Ending 2020

2020 was a year. I went into it with several creative goals, and this blog post will serve as a reflection on what happened during that grueling, exhausting year and how these goals changed.

2020 Goal Recap

At the end of 2019, I said that in 2020, I would:

  • Write at a rate of 700 words per day, unless I write a poem, with an end goal range of 219,800-256,200 words for the entire year.
  • Recommit to setting aside evenings to write without distractions.
  • Draft the story about Deisis.
  • Outline and write half of House of the Naiades.
  • Publish Acts of Speech on June 17.

Managing Expectations

Even before the pandemic started, these goals were derailed. At the beginning of February 2020, I fell ill with the flu, was sick for two weeks, and was barely able to get out of bed for about a week of that — there were some moments when I wondered if I was truly going to be OK. Being sick for so long, and having to deal with the life things that had piled up plus the long tail of fatigue that persisted for a few weeks after, tanked my writing habit. Just when I was starting to get back into a regular schedule, the COVID-19 pandemic closed the entire state, and everything became extremely chaotic overnight.

There was this moment that March, before the mask order started, when my girlfriend and I were heading back to my apartment along one of the mostly-deserted roads leading back into the city. To the left of us was marshland and undeveloped space that led out to the Long Island Sound or some bodies of water connected to it; to the right, the sprawl of businesses. It was a gray day, foggy, and we suddenly saw an Asian grocery store that we had never seen before connected to a takeout place. It was a single-story building made completely of wood paneling, the kind that one sees in rural areas in Upstate NY or Massachusetts and that always seem to be dissolving back into the damp air. There was one car in front of it. We decided to stop there for toilet paper. It felt like something out of a video game — those scripted moments before the action starts. We went in and there was a woman about our age piling instant noodle packets and drinks into a small basket, the owner of the SUV parked outside. The crinkle of the plastic packaging as the packets fell in and the whine of the stores’s refrigerators were the only sounds. The produce selection was minimal, and half of the illuminating lights had gone out. I grabbed some sriracha and four rolls of industrial toilet paper. The other woman paid, left, and came back because she realized she wanted to order something. We went back to the car and sat there for a few minutes, taking in the tension and the strange, out-of-body feeling of everything.

Over the next few months, it was hard to focus. I get anxious easily, my body in need of movement because my mind is a caged bird that needs to stretch its wings. The bad flu had left me keenly aware of my mortality and of all of the commitments that I want to complete before I die — the Seven Papers, a variety of hieropoeia, and so on. I was angry about my difficulty focusing and all of the times I spent pacing, trying to gather my thoughts together like bats scattering in the night, but I persisted. I kept leaving Twitter and going back when I became too lonely and in need of people, and I was angry with myself about that because Twitter is toxic and only superficially like being around other people.

So that was my 2020 mentality. Goal-wise, I did not hit my 700 words per day. I wrote …

  • 88,235 of the book about Deisis, which is now complete minus the in-world corpus material I need to decide how to incorporate before I write it
  • 33 poems — most for Acts of Speech to round out the work, some independent, and five for my speculative theogonies project
  • 4,074 words of a novella I’m writing about myths
  • 7,178 words of a short novella I’m writing about alien nymphs
  • 37,111 words of the book of the Seven Papers I started on after the first book about Deisis was completed

Out of the prose words, that comes out to 136,598, or 373 words/day. It was only about half of my goal, but before I did the calculations, I was pessimistic about how well I had actually performed.

You can see that I published this year in review post on 18 January 2021, and the reason is that I was dreading going over the facts and figures. I am happy about the increase in poetic work — and, I must admit, I have no idea how many words I wrote on my religious blog in 2020, but I blogged a lot.

I decided to sunset working on House of the Naiades for now, but may return to it in a few years.

Finally, Acts of Speech was published on 29 October 2020, several months after I intended to do it. It just wasn’t done, and I had to figure out a lot about self-publishing. The print copy wasn’t ready for a few weeks after the e-copy due to COVID-19 delays in printing.

