RED EFT REVIEW

Thank you Corey Cook, Editor of Red Eft Review , for publishing my poem “I Laugh When I Look Out the Bedroom Window”. If you are interested in reading it, please click the link above.

This is a new poem that started when I stopped for a minute to watch the indignities aging requires of us and to reflect on how fast our “slick-skinned days” pass. I hope you enjoy it.

Yours in poetry,

Carey

Pandemic Anthology and Thoughts

I am honored to share that my poem “In Like a Lion” has been included in the Oregon Poetry Association 2020 Anthology of Pandemic Poems. This is a stunning collection of poetry written by Oregon poets as witness to these times. It is a document that will have both significant historical value regarding the event itself and the writers in this place who have shared their poetic response to it.

I urge you to consider purchasing a copy of this anthology either through Submittable or Wild Apricot. All the proceeds will go to continued funding for the Oregon Poetry Association. If you love poets, or if you just want a record of this year told through the words of Oregon State poets, I encourage you to buy a copy.

In so many ways my thoughts of this year will probably not be completely known until more time has passed. It has been such a difficult time for so many, especially to those who have lost people to Covid-19. I have been privileged to have a warm home to live in, food to eat, health care. I have had the privilege to reflect during this time, to think about how I would like to contribute to the world in a way that helps those less able to have the basic needs of life. And frankly, I have no desire to return to “Normal”, for it was with the slowing down, the staying put, that helped me see how much happiness could be found in my own home, my small block, my changing neighborhood. There have been things I have missed, like live music, poetry readings, coffee shops, going to dinner with friends, and I look forward to doing them again. But I have changed, and these days I wonder what I will find when I re-enter the world and will I belong?

Yours in poetry,

Carey

It's Been Awhile

I have taken the last few months off from the world for some internal reflection. The death of four people in my family in 12 months caused me to turn inward, to withdraw socially and surround myself with only my greatest loves: husband, family, books, poetry, home, open spaces, neighborhood walks, and yes, I will admit, binge watching High Fidelity and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. Thank you Rob and Midge for making me laugh.

And now it is Spring and out my writing window I see yellow daffodils, orange pansies and purple hellebore. The 70 year-old camellia is laden in the softest of pink blooms and the neighbor’s cherry trees are ready to pop.

And for those of you who have followed my “car wash” photos, last week I took my car to get washed and began taking pictures for the 2020 series.

I submitted five new poems (the first submission in almost a year) and heard yesterday a journal in Galway, Ireland called Dodging the Rain will publish them in May and June.

By allowing myself permission to withdraw from the world for awhile, to grieve and acknowledge the losses, the color bursting before me is calling my name to rejoin the ranks.

Or it could have been the Prozac. Either way, I am doing just fine.

Carey Taylor Photography

Yours in poetry,

Carey

The Space Between

Carey Taylor Photography

Do not let fear be
the center of your life,
or busyness a substitute
for living.

The space between
love and loss —
a word, a look, a
phone turned off.

Yours in poetry,
Carey


Beacon

Carey Taylor Photography


In your living body
of shadow and light
open the door.
Climb
to your own
beacon.

Yours in poetry,

Carey

Postcard

I am honored to have my poem “Postcard” included in Snapdragon – A Journal of Art and Healing. This is is a lovely online journal that publishes work quarterly with “the goal of providing a platform and build a community among established and emerging poets, writers and artists, who find art to be a catalyst for self-discovery.”

This poem began in Paris, took a jaunt to Ireland and Australia, and found its permanent home in America. How poems come about is as interesting to me as actually writing them, and so if you are a believer that art heals and would like to support their mission, please consider subscribing to this fine publication. My poem is in the Summer 2019 Issue – 5.2.

Here is a teaser though. The poem begins here, where I am standing.

Paris


Yours in poetry,

Carey

Carey Taylor — Tales From The Forest

I am honored to have my poem “Pub Tour in the Wicklow Mountains” published by Tales From The Forest. This poem found the perfect home back in Ireland where it all began.

Art by Larry Dunne

May you all have adventures, may you find magic in the chance encounter, may you sit with strangers and know the words to songs they sing, may you have moments where the predictable gets tossed out the car window and you inhale the mystery of dark hills filled with secrets.

Yours in poetry,

Carey

Hunger

While sitting at a picnic table eating an apple and cheese I was staring North at the beauty of Mt. St. Helens in the Cascade Mountain Range. I felt grateful I had the good luck to be born and raised in the Pacific Northwest.

