The Last Friday

The Last Friday is a poetry editing group. Once a month, we post a poem and then offer feedback to the other poems on the Forum. We're a friendly but honest group. We value each other deeply and desire for every poet to be published or become famous.


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poem with a job to do

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Karen

Posts : 299
Join date : 2014-10-25
Age : 64
Location : North Little Rock

poem with a job to do

Post  Karen on Sat Sep 01, 2018 10:47 am

You may or may not know I write poetry on demand.  I do it at art walks, festivals, farmers’ markets. It’s both a party trick and a way to draw people to poetry.  My manual typewriter is the hook.  I will write on any subject, trivial or deep.  I use as many of the person’s own words as possible in the poem.

I’ve been working at the VA with the Alzheimer’s Poetry Project and Poetry for Life.  Both programs use the same tools, but the pace is different for impaired and unimpaired participants.  I go to the Adult Day Center and the geriatric residential unit.  

I have a new project I am hoping to begin at the AR State Veterans Home.  It’s a nursing home.  The project is “Mail Call.”  Like poetry on demand, it will be a one-on-one activity with my typewriter.  Instead of offering to write poems, I will offer to write letters.  I expect many of the residents will tell me they have no one to write.  This is where it might get interesting.  So who would they write if they could?  Who would they thank?  Or straighten out?  Or apologize to?  Maybe they would write to their own younger selves.  Or the selves they never were.  Of course, I am also willing to write real letters to be mailed, or poems.

When my husband had Alzheimer’s, he was cared for by the VA in many, many ways.  I have a debt of gratitude.

I welcome your thoughts on both the poem and the project.  I intend to use this poem as my little door-opener with participants.  I also like to have something physical of my own to give to people when they ask.  I know this post is a bit off-topic, but you're my people.

Dear You,

I am listening.
The channel is clear.
Send me your signal.
No matter how faint.
No matter how far.
No matter how few
the words.
I am listening.
The channel is open.

With respect,
With love,

Me
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tsukany

Posts : 605
Join date : 2011-05-21

Makes deep sense

Post  tsukany on Sat Sep 01, 2018 11:23 am

Karen

I applaud the topic, gifts, and ministry to others.  Bless you.

In the poem, I don't need "the words."  I like the line ending with "few."  (maybe a synonym for one of the "channels"?)

Well done and thanks for sharing.

Todd

Pat

Posts : 648
Join date : 2011-09-12

I am touched.

Post  Pat on Sat Sep 01, 2018 2:11 pm

Precious ministry.  
I don't think you need many lines if it is for the residents. 
Channel.  I like it.  I wonder if you might also use "heart" or "light".
My mother had dementia.  I don't know if she'd get channel or not.
Love the first line about listening.  Open and listening.  
Closure is great.  
My hat is off to you, Karen.  I'm sure you are meeting some precious people.
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Karen

Posts : 299
Join date : 2014-10-25
Age : 64
Location : North Little Rock

Re: poem with a job to do

Post  Karen on Sat Sep 01, 2018 3:53 pm

Thank you for the support and suggestions.  Unlike the Alzheimer Poetry Project, Mail Call will be for primarily unimpaired residents.  The new AR State Veterans Home is a "small-home" design, with a community center at its heart.  I understand loneliness and few visitors are both problems.  If I find my feet with this, there are many other places I can take it in the VA.

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