What about 2021?

Well, I still have lofty goals. Last year taught me a lot about bandwidth and capacity — and also my significant issues resisting Twitter when I feel as alone as the speaker in the Old English poem “The Wanderer”. What I’m bringing from those experiences is a stronger commitment to my family’s group text, connecting with my mom for full moon rituals, participating in a very thought-provoking Zoom thing, and doing video chats with friends and family.

My biggest goal is to get better at prioritizing single-tasking. In years when I have been very good at this, my word count (and overall creative productivity) has been high, and many of my other goals — getting back into meal planning, Zooming my social life, and making my mornings less harried by doing the dishes in the evening — are meant to support that. I want to carve out Wednesday and Thursday evenings from 6:30 – 10:00 PM as solid time chunks for creative work, with the rest of my weekday evenings remaining more open.

My word count goal for 2021 is 200,000 words, or 25,000 words per month, in the first nine months of 2021. I want to write 2 poems per week for my speculative poetry book, several religious poems for all of the Gods that are useful in household ritual, and a miscellany of secular poems that I can submit to lit mag and anthology markets. My stretch goal is an additional 25,000 words or so to complete the two short novellas that I’m excited about. Once September rolls around, I will reorganize my schedule to account for how hectic the fall semester is, and I can use the time blocks I’m setting aside to prep two (previously) completed novellas for publication in 2022. If the vaccine distribution is mostly complete by then, I will also be making changes to my schedule to account for increased travel to see family.

In time, nothing is certain, but I hope that these flexible principles will help me get back on track after an exhausting year.

Lexember 2020: Coming to the End

Day 23

Kño /kɲõ/, package.
Gnabikño /gnɑ.bi.ˈkɲõ/, warehouse district.
Kñoäi /kɲõ.ha͜ɪ/, to pack. This becomes to send if the object takes the -ös suffix.

Il ịmlatyas mes Tærin ademlzabe il kño åku.
Your (pl.) packages are in [the Goddess] Tærin’s hands now.

The verb to be is conjugated informally with the ade instead of glabde stem, with the mlza plural third person subject and the immediate present marker -be (which is where the now comes from). I didn’t have a great way to do indirect proper nouns possessively because the possessive is a prefix, not a suffix. I played around with some options before deciding that mos- becomes mes /məs/ when there is a proper noun for the indirect object, a standalone word that is never stressed.

Day 24

Muf /muf/, violet.
Ad /ɑd/, indigo.
Dema /də.ˈmɑ/, faded.

Kul mora ramuf tsurhjas narosaịrru.
kul mo.ˈrɑ rɑ.ˈmuf ˈt͜suɾ.ʝɑs ˈnɑɾ.os.ˌɑ.ɪʁu
I dried violet-colored flowers for you.

Ku mekæl sevbuhja ademl t’ad lịdema.
ku mə.ˈkæl səv.bu.ˈʝɑ ɑd.ˈɛm.l̩ tɑd lɪ.də.ˈmɑ
Faded indigo is like the sky.

I decided that the word ku sev, likeness/image, could also be used as a preposition when it takes the suffix -buhja, ablative/causal.

Day 25

Rrænä /ʁæ.ˈnɑ̤/ 1. nosy,  2. Surveilled. From rræ (neck) and näd (bad, inconvenient). This adjective/adverb more faithfully means bad-necking, where having a long neck is a metaphor for being able to see into places one ordinarily couldn’t (or shouldn’t).

Dok tzëla ku sokez lịrrænä.
The surveilled painting hangs there.

Ku såbäbhle ransahælaerro tịrre lịrrænä.
Suppose the nosy government official had asked lim about the tapestry.
Alt. The nosy government official could have asked lim about the tapestry.

