Current Events, Holy Wild, Muse in Brief, Poetry & Music

Twice As Much Of Whatever We’ve Become

Twitter increased the character limit of tweets this week, from 140 to a whopping 280.

I have no strong opinions on this, honestly — it was an arbitrary limit dictated by earlier technology which spurred creative work-arounds, but the pure 140-character tweet (without pics, gifs or links) has been dead and gone for quite a while now. Some folks think this spells the end of the platform, but I doubt it.

More to the point is everything Twitter isn’t doing, changes users have been begging for a long time: better handling of abuse and hate speech, the removal of neo-nazis and white supremacists, protection from mobs of trolls and harassers.

Carlos Maza covers the complexities of protecting free speech on social media platforms in a recent Vox video.

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In light of these challenges (and Twitter’s inaction in rising to them with any coherent vision of what meaningful conversation might actually look like), bumping up the character limit to 280 seems largely irrelevant. What will we say in 280 characters that we haven’t learned to say in 140?

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Holy Wild, Muse in Brief, News & Announcements, Poetry & Music

Five New Poems: Evolving Gender and the Mask of Social Media

Masks are everywhere these days… and not just because Halloween is just around the corner. Sometimes we don’t even realize the masks that we’ve been wearing — the patterns and themes and synchronicities that have been lurking behind the mask of random chance in our lives — until someone else points them out to us.

That’s sort of what happened to me when, by sheer coincidence (or was it?), a curiously thematic bunch of my poems all were accepted for publication during the month of October. Five poems, written over the span of a decade, accepted by three different journals. I didn’t even realize they had anything much in common until I sat down to write up this little blurb — and then suddenly it was staring me in the face!

“Mask,” by Alison Leigh Lilly, published by Raw Dog Press (Oct 2017)

Each of these poems grapples with the liminal — the boundary between inside and outside — essence and appearance — and how we navigate, negotiate, construct, deconstruct, interpret and re-imagine those edges as part of the on-going processes of exploring self-identity.

My poem “Mask” (above) is featured as this month’s Post Poem by Raw Dog Press, an independent publisher since 1972 specializing in post card poetry and chapbooks.

Another poem of mine, “Golem,” appears in the latest issue of Eye to the Telescope, a quarterly journal of speculative poetry produced by the Science Fiction & Fantasy Poetry Association. The guest editor for Issue #26, Sandra J. Lindow, sought work on the theme of “Evolving Gender”:

Each of us comes from the union of a man and a woman, but, by definition, the DNA of conception provides a spiral staircase of genetic evolution, an intermixing of male and female characteristics. In her introduction to the 1976 paperback edition of The Left Hand of Darkness (1969), Ursula K. Le Guin wrote that human “psychological reality” can be “androgynous” “at certain odd times of day in certain weathers” and she concludes that “truth is a matter of imagination.” In other words, in recent years society has allowed individuals, mayhap grudgingly, the right to express the inner lives they imagine to be true.

You can read more about this theme in her Editor’s Note. (Also, don’t forget to check out the other contributing poets in this fascinating issue!)

Also this month, three more of my poems were published in Eunoia Review: “Unfriend,” “Splitting” and “I Have Deleted My Facebook Account.”

More light-hearted, these three poems shift focus from the performance of gender to the performance (often playful, always double-edged and two-faced) of self-identity more broadly speaking in the strange and wild environs of social media. They poke (and poke fun) at the ways in which our public personas conceal just as much as they reveal. What are the choices we continually make about what we want our “outsides” and “insides” to look like, and who gets to decide which is which?

I hope you’ll check them out! And, as always, if you enjoy them, please support the arts and artists by sharing the love! Let me know your thoughts in the comment section below, or hit me up on — you guessed it — social media! (Mostly on Twitter these days, @alileighlilly.)


Photo Credit: “Wellhead 6336,” by Richard Milnes (CC) [source]

Holy Wild, Muse in Brief, News & Announcements, Poetry & Music

New Poem: Abstracted

I can’t tell you how honored I am to be included among a handful of amazing writers and artists in the most recent issue of Third Point Press, a literary journal that hails from my very own hometown of Lancaster, PA. (There’s an extra special thrill in getting published somewhere that even your mom has heard of!) Check out my piece, “Abstracted.”

This is the first themed issue from Third Point Press — Skin — so once you’re done reading my poem, make sure to explore some of the other awesome work. I like pretty much every single piece in this issue, but in particular, don’t miss Jennifer Martelli’s poem, “Kitty Genovese Names Her Fourteen Wounds“; Todd Dillard’s “Fat Boy“; Dante Douglas’ piece, “We All Have To Come Home Someday“; and the disturbing/mesmerizing short story, “The Life Cycle of a Peach Tree,” by Christopher M. Drew.

