Posts Tagged ‘Deb Scott’

Study in Tawny Brown

May 10, 2013 1 comment

by Deb Scott


Study in Tawny Brown by Deb Scott
(Click image to see a larger version)


Deb Scott (blog) is grateful for opposable thumbs as she is not good at memorization. She dabbles with words and images on paper and iPad. She shares her Portland home with a variety of critters and one patient husband. A list of her published poetry, prose and art is here and includes some of her favorite places like qarrtsiluni and Right Hand Pointing.

Categories: Animals in the City Tags:

Spotted Towhee: translating the guide

February 2, 2011 9 comments

by Deb Scott


Spotted Towhee by Deb Scott
Click on image to see a larger version.

The artwork is a digital (iPad) sketch based on one of my photographs, taken on an urban walk. The birdcall “Che che zheeeee” is from the Sibley Field Guide To Birds Of Western North America.


Deb Scott lives in Portland, Oregon. She blogs at Stoney Moss and was one of the folks behind Read Write Poem. These days she and friends are ring-leaders at Big Tent Poetry, an online poetry prompt site. Deb’s poetry, prose and photography are published or forthcoming in a number of journals, including Ouroboros Review and tiny words. (A complete list is here.)

Categories: Translation Tags:

Sometimes I Miss the Old Jealous Goddesses

June 3, 2010 4 comments

by Deb Scott

Your cold force
whistles      through frothy
cracks and if I had one
      one of those infrared-reading
gadgets      all the seams
would glow

like an enthusiastic
Hercules      hiding his children
from fertile madness

Questions of fidelity
render fat
from stones      raised

in a complicated family
no simple begats from began

blunt those      elites
who wonder is it nurture
or nature      shouldered      between
strong thighs the size of earnest
temple columns      Frozen deities

take the brunt of heredity
smudge the edges      of this still life
A caesura reveals more about how
shadows cast
than progeny can set      sundered limbs

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Deb Scott lives in Portland, Oregon. She blogs at Stoney Moss and was one of the folks behind Read Write Poem. These days she and friends are ring-leaders at Big Tent Poetry, an online poetry prompt site. Deb’s poetry, prose and photography are published or forthcoming in a number of journals, including Ouroboros Review and tiny words. (A complete list is here.)

Categories: New Classics Tags:

When Dreams Swim With Cities of Men

March 25, 2009 6 comments

Pipe dreams, they’re called, leading to nowhere,
steps off a parapet, a leap into the chasm,
that trill in the chest
that pause before one silent lift.
Rushing temples burn a heart,
rush of a city, wind against skin,
a place you had forgotten until now.

Pressed against invisible threads the clouds hiss,
don’t go too high. Scents of pine and laurel rise
from humus beds, sending soft, beguiling
messages of comfort —
an urge to burrow competes
with a cirrus-streaked bowl of sky.
Moisture glistens against panes,
scratching branches etch gaunt wraiths of the past.
They coax you down from the stratosphere
to ring the sentries, shatter glass,
wrestle slights, travel
into a channel riddled with crevices,
a game of blind man’s bluff into depths
charted or unknown.

A contest that wills you to expose roots
lost under melted glaciers,
entwined in the hulls of shipwrecks
where liquid dreams turn on a dime.

Relish worlds deep and salty, blur the line
between breathing underwater and taking flight.

by Deb Scott and Christine Swint

Process Notes

We started this work with a desire to create and collaborate together, but no clear idea of where and how exactly to start. Our intent was always to have fun, and to not worry about the finished project. As long as we were poeming and creating, we didn’t care (too much) what the finished product looked and sounded like. Deb was interested in learning about the video pieces Christine had been doing and that seemed a good jumping-off point. Christine edited some film clips she had and Deb free-wrote for five minutes in response to the images, not knowing what Christine had in mind.

Deb took the free-write, developed a first line and Christine followed. Alternate lines created a 16-line poem, of approximately 16 beats per line, initially broken into 2 stanzas.