The Narahji language has a hypothetical verb mood, which can be used to describe hypotheticals and as an evidentiality marker. (There’s also an expectant verb mood.) Here, I’ve translated it two different ways, which would depend on the context. Adding a sentence-sentiment particle like nex (a negative intensifier) would more solidly place this sentence in the former category.

Day 26

Abher /ɑβ.ˈɛɾ/, bitter.
Båbher /bɑβ.ˈɛɾ/, astringent

I hjenga rabher ademl moza.
Malasė is a bitter fruit.

Malasė is a starchy, bitter fruit that is found in the canyon regions of the world I created. It is used in some types of foods as a starch or binder, and it can also be used in tanning in larger quantities and extracts. Its Narahji name is moza.

Amskobhle åbhi agnomla omabher.
Le lies bitterly about our (exclusive) matriarch.

Narahji has inclusive and exclusive we/our.

Day 27

Irei /i.ˈɾe͡ɪ/, sad, down.
Måbhei /mɔ.ˈβe͡ɪ/, sorrow.

I made the noun by combining the adjective-to-noun prefix måv- with irei. The v + ir became bh and yielded the word as it stands. I’ve tried to get more organic (yet methodical) over the past few weeks creating new words in Narahji regarding sound combinations — instead of just tacking things on like I once did, I’m trying to figure out what makes the most sense sound-wise for words when I know a specific prefix will be common in usage.

Ku sukalv rapirei megnlosaịrru ịkur.
ku su.ˈkɑlv rɑ.pi.ɾe͡ɪ mə.ˈɲlo.sɑ.ɪʁ.u ɪ.ˈkuɾ
I hated sad [secular] songs once.

I mädnu karræla i måbhei.
i mɑ̤d.ˈnu kɑ.ˈʁæ.lɑ i mɔ.βe͜ɪ
Sorrow floats on heart-pain.

Day 28

Taixt /ta͡ɪçt/, meditation.

Rebhuhjas i taixt tæyssa omtehj.
ɾə.ˈβu.ʝɑs i ta͡ɪçt ˈtæ͡ɪ.sːɑ om.ˈtɛʝ
I number meditation as necessary for every person.

Day 29

Uv /uv/, anger.
Uväi /uv.ha͡ɪ/, to anger.
Duv /duv/, 1. angry. 2. aggravated

Virämla ku lịtä lịduv.
The aggravated injury hurts.

To say that one is angry, uv is used with the verb to swelltsubhit, with the indirect object marker -mä for partitive/compositional case: 

K’uvmä tsubhssa. 
I swell with anger.

Day 30

Nob /no͜ʊb/, energetic.
Vel /vɛl/, loud.

Paxl omso kul kækå lịnob.
Energetic children play intensely.

Paxl omvel kul kækå lịnob.
Energetic children play loudly.

Paxl ombåtebh kul kækå lịnob nex ……
Energetic children play suspiciously silently ……

Day 31

I made the prefix ber-, which translates (loosely) to un.

Berdanai /bəɾ.dɑ.ˈna͜ɪ/, to leave the presence of, to leave the attention of.
Bertsäi /bəɾ.ˈt͡sa̤͜ɪ/, to disturb something.
Berit /bəɾ.ˈit/, to grant permission.
Berxat /bəɾ.ˈçɑt/, small, lightweight
Yiberxat /ji.bəɾ.ˈçɑt/dainty

Il benümæda kyanberdanosa.
I am leaving the attention of you all for some months.

I bịdåbuhja bertsösa.
I disturbed the dust.

Ademl i bæk lịyiberxat.
It is dainty.

And that’s it for Lexember 2020 and for 2020 as a whole. It’s been a good month. Thank you so much for reading my conlanging things! I will be back to poetry sometime in January or February.

Lexember 2020: Week 3

Day 16

Välit /vɑ̤.ˈlit/, 1. to focus; 2. to carve; 3. to sharpen.
Elt /ɛlt/, repetitive.
Ënselt /ɛ̝̤n.ˈsɛlt/, monotonous.

