poetry • art • marriage • momhood • faith

Temptation on the Sixth Day

Here at the office, the monotony of the work lengthens the day, stretches it as if the tied to some archaic torture device, threatening to draw and quarter the hours. A good playlist can counter this, of course.

Well, for the first time since I started my fast, I was tempted to open my media player here at work. (Really, up til today, I had been busy enough and away from my computer enough that there was no point. That and the streaming radio at 1079thelink.com was pretty decent.) So I opened it to find the last played playlist: a mix of Jason Mraz, Jump Little Children , Jars of Clay, and Ari Hest. Rather than cull out the forbidden tunes, I figured it was time for something new altogether. So when I went to pick my ear-candy, I notice an “album” that I’d not listened to as a whole, and I figured it was about time.

Enter Billy Collins.

I have such respect for Billy C. His poetry is, at the same time, finely crafted and highly accessible. The poetry community should aspire to these traits, always and concurrently. By creating work that reveals the true beauty of “plain” language and thought, we all are given a flicker of the hope of creativity, maybe even enough of a spark to spur our own poet within.

I’ve read plenty of Billy Collins’ work, but there’s always something magical about hearing him, or really any fine poet, speak his own work. I took the 30+ tracks I had and made a playlist of only those. Wow. Good stuff.

If you’re not yet a fan, or if you are but never thought to look for his spoken work, do yourself a favor and download a few (or all) here.

And on the sixth day, Billy C. saved me from temptation.


  1. Chucka Stone Designs Chucka Stone Designs
    June 15, 2008    

    Yea, good to hear it is still smooth sailing 🙂

    I can’t help note the irony here…

    Billy’s album title refers to a cigarette and by the sounds of your typing it is like you’re going through withdrawl from something even stronger than tobacco lol. Anyway, just made me chuckle 🙂

    So now I have 3 artists to explore: Jump Little Children, Ari Hest & Billy Collins. Thanks for the suggestions, LOVE new music in all forms. Used to love Jars of Clay too…lost them in a prior learning experience, hmmm…may have to replace some of their stuff with that iTunes gift card I just received…

  2. artjewl artjewl
    June 16, 2008    

    Yeah, so far so good, though there were two blips on Friday: (1) for the first time, I heard “I’m Yours” play on local radio — my heart skipped a beat at the surprise, and then later my husband unaware of the fact that I’d cut myself off, actually started playing “Wordplay” on his phone. (I know it’s not the best of his work, but I have a healthy enjoyment for that ditty, particularly in the realm of Karaoke, though I’ve never had the chance to actually perform it in public…)

    But I haven’t listened to any more since.

    Am I writing more… eh.. hard to say. But is it working? yes, I think so. The words are mine again. I’m turning my own phrases. Unfortunately, having more to write doesn’t mean getting more time on the compy to type them. But I’m getting scribbles in my journal. Maybe soon I’ll get the past weeks poem-a-day exercises uploaded.

    As for Jars of Clay, I have an odd special attachment to “Love Song for a Savior”: the first time I heard the song was at the retreat when I met my husband. Both made a powerful first impression on me. Even more oddly, “The Shawshank Redemption” fits into the same schema for me.

  3. Ginger Ginger
    June 21, 2008    

    i loooooove billy! it’s true, i’m a billy collins groupy. he’s my all time, favorite poet and i am pretty sure that i would stalk him before jason mraz.

    call me crazy, i know.

    i’m glad he could help with the mraz fast. ~ my current favorite is shoveling snow with the buddha.

  4. Chucka Stone Designs Chucka Stone Designs
    June 24, 2008    

    Sooooo….How did it go?

  5. artjewl artjewl
    June 25, 2008    

    Yeah, so sorry for the lack of follow-up.

    It went fine, I didn’t get the shakes or anything. Granted, there was some cheating, ie. I didn’t change the station when “I’m Yours” played every hour or so during the radio workday. And I all but sang along with my mouth full while “Geek in the Pink” played during my lunch at Quizno’s last Wednesday.

    But I did jump at the chance to listen to WSWDWST on my extended drive after work on Friday. But I haven’t listened anymore since. Basically, even during that little while, I just got tied up in his words and had a hard time finding my own.

    So, while I’m no longer on a “fast,” I guess I’m on the “Low Mraz” diet. Until, at least, I need (1) get some more of these thoughts down, and/or (2) have an art project to do. Good music is good for that.

    As for the other stuff I was to do during my 2 weeks, I did ok, though not as well as I’d have liked. I wrote my poem-per-day, but only in my journal. I’ll upload them soon hopefully. I didn’t get any of my short stories written, but I got them sketched out-lined. I laid out what I could of the magazine, but need to lay the rest out now. And I still need to do the cover. I forsee an all nighter sometime this weekend. With enough caffeine, it will be Friday.

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torch bearing quietly

I will not act out, will not
yell or curse or slam doors,
will not make a scene -- you
do not deserve such a chance
to make an example out of me
to be proven right since you
are not. Instead, I'll stand
at this street corner, raise
my hand high and clench that
light which yet remains. It
will burn brightly, quietly,
fiercely before fading as I.

Then I'll be gone but found.

©JAC 2005

Poetry by Julie Ann Cook!

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