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Carolyn HowardJohnson

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Poem from Tracings, an Award-winning Chapbook
by Carolyn HowardJohnson

Wednesday, January 18, 2006
Not rated by the Author.
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A chapbook of poetry from an award-winning expert on book promotion? Yep. Try it. You may be surprised!

Tracings is an award-winning chapbook of nostalgic, accessible poetry.  It was named Top 10 Best Reads of 2005 by The Compulsive Reader. 

Here is a sample poem, the first in the book. I hope you enjoy and consider selecting the book as a gift for someone you love; perhaps you could give it with a bottle of Chardonay or a cream-colored rose!

This Place My Heart Lies


No one could call me a Carolyn-come-lately

                                                            but many did.

My husbandís mother laughed, lifted her chin,

displayed her teeth. I donít know why you outsiders

go after our men. She was thinking sons,

of course. No matter. No matter, that I qualified.

Great, great, great, my genes informed

as surely as if they had been stamped

with Good Houskeepingís Seal. Approval.

I belonged between the Great Lake

and the Wasatch, miles of kaleidoscope

peaks the colors of Canaan, midnight,

or tumble weeds depending on their mood.

Lying at their knees a blocked quilt

geometric lawns, firebrick bungalows,

pressed pioneer lace at their windows,

dwellings for generations of converts

from Hšsselholm or parishes

in the Berkshires. My roots tamped

among theirs until what we called

then, marriageable age, when I no longer

fit. If I ever did. Baskets pass or offering

trays collect white unsealed

envelopes, folded bills. Sacraments,

pleated cups like tiny wimples filled

with mountain water or wine sipped

from a communal cup depending

on the meeting or mass I attend. Instead

of contribution or conversion, I chose

                                                            other places,

a replica of my birthsky, so far north

that opal light shrinks hungry pupils,

lavishes its blue on the Neva in a single season.

Light from the self-same sun, warmer now,

silhouetted palms, banana fronds stout

along the Pacific because they can march

no farther than the Palisades. An ancient

with no teeth pumps my gas, puts me on the road

to Birmingham without a map because, Iím sure,

he cannot read, his voice a song finer than Foster

or Bírer Rabbit fables read to me by mother

who never thought Iíd see a black man

or the night sky as Hapshutset saw it, a cloak

of burned velvet enfolds galaxies,

a Bedouinís bonfire spits embers

into its depth, composes a display

of cinders the color of mangoes,

among pricks of light yet undiscovered.

Itís because I feel the starsí ice

from a distance, the sputtering

embersí heat up close, because I prefer

measuring basmati rice in milligrams,

to counting parsed condiments

that I fondle memories of unplanted rhizomes

pushing up clods along fences at home,

hand-made signs offer nite crawlrs 4 sale

posted by a kid with blond hair,

patches on his Leviís knees.

The woman--abundant bones--ties a washed apron

so thin that threaded grates expose

faded pansies on her housecoat

tells my father she donít care what religion his kids are,

                                                      she likes 'em anyway.


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Reviewed by JANRI GOGESHVILI 3/27/2008
Interestingly, poetic "information" decorates attractive metaphors Ö
Reviewed by Bernice Lakota 3/25/2008
Reviewed by Karen Vanderlaan 2/11/2007
love theis work and the visual images it brings forth-i enjoyed your bio as well--will have to check into your book promotion book as i am busting my chops working on getting my own book oout there
Reviewed by Jewel Sample (Reader) 1/12/2007
Your words make a beautiful quilted image of your roots and acceptance in family relationships. I love the phrase, "No matter. No matter, that I qualified. Great, great, great, my genes informed as surely as if they had been stamped with Good Houskeepingís Seal. Approval." It speaks volumes to me of where your heart lies. Thank you for sharing.
Reviewed by ~ Holly Harbridge (Reader) 10/16/2006
Fantastic poem, God Bless!
Reviewed by Gwendolyn Thomas Gath 9/9/2006

"Poem from Tracings, an Award-winning Chapbook"
A splendid write Carolyn!
This poem has a voice, additionally
the imagery is fantastic.

Take care,
G. Thomas

Reviewed by Barbara Terry 4/5/2006
Yes Carolyn, Congrats on your chapbook, and on this poem. This poem speaks of worlds that people see everyday, and yet pay no attention.
Thanx for sharing this with us, Carolyn, this is a very good write.

May the Lord Jesus bless you, and those whom you love, and be with you always, and at your side constantly. With much love in my heart, Joy to the world, peace on earth, & ((((((((((MANY WONDERFUL SISTERLY HUGGGGSSSS)))))))))), your little sister in Jesus, Barbie

"If I have to be tis girl in me, Then I have the right to be."
Reviewed by J M 1/19/2006
Love this poem and the book congrats to you.
Reviewed by E T Waldron 1/18/2006
Congrats on the book! Exceptional gem of a poem!

Reviewed by Bennett 1/18/2006
Well expressed and this was well written also. I admired your style very much as it was artistic in every way. God bless you in all you do.
Reviewed by Dallas Franklin 1/18/2006
You have such a beautiful way of linking a chain of words that conjures up the most visible visions! Thanks for sharing, Carolyn..loved it! Love & Light, Dallas
Reviewed by Elizabeth Taylor (Reader) 1/18/2006
Wonderful poem, Carolyn!
Congrats too on the new book.
Sell many, many, many...

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