Saturday, November 13, 2010

HB #2

Graphite slips pale, shy
around strangers, cold
as a greyhound’s nostril.
I kick off my shoes
under the table, scribble
about feelings of well-being,
glossy, slick, the right
to be afraid, but not to talk
about it. It’s interesting to see
just how bad, bad writing can be,
grayscale, metallic, like old
paper clips and small change.
I go back and cross a ‘T’;
I can always tell
when ‘T’s’ itch a page.
Go ahead, maybe I like it.
Scratch; since some wounds
must bleed for a while and
November is for pencils.

Tess Kincaid
November 12, 2010

Yesterday's "November is for pencils" from my ramblings begged for a poem, so I obliged.  The photo is November ginkgo and locust leaves on the manor drive. Have a lovely weekend, my friends.


  1. Oh that was beautiful
    and poetically prosey

  2. Of the finest, Willow, such pleasure to read and ponder! :-)

    I live with HB #2 all year long,
    from as far back as I can remember,
    at least from when I was four and I stole
    my fathers graphite pencils with which he liked to draw.
    All my notebooks are written in pencil,
    I like the earnestness of it, the trying hard, like a child, creating letter after letter, I always feel the child within when writing (I hope my tongue does not stick out anymore, like I used to do, while holding the line with the left index finger, lest I got lost in the alphabet sea).

  3. love this! As a kindergarten aide I must tell you one of my favorite sounds is the sound of a child writing on manila paper, with one of those big yellow primary pencils.

  4. Enigmatic, with rather amazing images, Willow. And look, I'm No.3!!

  5. I love the feeling of kicking off my shoes more that writing with pencils. I'm an 0.2 fine-tipped pen girl myself -but can see how November is a graphite month for you.
    Have a lovely weekend Willow. I enjoyed your writing and phototographic creation - from the driveway, who would have thought? The effect is beautiful.
    Thank you for your recent kind thoughts.

  6. Is that your lovely butt squatting by the stack of books in your black-n-white poetry teaser photo? I know you claim "It's all about lighting," but swell light or no, that's a very nice butt. That's my comment, which is also a question. You said leave a comment, you didn't say about what. Still, it's a fairly valid query, I think. In fact probably every oneof your gazzilion followers wants to know, but has been afraid to ask. So I'm asking. Inquiring minds want to know. IS THAT YOUR BUTT?

  7. Ginko trees, Hummmm, I have seen silk ginko trees. Never a real one. Nice poem, this is a sad Day for me I keep remembering my Husband and sure miss him. I had better sharpen
    my pencils, they all need it.

  8. Hi Willow, I have been gone for awhile but am back, have missed reading you... you're friend, Carol

  9. Got the lot here for me...graphites, ginkgos and greyhounds!!!

  10. "It’s interesting to see
    just how bad, bad writing can be..." erggg - this has been my week. And I post it anyway!

    You, however, have NOT posted any bad writing!

  11. Quite a stunning photo. And, I adore the phrase, "November is for pencils".

  12. You can almost hear the crackle of the leaves underfoot.

    I love the smell when a pencil's being sharpened - the hint of wood mixed with lead. It takes me back to childhood.

  13. So full of sound and smell -- I love this poem.

    On another note, I'm loving the look of your blog, particularly the sidebar. It's gorgeous.

  14. I love the poem. Autumn, and especially November is a wonderful time to be writing, for letting loose and rambling, expressing the highs and the lows, all the true emotions, exaggerating, crossing continents, I don’t know… good especially for beginnings, knowing the long winter is waiting for the editing and loosing what was loved most.

  15. Enjoy your autumn my friend while I smell the roses and plant my annuals.

  16. Love this...graphite slips pale, shy around strangers.
    The ginko and locust leaves look so nice together. It almost looks like a placemat on a table : )

  17. Thank you for the lovely poem to see our weekend through. Hope you have a good one yourself dear lady.

  18. Keep scratching that itch...
    Nothing needs to bleed, here.

  19. Yes I haven't been writing prolifically as once I was wont. But November is indeed for pencils... :) so thankyou for the inspiration!

  20. Wonderful poetry. My November is typing (but typos still itch).

  21. The photo of the ginko leaves is eye catching Willow and all the poems I've read (and listened to) on your blog today are inspiring. I feel inspired to write beautifully.

  22. "..see
    just how bad, bad writing can be,
    grayscale, metallic, like old
    paper clips and small change.." Just one high spot in a beautifully crafted piece.

  23. "like old paper clips and small change" - oh yes, two things that do grate on the nerves!
    I think one of the magical things about pencils is that we know we can erase it, though never fully. It gives some sense of freedom, but not total.
    Beautifully written, and the photo is a beautiful November image.
    Have a fab weekend, Willow.

  24. I frequently have to go back and dot some i's- the t's get dragged along
    more often. Thanks, enjoyed the images
    especially the beginning.

  25. Donna, yes, of course, I've done extensive butt doubling for many of the famous female Hollywood stars, including buttwork for Helen Hunt, Julia Roberts and Rachel Weisz, to name a few.

