People, Places and Things | The Kid in a Coffee Shop

After a bit of a hiatus, I promised I’d be back with the first part of my installment titled People, Places and Things. I was going to start this with perhaps one of my stories from my travels; the people I’ve met while traveling, etc. However, I met a child this week that merited being the first in this series. Everyone I meet blesses and touches my heart in some way, but this child really stood out to me. This kid really blessed me this week, and reminded me to enjoy the simple things in life (and to not take life too seriously, after all). Enjoy. – xx

June 21st, 2018: The Kid in a Coffee Shop

Let’s put it this way: I was having a really, really bad week. It was a Thursday afternoon and I was working from a coffee shop near my apartment. My car had just been hit for the second time in a month (with significant damage), and I had a mild concussion. I was feeling a bit down-and-out, to say the least.

As I typed away at one work-related project then another, I occasionally looked up from my laptop to scan the crowd of people around me. Mostly I saw people sipping coffee, reading books, talking on their cellphones: the usual. After a few moments, I noticed a young boy who had sat across the room from me. He was staring at me, as kids often do, and I thought nothing of it. Within moments, though, he had come to sit right across from me at my table-for-two. He pulled out the chair across from me, took a seat, and examined the lid of my laptop intently.

I was a little confused. I smiled at the boy, then realized that he was examining the old, nearly peeled-off stickers that had graced the lid of my laptop since my senior year of high school. I smiled, remembering that my laptop was decorated in stickers featuring The Joker, Pocahontas, and Boba Fett from Star Wars: every young kid’s dream, basically. I addressed the kid sitting across from me for the first time: “Ah, yeah, I have The Joker, see?”

“Yeah, I know,” he replied.

Pointing down, I remarked, “Well, I also have Pocahontas. See?”

He smiled, “Pocahontas? I thought it was Moana for a second.”

We both smiled.

As we continued to examine my stickers intently, the boy got up from his seat and came to stand next to me. He leaned down and put his head directly in front of my laptop screened. I chuckled, and he asked, “So, what’re ya’ doing?”

“Eh,” I started, “I’m just working”.

I continued to type. He didn’t say anything.

“I do marketing for car dealerships through this big agency,” I kept on, realizing this probably meant nothing to a barely seven-or-eight year old child. “It’s pretty boring stuff, but it’s a good job.”

The boy then nodded. “Well,” he said, “that’s just life.”

Taken aback by his response, I laughed out loud. Hearing such a wise remark come from the mouth of a little kid is always a fun surprise.

“You’re right!” I countered, still laughing a little, “that’s just life. It may be boring, but it’s a good job and I’m grateful for it.”

The boy smiled. He seemed a little embarrassed at this point, maybe because I’d laughed at his comment (even though I was laughing with him, not at him) and he walked away. He walked toward the line in which, I noticed then, his grandmother stood ordering coffee. He stayed there with her for a moment and I didn’t see him again for a few minutes.

After a few minutes passed, however, he came back to me with a treat in his hands. It was a coffee-free, vanilla frappuccino. He looked incredibly pleased with his treat, and he smiled, proudly remarking “Look what I got!”

I smiled at him. “That looks awesome!” I said, and he beamed with pride at his coffee-shop loot. Soon, his grandmother came over, grabbing him gently by the shoulders and remarking, “Oh, don’t bother her!” She then looked at me, saying “Ma’am, I’m so sorry if he interrupted your work”.

I laughed, “No, no!” I said, “he’s fine. He’s a great kid. We were talking about my stickers”.

She smiled, silently thanking me in some way for being kind to the child, I guess. “Well,” she said, “we have to go now. Say goodbye,” she told the boy. He smiled at me and said, “Well, bye.”

I smiled back at him and said, “Hey, have a good summer, bud.” He nodded, and off they went.

As they left the coffee shop, I couldn’t stop smiling and turning these little, simple moments over in my mind. For a child to be so friendly, so open, and so wise with his words made me feel incredibly warm. This kid, just by his simple gestures of kindness and interest in others, made me feel better about the terrible-no-good-very-bad week I’d been having thus far.

As I left the coffee shop later that afternoon, I couldn’t stop thinking about the child. I called my mom and told her the story: it was the cutest thing that had happened to me in a long time. I could hear my mom smiling through the phone: “Aw,” she said, “that must’ve made your day”. It did. It really did.

A child is such a wonderful, innocent, and yet somehow incredibly wise fixture in this life. I felt blessed and encouraged that this child had shown such kindness to me, a stranger. I can’t explain it other than that, but it made me feel better about the whole of humanity. In a way, the encounter gave me hope.

In other words: it’s the little things, friends.

End – xx. 

