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About Cyndi MacMillan
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Cyndi MacMillan is a well-rounded writer who embraces many genres and forms. Her work has been published in local newspapers and has won contests. She enjoys reading literary journals, and she is actively pursuing publication within their glossy covers.

Verse is both magnetic and kinetic. She attempts - madly- to give equal attention to her poetry, short stories, and a novel-in-progress, the Trim of Wicks.  Regardless of genre, she focuses on language. One word has the power to repel or pull. She never forgets the reader and does her best to make their ride interesting.

Poetry soup is a good forum which enables people from around the world to share poetry. It has some great resources and provides a nice space for friends to meet.

Cyndi lives in a small town in Ontario with her husband, young daughter and far too many books.

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HOW A CROWN CAN BE WRITTEN


Blog Posted:2/12/2014 9:55:00 AM

The following sonnet sequence is posted here for the use of study ONLY and specifically for learning purposes

This sonnet sequence is copyrighted to Patricia Smith

 

MOTOWN CROWN

By Patricia Smith

The Temps, all swerve and pivot, conjured schemes
that had us skipping school, made us forget
how mamas schooled us hard against the threat
of five-part harmony and sharkskin seams.
We spent our schooldays balanced on the beams
of moon we wished upon, the needled jetblack
45s that spun and hadn’t yet
become the dizzy spinning of our dreams.
Sugar Pie, Honey Bun, oh you
loved our nappy hair and rusty knees.
Marvin Gaye slowed down while we gave chase
and then he was our smokin’ fine taboo.
We hungered for the anguished screech of Please
inside our chests—relentless, booming bass.

 

_____

 

Inside our chests, relentless booming bass
softened to the turn of Smokey’s key.
His languid, liquid, luscious, aching plea
for bodies we didn’t have yet made a case
for lying to ourselves. He could erase
our bowlegs, raging pimples, we could see
his croon inside our clothes, his pedigree
of milky flawless skin. Oh, we’d replace
our daddies with his fine and lanky frame,
I did you wrong, my heart went out to play
he serenaded, filling up the space
that separated Smoke from certain flame.
We couldn’t see the drug of him—OK,
silk where his throat should be. He growled such grace.

 

_____

 

Silk where his throat should be, and growling grace,
Little Stevie made us wonder why
we even needed sight. His rhythm eye
could see us click our hips and swerve in place
whenever he cut loose. Ooh, we’d unlace
our Converse All-Stars. Yeah, we wondered why
we couldn’t get down without our shoes, we’d try
and dance and keep up with his funky pace
of hiss and howl and hum, and then he’d slow
to twist our hearts until he heard them crack,
ignoring what was leaking from the seams.
The rockin’ blind boy couldn’t help but show
us light. We bellowed every soulful track
from open window, ’neath the door—pipe dreams.

 

_____

 

From open windows, ’neath the doors, pipe dreams
taught us bone, bouffant and nicotine
and served up Lady D, the boisterous queen
of overdone, her body built from beams
of awkward light. Her bug-eyed brash extremes
dizzied normal girls. The evergreen
machine, so clean and mean, dabbed kerosene
behind our ears and said Now burn. Our screams
meant only that our hips would now be thin,
that we’d hear symphonies, wouldn’t hurry love,
as Diana said, Make sure it gleams
no matter what it is. Her different spin,
a voice like sugar air, no inkling of
a soul beneath the vinyl. The Supremes.

 

_____

 

That soul beneath the vinyl, the Supremes
knew nothing of it. They were breathy sighs
and fluid hips, soul music’s booby prize.
But Mary Wells, so drained of self-esteem,
was a pudgy, barstool-ridin’ buck-toothed dream
who none of us would dare to idolize
out loud. She had our mamas’ grunt and thighs
and we preferred to just avoid THAT theme—
as well as war and God and gov’ment cheese
and bullets in the street and ghetto blight.
While Mary’s “My Guy” blared, we didn’t think race,
’cause there was all that romance, and the keys
that Motown held. Unlocked, we’d soon ignite.
We stockpiled extra sequins, just in case.

 

_____

 

We stockpiled extra sequins, just in case
the Marvelettes decided that our grit
was way beyond Diana’s, that we fit
inside their swirl, a much more naughty place.
Those girls came from the brick, we had to brace
ourselves against their heat, much too legit
to dress up as some other thing. We split
our blue jeans trying to match their pace.
And soon our breasts commenced to pop, we spoke
in deeper tones, and Berry Gordy looked
and licked his lips. Our only saving grace?
The luscious, liquid languid tone of Smoke,
the soundtrack while our A-cup bras unhooked.
Our sudden Negro hips required more space.

