First Friday Zoom Open Mic, August 6, 2021

By Carla Joy Martin

Creative souls and local poets gathered on Zoom to share their poetry on Friday night, August 6, 2021.  The assembled participants were Shamir Kali Griffen, Chris Nielsen, Thomas Brill, Lola Jimenez, Samuel Benjamin Rain, Christopher Craddock, Don Thomas, Shihi Suynshun Kennedy, Suzanne Weller, Carla Martin and Portia Choi. 

The video from the evening can be viewed at:
Passcode: mM$6hZPu

Interview with Lola Jimenez

By Carla Martin

As Lola Jimenez has lost the poem she read to us that evening, she has agreed to share with us this poem instead:

An Ode to my Cat 

I never realized
How much you meant to me
Until the first night 
You couldn’t sleep with me

It was the first time 
I didn’t feel your lanky
Body curled against mine
I felt like I lost my sunshine

I wasn’t woken up 
In the middle of the night 
When you can’t sleep
No pokes- to see if 
I’m dreaming 

I couldn’t look into 
Your piercing blue eyes
Or run my hand through 
Your ginger hair

You couldn’t smell me
I know it’s comforting 
Or your way of reassuring
I was at your side

I couldn’t get tuna-breathed kisses
Or you nestled into my neck
You had to be satisfied with 
Only my sweater at night

No head on my chest
Or your face inches from mine
No kisses on your forehead

You couldn’t follow me 
|To the bathroom
Both doing our own thing
It’s our daily routine

I couldn’t hold your hand 
Even though you insist 
Yours has to be on top of mine
The only way I can hold yours
In my palm is if it’s slightly closed 

I miss your angry stares
& you running around the house
Going insane- bored every day 
Trying to entertain yourself

You didn’t have me
To cling to when you were
Scared going through nightmares
I promise I won’t ever 
Leave you again

Q.  What inspired you to write your poem?  What is its back story?

A.  This poem was supposed to emulate a partnership. I wanted people to question if this was about a partner or a relationship. I love my cat and when I thought I could have COVID it broke my heart that I wouldn’t have his companionship. I thought about him getting sick and I knew I had to stay away until my COVID test came back. Thank God it was negative, but it made me realize how much time we spent together, and I decided to write out this poem. This poem is one of my favorites because it’s a bit ironic and ridiculous, but it also shows how much I adore my pet. 

Q.  Do you like to read poetry?  If you do, what poets have influenced you?  Who have messages you connect with, or styles you admire?

A. I love reading poetry. It’s nice reading different styles and learning more about the art. Pablo Neruda influenced me to write odes and to be proud of my heritage. Philip Larkin has had an impression on me. He reminds me to be as raw as possible when writing. 

I usually read R.H. Sin and Rupi Kaur and will write responses to their work or take lines from their work that resonate with me and write a whole piece for that. 

Q.  What advice would you give to other folks wanting to create poems?  How do you make a poem?  Do you have a special place you go to, or music you listen to, etc.?  Give us a glimpse into your creative process.

A. I would remind people that poetry is an art and there’s no right way to write free verses. Just write what’s on your mind and don’t be scared to dig deep.