Saturday, March 3, 2018

Backstory of the Poem #10 "Natural Reflection of Your Palms" by Scott Thomas Outlar . . .

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***This is the tenth in a never-ending series called BACKSTORY OF THE POEM where the Chris Rice Cooper Blog (CRC) focuses on one specific poem and how the poet wrote that specific poem.   All of the BACKSTORY OF THE POEM series links are posted at the end of this piece. 

Backstory of the Poem
“Natural Reflection of Your Palms”
by Scott Thomas Outlar

Can you go through the step-by-step process of writing this poem from the moment the idea was first conceived in your brain until final form?  I’ve been residing in the suburbs outside of Atlanta, Georgia for the past several years. Two of my favorite activities are walking and visiting the many parks located throughout Gwinnett County. Thankfully, Mountain Park is only a mile from my residence, and so nearly every day I make the journey up there to spend time in the woods writing. Sometimes poems begin to form in my mind as I’m walking along the sidewalk on Five Forks Trickum Road, and that is the case with this particular piece. Its theme, tempo, rhythm, and cadence arrived spontaneously from my subconscious. By the time I reached the bridge inside the park where I momentarily rest while finishing my first cigarette of the day, the entire poem had been constructed in my head.

Where were you when you started to actually write the poem?  And please describe the place in great detail.  A few minutes later I had climbed the final hill and was seated at my favorite bench in the woods feverishly scribbling down the poem while it was still fresh in my thoughts. The entire process from original idea to written draft was completed within 20 minutes. The woods in the area are filled with pine trees, and the bench is situated beside a tree that has a heart with initials carved into it. There is a baseball field in the distance that can be seen from the angle where I sit. It’s a wonderful place to relax and commune with nature while receiving a steady flow of inspiration.

What month and year did you start writing this poem?  It was written on October 6, 2017.

How many drafts of this poem did you write before going to the final? (And can you share a photograph of your rough drafts with pen markings on it?)  There was one rough draft written down in pen, and then the final version was typed later in the day.

Were there any lines in any of your rough drafts of this poem that were not in the final version?  And can you share them with us?  No lines were removed. The only changes were that two words were added for emphasis in the body of the final version, and the word natural was added to the beginning of the title.

What do you want readers of this poem to take from this poem?  A feeling of unity, connectedness, and Oneness with their fellow human beings, as well as a sense of harmony and balance with the natural processes of life and death on earth.

Has this poem been published before?  And if so where?  Yes, it was originally published at Dissident Voice. DV is a cultural, political, and social justice newsletter edited by Angie Tibbs where I have now been contributing a weekly poem for the past three and a half years.  

My friend and fellow poet, Heath Brougher, also filmed an impromptu performance of me reading the piece during a recent trip to London, England. That video can be seen here on YouTube.

Contact info?  I can be reached via email: I’m also active on several social media platforms. The best place to reach out is on my personal Facebook page. I always welcome feedback and am open to engaging in new conversations with friends and contemporaries.

Anything you would like to add?  I would just like to thank you for providing this unique and interesting venue where I could speak about my work. It has been a pleasure. All the best to you and your readers!

Natural Reflection of Your Palms
This is my breath,
the same as yours,
the same as dust, the same as ash
when it all comes to an end,
but held deeply within
steady lungs
that long for truth
while we’re still here.

This is my flesh,
the same as yours,
the same as tissue, the same as sinew,
but without
fiber optic connections as of now;
and never will be,
so don’t dare try me
with temptations
toward such so-called system upgrades.

This is my blood,
the same as yours,
the same as a river, the same as the ocean
where we all swam
before the expansion
of our evolution
was set into forward motion.

These are my hands,
the same as yours,
the same as caring, the same as giving,
the same as taking, the same as wanting,
the same as needing to hold
everything that is loved
firmly within their grasp.

Scott Thomas Outlar hosts the site where links to his published poetry, fiction, essays, interviews, reviews, live events, and books can be found. His work has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net. Scott was a recipient of the 2017 Setu Magazine Award for Excellence in the field of literature. His words has been translated into Albanian, Afrikaans, Persian, Serbian, and Italian. His books include: Songs of a Dissident (Transcendent Zero Press, 2015); Chaos Songs (Weasel Press, 2016); Happy Hour Hallelujah (CTU Publishing, 2016); Poison in Paradise (Alien Buddha Press, 2017); and Abstract Visions of Light (Alien Buddha Press, forthcoming in 2018).

001  December 29, 2017
Margo Berdeshevksy’s “12-24”

002  January 08, 2018
Alexis Rhone Fancher’s “82 Miles From the Beach, We Order The Lobster At Clear Lake Café”

003 January 12, 2018
Barbara Crooker’s “Orange”

004 January 22, 2018
Sonia Saikaley’s “Modern Matsushima”

005 January 29, 2018
Ellen Foos’s “Side Yard”

006 February 03, 2018
Susan Sundial’s “The Ringmaster”

007 February 09, 2018
Leslea Newman’s “That Night”

008 February 17, 2018
Alexis Rhone Fancher “June Fairchild Isn’t Dead”

009 February 24, 2018
Charles Clifford Brooks III “The Gift of the Year With Granny”

010 March 03, 2018
Scott Thomas Outlar’s “Natural Reflection of Your Palms”

011 March 10, 2018 
Arya F.  Jenkins “After Diane Beatty’s Photograph, “History Abandoned"

012 March 17, 2018
Angela Narciso Torres’s “What I Learned This Week

013 March 24, 2018
Jan Steckel’s “Holiday On ICE”

014 March 31, 2018
Ibrahim Honjo’s “Colors”

015 April 14, 2018
Marilyn Kallett’s “Ode to Disappointment”

016  April 27, 2018
Beth Copeland’s “Reliquary”

017  May 12, 2018
Marlon L Fick’s “The Swallows of Barcelona”

018  May 25, 2018

020 June 16, 2018
Charles Rammelkamp’s “At Last I Can Start Suffering”

021  July 05, 2018
Marla Shaw O’Neill’s “Wind Chimes”

022 July 13, 2018
Julia Gordon-Bramer’s “Studying Ariel”

023 July 20, 2018
Bill Yarrow’s “Jesus Zombie”

025  August 01, 2018
Seth Berg’s (It is only Yourself that Bends – so Wake up!”

026  August 07, 2018
David Herrle’s “Devil In the Details”

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