Monday, March 05, 2018



Not long after we arrived in La Manzanilla this year Ted and I were out for dinner at Judy Dykstra-Brown's place with a few other friends. 

Judy Dykstra-Brown at the Invitational Reading in La Manzanilla, 2018

Judy had asked us to bring something to read, so after we'd watched a spectacular sunset and finished our dinner, we obliged. 

I decided to read my poem Ten Ways I'd Prefer Not to Die which first saw light of day in The New Orphic Review in 2012 and which I blogged about here (you have to scroll way down, but it's there, although I've tweaked it a little since then). Judy really liked it and not only did she promote it on her blog (thereby upping the reader count on that old post to over 1200, I just noticed, where most of them top out around 150–300), she challenged me to write a poem about ways I would like to die. 

If I must.

It's been a good year for poetry in La Manz, for me. I've spent some time on the roof of our casa reading and writing. 

I read at the annual writers' group reading and my friend Cheryl  couldn't be there so she arranged an Alice B.Toklas-like Salon where John Wilson Foster read from the riveting beginning of his book A Better Boy ~ a Titanic Monologue, Denise Brown read some of her powerful poetry (stay tuned!) and I read, too. 

Then just a couple of weeks ago Cheryl and I went for our annual oyster slurp at Pancho's in Barra de Navidad only there weren't any that day. The birds were still there, and there are always lots of fun things to look at in the shops, so we were okay. 

Look at those colours!
Mexico is all about colour. The buildings, the clothing, the jewelry,
the masks, the ceramics . . . the sky, the ocean, the trees!

This place has great t-shirts. Got one for Ted.

We found our way to the little French bakery, had cappuccinos, nibbled on raisin buns and I read a couple more poems off my phone which prompted the woman at the next table to slide over and share one of hers! 

Anyway, I've been attempting to write the "ways-I-wouldn't-mind" poem ever since Judy suggested it, and after running it in its first draftiness past my Nelson poetry group last week and tweaking it some more, I was prepared to read it to the La Manz writers' group at this week's get-together. 

My Nelson poetry group, aka Roombas: Jane Byers, Bobbie Ogletree, Susan Andrews Grace and me in the corner, meeting via Google Hangouts

These next two pictures are of a few of the writers who come to the La Manzanilla Writers' Group that meets on Saturdays at 10:30 AM at Martin's Restaurant.

In the morning before we left (Ted's going this year, too), I revised it yet again, ended up cutting it into the ten stanzas so I could play with the order. 

This afternoon I changed a word; slick became sleek. Changed the title. Reordered it AGAIN.

Oh, and it became nine ways, not ten like the other poem  because one of the stanzas was really weak so I took it out, but I reserve the right to put something else in, eventually! 

And because Judy was kind enough to ask to see it again, here it is, still in progress. Aren't they all?

Acceptable Ways to Leave This Life

In bed
no one in the room
to hold me back
in case someone’s crying

in case no one’s crying

In bed
when the big one comes
not earthquake
not fire
something stupendous
splits the Earth in two

ant beneath a shoe

In bed
someone reading poems
old, familiar words
I’ve never heard before

In bed
an elegant drink nearby
hot chocolate hidden beneath thick foam
Ootischenia water, icy, delicious
frothy drinks with fancy swizzles and pert umbrellas
tequila shooters
ancient single malt

on the rocks

In bed
making love
for old time’s sake
and my heart just stops


Perfect, that

for me

In bed
with drugs
something efficient
to ease me out of one life
welcome me to the next
nothing too hallucinogenic                 

not the time for a bad trip

In bed
a cat
purring encouragement

soft, sleek hint of heaven

In bed
Train Leaves Here This Morning,
Hey, that’s No Way to Say Goodbye,
I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For,
Great Gig in the Sky,
Beethoven’s 7th, the Allegretto,
Kreisler’s Méditation from Thaïs,
Àguas de Marco,
This Masquerade,
Ne Me Quitte Pas,
Ne Me Quitte Pas,
my son playing Beck’s RTD

now you’re flying home…

In bed
with memory foam
a good pillow
quilt so light
I don’t know it’s there

comfortable in my own skin

~ Linda Crosfield