Christine took the first revision (with Deb’s heartfelt gratitude) and broke the lines, reshaping the poem into what is presented today. A few minor word changes were made here and there but the language of the poem is nearly identical to where it started from.

We both agreed that one part of the video didn’t fit the poem and so it was cut (with a promise from Christine that it will reappear some time in the future as part of a different work). Deb sent Christine a link to her Flickr page with a number of sky images that Christine could work in if they fit. Then the hardest part (as far as Deb was concerned): did the read poem match the length of the video? Deb recorded the poem in 2 parts and Christine mixed the recording, the images and added background music. (Deb is going to learn how to do this too, she swears.)

Christine and Deb communicated via email and Google documents. They’ve never spoken or met (and both look forward to doing so some time. Maybe AWP 2010).

Watch the completed video here. –Eds.

Expansion at a Time of Great Leavings

December 23, 2008 9 comments

“If time has to end, it can be described, instant by instant,” Mr. Palomar thinks, “and each instant, when described, expands so that its end can no longer be seen.”
—from “Learning to be Dead”, in Mr. Palomar by Italo Calvino.

“They got it wrong, this time.” She sighs and looks for tell-tale furrows, leaving the thought undone. That happens more and more. Each day her urges mature, exponentially. She ponders Derrida’s philosophy, dreams of peach gelato and recalls the fading blue of glacier ice. All the while her skin smoothes, blemishes fade, wrinkles flatten against tightening skin.

Now she moves quickly from tiny room to room. Passes over paths carved between chairs and boxes of canned vegetables to cluttered countertop, to closed window. Tasks pile undone, stale bread wrappers litter the bed, faint soap scum rings the sink. Books lay open in every room of the apartment. At deep window sills grit-dams form on the outer ledge. Swirling piles reconstitute themselves every dull orange morning.

Once a day, before the dust storms gather, she visits the small balcony cantilevered off her main room. A folding chair is wedged between desiccated tomato plants and the clean surface shaped to her bottom will be erased before she goes to sleep tonight. The metal chair is askew, startled by her rough movements when she jumps at the sound of frantic knocks barely heard through the closed glass door.

He puts a cigarette in his mouth and tumbles a plastic lighter through his fingers as if it were a coin in a child’s magic trick. They both know he won’t light the tobacco — this is just for show. It’s impatience, as if he couldn’t be bothered with this moment, one he is swatting at like a bothersome fly. He’ll soon leave, before the chill of the room can penetrate bodies at rest.

Plucking the cigarette from his lips, he spits out words stiffly, “They’ve come for Jamie. I thought you would want to know.” She picks at a frayed place mat and flicks a seed husk to the floor. No, she thinks. The cigarette is a statement of inherited wealth. He holds it like it wasn’t the last one he’d ever own. As if the paper was still white, as if it was still a perfect cylinder, fragile and solid. As if the spittle-stained wrapper was fresh and there were 19 more to be had any time he wanted.

The lighter is empty, and has been for months. She glances at him, past her long bangs, to fingers fondling a milky white edge, ragged and dirty where the lighter’s end was smashed by someone against brick. Precious liquid used to start a rubbish fire. The clear blue plastic is as much a relic as glacial crevasses; it’s as inconsequential as bergschrunds reduced to ashy heaps.

“It doesn’t matter,” she replies. She stays still, doesn’t reveal that she caught the flicker of surprise he brushed away after her response. He is studied nonchalance. Her hair is a veil that’s been growing, faster and faster. Scissors and a toothbrush rest together at a dusty bathroom sink. For a time the change was imperceptible. She didn’t notice the gradual increase until she had to trim her bangs every few weeks. Now she cuts both morning and night.

