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Baptism: Olympic College Poetry Workshop

Bremerton was gray from the ground up

the day a former nun ripped out my guts

and stomped on them in front of 24 strangers.

At the time I didn't know she'd been a nun;

but I did know she was Published

and I had been raised to respect

my elders.  For two hours, she pontificated

over the other 24 poems while I sat

sweating, heart twitching,

waiting for my turn.  Waiting.

Was my poem lost?  forgotten?  Finally,

in the last 2 minutes, the Poet asked,

"Who wrote this?  Who wrote this

last piece?"  I raised my hand,

every white face turned to look.

"I don't have much to say, really.

Not well-crafted.  Too angry.

And you've created a genocidal God!"

She laughed.  "Give it up and start over. 

Thank you, everyone, it's been

a lovely afternoon."

Done!  My niece's death, her

mixed-blood complications

with bone-marrow donors,

the history of Father Serra's

missions, dismissed, wrong.

Not a poem, she said.

All the way home, I seethed

with horror and shame,

chewed hard words

till my jaw, inflamed,

cracked on the splinters. 

I swore

on Tiara's name:

I'll be a better writer

someday, tell this story

without so many flaws,

do right by you.  Now,

decades later, I know:

it wasn't me.  Sometimes

one woman's saint

is another's nightmare;

sometimes, a genocidal

God is just

a genocidal God

and no amount of schooling

makes pretty poetry

out of that.

-  Deborah A. Miranda

ps:  I am having trouble pasting in text from Word; it consistently double-spaces everything, and doesn't keep the stanza formatting.  This poem is in tercets, but I can't get the stanza breaks to appear.  I AM using the "paste from Word" button at the bottom of the blog form.  If I go to HTML, I can change the code, but it's an enormous hassle and I'm not all that expert.  Any ideas?  Please let me know.  dm.

3 Comment count
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Erase those double-spaces!

I had the same problem, until our own Huntington Sharp gave me this info… “The only way I know of to guarantee that there are just line breaks, not whole spaces, between lines of your poems is to edit the text in HTML. This may seem daunting at first, but I know you’ll get the hang of it. Basically, with the “rich-text disabled,” make sure that each line ends with the tags <br> rather than </p> or <p>.  For example, to create this in “real” text:Oh what a tangled web we weave When first we practice to deceive. …type: Oh what a tangled web we weave <br>
When first we practice to deceive.”

Try it, Deborah. Go back into your blog entry, click edit, then click "disable rich-text" and you'll get an incredible bunch of nonsense. Erase those places where </p> or <p> appear, substitute <br>.  It’s a pain but it worked for me. And when you click on “enable rich text” again, you’ll find crap at the beginning of each line of your poem. Just delete the crap and continue on.

Although I hate the reason for your poem, I applaud your thoughts within it, especially “till my jaw cracked on the splinters.”

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Thank you, Mara, for your response.  I had already figured that out, but was hoping for a less time-intensive cure.  That's the rub, really: taking the time to edit HTML for every poem.  I'm afraid I'll have to give up Redroom for this reason.   Or just post prose.  Thanks again for taking YOUR time to try and help me out, and for the lovely comment.  Deborah

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Given my own experience with

Given my own experience with nuns I am not surprised to read of your own experience-the nuns I knew were very good at stripping away any bone of creativity that existed - they wanted only for a one set of mind philosophy and god help you if you stepped out of their tidy and cloistered perspective. I like what you wrote and how you wrote it, gaps, breaks or whatever. m