Il loft välssarri kolbhe.
I [will/expect to] sharpen the knives tomorrow.

Diphya ovälzabeneu?
Why can’t you all focus right now?

I tæsonas lịrelt välssa omnivæk.
I focus best with repetitive music.

Day 17

Vögnar /vo̤g.ˈnɑɾ/, climate.  From xovöair, and narlife, with the compound link -g-.
Vögnaradrak /vo̤g.ˈnɑɾ.ɑd.ˌɾɑk/, thermostat.

I ümi bæk agla ku vögnar Narahjịkmu.
The Great Canyons’ climate prohibits much snow.

Day 18

Mëra /mɛ̤̝.ˈɾɑ/, sign. 
Yịsamëra /jɪ.sɑ.mɛ̤̝.ˈɾɑ/, omen.
Nor /no͜ʊɾ/, 1. herbage. 2. A sign of flourishing.

I norbuhja ademlza il næba lịpål.
Full storerooms are a sign of flourishing.

Tarramlbe omnag i nor — ku yịsamëra näd.
Foliage is dying when it’s not supposed to — a bad omen.

Day 19

Uro /u.ˈɾo͜ʊ/, impression, as in the impression of a seal in wax. 2. Woodcut print, rubbing, or other image impressed onto a surface. 3. Form, manifestation, instantiated pattern.

I uro-æ̈ ademl ku phyatax lịbås?
Is the visible universe an impression?

Isen /i.ˈsɛn/, mold, casting, pattern. 2. Habit (behavioral). 3. Underlying structure.

I isen ranäd ademl kul su lịtönak.
Constant engagement with current events is a bad habit.

Kul su lịtönak literally means staying-current eyes.

Day 20

Xur /çuɾ/, 1. wiry, lean. 2. Uncomfortable.
Id /id/, chair.

T’id raxur domæla dok ku yịsapị.
That temple shrine has uncomfortable chairs.

Ku bexyë raxur t’umidas domælabe batsir båtịrre.
This adviser now has a wiry plant in the window.

Day 21

Ori /o.ˈɾi/, dough.
Ixo /i.ˈço͜ʊ/, fried.

Ku ori ranixo ku taxesgenahaitsidas ñudl Sabahjen.
The Sabaji eat fried dough at the winter solstice.

And today marks the winter solstice and Yule in Earth’s northern hemisphere, so here are two sentences to communicate the joys of the season:

Ku yịsanä Enaähjas rịbhozafịrra ïma i tsabakhjas karnibh. 
Give the Sun an incense offering today for good luck!

Ku hjịbå æ ku tsimædxå kyurhjas tenösa mær padåmänbåbæk.
Wishing you all light and happiness on this darkest night.

Day 22

Dzedzai /d͜zə.ˈd͜za͡ɪ/, to waffle, to be indecisive.

Dzedzoza av klåzmlbe ku kol. Tarramlzaịrra, yibæn tarramlzaerra kul tsir.
You are waffling, and time passes (lit. dances). People will die, forget people might die.

Lexember 2020: Week 2

Day 8

Kabsi /kɑb.ˈsi/, to light. Irregular root kazi /kɑ.ˈzi/
Osnet /os.ˈnɛt/, destruction.

K’ibånibhe kazisus.
We (excl.) lit the oil lamp.

Kazi æ kaz nakyæla Sabahjen — bhet i besun æ i kaza, i osnet æ k’ega.
The Sabaji Tveshi confuse [the words] to light [kazi] and wet [kaz] — thus fire and water, destruction and birth.

Day 9

Ịbsje /ɪb.ˈʝɛ/ 1. An arduous task. 2. A task that someone doesn’t want to do. 3. Someone a person is avoiding. 4. Spam message. 5. Busywork, usu. with prefix bhu- to make bhukịbsje /βu.ɪb.ˈʝɛ/.

Ku jeigëtsædoabhle mandanmælaịrru k’ịbsje.
The one I was avoiding pulled me into a convo about uni.