 

_____

 

Our sudden Negro hips required more space,
but we pretended not to feel that spill
that changed the way we walked. And yes, we still
couldn’t help but feel so strangely out of place
while Motown filled our eager hearts with lace
and Valentines. Romance was all uphill,
no push, no prod, no shiny magic pill
could lift us to that light. No breathing space
in all that time. We grew like vines to sun,
and then we burned. As mamas shook their heads
and mourned our Delta names, we didn’t deem
to care. Religion—there was only one.
We took transistor preachers to our beds
and Smokey sang a lyric dripping cream.

 

_____

 

While Smokey sang a lyric dripping cream,
Levi tried to woo us with his growl:
Can’t help myself. Admitted with a scowl,
his bit of weakness was a soulful scheme—
and we kept screaming, front row, under gleam
of lights, beside the speakers’ blasting vowels,
we rocked and screamed. Levi, on the prowl,
glowed black, a savior in the stagelight’s beam.
But then the stagelight dimmed, and there we were
in bodies primed—for what we didn’t know.
We sang off-key while skipping home alone.
Deceptions that you sing to tend to blur
and disappear in dance, why is that so?
Ask any colored girl and she will moan.

 

_____

 

Ask any colored girl and she will moan
an answer with a downbeat and a sleek
five-part croon. She’s dazzled, and she’ll shriek
what she’s been taught: She won’t long be alone,
or crazed with wanting more. One day she’ll own
that quiet heart that Motown taught to speak,
she’ll know that being the same makes her unique.
She’ll rest her butt on music’s paper throne
until the bassline booms, until some old
Temptation leers and says I’ll take you home
and heal you in the way the music vowed.

She’s trapped within his clutch, his perfumed hold,
dancing to his conjured, crafted poem,
remembering how. Love had lied so loud.

 

_____

 

Remembering how love had lied so loud,
we tangled in the rhythms that we chose.
Seduced by thump and sequins, heaven knows
we tried to live our looming lives unbowed,
but bending led to break. We were so proud
to mirror every lyric. Radios
spit beg and mend, and precious stereos
told us what we were and weren’t allowed.
Our daddies sweat in factories while we
found other daddies under limelight’s glow.
And then we begged those daddies to create
us. Like Stevie, help us blindly see
the rhythms, but instead, the crippling blow.
We whimpered while the downbeat dangled bait.

 

_____

 

We whimpered while the downbeat dangled bait,
we leapt and swallowed all the music said
while Smokey laughed and Marvin idly read
our minds and slapped us hard and slapped us straight,
and even then, we listened for the great
announcement of the drum, for tune to spread,
a Marvelette to pick up on the thread.
But as we know by now, it’s much too late
to reconsider love, or claw our way
through all the glow they tossed to slow our roll.
What we know now we should have always known.
When Smokey winked at us and then said They
don’t love you like I do
, he snagged our soul.
We wound up doing the slow drag, all alone.

 

_____

 

They made us do the slow drag, all alone.
They made us kiss our mirrors, deal with heat,
our bodies sudden bumps. They danced deceit
and we did too, addicted to the drone
of revelation, all the notes they’d thrown
our way: Oh, love will change your life. The sweet
sweet fairy tale we spin will certainly beat
the real thing any day. Oh, yes we own
you now. We sang you pliable and clueless,
waiting, waiting, oh the dream you’ll hug
one day, the boy who craves you right out loud
in front of everyone. But we told you,
we know we did, we preached it with a shrug—
less than perfect love was not allowed.

 

_____

 

Less than perfect love was not allowed.
Temptations begged as if their every sway
depended on you coming home to stay.
Diana whispered air, aloof and proud
to be the perfect girl beneath a shroud
of glitter and a fright she held at bay.
And Michael Jackson, flailing in the fray
of daddy love, succumbed to every crowd.
What would we have done if not for them,
wooing us with roses carved of sound
and hiding muck we’re born to navigate?
Little did we know that they’d condemn
us to live so tethered to the ground.
While every song they sang told us to wait.

 

_____

 

Every song they sang told us to wait
and wait we did, our gangly heartbeats stunned
and holding place. Already so outgunned
we little girls obeyed. And now it’s late,
and CDs spinning only help deflate
us. The songs all say, Just look what you’ve done,
you’ve wished through your whole life. And one by one
your stupid sisters boogie to their fate.