People, Places and Things Part One: Introduction

Friends,

As some of you know, I am working on a book of poetry titled People, Places and Things. Along with this book of poems, however, I want to publish a series of short stories (some being mere anecdotes) in a “blog” format on my website. These short stories and anecdotes, along with some interviews of people who’ve inspired and/or struck some kind of emotion in me, will accompany (and even explain) some of the poems found in my upcoming book.

That being said, I initially began this project a couple years ago after my first trip to Europe. In Europe I met so many wonderful people and, even though it’s cliche, my time spent traveling throughout the years has changed and influenced my perspective in every way. From the circle of poets I met while living in Brooklyn, New York, to the adoring father and his sweet, young daughter I met on the Seine River in Paris, I have met so many beautiful, interesting individuals that are note-worthy in more ways than one.

Therefor, I will chronicle the notes I’ve taken on those people, places, and things that I’ve found inspiring here. Let this post serve as an introduction (and a break from poetry, as well), and check back next week for my first post in this series.

Thank you and much love,

– Miranda Woody-Martin, xx

A Poem Inspired by Better Poets | “Teacher” by Miranda Woody-Martin

Hello, friends.

As I said on social media a few weeks ago (in fact, on Record Store Day) my biggest poetic inspiration lately has been Jim Morrison’s series of poems showcased in The Doors’ album An American Prayer. 

Recently, I wrote this poem. It’s heavily inspired by (and directly quotes) Morrison’s poem “Angels and Sailors”. “Angels and Sailors” is among my favorite poems in general (and is definitely my favorite Morrison piece).

It blows my mind that all of us find joy in such different things. For me, a large part of my joy in life is poetry. Words truly transcend the time and space in which they’re written and come alive on the page, on the stage, wherever. I could go on for days.

Anyhow, I hope you all enjoy this poem. Feel free to send some constructive feedback my way: it’s always appreciated and encouraged.

 

Much love,

– Miranda Woody-Martin, xx

 

Teacher

 

Green leaves

Green grass

Green girl

With father—

Unstable steps, unsure

Of this trembling world.

 

“She smokes so much,”

He quips,

“She’s ashes to ashes,”

Bright eyes

Blackened lungs

Summer heat on expectant tongues—

 

In the words of another poet:

“She’s trying to rise.”

 

Painted face

Painted plastic—

The fender—

Her old SUV

On a bender

She leaps from the front seat.

 

“Attention, attention,”

So easily divided,

“A word, my dear,”

So easily reminded

New York, summer nights,

LA, the high-life—

 

In the words of a better poet:

“It’s Catholic heaven.” 

 

Concrete jungle

Concrete cracks—

Working mothers,

Broken backs;

The price we pay

The deal we lay

 

Down— with the devil:

“To sleep, per chance, to dream.”

 

Green grass,

Green leaves—

A better poet than me.

Poem from Late April 2018 in Philadelphia PA | “An Ambulance Prayer”

Hello friends,

This week has been gorgeous. The sun has been out and shining brilliantly, and I’ve been really into writing lately. The other morning while getting ready for work I heard a siren blaze down the street. The sound reminded me of my first ambulance ride, roughly one year ago now, when I fainted during an outdoor event in the summer.

I thought about the conversations my husband and I had in regards to this afterward. We both found out that, as children, we whispered silent prayers every time we saw an ambulance go by. I’d never met someone else who had done that as a child (and still sometimes today). This poem comes from that sound, and that idea: “an ambulance prayer”.

 

Enjoy,

Miranda Woody-Martin, xx

 

An Ambulance Prayer

 

Stretcher bed, sweating head

To toe, waiting to tow me away;

“Breathe in, breathe out,

Breathe in, breathe—“

Words rolling, smoke signals,

Translucent clouds, another day.

 

Lifted, shifted, prodded, poked—

Head to toe, ‘til towed away;

“Is she awake, is she okay?

Is she awake, is she—“

Wondering whose whispered prayer

Saved my mortal life

 

As my consciousness trailed by.

 

 

A Love Poem from Philadelphia PA | “Entropy”

Hello, friends. Two posts in one weekend; I’m really on a roll, right? I wanted to share this poem with you all. It’s a love poem about my wonderful husband, Andrew. I truly do feel that he is my “equal and opposite” reaction in the universe.

That being said, I wrote this poem as a series of fragmented ideas and words that came to mind when I thought of him. I thought this poem was “unfinished”, but I think the fragmented nature of this poem reveals something about the inherent difficulty of putting emotions, thoughts, and feelings into words. After all, that’s the most difficult part of a poet’s job.

 

I hope you all enjoy this and enjoy the warm, beautiful weekend that’s filling Philadelphia with spring flowers and smiles.

Enjoy!