I was also marveling at my younger self who had climbed this very mountain 30 years earlier shortly after it had blown its top.

Carey Taylor Photography

How had I done it? Now it seemed like an almost impossible task. And yet, I did it the same way I write a poem, word by word, line by line, stanza by stanza, step by step until you reach a destination and know you have finally arrived.

And then, like after writing a poem, you look around and see the world through new eyes.

Often a poem helps me remember what I don’t want to forget or to be grateful for the ordinary moments where connection is made or sometimes, to truly see something for the first time.

And so while looking at a beautiful mountain, thinking this is enough, I turn and see a halo around the sun. A sight I never remember having seen in my lifetime. And suddenly, there it is—all your longing hanging in the sky, waiting for you to feed its hunger.

Carey Taylor Photography

Yours in poetry,

Carey

An Invitation

Carey Taylor Photography

The poet invites us to share in her pursuit of identity; to witness the dramatization of the daily events of his/her experience so closely resembling our own; to be haunted by the imagery of her dreams or the flowing stream of his consciousness; to eavesdrop on relationships with friends and lovers; to absorb the shock of her deep seated fears.

Ralph J. Mills Jr.

Yours in poetry,

Carey

Inland Poetry Prowl

It’s getting closer!

I am delighted to be sharing a reading venue with poets Meredith Clark and Lynne Ellis for this event. We will be reading on Saturday, April 6th from 5:00 – 5:45 PM, at Dick and Jane’s Spot in downtown Ellensburg, Washington.

If you are interested in hearing poems about the passage of time, impermanence and memory, come on down and say hi. I’d love to see you.

Yours in poetry,

Carey

Rupture, Light

After moving to Portland last summer, I was introduced to Portland poet Melissa Reeser Poulin through another fine Portland poet, Kristin Berger.  

We all read together in January at Mother Foucault’s Bookshop where I had the opportunity to hear Melissa read from her new chapbook-RUPTURE, LIGHT.  

RUPTURE, LIGHT is a book filled with poems that speak both to the personal and universal.  The poems in this collection take us on a journey through the worlds of pregnancy, children, and marriage, and with this poet’s keen eye, helps us see both the transitory nature of the domestic scenes and their continued ability for rebirth: It turns out life is a will/an overfed bulb/that can be forced to bloom again/and again. 

Hope is never forsaken in these poems, but as a keen observer the poet lets us know that all we love is leaving us: In the graveyard,/the snow softens the stones/while we walk, idle talk about how/we’ll be buried//You want to live forever/in the canyon we love,/your skin and bone/become sugar pine/and chaparral.  

Reeser is a poet who tells us head on: there is one grief/inside of everything.  And in the end, this ability to not shy away, is the very thing that allows the love of all she holds dear, to be gathered close with exquisite care, where there is nothing left to do but take it/tender in my hands,/try to soothe/its hunger.

I highly recommend you put RUPTURE, LIGHT on your poetry reading list and if you are in Portland catch Melissa reading at Cardinal Club on March 29th/5:30-6:30 PM.


Yours in poetry,

Carey

To not forget…

In these dark long days I have been thinking of the people I and others have lost as we enter this holiday season. I think of my Aunt Trudy when I hang her home-made Christmas ornaments on my tree.

I think of my grandfather when I search the night sky for Santa and his sleigh and my grandmother who played board games with me on Christmas morning.

I think of my step-mother and her glorious tree.

I think of friends and family who have lost husbands, wives, children, brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts, grandparents and friends— and my wish for each and everyone of us is that we take care of each other this holiday season.

May we be kind. May we be present. May we help each other as best we can and may we not forget those who have moved into the light of a new existence.

As I have been reflecting this month, I kept thinking about a Facebook post from a woman who lost her husband this past year. She posted a picture of a garland of gingerbread men they had made together last Christmas. Acknowledgement of both her loss and her love for this man.

When I was in my 20’s, I shared a number of Christmas celebrations with this woman and her husband and their extended family. And in that loving family I obtained through marriage, I learned my first grown-up lessons about unconditional love and the importance of celebrating each other and the season.

And as happens with me, a poem began to emerge from these reflections that I am now sharing with you. May you all find peace and love as we enter a new year.

Christmas Without You

As Christ is born
so again are you.

In gingerbread men
cut from bags

that sway with open
and close of door.

In baubles 
on the tree

            or the tree itself

rooted than not
from dirt and place

now lit like a greater
magnitude star—

And who of us can really
say—which is better?