So now, at fifty plus, I turn around
and see the glitter drifting in my wake
and mingling with the dirt. My dingy dreams
are shoved high on the shelf. They’re wrapped and bound
so I can’t see and contemplate the ache.
The Temps, all swirl and pivot, conjured schemes.

 

_____

 

The Temps, all swirl and pivot, conjured schemes
inside our chests, relentless booming bass
then silk where throats should be. Much growling grace
from open window, ’neath the door, pipe dreams—
that soul beneath the vinyl. The Supremes
used to stockpile extra sequins just in case
Diana’s Negro hips required more space,
while Smokey penned a lyric dripping cream.
Ask any colored girl, and she will moan,
remembering how love had lied so loud.
I whimpered while the downbeat dangled bait
and taught myself to slow drag, all alone.
Less than perfect love was not allowed
and every song they sang told me to wait.

from Rattle #32, Winter 2009
Tribute to the Sonnet
Pushcart Prize Nominee

Please Login
 
  1. Date: 2/13/2014 9:22:00 PM
    I think it may depend on the journal magazine. Soup is a community, not a journal, magazine or publication. It says, "we do not consider self-publishing to personal blogs, message boards, or Facebook as publication" Debs, definition of a message board is as follows: 1. an Internet site where people can post and read messages, usually on a specific topic or area of interest. Ummm... isn't that Poetrysoup? The poems here have not passed by an editor, were not selected for publication here. I think, in THIS case, due to the uppercrust nature of this magazine they would not consider Poetrysoup anything other than a writer's group.

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  1. Date: 2/13/2014 9:00:00 PM
    She captured the essence of every ghetto across America. She started in her youth til present day. She captured African-American culture in a classy and undeniable truth, way. It's no about meter, it's all flow with attitude mixed with laughter and tears.

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    Papyri Avatar Fiery Papyri Date: 2/14/2014 9:49:00 AM Block poet from commenting on your poetry

    She's speaking about growing up, girlhood crushes, becoming a young woman and falling for the lines of her future heartbreak. Now, those same songs are replayed on CD, she understands they misinterpreted the message. Those fun songs of yesterday, carries burdens today.. emotional roller coaster.. School; life's class was in session!
    MacMillan Avatar Cyndi MacMillan Date: 2/13/2014 9:18:00 PM Block poet from commenting on your poetry

    youtube her name.. if interested... she is on there reading this... I felt churched in the best way... reality checked!
    MacMillan Avatar Cyndi MacMillan Date: 2/13/2014 9:16:00 PM Block poet from commenting on your poetry

    :D She blew my mind, then she blew me away. Classy, indeedy! She speaks school and I thought, yup, you're teaching me something with each word... every single word.
  1. Date: 2/13/2014 3:11:00 PM
    This is a link to info on RATTLE it is one of the 25 hardest markets to break into https://duotrope.com/market_1020.aspx http://www.rattle.com/poetry/submissions/guidelines/ they do not accept previously published works [maybe there's another Rattle?]

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    Guzzi Avatar Debbie Guzzi Date: 2/13/2014 7:05:00 PM Block poet from commenting on your poetry

    I believe Poetry Soup is considered publishing Dee.
    MacMillan Avatar Cyndi MacMillan Date: 2/13/2014 3:21:00 PM Block poet from commenting on your poetry

    •Rattle does not accept work that has been previously published, in print or online (we do not consider self-publishing to personal blogs, message boards, or Facebook as publication). From their guidelines. See link above. Really, poetrysoup is just a messageboard.
  1. Date: 2/12/2014 8:51:00 PM
    Thanks for introducing Mrs Patricia Smith! She's great and I'm going to try to find her books in my library. Also, I'm going to study this poem (a masterpiece!) Just to learn and understand how she did it. PS: ... maybe ... maybe ... maybe ... you never know. : D

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    MacMillan Avatar Cyndi MacMillan Date: 2/12/2014 9:16:00 PM Block poet from commenting on your poetry

    Her lines about Stevie Wonder affected me the greatest... not sure why... can't exactly pinpoint why that particular sonnet pulled me more than the others.. but I didn't want to leave it, you know?
  1. Date: 2/12/2014 6:02:00 PM
    here is a dare. ANYONE Take the first two sonnets of this... and BREAK/them DOWN/ for ME/so I/CAN see/the ME-TAR cause I don't see it... the first is 10/10/10/10/11/9/10/8/9/9/10/10/10--Here's what I think. Meter happens in normal speech.. unplanned. If I say, "exCUSE me BUT i HAVE to GO to the POT-tea... it ain't meter. It's just words.. if someone wants to slap a great line onto a coroner's table and cut it apart, go for it. and of course I won't penalize a verse FOR NATURAL OCCURENCE OF NORMALIZED SPEECH PATTERNS (each word very stressed, here) But if I hear.. "Oh, the ROSE is RED and BLEEDS with WILL.. yeah, I GOT A WHIFF OF METER. If dont' want intentional sing songing. Sigh.

