New work up at Gyroscope Review, and Best of the Net nomination

Good news: My prose poem, Running mountains at fifty, is up at Gyroscope Review.

I wrote this a few years ago, after running up Powerline Pass with a friend in the middle of the winter. It was a magical night, the air so cold it hurt to breathe, but in a good sort of way. Our dogs running ahead, the mountains rising up before us. Funny how some moments force themselves into poems and others simply evaporate as if they never happened.

Here’s the beginning:

RUNNING MOUNTAINS AT FIFTY
BY CINTHIA RITCHIE

Who knew when I was young, running because I could, because I liked the taste of my own blood, scraped knees, bruised ankles, the soles of my feet raw because I never wore shoes, striding through pastures and over cow patties, the sound of the creek so familiar it echoed like my own breath, who knew that this would lead me to running mountain trails in Alaska, the moon as fat and full as my pregnant belly, years and years ago, the night expansive and wide, temperatures close to zero, the snow lavender and hushed, I follow a friend until I fall in love with her footsteps, the way we always fall in love with those we follow, snow crunching, dogs running ahead, we pass a moose but it ignores us and so we keep going ….

You can read the rest here.

And my hybrid piece, How Mary, Joseph and Jesus Fucked up my Love Life has been nominated by Hunger Journal for Best of the Net, which is a huge honor.

That’s the good news. The bad news is that summer is over up here in Alaska and the leaves are rapidly falling off the trees. Snow dots the tops of the mountain peaks (termination dust, we call it up here) and the air smells crisp and damp. Even though I dislike winter, I love this time of year, even as it signifies endings. Mostly, I love the return of the nights. It’s dark by 8 p.m. now, and I love walking the dog in the dark, love looking up and seeing the stars and the moon, love how the darkness presses down around us, as embracing us, as if keeping us safe.

In three weeks I’ll head down to Arizona and my winter desert life, but for now I’m content to slow down and enjoy the autumn for all it offers. Last night, as I walked the dog in the dark, the wind blowing my hair, leaves falling like rain, I thought of that poem Her Kind by Anne Sexton, I thought of the wildness of it, the darkness, the satisfaction of the words and rhythm, especially this line: “haunting the black air, braver at night.”

Her Kind
by Anne Sexton

I have gone out, a possessed witch,
haunting the black air, braver at night;
dreaming evil, I have done my hitch
over the plain houses, light by light:
lonely thing, twelve-fingered, out of mind.
A woman like that is not a woman, quite.
I have been her kind.

I have found the warm caves in the woods,
filled them with skillets, carvings, shelves,
closets, silks, innumerable goods;
fixed the suppers for the worms and the elves:
whining, rearranging the disaligned.
A woman like that is misunderstood.
I have been her kind.

I have ridden in your cart, driver,
waved my nude arms at villages going by,
learning the last bright routes, survivor
where your flames still bite my thigh
and my ribs crack where your wheels wind.
A woman like that is not ashamed to die.
I have been her kind.

Oh, is there anything better than walking a dog through darkness and reciting poetry to the wind?

Other than writing and daydreaming about poems, here’s what I’m been up these past couple of weeks. Not a bad life, eh?

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9 thoughts on “New work up at Gyroscope Review, and Best of the Net nomination

    1. Thanks, Luanne. And I so love Anne Sexton’s work. Don’t you wish you could somehow travel back in time and have tea with her? Or a glass of wine? Or just sit and chat? Wouldn’t that be the most wonderful of things?

      Like

    1. Two more weeks before I leave for Tucson. It’s always bittersweet leaving, I love Alaska so much. But the temps are falling fast so yeah, I guess it’s about time. Cheers and enjoy the sunshine (I’m assuming that it’s sunny there today, right?).

      Liked by 1 person

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