“Love, Etc.” volume 1

I’ve taken the poetry dare twice—once with Nancy Franson and once with Laura Lynn Brown. Now, I’m sort of hooked. I can’t start my day without it.

My next dare, though, is with myself.

Hello, Megan. Care to join me in going through L.L. Barkat’s collection, “Love, Etc.”?

Love to.

As I’ve done in my previous dares, I’ll write about what strikes me. This first section is from the poem “Bird on the Mountain.”


If you would lower

your standards,

eat fragments of Psalms,

not require the aperitif,

the blackberry on the ridge

of a pastry,

pork pulled in trails

across plates.

If you could

be content with knowing

that an empty glass

is an invitation,

you could stop refusing

your fortune.

L.L. Barkat

I know the opening lines came from a workshop she and I did with Julia Kasdorf. L.L.’s talked about the “lower your standards” thing since. Also, the next line of the poem is about eating fragments of Psalms, which was what Julia had us do—she handed out scraps of Psalms and asked us to write from them. I still have the poem I started from that.

I just put the first two and the last two lines  of this section at the top of my book document. Right now, my standards are too high. I want it to be amazing. If I would lower my standards to, oh, really good, then I could stop refusing my fortune.


  1. An empty glass is an invitation. Hm.

  2. I think that’s a good caution for us all. I wonder what fortunes I refuse every day? I’ve been thinking of you and that book of yours. Sitting on the edge of my seat here! I feel like I’m being refused a fortune :). But, good things do come to those who wait 🙂

  3. waiting to read the result . . .but thanks for the appetizer.

  4. Megan, I read ‘Love, etc.’ very quickly when LL published it and remember being astounded at all the ways love looks.
    Anyway, it’s counter-intuitive to think re: our writing goals that we should ‘lower our standards’, but maybe a better way to think of it is to be more realistic about my expectations of myself and my work.

    Just write……..as LL says over and over again and get over yourself. (that last part was all me.)