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    MacMillan Avatar Cyndi MacMillan Date: 2/13/2014 10:54:00 AM Block poet from commenting on your poetry

    But you are right there is NO SENSE in arguing. I'd rather read you lovely stuff, drink tea and prepare for a wild day tomorrow. I'm helping at a dance a thon for tots! What was I thinking!!!! HA!
    MacMillan Avatar Cyndi MacMillan Date: 2/13/2014 10:53:00 AM Block poet from commenting on your poetry

    I do not believe that Farenhuit 451 was written with meter in mind. I've known quite a few novelists, several published, and I gotta tell you, when they are writing they are not thinking about meter. Neither did Ginsberg.
    MacMillan Avatar Cyndi MacMillan Date: 2/13/2014 10:26:00 AM Block poet from commenting on your poetry

    http://www.newhamburgindependent.ca/news/waterloo-region-ranked-16th-in-province-for-waste-diversion-efforts/ Go for it.
    Guzzi Avatar Debbie Guzzi Date: 2/13/2014 9:02:00 AM Block poet from commenting on your poetry

    no sense in arguing since we agree there IS meter in all writing, now all writing is not purposefully rigidly stuck in a particular meter, so you can't say that verse is in iambic pentameter, but you can say that phrase or line is or isn't
    MacMillan Avatar Cyndi MacMillan Date: 2/12/2014 8:40:00 PM Block poet from commenting on your poetry

    I hear an echo. Oh, hello Hatman. Sooo... lol... gimme some content... take your time. It's a hefty project... I am on sonnet 5. Wrangling the closing couplet.
    O. Avatar Ruben O. Date: 2/12/2014 8:36:00 PM Block poet from commenting on your poetry

    LESS meTER, more CONtent, PLEASE! (Borat's accent). : D!
  1. Date: 2/12/2014 4:57:00 PM
    Really good metered sonnet ;) ;) The 'teacher I had was a Pushcart winner' seems as if that's one of the big awards in poetry

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    MacMillan Avatar Cyndi MacMillan Date: 2/12/2014 7:14:00 PM Block poet from commenting on your poetry

    Whoops. That is "RATTLE" a literary journal. If you click up there (Rattle 32) takes you to there home page, check out submissions/guidelines.
    MacMillan Avatar Cyndi MacMillan Date: 2/12/2014 6:04:00 PM Block poet from commenting on your poetry

    Seems like a fantastic journal(?) and they even take poetry that has appeared in forums, like Poetrysoup! Nice!
  1. Date: 2/12/2014 2:28:00 PM
    From Wikipedia "Heroic crown An advanced form of crown of sonnets is also called a sonnet redoublé or heroic crown, comprising fifteen sonnets, in which the sonnets are linked as described above, but the final binding sonnet is made up of all the first lines of the preceding fourteen, in order. This form was invented by the Siena Academy, which was formed in 1460, but there are no existing crowns of sonnets written by them. The form was first described by Giovanni Mario Crescimbeni in his work L'Istoria della volgar poesia (History of Vernacular Poetry), published in Venice, 1731 and later by P.G. Bisso in his Introduzione alla volgar poesia (Introduction to Vernacular Poetry)

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  1. Date: 2/12/2014 2:05:00 PM
    Wow, the last sonnet is composed of all the first lines of the preceding sonnets! A crown squared!

