Poetry

The Creative Process of Legos


Solitary lego

How often do we find ourselves guilty of focusing too much on the product of our work and banging our head against the wall every step of the way through the beautiful but odious creative process?

This year alone? More times than I’m going to admit.

So, in an attempt to stimulate my creative juices, I attended the JustThis: Zen Writing meetup at the Austin Zen Center earlier this week. The group begins with a short meditation followed by a prompt, then 30 minutes of writing whatever comes up. Finally, we go around the room, sharing whatever we’ve written, and the rest of the group can offer feedback.

The prompt was a short piece entitled Finding the Lego by Maryann Corbett of St. Paul, Minnesota, about turning up one small object loaded with meaning.

Nothing really resonated with me in the piece other than the idea of the lego. This was also my first time attending the meetup, and I was late, so I identified with the missing lego piece, feeling like the outsider who tries to fit in at the last minute.

The 30-minute session began, and I had no clue what to write. I was already allowing myself to feel uncomfortable because of my tardiness (I arrived right in the middle of meditation portion. Awkward.). With a smile from the organizer, I assured myself that it was OK that I was there, and that I was welcome. So, I focused on the lego:

I am the lego
I am the lego who shows up late
asking for its chance to connect with the others.

Aren’t we all legos?

Lego represents the building blocks of matter
But even Lego has legos
Lego atoms
Specially designed to make it into a lego

How far can we go?

How far can we go
‘til we are no longer lego
and more of something else?

Then, my mind veered off into all kinds of directions. Stream of Consciousness. Danny Kaye. Lego doodles. If lego spoke Spanish: Soy el lego que llego tarde… then, finally writing the words “I don’t even know what I am writing anymore.”

I was about to give up and just sit there for the remaining 5 minutes, just staring at my skirt… when one small gem popped out:

Legos in my dress
Legos in my chest
I am a kingdom of legos

Building nations of dreams
Creation it seems
is but a thing of legos

Huh. Process does work.

I’ll be hosting my own poetry meetup tonight at Friends & Neighbors on E. Cesar Chavez at 6:00, and we’ll be honoring process. Event info here: Eastside Poetry & Coffee.

Photo credit: Paul Hudson

Blue

I saw a blue balloon today
floating along the stratosphere —
caressing heaven’s belly, batting
its glittering eye, intrinsically aware
of its place between the cosmos.

I saw a blue jay today
squawking down below our porch —
flitting among the branches, hopping
alongside the dry creek bed, content
in his handsome feathered frame.

I saw a blue bicycle and his sister today
racing each other through the park —
squealing in delight, wanting not
to be last, training wheels flying
as swift as wings.

I saw you everywhere today
coloring shirts and shoes and a dragonfly kite —
laughing behind graffiti, smiling across
the expansive Texas sky, your blue hair waving
in my memory.

For Machelle.

© Amelia Isabel

FIRST-TIME PUBLISHED AUTHOR!

GUYS, I’VE BEEN PUBLISHED!

Last July while lunching at Central Market,  the eensiest of weensiest of spiders landed on my shoulder  — a magnificent tiny speck of bright yellow topaz — that captivated my attention. It was as if she wanted me to paint her in words. So, I did.  I submitted the poem on a whim back in October and within a few days, learned that it was selected for publication. It was officially published on Every Day Poets yesterday. They even paid me ONE DOLLAR for my work! A whole dollar! My first dollar! Which I now have in my possession and shall be framed shortly.

Tonight at my monthly creative meetup, a friend shared the story of the Spider Grandmother, who, according to certain Native American legends, is thought to be Mother Earth or the creator of the universe. These myths say that when a spider shows itself, it is believed to be the Spider Grandmother communicating.

I am so very glad I listened.

To spiders, the earth, and first dolla bills!

The eight-legged amarillo aerialist

A visitor lands on the fleshy terrain —
only a tickle betrays her presence.

With assistance from my pen,
I help coax her
to a safer location.

The eight-legged amarillo aerialist
repels off my pen

and

onto

            the ketchup bottle,

invisibly cutting her bungee
and swinging
f  r  e  e  .

Suspended from the lip of the catsup’s cliff
she twirls in her harness,
perfecting her tricks.
Dazzling silk
in the sun.

Her audience of one applauds her so.

A breath escapes me,
and the amarillo aerialist

plummets

to the linoleum surface

but stops
just in time to admire her
r e f l e c t i o n
then yo-yos back up the side of Heinz.

Mesmerizing.

I laugh as she casts an invisible wire and zip-lines away into the sunset.

© Amelia Isabel