Kal ịbsjebuhja kịneizössa ku fæsnå ku kabismä.
The politics of breadwinning women gives us (incl) pause [freezes us] on account of the heavy work.

Day 10

Ịbai /ɪb.ˈaɪ/, to suck
Danmåvịbsuction
Bịmåvịb, sucker, as in the sucker on an animal. 

Nibhæ̈ glabdemlbe ku danmåvịb?
/ni.βæ̤ glɑb.ˈdɛ.ml.bə ku dɑn.mɔ.ˈvɪb/
Is the suction good?

Day 11

Æb /æb/, wide, broad. See kæl for a close synonym.
Æbit /æb.ˈit/ 1. To widen. 2. To extend an argument beyond the initial parameters. 3. To provide an out.

I bịnar ralæf domæla ku bizar lịbæb.
The wide river has thick vegetation.

Day 12

Dzo /d͡zo͜ʊ/, supple, malleable, flexible.

Lịdzo ademl iku ku gaxubë.
That committee is flexible.

Melë /mə.ˈlɛ̤/. celestial vault, sphere of the sky. Adjective melscelestial.
Ædzhje, /æd͡z.ˈʝɛ/, clay.

Ku tsorhjen ramels ædzhjemä ofæhjozmịrrabæn.
Never make a celestial divine image out of clay.

Day 13

Tzal /t͜zɑl/, gaudyin bad taste.

I baphaiyum ratzal bhædlịrru.
They built a gaudy satellite home.

Tzëit /t͜zə̤.ˈit/, to hang.

Tzëlarrị ku mora t’umidas.
The flower likely hung in the window.

Day 14

Ud /ud/, wreath, both adj and n. 
Änud /ɑ̤n.ˈud/, unadorned, plain.

Il ud ku taxesgenahaitsidas tzëlịrra ku pho.
My family will hang wreaths at the winter solstice.

Ukit /u.ˈkit/, to encircle.

Kul moratyas tsanukzaerroịts.
You possibly encircled yourself with flowers.

Day 15

Üd /ṳd/, arch. 
Üdxe /ṳd.ˈçɛ/, archway.

Il üd ruadåmskez domæla i baphaiyum.
The satellite home has painted arches.

Ademl t’ud i üdxedas.
The wreath is in the archway.

Lexember 2020: Week 1

This Lexember, I decided to work on Narahji because I felt like it was neglected. Here’s what I’ve been adding to my lexicon.

Day 1

Tson /t͡so͜ʊn/, artwork. Hjutson /ʝu.ˈt͡so͜ʊn/, the study of art, art theory, art critique.

Tsodzo /t͡so.ˈd͡zo͜ʊ/, mass entertainment, art for pleasure, often derogatory.

Oëmatsa /o.e̤.mɑ.ˈtsɑ/, a word to describe art that seems like it really gets at something.

I tsodzo ozolzosaneu, lel il tson yịsapịmu zolzosa. Glabdezyum lịxev!
I don’t enjoy crass art, I enjoy temple art. Be serious!

Day 2

Sevsa /səv.ˈsɑ/, Digital image, photo, video presence, esp. moving (video) or still (photo). Ves /vɛs/,  video conversationvesxus /ˈvɛs.xus/, lit. through vid (perlative case marker -xus), idiomatically translated on vid

Vesxus fyandanmos.
We (excl.) have them (sing.) on vid.

Kul sevsa kul kækåmä åtsu dzösaịrru.
I hunted for images of your (sing.) children.

Day 3

Yeb /jɛb/, bed.
Niät /ni.ˈɑ̤t/, cozy, luxurious, soft.
Bær /bæɾ/, intensifier.
Nex /nɛç/, A particle that appears at the end of the sentence, usually indicating that whatever happened was not positive.

Ku vomnas manatsösaịm nex.
I faceplanted.

Libhog glabdeml nex.
It’s a horrid green.