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    MacMillan Avatar Cyndi MacMillan Date: 2/12/2014 2:30:00 PM Block poet from commenting on your poetry

    Heroic crown or sonnet redouble... I have yet to write one. Man. What a MOUNTAIN!
  1. Date: 2/12/2014 1:07:00 PM
    over the top!.. she is a natural and my, how fluid and crisp are her images, cyn.. groovin' like how it should be!.. i'm kinda getting inspired; just need more energy after flu relapse, cyn!.. whooot.. huggs

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    MacMillan Avatar Cyndi MacMillan Date: 2/12/2014 1:50:00 PM Block poet from commenting on your poetry

    I was hoping to inspire some :D Yup. I sat here, read that, and disappeared into rhythm and beat. Sonnets can take any voice--- the sonnet belongs to the poet, his/hers to craft. I've said it once, I'll say it again... its about the language. I know you can do this Nette. In YOUR SLEEP. LOL!
  1. Date: 2/12/2014 11:47:00 AM
    This is crazy good! Wait, the word "good" is completely inadequate to describe this dazzling poem. No offense to us Soupers(lol), but I haven't been reading anything nearly as well-written or exciting(yes, EXCITING is a key word)on the newly posted poems list

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    MacMillan Avatar Cyndi MacMillan Date: 2/12/2014 1:53:00 PM Block poet from commenting on your poetry

    I know that you don't usually do contests anymore. Cramps your maverick style... and many just don't inspire you. But I know you like movies... who knows... and as far as crazy good. We both know you could rock this. LOL... but do you wanna is the real question... or should I say, POP QUIZ HOT SHOT... lol
  1. Date: 2/12/2014 11:33:00 AM
    great example

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    MacMillan Avatar Cyndi MacMillan Date: 2/12/2014 1:54:00 PM Block poet from commenting on your poetry

    I know... holy schmoly... sonnets for the people by the people!
  1. Date: 2/12/2014 11:20:00 AM
    Amazing, First, I love the Motown sound, second this is awesome and I can't imagine how this crown about Motown could be done better---how long would it take to write something like this!!

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    MacMillan Avatar Cyndi MacMillan Date: 2/12/2014 2:00:00 PM Block poet from commenting on your poetry

    I have no idea.. master imagery, language that sings (the language LITERALLY sings!) and all that tone... I'd buy her book in a minute. Feeling inspired?... You could do the Caine Mutiny... True Grit... From Here to Eternity... tickle tickle, Papa...

My Past Blog Posts

 
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THE BEST POETRY WRITING ADVICE I'VE EVER HEARD
Date Posted: 5/5/2014 9:13:00 AM
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Date Posted: 5/4/2014 12:50:00 PM
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I DARE YOU TO READ THIS, POETS. IT MAY MAKE YOU UNCOMFORTABLE. GOOD.
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Date Posted: 2/26/2014 8:29:00 PM

My Poems

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Date PostedPoem TitleFormCategories
9/4/2014I COMESFree versesexy,
9/2/2014cummings and iVersepoetry,word play,
8/25/2014LIFE WILL BE A HONEYMOONLyricparadise,passion,romantic
8/25/2014HOSTEL, QUEBEC CITY, 1978Free versehistory,places,
8/21/2014DEGREESSonnetbooks,sensual,words,
8/7/2014NEUTRALIZEDSonnetcolor,home,
7/17/2014CRADLEDTrioletbaby,love,
6/9/2014THE RETURNSonnetdepression,giving,life,lo
6/7/2014TORRENTSonnetcelebration,life,women,
4/21/2014LA MARQUISEFree versepsychological,
4/8/2014BUKOWSKI CONTESTFree versemoving on,power,teenage,
4/4/2014GINGHAM AND LACE, A BLITZ POEMVersedaughter,love,
4/4/2014NUDE, THIRTY DOLLARS, A BLITZVerseart,imagination,lost love
3/24/201450 GODSFree versegod,peace,philosophy,
3/15/2014WINTER IN PORTLANDFree versedepression,winter,
3/11/2014FREEDOM BLUESTail-rhymefreedom,
2/28/2014WELCOME TO THE BLUENOSEAcrosticfish,history,journey,sea,
2/25/2014PITY THE PIRANHAFree verseintrospection,people,
2/13/2014DOUBLE OH, A BOND CROWN, EXAMPLE FOR CONTESTCrown of Sonnetsfilm,sexy,
2/11/2014ORION: A PERSPECTIVE for third to tenthSonnetmythology,star,
2/10/2014TARTANS, A SONNET FOR FRANCINESonnetfriend,patriotic,places,p
2/9/2014TESTIMONIALS, A SONNET FOR BRIANSonnetfaith,friend,nature,
2/5/2014ON THE FRINGE, A SONNET FOR MARLONSonnetafrica,allegory,culture,f
2/3/2014SUMMERLAND, A SONNET FOR CARRIE RICHARDSSonnetfriend,music,places,poetr
2/2/2014WORD ON THE STREET, 2009, A SONNET FOR DAVIDSonnetbooks,friend,places,poetr
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