Linda Rome


The light in the breakfast room
is bright as the south of France
in the winter
and while towels hang drying on the line
I hold my son,
firstborn, and read
Harper's at the breakfast table.

The soft spot
on his head pulses
under my lips
and while the autumn wind
blows across the afternoon sky
he sleeps
still in my arms.

I should be washing dishes
or balancing accounts
but instead
I sit, looking out the screen
at the weathered fence, remembering
other back doors
and sunny days
waxed kitchen floors
and waiting for Daddy.

The sun was as bright as today.

There are morning glories
along the fence
purple like petunias
and the dog is sleeping on the step.

My son doesn't know yet
about the snakes lying in the shade
or the reflections of
cobalt in the glass.

These are more my memories
than his
but I will keep them for him

to tell his children.



and lover
have met -
with an exchange
of greetings like
words of business -
and a shaking of hands
over flesh they have
both loved.


It is Only a Small Gift

I will sing
leave the scent
of my body in the air.
I will use
the things you
daily use
meet your neighbors
drink your tea, and
light candles
of love
so that you can
see me even when
I am not here.


On Writing a Safe Poem

Don't let yourself
show through.
Let the words shroud
you in mysteries.
Veil yourself with
and on pain of clarity
give the illusion
of revelation,
not the revelation
of illusion.
Nakedness of thought
is discomfiting:
like a bulge best
left unseen, freckles,
or pimples on your ass.



perhaps in the beginning
it seems simple enough.
I touch you, you touch me,
I touch you back until
back to back with ourselves
and a wall of half-spoken and
missed understandings
we stand in judgment
of each other. the holy terror of it is
that we judge ourselves out of
existence - all with a pitilessness
unequalled by even the most
wrathful old testament god.
a little mercy might save us
at almost any point -
but we count it self-indulgence
to be tender with ourselves -
and so, in the name of justice
we allot blame like a
property settlement.
in the end, that's all there
is left: and guilt enough
for three to carry away.
you hoard yours, i hoard mine:
between us we can't even
share sorrow for our passing.
the sad thing is
one day we will begin again,
and with the residue
of what once was us,
we'll each forge and falter
new beginnings:
perhaps it will seem simple
enough again - if memory
does not halt us, and time
heals as they say.



Linda Rome

Keep Writing!

Jump in!

Welcome to my writing life!

Mid-stream, mid-sentence, mid-life.

Probably just like yours.

I won't say I don't have the time to polish this, hone it, carve it into stone.

Maybe I do, maybe I don't. But words are ephemeral - quick snatches of thought, quickly laid down.

And carving into stone is a good excuse for not getting anything down at all.

Writing is more important than excuses, more durable, more fleeting.

So: welcome to Keep Writing!, thoughts on writing and where it leads us, and what we do once we get there. Things I think are important, things I'm curious about, wisdom (read: experience) hard won, shared.

Here's a riff from my morning pages (yes, those same morning pages Julia Cameron espouses in The Artist's Way - if you want to know more - read her, then try it out for yourself).

Anyway, here are some thoughts on intention in writing, a big topic, a tough nut to crack, but I'm hoping I got at least the husk off:

Intention, in tension. The two sound alike. How are they alike? Intention: what we intend in the future; there is a tension between the present action and the future result. In tending to the desired result in the present, are we able to affect the outcome of our actions? Many times, in ordinary events, we accept that effect of will on the future. We intend to make dinner; we gather food together, cook it, serve it, dinner appears. It is abstract words that present the problem. They must be spiritual words, connected to the spirit, and so the playing out of the invisible, except through the result of the action, is a matter of faith. Eternal words, meanings connected to right spiritual practice: truth, beauty, honor, dignity, hope, love, charity, respect.

Intention. In tension. What is in tension? Our choice between good and evil: between kindness and selfishness, between love and hate. Between sarcasm and sincerity. Our spiritual intentions are played out in the physical world, made visible in our environment, our home, our body, our activities. The Blessing way: when we walk in beauty, beauty walks in us.

And so a piece of art can have a terrible beauty because its intention is truth and some truths are ugly: they reflect the choice to hate, to denigrate, to destroy. In tension: art must show the tension, the yin and yang of reality, or it is not truthful.

Write with the knowledge of death on your shoulder, write the beauty of the red leafed begonia, remember winter, write with compassion.

What do you think? Let me know - and keep writing.


Copyright © 2001 by Linda L. Rome

About the Author

I've been writing professionally for 15 years: published in Family Circle, Library Journal, Novel & Short Story Market, Ohio Writer, and The Cleveland Plain Dealer, among other places. I was a nationally syndicated columnist with Catholic News Service for eight years or so, and I was the little-red-hen managing editor of Ohio Writer for five years. Now I write fiction, short stories, poetry, novels. The work is more interesting than the resume. I hope you're intrigued enough to keep reading, but if not, thanks for your time.

Note: LINDA ROME, founder of the Keep Writing! website, passed away in September of 2001. Please read our Tribute to Linda for more information.

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