Yours in poetry,

Carey

Carey Taylor Photography


Jackhammer Days

The Soul Has Seasons
By Bethany Reid
Like blackberry brambles the soul has seasons
when its leaves grow scarce.
Even then, a smallish body will find shelter there,
deer mouse chittering, or the tiny wren, piping its song.
For what, if not that singing, does the soul dare
a new season’s greening?

 

Hello friends.  It has been awhile since I posted here and I’ve missed my days of scheduled writing and updates.  But truth be told, I have been taking care of myself in what has been a period of jackhammer days, both literally and figuratively.

As many of you know, I moved back to Portland last summer and in an either brilliant or insane move purchased a 1947 home which was in need of some major renovations.  Today this blog is being written from my new office.  Outside my office window my contractor is jackhammering away the basement foundation in order to install an egress window.  It is noisy.  It is dirty.  I am hoping the house does not collapse and the new earthquake retrofit holds.  In the meantime, I am visualizing a beautiful finished basement that is light-filled and has a second bathroom.

Also during this time, a family member died, another family member had colon-cancer surgery, and an adult child moved back home.   I had something die in the chimney and for a week flies flew out of the fireplace like bats from under the Congress Avenue Bridge in Austin.

And while I haven’t been writing much, I did travel to Iceland and Ireland, have been invited to poetry readings to read from my new book, and I organized a poetry event in the small town where I graduated from high school and invited Finnish poet Gary Anderson to come read with me.

 

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Last week I hiked seven miles up the Salmon River trail on the southwestern flank of Mt. Hood with old friends, and I’ve been reading and cooking more than usual—all things that anchor me during this fallow writing port-of-call.

So while my world is being disassembled and reconstructed I have complete faith the one thing that will remain intact (even if it is silent for now) is my poetry, because I can feel the seeds beginning to germinate, and a gentle push of green carrying a word or a line up through the dark with a story to tell.

But for now I am reading the poetry of Bethany Reid, who is a poet friend from Edmonds, Washington.  Her new collection Body My House (Goldfish Press Seattle) is a collection that as author Priscilla Long so aptly conveys: are poems to read and reread, and to savor.  I recommend you check her out.

My next gig is in Portland at “Another Read Through” on November 29th— a lovely neighborhood book store in North Portland.  I will be reading with two of my favorite poets Christianne Balk and Kristin Berger, and we would love to have you come down and hear us read.

 

Yours in poetry,

Carey

9 to 5

As I have mentioned before, my new book of poetry The Lure of Impermanence came out in July.  I included in this collection a poem called 9 to 5.    I wrote this poem when the #MeToo movement had just begun its groundswell.

Today, Bill Cosby was sentenced to 3 to 10 years in jail for sexual assault and Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh is currently being scrutinized for a number of behaviors with women that are at best disturbing.  And these are just a few of so, so many more stories just like them.

I have lost confidence in the ability of the news to report in any unbiased manner and therefore I am more often than not left to my own judgment and experience by which to consider stories reported in the media.

And what my experience considers is that I personally know girls and women who have been abused by boyfriends, family members and spouses.

What I do know is that I was carried to a bedroom by a man who was much older than me when I was barely of legal age and stoned on marijuana.  A man who held a position of respect in the community.

What I do know is I am shaking as I write that last sentence because I recall that night as vividly as if it were today.  Only it wasn’t today.  It was 45 years ago.

What I do know is that I told no one.  What I do know is that I was ashamed.

What I do know is that I am someone’s mother, wife, daughter and friend and none of them knew.  What I do know is I am not sure I want them to know now.

What I do know is that all women deserve the simple right to be respected and have control of what happens to her body and if I could ask anything of you it would be to consider the women you love.  Consider their experience.  Because it is possible that the people who love her most, don’t know the dark places she has been afraid to shed the light on.  Because to do so is to expose herself to being rejected, silenced, not believed or worst yet blamed.

And until history proves it unnecessary, may we all slash, slash, slash, this roughshod blazing path.

 

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Yours in poetry,

Carey

 

Waiting…

Today I am sitting in my back yard at a picnic table writing this blog.  I am looking at the back of my new/old house that was built in 1947 and was advertised as a Cape Cod when we purchased it a month ago.   The clatter from the windows is grating as I watch a man push and pull a large industrial sander over the old oak floors in a desperate attempt to salvage them.  He has told me he can make them beautiful and for a small fortune, I have decided to believe him.