Not to mention, all the photography in this issue is wonderful! The piece you see paired with my piece in the thumbnail is by featured artist Osmyn Oree.

Current Events, Holy Wild, Muse in Brief, peace, Poetry & Music, story

I Blame Trump on Game of Thrones



I Blame Trump on Game of Thrones

I wonder what Jung would have
to say about it, how for years now
we have saturated the collective
unconscious with stories of war,

collusion and incest, machinations
of political corruption, moral sickness
among the rich, while fire and ice
loomed, denied, debated. And now—

I know all the names of the players,
though I’ve never read the books
or seen the show, and I’ve heard
so many times the reasons why

it’s brilliant, the best, the most
throned of all the games, but
I have to admit, I’ve never heard
a single thing that made me want

to watch. Why spend time with
such monsters? Are we so bored
with singing love songs, playing
games of chance and skill where

no one dies? What makes us
think these stories can tell us
who we are? Violence leads on
to violence, and love to love.

I miss the days when we dreamed
of nameless striders in the wild,
gray-robed wizards, unimportant men
carrying the world up the mountain,

slowly, step by step, sunlight falling
on the stone heads of fallen kings,
reminding us that stories shape
the wilder, better life we long to live.

And remember, how he finally smiled
when he stepped onto the boat
at the very end, so ready to move
on to the Land of Valar across the sea

—or maybe it was Hawaii, sunny
and warm and full of waves,
where he went water-skiing every day
like a laughing metaphor for grace.

Holy Wild, Muse in Brief, Poetry & Music

Dear Editor: A Poem in Four Tweets

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Dear Editor,

Are you okay?
I only ask because
your selections of late
have gone rather grim.
Not an ode to joy
among them,
not one kiss.

Even the poets
have given up
on love songs,
turned instead
to irony, regret,
every bright color
a glossy veil,
an Us Magazine
of sorrows.

Of course
we all die
eventually.
But are you
doing okay
in the meantime?
This morning, my cat
woke himself up snoring,
is all I’m saying.

I wanted you
to know
it’s okay
to love something
unironically,
something small
& furry
& full of himself,
and that
I love you
this way,
too.


This poem first appeared on Twitter. Follow @alileighlilly for more!

Conservation, Current Events, Deep Ecology, Holy Wild, Muse in Brief, Poetry & Music

Natural Wonder

Last week, Trump pulled the U.S. out of the Paris Climate Accord. This poem is not about that.




Natural Wonder

In Morocco, the researchers confirmed,
hungry goats will climb into an argan tree
when they can’t find fruit at their feet
— clamber up and chow down,
ruminate a while, then spit the seed.
This is how it goes, what they call
dispersal, succession, the architecture
of regeneration: the corrosive juices of
the stomach, the bleating laughter, breaking
open and discarding what could not
otherwise long survive in an arid world —
first in the wild, then later, on YouTube.



Inspired by the article, “How tree-climbing goats help plant new trees


Photo Credit: “Argan Tree Goats,” by Mikel Santamaria (CC) [source]

Holy Wild, Muse in Brief, Poetry & Music

Bemused

Bemused

Petrarch had his Laura,
a phoenix feather for his pen.
Danté’s blessed Beatrice
sent him to hell and back again.
Rilke’s heart-sick panther.
Burns’ wee tim’rous beastie.
None tremble with the thrill I feel
whenever you retweet me.

If my listicles are funny
and my clickbait off the hook,
I know I’m getting through to you
when you like me on Facebook.
They used to call it courtly love,
a bard’s devotion to his muse.
The give and take of glances.
The re-blogs and reviews.

I seduce you with my humor,
I secure you with my wit.
I’m your chaste friendzone beloved.
You’re my one millionth hit.
My every headline is a soul-song,
like a ribbon from my hair
that you proudly wear to battle
as a #hashtag that you care.

But what terrifying angel
draws close to the sublime
— I’d never want to meet you —
it’s much safer here online
where you are just a stranger
and you don’t know who I am,
just the vintage version of myself
I share on Instagram.

Still I try to live the questions
like every question is a meme,
and the memes are in a foreign tongue
quoting shows I’ve never seen.
But my image in your Tumblr
seems to scroll so quickly by,
like how for the greatest poets,
the best muses always die.

So I wander back to Petrarch
and his flame-like quill and ink.
(If you don’t get all these references,
you can Google them, I think.)
Or like Rilke and his panther,
hungry for a change of scene
beyond these ones and zeros
in my heart and on the screen.


Photo Credit: “Keeping notes in the 21st Century,” by Michael Dales (CC) [source]