She can no longer find rubber bands large enough to bind up her brown hair in camouflage. A twisted ponytail won’t do. She plaits it, impatient for time lost to grooming; she could be reading. She wouldn’t bother at all, except she has become a curiosity and she doesn’t want rumors. At one time she could have donated all that long dark hair to wig-makers who specialized in chemo-kids and women. But there are no children, and the one shop still in business would be suspicious if she came once a month to donate, when there was a time it had taken her years to grow hair long enough they’d harvest it. It’s a shame. All that hair, wasted. If she weren’t so distracted she’d learn to spin yarn from her hair. She’d make ropes, or jackets. Perhaps nets.

But libraries are bare. There are no reference manuals for what she needs to know. The homesteading books were the first to go with their promises of lost-art knowledge: How to survive. And what she hadn’t been able to steal from the book-burner’s pyre became fuel. Momentary warmth and light, a way to sanitize water, make thin grey tea.

This visit is in the early evening, twilight in dusk, so she pushes her fringe aside to look at him straight on. “It doesn’t matter,” repeating her conviction when he swears under his breath, “Why do I bother? I have better things to do than to walk all the way over here.”

“No. You don’t.” His eyes widen the thickness of a lash. He’s polished his fuck-off attitude until his face is an immobile stone facade. But even stone crumbles, especially from her vantage — a receding figure in the foreground; illogical but undeniable. Her body will grow younger and younger as the weeks and days go by. Her body will return to preconception while her intellect expands until it will know no bounds, until it knows too much. And she will disappear. She’ll stretch between expanding and receding states. A human experiment shaped like a rubber band. One day. Pop. She won’t be in this apartment.

“It doesn’t matter?” he snaps. And hisses, “Oh, it does. It does.” He squints and then opens his eyes wide, pretending to yawn. She knows. He doesn’t want her to see rare moisture forming the sliver of a tear.

by Deb Scott

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Scene From a Tinted Window

February 26, 2008 1 comment

Glittering glass and ragged cans
Tumble and dive in a ravine
Talking to me in metered
Morse code of orange desert eye.
I seek signs.

Downwind grayed coyote
Skips straight ahead, scroungy
Mane awry in a matted mess.
My dad would have said
That critter is poor
When broke meant lean.

He’s seen better days —
When the cottontails
And voles leapt in his mouth
In the moon’s light and dew
Swam a river’s vista, ran further
Downstream and was glad.

These four wheels and static
Slash through mean creosote —
All I want is shade.
Relief from shimmering heat —
It shape-changes my hope
And pools green under the car.

Purple ranges simmer ahead.
I expect smoked pipe
And exhaust to catch up and swirl
Like a dust devil before a squeal
Of gravel arcs and sputters.
Your words hot and coarse

Untrue and mean with
None of the grandeur of that
Joshua tree but all the pride
Of a scorpion. Arched back
Showing how manly you are
You pierce my skin.

Solace in silent skies
Blue as your eyes and the ache
In my parched heart sighing —
Breezing past a shot-up stop sign —
Erodes clear signs of respite lost
With that last sip of sweet tea.

by Deb Scott

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Categories: Hidden Messages Tags:

Twilight’s Twinning

January 6, 2008 10 comments

Northwest Arizona, c. 1965


Father .. says pick ’em off
when you see ’em crush ’em
under this big flat stained
rock or a shoe .. the spreading
mess haunted long before
Kafka’s moth found me

before this grown girl
admired the sweet scent
tomatoes hot in a backyard
desert sun .. Bright grass-green
mythic beast as long as my palm

lumbers among vines rising
a foot above my crown .. One
horn five yellow spots too many
legs cling tight under shady leaves
he hides and grazes at night


Steady, a scientist or a child follows hatching eggs
caterpillar larva bury selves as sarcophagus
pupa before their dusky flutters find petunias.
Who else understands a winged monster inhabits
all cells? Did my dry-land farming granddaddy
relish last light grace or did spots signal only harm?
We sacrifice a few succulent globes for magic.


I caught a humming bird
hovering over twilight
at Mother’s honeysuckle
Now .. I know it wasn’t but
Manduca quinquemaculata
transformed unknowingly
Insect hawk sipping nectar

by Deb Scott

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Categories: Insecta Tags:
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