I have been counting down the days this project would begin because once it is finished, I can sleep in a real bed and unplug the blow up one I have been sleeping on for three months.  Once the floors are done, I can sit on a sofa and not a fold-up outdoor bistro chair.  Once the floors are done, I can set up a “real” office and get back to my writing schedule, submit poems, and pay bills, at my neatly organized desk and not at a picnic table with a tote bag for a file cabinet.  Once the floors are done, I can have people over for dinner inside the house and I can binge watch Netflix.

But in the meantime, I wait and look up at the large Italian Plum tree in front of me with its purple-blue-skinned fruit hanging thick on old branches.   I listen to the Scrub Jay in the spent lilac, the sound of a distant lawn mower, the words in Romanian I do not understand coming from the back bedroom, the whine of a small Fed-Ex plane overhead, the neighbor next door watering his potted plants.

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And I wait.  For the house to be a bit closer to finished, for my new book of poems, The Lure of Impermanence (Cirque Press) to have its final edit and to not forget a line from a poem in my new book—

Sometimes it’s important to stop—

to imagine a brush filled with Prussian blue
its earthy taste on your tongue
to see a night more richly colored than day

to find
like Vincent
a jewel in the darkness.

Or in my case, a jewel in the waiting.  

 

Yours in poetry,

Carey

Reading at Taborspace

I am honored to have been invited to read at this event hosted by Nancy Woods, who I first met through Cirque Journal readings in Portland.  She is the author of “Hooked on Antifreeze” and has a great sense of humor.   I will be reading my poetry, and while most of my poems are not as funny as Nancy’s stories, it should be a good time with good people in a great venue.  If you are out and about in Portland, stop on by.

Poster for June 21 2018 reading

Yours in poetry,

Carey

All That Water

It has been awhile since I have written a blog post.  I signed up to blog once a week at the beginning of the year, and have failed miserably to meet my goal.

So, what have I been doing these past three months?  Well, I attended a ten-week poetry workshop, wrote poems, researched writing programs, read twelve books, travelled to Nashville, and sold my house.  And, as if that were not enough, two weeks ago, as I was packing up my kitchen I was notified that Cirque Press out of Anchorage, Alaska is ready to move forward with publication of my first book of poems, which caused me to dance around my empty home in absolute delight.

Endings and beginnings seem to be a constant theme in my life.  Since I was a child, I have moved every few years.  Even as a young girl I remember the allure a new place had on me.  In equal measure, I also had feelings of homesickness connected with leaving, which left me feeling conflicted.

I still love new adventures, and by nature I am a flexible and curious person who is not afraid to try something new.  But I also know, with each new adventure and opportunity my heart gets broken a bit each time, because I am always open to attach myself to the people I meet or the landscape I walk on, and by caring for both, I allow myself to experience what can be the beautiful paradox of heartbreak.

At the end of this week, I head to California for a few weeks of reflection, then back to the Pacific Northwest to begin the search for another home.  I have already begun scouting out a new writing community in the Portland area, but I have no intent to leave the community I have made here. The roads that take us to each other will just be different and not even necessarily longer, especially when you factor in bridges and ferry rides!

As I have been reflecting about what I will gain in this move, and what I will miss, I wrote the following poem.  As Dorothy told the Scarecrow in The Wizard of Oz, “I think I’ll miss you most of all.”

 

 

At Her Last Poetry Class

 

when they ask her

what she will miss most

 

she answers

 

all        that                 water

 

 

boom of surf at Bastendorff Beach

field of whitecaps on the Coos Bay Bar

seasick swells of the Pacific

 

brisk current of Rosario Strait

narrow roil of Deception Pass

Light-year twinkle on Admiralty Inlet

 

mirror of Mats Mats bay

foamy wake behind the Bainbridge Ferry

swirl of kelp beds off Burrows Island

 

When they ask her

what she will miss most

 

she answers

 

all        that                 water

 

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Yours in poetry,

Carey

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Poetry at 15

When I was fifteen, I began collecting poems in a handmade journal my mother made for me.  The journal has been tucked away for over 40 years in a beautiful, wooden, “hope chest”  my Grandfather made for me.

A hope chest, when I was growing up, was a place to primarily collect household linens, such as embroidered pillow cases, in anticipation of becoming married someday, and having a dowry of sorts to begin that marriage.

I never filled mine with household linens.   Instead, I chose journals, memento’s, love letters, and a dried corsage or two.

I seemed to know in my fifteen year old heart, it was poetry that I would stay married to the longest.

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Yours in poetry,

Carey