pictures, many of which I printed in the darkroom. She, however, has all these really old pictures of me. As she’s been cleaning and purging, when she comes across an old photo of me or one of her other friends from days gone by, she’ll take a picture of it with her phone and text it. I am so surprised by these photos! I don’t remember being that happy or well adjusted but you would never know it by the photos. I remember having pretty bad anxiety and having tortuous relationship problems but hey, cool, someone somewhere has some photos of me looking almost like a normal, well-adjusted person. She says that when I die one of my friends, not her, one of my other friends, can use all these photos and the bits of art and poetry I’ve given her over the years, and make a, you know, whatever that is you make when someone dies. I have not really thought about this ever before. I only had to do it once for someone dear who died long ago, around the time when she was secretly amassing these random photos of me looking normal and kind of happy.

Anyway, also while I was over there I saw a paper copy of a poem I wrote many years ago. I felt really fresh and brave about poetry at that time and I would submit the poems to magazines and contests. This was way pre-internet. I had a post office box and a typewriter and people wrote letters and physically mailed them and I did this a lot, built whole relationships out of letters that were written by hand. Wow. I feel like a super freaking old person who lived a past life in another…like Christopher Reeve’s character inĀ Somewhere in Time if you ever saw that. The poem was calledĀ Fragments. Dear people – all 1, 3 or 6 of you and any ex-boyfriends who are reading this, because that’s why you have a website right, so your ex-boyfriends or husbands can secretly see how far you have or haven’t come, right? – I submitted that poem to some national contest in Ithaca, NY, judged by a bonafide professional poet of good standing, all those many years ago and I won, first place. It was a golden day. I believe I also got $500 and that I went to therapy or the dentist with it, I’m not sure. Because I was a starving waitress/office worker/artist at the time and life was not that easy, though you couldn’t tell it by the picture’s C has of me.

I’m going to post that poem here in a minute. Or two. And that’s the backstory on that one.



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