– Miranda Woody Martin, xx

 

Entropy

 

An equal yet opposite

Reaction in the universe—

 

Unspeakable beauty

Out of reach

Liquid heat

Paints dry cheeks;

 

What’s a clock

To a tree?

 

Unspeakable moments,

Light retreats:

 

“This is all there is,

All that ever was.”

Awake | Poems from the Spring Thaw

The weather has finally broken in Philly, it seems! Along with that has come a burst of creativity from myself and other artists in the area. I’m feeling really inspired lately. I’ve been tuning into the poetry of Jim Morrison and other 1960’s-era “beat” generation poets, and I’ve come up with a few little verses here and there that are works-in-progress. I wanted to share these poems (or, shells of what will become performance poems) with you all and get some feedback. Enjoy.

– Miranda Woody Martin, xx

Upcycling

I remember that was the first time

A man ever called me:

“Bitch.”

And I remember

What I wanted to say,

That: “if that’s how a man is portrayed,

I’d rather be a bitch than a man, any day.”

 

I took the word as a gift,

On my cheek like a kiss,

To his dismay;

His masculinity recoiled in spite.

 

 

Performance Piece

Voice, soul, laughter,

Soul, voice, laughter,

Laughter, voice, soul—

 

I wanna’ know

Where the Jim Morrisons go.

 

Energy flows, rows

Beats back “seamlessly

Into the past—“

 

I wanna’ know

Where Sylvia went

In her acetylene dreams

 

I wanna’ know

Raw energy, unbound

From gorgeous mortal coils

Spiral shells of someone

Else’s sediment, “Success!” —

 

I wanna’ know, when death moves low,

Where does that go?

 

Man, how I wanna’ know

Where the Jim Morrisons go—

(*Note: this poem is in its working stages and may be re-created in time)

Red Eye | Malibu to Paris

“I’ve never beat my wife,”

He smiles, sardonically—

I don’t appreciate the gesture

“A joke,”

He laughs, ironically—

I quiver beneath his fingers

I ask him

Could we ever be

Jim Morrison n’ Pam Courson,

Or like Kurt Cobain and Courtney?

Could we do

Smack, slap-happy in Malibu,

In pretentious Parisian salons,

In where-ever will do?

He responds—

Heroin death

Fresh on his breath—

“But you have such pretty arms.”

 

Machine to Man

What is man to God

Or machine to man?

Molten metal melts

Through thick veins,

Fiber optic,

Electronic,

“My heart beats for you.”

“Do you love me?”

“I can’t feel a thing.” 

 

Glimpse | A Question of Artists and Their Mortality

Friends,

Recently I’ve been in such a strange way. I’ve been reading a lot about long-gone artists that have influenced my poetry or my life in some way: Jim Morrison, Sylvia Plath, Alan Ginsberg, David Bowie, J.R.R Tolkien, etc.

I’ve been thinking about how I will never be able to tell any of these people, not even once, that their art changed my life in such a profound way. I will never be able to relay to them the idea that their art made a difference in my life, in my art, however insignificant that thought may be (considering these people inspired millions around the globe). That thought has induced sadness as well as wonder in me lately, and from it, I derived this poem. I really don’t have many other words to describe how I’ve been feeling lately other than what this poem attempts to verbalize, so there’s that.

I hope you all enjoy this, and I hope that in some way we can all acknowledge the impact that our existence, no matter how “small” we may seem, has on the lives of others.

Enjoy. – xx

Glimpse 

 

Now, sit
Screaming—
Drowning,
Enveloped in blackness

Now, sleep
Hotel rooms
Feel like home—
A transient passing

Ah, only to go
Where you’ve been;
To swim along the River Styx,
River of Time–
But Lover, I,
I never knew you.

Where do you go now?
Would you turn me away?
In my mortal coil,
In my hopeless form I,
I take any shape; I take flight
Infinite blue sky.

I am trying
On a new coat—
Newborn flesh
Comes to bloom.

It is a knife—
Not only death but
Precious life;
My flesh
Ragin’, bloomin’,
Fresh like daises,
Dances in the rain.

It is a knife—
As I’m speeding by
Time goes on;
Slips away
Further into distance,
Into dream—

Can we take five?

Where would you go
To slowly disappear?
To mark your own grave?
To hear your own voice?
Or see your own face
Just one moment more?

Though we never lived
In comparable spheres
Your colors tinge my soul;
So I slip back—
Mercurian fluidity
Wondering:

Can you can sense my admiration?

Ideas, ideals, poetics
Pure energy:
Immortal things,
They cannot leave thee.

Beat back, push hard;
Do you now know
Where you are
Swimming against the tides of time?

I would do anything to tell you
Once then, once now—
Can you hear through your euphoria?
Can you hear what souls speak
In all that infinite blue sky?
Could I still tell you goodbye?