    (see the quote at the top of my sidebar)

  26. I once tried to switch to these pesky little mechanical ones, it just wouldn't work. The graphite lead kept
    snapping off as imposed by your mood. The trend of thoughts went haywire. The HB#2 is tops. Brilliant treatment.

  27. Love this one! Perfect in every way... no more t's to cross!

  28. Beautiful photo!

    Pencils -- I hardly ever think of them -- except when I have to provide them for my students to fill in an evaluation. The pencils sit on a shelf, in my grandmother's blue and white pitcher, their pink erasers grown hard and useless.

  29. grayscale, metallic, like old
    paper clips and small change.

    The magic of 2B, HB - or any old blacklead pencil, come to that! :)

  30. Lovely. I feel like using a pencil too, but to sketch something. Not that I do that well, but it's a relaxing activity.

    I loved your poem.

  31. Wow, this is a poem that I have to really that challenge...thanks for scratching my brain..

  32. Love it Tess. Always remember that you can rub out (erase) pencil words - ink stays forever.

  33. Tess,

    (May I call you that) -- this poem is excellent. The grey, the cold, the 'precision' instrument contrasted with the task of writing about the imprecision of experience.

    Really good. Nice images work well together.


  34. Lovely!
    And that photo of the ginkgo leaves is beautiful. (Don't you just love the way their leaves all seem to fall off ginkgo trees in a single day and you're rewarded suddenly with a blanket of gold beneath those skeletal branches?)

  35. what a pleasure to read, indeed...



    sending love,

  36. Truly, yes, of course, please feel free to call me Tess. When I started this blog, almost three years ago, I chose "willow" as my avatar, but now that I'm writing poetry, I'm attaching my real name.

    Thanks for your kind words.

  37. Sue, yes, it's amazing how the ginkgo drops its leaves in practically a 24 hour period. Hmm. I think this is very poem worthy. Thanks for the inspiration!

  38. while the pencil has an itch to draw those leaves
    the dyepot could happily draw them also

  39. willow i think we reserve the right to be afraid and not to talk about it and then so much more. i'm thrilled by the gingko on your driveway. what a leaf! steven

  40. I am doubly pleased that you looked
    at my tinkering with your wonderful
    prose from the posting prior and
    found the impetus to write a
    stunning piece; secretly makes me
    feel that you and I did some kind
    of subconscious collaboration;

    Love the lines /the right/to be
    afraid but not to talk/about it.
    As poets we have sacred rights,
    and turn ourselves inside out
    for other rites. I agree that the
    sense memory associated with
    the smell of wood and graphite
    as we sharpen pencils is terrific!

    It is exciting to see you fess up
    to your career as a Butt Double.
    A good tookus is an important
    asset in this world. Even Julia
    Roberts admitted that she had
    a body double for much of
    film, PRETTY WOMAN; but no one
    knew it was a hoosier girl from
    Dublin, enit?

  41. Yep, some wounds must bleed for a while...

  42. Oh i love this poem and i can fully understand the need for graphite pencils at times. I wrote morning pages every morning for twelve weeks and found that I couldn't use a pen, it had to be HB pencil... maybe this is because it could erased.... but with pencil my thoughts and words flowed so well.

  43. The ginkgo and locust leaf image is just splendid. I would like a fabric of it and line the walls of my room so I can look at it all day.

  44. I didn't recognize your name, so I didn't now it was you, then I read Truly Fool's comment and your response.

    Your going back to cross a T reminds me of, was it Oscar Wilde who said he might add a semicolon of an afternoon and felt he had accomplished enough?

  45. do you have those big ugly lucust bean shells too? Gack, a lovely tree but not so much the litter

  46. Glenn, pencil shavings is one of my favorite scents in the whole world. My grandfather had a little room off the living room of his house, which at one time doubled for his photography studio, that served as a former dark room. Inside the door was a pencil sharpener, attached to the wall, with shavings spilling out onto the floor. A glorious scent.

    On the butt double thing, you did read the quote on the top of my sidebar, right?

  47. Tom, no, none of those bean pod shell thingies, thank goodness, although I do think they are fascinating. Does that mean my tree is a male? The ginkgo, on the other hand, drops tons of incredibly stinky pods.

  48. Ruth, a dining room of ginkgo leaves would be stunning! And I think you're right about the Oscar Wilde semicolon.

  49. I love your writing. I accept it as a gift, and therefore, I am blessed. I also love pencils.

  50. Lovely! I love the idea of November as the month for pencils...altho I have a love for them every month...nice and sharp...

  51. Loved this part the most:

    "It’s interesting to see
    just how bad, bad writing can be,
    grayscale, metallic, like old
    paper clips and small change."

    I've written so much crap, it's hideous, but part of writing "through the bones" as Natalie Goldberg says, writing through it to the gems, hidden, somewhere...

  52. such inspiration in the humble pencil

    love, love, love your still life! ginkos are my favorite trees

  53. Oh this is so good again. Willow. you have to be one of the best poets out there in blogland. Love the "itch" sort of scratchy sounds emanating from the poem when read. Lovely photo too.

  54. November is for pencils

    so glad you obliged.


Inject a few raisins of conversation into the tasteless dough of existence.
― O. Henry (and me)