I yeb raniät momu manatsäiịm tenösabeli bær.
All I want is to be in my cozy bed. Lit. I wholeheartedly desire laying myself down in my cozy bed.

Libhog glabdeml i yeb bær.
The bed’s legit/all/totes green.

Day 4

Tebh /tɛβ/, quiet
Båtebh /bɒ.ˈtɛβ/, silent.

Lịtebh glabdeml i sæb nex.
The lake is eerily quiet.

Båtai /bɒ.ˈtaɪ/, to silence, to quiet. Reflexively, to fall silent

Ku tsærbịhjas manbåtosaịm.
I fell silent according to the religious custom.

Day 5

Sot /soʊt/, garland.

Il sot toblịrru tæsokri.
il soʊt tob.ˈlɪ.ʁu tæ.ˈsoʊ.kɾi
The musicians held garlands.

Day 6

Tamga /tɑm.ˈgɑ/, soap

Il ịmla i tamganas kovozmịrra.
il ɪm.ˈlɑ i tɑm.ˈgɑ.nɑs ˈkoʊv.oz.mɪ.ʁɑ
Wash your (plural) hands with soap.

Day 7

Toxklei /ˈtoc͜ç.leɪ/, to watch. Irregular root toxa.
Eiz /eɪz/, limited.
Ịg /ɪg/, unlimited.

Kul ịgzardas Saämatsra bå osnit ku ktuzëmä Såbäkolösxus ranläntoxaml ku eiz æ ku ịg.
Saämatsra stands upon the steep cliffs and watches limself ripped apart into Såbäkol, limit and unlimited.

I also did some grammatical things because I had to figure out something with osnit ku ktuzëmä, a phrase that literally means “to rip apart composed of spirit-being” in this context, and I decided that the partitive -mä suffix could be used to deflect from the subject to a verb when it is used as a noun in the infinitive.

To get another sense of what I mean, try this sentence:

Natsit il ñeifämä ranmohjuml nex.
nɑ.ˈt͡sit. il ɲʲeɪ.ˈfɑ̤.ma̤ ɾɑn.mo.ˈʝu.mɫ nɛç.
Le understands limself [as] falling ruinously bookish.

ACTS OF SPEECH Paperback

The paperback of Acts of Speech is available for purchase. It has been listed automatically on Amazon and on the more ethical alternative Bookshop.org. To order from another source (I highly recommend your local independent bookstore), you will have to call the bookstore to express interest — it’s in the main book ordering database that booksellers use, but booksellers need to hear interest in order to stock it.

Acts of Speech explores performative, public, and private religious speech and how they construct identity and difference. It blends praise poetry primarily in honor of various Hellenic Gods, including Apollon, the Mousai, Hermes, and Mnemosyne, with more private poems in a tense dance of parasociality and intimacy. Above all, it is a time capsule of experiences frozen in syllable, verse, and image.

Part I is performative (with a lot of poems that are likely recitation-appropriate for personal prayers), Part II is an agora of ideas for all of us to ponder, and Part III is personal stuff and religious identity sensemaking. Enjoy!

Here are the ebook links again. Remember to use Gumroad if you need an Amazon-compatible book; Acts of Speech cannot be sold in the Amazon store as an ebook because it contains >5% reprinted content from my religious blog, primarily things in Part I, and some items that I have previously had published in online lit mag venues.

GUMROAD (no DRM): https://gumroad.com/kayeboesme#otBJHM

Ebook Stores: https://books2read.com/b/mdlBaE

Here is the Table of Contents:

Part I

A Prayer for Beginnings …… 2
Mississippi Apollo …… 3
To the Mousai at Taughannock Falls …… 5
To Nyx …… 6
Iron-Maker …… 8
Pandora: An Afterthought …… 10
Kore and Plouton …… 12
To Hygeia …… 13
To Asklepios …… 14
To Asklepios II …… 16
The Birth of the Erinyes …… 18
To Ge …… 20
The Suppliant …… 21
For Apollon’s Circle …… 23
A Prayer for Rough Seas and Stalled Projects …… 25
For the Mousai …… 27
– I. Ourania. …… 27
– II. Erato …… 28
– III. Kleio …… 28
– IV. Melpomene …… 29
– V. Terpsikhore …… 30
– VI. Polymnia …… 32
– VII. Euterpe …… 33
– VIII. Thalia …… 33
– IX. Kalliope …… 34
To Apollon Moiragetes …… 36
To the Erinyes, Who Remember All …… 37
To Mnemosyne …… 38
Hera …… 40
Erinyes …… 41
To Eris …… 43
To Horkos …… 45
To Hermes …… 46
CDM …… 47
To Hermes …… 49
A Prayer for Endings …… 51

Part II

A Daily Prayer …… 55
For Dionysos …… 56
For Apollon …… 57
To Zeus Who Releases the Rain …… 58
Exacters of Justice …… 59
Five Poems for Athene …… 60
– I. To Athene …… 60
– II. Thoughts on Deacy’s Athena …… 61
– III. Three …… 62
– IV. To the Foresightful, Inventive One …… 63
– V. To Athene Mekhanitis …… 64
Nineday …… 67
The Names of Gods …… 69
Ge Adorns the Suns with Rings …… 71
For Mnemosyne …… 72
For Cosmic Artemis …… 74
For Apollon Without Measure …… 76
Mirror …… 77
Light-Scattered Fire Upon Us …… 80
To Apollon of the Steep Cliffs …… 82
Plasma Veils …… 84
What Images We Make …… 85
For Mnemosyne The Wayfinder …… 86
To Rule: A Meditation on the Choice of Paris …… 88
Reflections as the World Falls Apart …… 89
△ …… 91
To the Horai …… 93
Ephemerality — Justice — Love …… 95
– I. Ephemerality …… 95
– II. Justice …… 95
– III. Love …… 96
Online Agorae …… 98
Concord, Faith, Harmony …… 100

Part III

Acts of Speech …… 105
Like Cassandra …… 106
The Cosmos — Void — Night — Radiance …… 107
– I. The Cosmos …… 107
– II. Void …… 108
– III. Night …… 109
– IV. Radiance …… 110
Like a Knife’s Edge …… 112
Solstice Dawn …… 114
Hello, Iris …… 115
A Catalog of Doubts …… 117
On a Bench in College …… 119
Hermes, Giver of Joy …… 120
To Keep the Lantern Burning (Reliance) …… 121
A Gift of Ink and Water …… 123
Mousai …… 126
Rediscovery …… 127
Fragments with No Homes …… 128
Julian’s Ghost …… 130
Inspiraling …… 133
Eumenideia …… 134
To Womanly Herakles …… 135
On Mysteries and Bonds …… 138
Enthrallment …… 139
House of Ink …… 141
On Thargelia …… 142
Suspension …… 144

Acts of Speech Is Out

Acts of Speech is now out and in the wild in e-format. (The print is a bit delayed due to the pandemic, although I now have a UPS tracking number for proofs, which is a change!)

The poetry book explores performative, public, and private religious speech and how they construct identity and difference. It blends praise poetry primarily in honor of various Hellenic Gods, including Apollon, the Mousai, Hermes, and Mnemosyne, with more private poems in a tense dance of parasociality and intimacy. Above all, it is a time capsule of experiences frozen in syllable, verse, and image.

Part I is performative (with a lot of poems that are probably recitation-appropriate), Part II is an agora of ideas, and Part III is personal stuff. Enjoy!

GUMROAD (no DRM): https://gumroad.com/kayeboesme#otBJHM

Ebook Stores: https://books2read.com/b/mdlBaE

The beautiful cover for the book done by L. Williams.

Poem: The Dropbox Near Sunset

I walked an hour to the secure ballot dropbox and back, or thirty minutes each way. Here is a quick poem inspired by the walk. Enjoy, and be sure to vote if you are in the USA and able to do so!

