But I think I stopped writing poetry as much just because when I would come back to it, I was like, what was I even trying to say? It was just too vague. It was too vague to get the meaning later.
Well hopefully it’s like protecting itself from getting burned. If it weren’t so vague, you wouldn’t be able to stand it, maybe, you know? That’s why I wrote that way, why I still write that way.
This week on a special Handbag Hangout Poetry night, I’ve rounded up Amber, Diana, Sara, Maria, and Genevieve to read poetry with me. Our friendship was cultivated while writing poetry and furiously journaling in high school in the late 90’s, which bound us tightly as very close friends over the past 20 years. Since becoming adults, we have made a point to meet monthly (to reinforce and celebrate our identities before we became partners, spouses, mothers, or professional people), which came to be known as Handbag Hangouts as a dirty joke over beers. Since COVID-19, we’ve upped our Handbags to a weekly Zoom meeting to dish out our love and support for each other. (Please do forgive the quality of the recording since we weren’t able to meet in person.)
Order of poems:
Angelica: Title redacted a poem about restlessness found in an old journal (Feb 8, 2001)
Genevieve: “What is Never Lost” by Cynthia MacDonald from I Can’t Remember (1997)
Maria: “A Callarse/Keeping Quiet” by Pablo Neruda. English translation and in the original Spanish (1958)
We mentioned “the great pause” and referenced the incredible article, “Prepare For the Ultimate Gaslighting,” by Julio Vincent Gambuto.
Amber: “Sensation” by Arthur Rimbaud. French and English (March 1890)
Diana: “I’m Nobody, Who are You?” by Emily Dickenson from Poems, Series 2 (1891).
Sara: A saying probably by Lao Tzu (?) from Zen Garden Book of Meditations
Angelica: “As Far as Masks Go,” a poem about COVID-19 (April 20, 2020)
Amber: Rhyming Poem, a poem about haircuts or a hangover maybe (2001)
Sara: “We shape clay into a pot but it is the emptiness inside that holds whatever we want” from Zen Garden Book of Meditations
Genevieve: “If” a poem about being a therapist, in a series she wrote called Termination Poems (December 2019)
Diana: Two nature poems from a journal while being a summer camp counselor at Camp Arrowhead (June 14, 2003)
Angelica: “Friendliness is Not the Car Ride it Once Was” in my portfolio used to apply for landscape architecture grad school (April 3, 2000)
Angelica: “Song of 3 Days Sad” A poem repeating the phrase Techno Glazes/Inspiration (July 14, 2000)