Can time slow down for a while?
Can I let you know
You’re so timeless, so admired,
They deface your grave?
Your final resting place? —
Are you even there?

Did you fly away?

Did you break time’s waves
Waves of blackness,
Waves of breaths,
Waves of light and waves of death and
Waves of weighted down mistakes?
Tell me—do River Time’s waves ever break?

Glimpsing silver screens;
A moment, a split second
Held breaths
Words never said—
Did you know
When you left the earth?

Were you afraid to dance with death?

Or did you
Run, screaming,
Howling into blackness
And embrace—

Did you run,
Screaming, howling,
Into death or kiss her,
And slowly drift away?

Do you still swim
Great River Time
Still, to this very day?
I utter, then, the words:

You never left me.

Me Too | An Ode to Women

It was sometime about a year ago, maybe two, that I first saw a woman I know share her “me too” experience. One followed another, and an amazing cry for women’s liberation swept through the United States. I was proud of my sisters, but saddened by the amount of women (and men, and non-binary folks) that had dealt with sexual harassment or gender discrimination in some way, shape, or form. I had an experience, too, but I couldn’t quite find the right words to express exactly how it made me feel.

A year later, maybe two, I’ve finished a short (but meaningful, at least to me) poem that sheds light on my “me too” experience. It doesn’t detail my experience exactly, but rather sheds some light on my feelings about myself as a woman, and about the bright future on the horizon for all of womankind. I hope that as human beings we learn to love and respect one another: body, mind, and soul. This is my “me too” poem, I guess.

Enjoy. – xx

Me Too | An Ode to Women

 

“This body must be jealous
Of the soul that it envelops”—

I need women who say such things
To little girls in leotards.

I need women who say
“I am not this body

Not I— this jar of clay
Is not my identity.”

See,

I am not my mother and father’s
Perfect daughter, rather

A vagabond; came into their life
With screaming colors

Who’ll never make as much as her
Equally qualified brother

A vagabond dowsed in dresses
To her delight

Still, not enough to forget
Eve’s eternal plight.

Sisters,

Our time has come,
Or so they say—

I say to them,
The tiny dancers

I say to them,
The baby blues

I say to them,
The bored and the bold:

Me too, me too, me too.

Eye of Apollo | A Poem from Springtime

Hello, friends. Today I was reminiscing on warmer days spent in the sun, and I dug up an older poem of mine. I wrote this nearly two years ago now (although it doesn’t seem like that long ago), and it’s still one of my favorites.

This poem really makes me feel a warm softness. When I wrote it, it was a perfectly beautiful, sunny day and the clouds were whisping in all directions. They looked sort of like a lotus flower, which is one of the images I continue to use in this poem. I also use images of the sun, and of the Greek mythical god Apollo, to emphasize the sunlight that was pouring into my windows that day.

All feedback is appreciated, friends. Enjoy. -xx

Eye of Apollo

 

Pure, white lotus flower
Holds a ball of light—
The eye of Apollo
The eye of a solar storm

Cutting through newly
Severed petals, jet
Streams in order
Create lines like borders

And I understand her.

The pure, white lotus
Sinking in a pool
Clear blue, formless,
Nameless for poet’s sake

And I emulate her.

Her mood, nuances
Are mine, have been
Become mine and I
Feel her deep within

And I trust her.

Pure, white lotus flower
Floating, holding a
Ball of light, eye of
Apollo, eye of mine.

End.

 

Way Back | A Poem from Festival Seasons Past

It’s almost that time of year again, friends: festival season. Each year I attend a few festivals, and today I found myself reminiscing on last year’s festival trips I made throughout the east coast. Festivals bring the freedom and opportunity to meet other like-minded individuals, take in music from artists of all genres, and generally just be in the outdoors with others. Strangers quickly become friends when I go to festivals, and I’ve never had a truly bad experience there.

Today, I’m going to share a poem I wrote last summer while attending Bunbury festival with some friends. My husband (who was then just my boyfriend) had left a day prior to return to work on time, and my friends were nowhere to be found. So, I took the liberty of meeting strangers, watching sets with them, and enjoying some alone (yet not-so-alone-after-all) time with people I’d never meet again. Enjoy.

xoxo – Miranda Martin.

Way Back

 

Way back way back

Precipitating and perspiring—

Slick as oil slick—

Atop my browning skin

Way back way back

In the back of the crowd—

The waves of sound aloud—

Atop the rumbling trees

Way back way back

She smiles from afar—

Did I see her there?

Did I see her hair

Way back way back

Tied back, back of her neck—

Shoulders shaking like sin—

Rolling with the gin

Way back way back

Kissing her man goodbye—

He boards another flight—

She shakes and shimmies

Every stranger’s friend

‘Til he comes home again

(End.)