The Dropbox Near Sunset

A procession — beginning home,
my destination a box downtown
where slips of paper decide
who decides the fate of a nation.

Around my feet the spent leaves
curled like bridal confetti
while above the green trees,
crowns dipped in autumnal fire,
bore witness to evening stillness
and the mellow light of day’s retreat.

A route beginning among homes,
giving way to rush-hour streets
trickling with cars, masked dog-walkers,
young runners heaving bare-faced,
circles of young and old sitting
distanced in greenspaces or benches,
and finally the ocean of businesses
encircling the elmless city’s heart,

ending at a box — much smaller
than the cavernous ballot-urn
my imagination had etched for me —
while I circled to avoid two women
unmasked and chatting loudly.

“Take a photo of me!” one said
to the other as they traded cameras
and I pressed back towards sunset.

Across the street upon a grate
lay a dead bird, head bent back,
a gentle breeze tugging chest-down
newly cold with halted breath,
perhaps a casualty of a window’s
illusion of space and escape,
an omen of unfounded hope.

Make a poem of me, the moment said,
and my eyes drank deep of the sidewalk,
the hum of highway-bound cars,
a woman yelling out from her window
while music played below in the fancy
apartment buildings newly-minted downtown,
a surge of humans catching the last moments
before the sun descended and light fled.

The moment passed, the envelope’s
texture and double-sealed firmness
passed on for the deciders, my mind turning
to Athene and the long road beyond
filled-in bubbles on a bright, firm sheet.

✉️

Update: ACTS OF SPEECH

The logistics of Acts of Speech are coming together. When I decided to self-publish a poetry book, it was partially an experiment because I don’t know how self-publishing works, and this is a good first try. By the time each i is dotted and each t is crossed, I will have a firm idea of the logistics before I embark on other projects.

This is great for a book that I didn’t even decide to (vaguely) put together until the first part of 2019 and that I didn’t have a final final no this one this (no, I don’t name my files like that, I swear) copy until September because I decided to fudge around with the table of contents and add a few more poems.

Acts of Speech also has a book cover designed by L. T. Williams, whose art is fabulous.

This book cover is absolutely stunning, and I want to eat all of the greens and blues and oranges, they are so vividly beautiful.

I thought that this part would be a lot of waiting and pacing because I needed certain things to do ISBN forms, and I needed the ISBN forms to do the Library of Congress control number form for self-publishing. The LCCN is supposed to take about two weeks for turnaround, but I got it literally in a single business day — and I’m betting that part of this is due to workload shifts in libraries towards digital projects and workflows because many of the staff members must be remote during the pandemic.

One big decision I made was to label this religious poetry. I grew up Neopagan, and it always bothered me that the religious books I wanted were shelved in the New Age section and often interfiled with conspiracy theory writers warning us of deep Reptilian conspiracies and starseeds. Using the word religion and calling it religious poetry in the way I describe subjects in Bowker and the self-publishing distribution venue I’m using (Draft2Digital) is a way of forcing my work onto the bookshelves where I think work like this belongs. It’s nice to have that level of control.

In a few weeks — after another obsessive skim to make sure I’ve caught typos — I’ll make another post describing where to find it. The publication date is October 29, so it’s coming right up.

The Season of Expansion

I.
The void, too, bubbles:
Voidless static sunders us,
swelling years yawn wide.

II.
Follow the lineless
harmony as she builds up —
bursts forth — a new seed.


This morning, I reached the part of The Poem’s Heartbeat about syllable-count verse; Corn mentioned that haiku are generally supposed to be contextualized against the seasons.

While I wrote haiku in my high school planner whenever I was bored in class, we weren’t taught about season words, and this common knowledge escaped me until today. Later on at work, I encountered a book about the future of the universe while sifting through new book lists.

#1 is a haiku about our current cosmic season (swelling years). #2 is about the moments before expansion (the seed).