I Promised Spoilers

I haven’t really followed through, have I? I’m close to having Where the Sidewalk Begins ready, but I’ve only done one spoiler! lol. I’m sure you’re all hanging in there waiting for each one, right?

Appropriately, I pulled today’s “spoiler” from a poem titled “Echoes in a Fangirll’s Heart”, inspired mostly by David Bowie, with a small nod to Stray Kids (if you’re not familiar with them, check them out).

I hope you enjoy. And I hope you’ll stick with me for another month or so when I’ll have the book finished!

Spoiler #2. Copyright 2023 Michelle Garren-Flye

Day 16: Happy National Poetry Month

So yesterday I posted a failed sestina. But what I didn’t realize was it could always get worse. My second try was so bad I named it “Take 2” and I haven’t even gone back to work on punctuation and capitalization. If you’ve ever read the children’s rhyme about the old lady who swallowed the fly, then the frog to eat the fly, then the cat to eat frog, well, that’s what Take 2 is like. I can post it here for fun. Shall I? Why not? This is all about learning, right?

Take 2

let me tell you a secret

it’s beautiful like a rose

although filled with regret

you told me a lie

when we stood in the rain

but still I decided to stay

why should I stay

I dream of places so secret

and getting lost in the rain

until the sun’s rose

reveals that lie

you told without regret

I cannot help but regret

the decision I made to stay

even after I knew the lie

that you tried to keep secret

by handing me a rose

all covered with rain

here comes the rain

and it fills me with regret

that I can’t find a single rose

or a real reason to stay

but it’s still a secret

that you told me that lie

don’t we all tell a lie

when we stand in the rain

we keep it a secret

so that we won’t regret

but do we stay

or follow the compass rose

follow the direction of the rose

or choose. Instead. the lie

we never know unless we stay

if it will always rain

and that, I guess, is my regret

after all, it’s not a secret

if you regret the lie you told

come find me in the secret roses

where I stay, living in the rain

Truly awful. Sestina three is slightly better. I chose the words at random. I’m not sure why it’s a murder mystery/ghost story set in South Korea (okay, my fascination with Korean drama and K-pop probably influenced that), but it’s definitely better.

Han River

Meet me by the Han River

where no one looks like me.

But I’ll carry a yellow rose

and you can wear a white coat.

That’s where I can tell my tale

of love long lost and buried.

Meet me where seeds are buried

asleep on the banks of the river.

Are you sure you wish to hear my tale?

it’s really only about me.

There’s no real way to sugarcoat

or exchange my yellow for a red rose.

It’s been a while since I rose

from where they thought I was buried

and stood without dress or coat

at the edge of the Han River.

I’m not sure why you linger with me

just to hear this tired old tale.

They thought I’d never tell the tale

of how I was deceived by his rose

and how they tortured and murdered me,

dug a shallow grave and buried

me there on the frozen banks of the river

where ice had begun to freeze and coat.

I saw a beaver shake water off his coat

and I whispered him my sad tale

before he slipped back into the river.

It was winter then, there was no rose

of any color where I was buried

in this icy wasteland where they left me.

You say you’re only here to help me,

you in your beautiful white coat.

Do you know where the dead are buried?

Do you know how to tell my tale?

But we watched as the sun rose

above the banks of the Han River.

The same river where they buried me…

I can’t pin a rose on your white coat…

My tale ends here where I am buried.

So that’s where I am with sestinas. It is definitely not my favorite form I’ve tried, but it is the most challenging. I didn’t think it could get harder than villanelle, either! Will I continue writing them? Tune in tomorrow to find out. In the meantime:

Day 11: Happy National Poetry Month!

Once again I went to the internet to find a poetry prompt this morning. This one came from Poets & Writers and is highly appropriate for me although I did tweak it a bit. It says to write an ode to your favorite singer, placing them in a particular moment in time.

What better prompt for someone who can’t get through a day without listening to K-pop, right? I didn’t write this poem to anyone in particular, though. It’s more an ode to the genre, which is why the title is “Noraebang”, the anglicized word for the Korean word for “Karaoke”. It literally means “music (norae) room (bang)”, which is what I try to imagine my head is sometimes. An empty space that I fill with the good feelings of the music I’ve filled my life with.

Music is a funny thing. It twines itself into our memories and feelings. I reached a point in my life where a lot of the music I had enjoyed for a large portion of my life was too twisted into a part of my feelings that I needed to get away from…and then K-pop happened. A genre of music that is mostly positive and was completely new.

It helped me rebuild myself. And that’s what this little ode is meant to share.

Noraebang

By Michelle Garren-Flye

When I can’t sleep

I listen to you instead:

turn up the music

and you fill my head.

Push out all the doubt

that plagues my soul.

Fling off the loneliness,

allow me to be whole.

It’s only a sweet moment,

this stolen away time,

but for that space I feel

as if everything rhymes.

A photo I took at my first K-pop concert (Stray Kids) from last month.
Photo and poem copyright 2023 Michelle Garren-Flye

Far & wee: The origin story

I was really shy about admitting the whole story about how Far & wee came to be. Why on earth would that be? I mean, I’ve already admitted I wrote twenty sonnets (and illustrated them) in nineteen days (okay, maybe that’s a bit of a flex…). I’ve admitted that I had no patience for getting feedback on the sonnets (this wasn’t that kind of project, honestly).

So I’m impatient and proud and may have rushed this project through (not just to be able to brag that I got it done in twenty-five days, but that doesn’t hurt). Why would I be embarrassed to admit what the spark was that put this whole thing in motion?

Well…

And here’s the shy part.

…the spark came from my persistent and somewhat consuming fandom for a K-Pop group.

There. I said it. I’m a K-Pop fan. K-Pop came along in my life when I needed a lift. And it gave me that! It started with BTS, but it quickly expanded to include groups like TXT and Enhypen…but especially the self-produced group Stray Kids.

If you come into my store, you’ll no doubt hear Stray Kids. If you surprise me in there, you might catch me dancing and sometimes singing along (you don’t need to hear that—I’m bad enough in English). I was fascinated when I found out they write and produce almost all of their songs. They help with choreography and producing the music videos. But especially the writing part. The poetry of these songs is incredible. In three different languages, no less. Mostly Korean and English, but they also write entirely Japanese songs as well as Japanese songs with some English mixed in.

It doesn’t hurt at all that they’re also handsome and charming in addition to prodigiously talented. And they adore their fans.

So how did they inspire me to write Far & wee, a book of sonnets about the balloon-man in e.e. cummings’s “[in Just-]”—when I’d been considering writing such a book for a long time?

It all came about when the leader of Stray Kids, Bang Chan, who loves to tease fans with spoilers they’re never going to figure out until it’s far too late, messaged his fans that his favorite color combination was pink and blue. And how together they made a whole new color.

Well, my first thought was that pink and blue really just makes purple. But I started thinking about pink and blue and purple and somehow it got mixed up in my head with the balloon-man (balloons come in all colors!). And there you go.

I won’t call Far & wee Stray Kids fan art, because it isn’t. But it is art that was done by one of their fans and definitely owes some of the inspiration to them. And a good bit of it was done with them playing in my AirPods or in the background.

So, thank you, Stray Kids. Because I’m really proud of this little book.

Wolf Chan and my book Far & wee.