Attempt

I used the April 2018 PAD Challenge prompt yesterday. It worked so well I’m going to go with it again today. (Only 11 more days in this month and I’ve written every single day.)

Here it is:
Take a line from an earlier poem (preferably from this month) to begin your poem for today.

Attempt


Will I go to hell if I say this?

That I spend days unraveling God,
searching for the first mention,
the ideated answer for why.

I have walked the other side,
antonym for this present
seen that which is not here.

Is it that I convinced myself
passed a self-made counterfeit
for what neverwas and willneverbe?

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What I Like

I hate filing taxes.

I hate math and I hate the IRS. (Well, I don’t really hate them. I just dislike them intensely.)


What I Like

uneven edges of book pages
soft gilded whirring of humingbird wings
happy laughter in the distance
iridescent soap bubbles riding wind
straight-edged roads with clear sight lines
well water after a long thirst
your hand’s weight

Throw Caution to the Wind

Good writing is a serious thing. In fact, I spend much of my writing time discussing good writing.

A flair for making everyday words sing. The gift of making a phrase croon — think Luther Vandross and Maxwell. The knack of crafting verse that dances along the rafters — think Mozart’s Queen of the Night aria.

But then, there’s a time to cut loose a bit — think NaPoWriMo — and just write.

NaPoWriMo

I can’t go to bed until I write a poem
place line on line, rhyming     or not
peer open-eyed at things awry

ah, but I know I’m trying too hard
reaching    for that perfect smoky metaphor
or just the right shade of simile

is my foreshadowing too heavily done
what about the length of this line
are the bones of my theme showing

will this hurt my portfolio
maybe I should consult an editor
let her tell me if this voice suits

the cut of my words        oh, who cares
if my verse hangs a bit low

World-building

According to Junot Diaz (and ok, a lot of other writers), world-building is important in all fiction writing. Actually, I’d expand that thought to all writing–and life.

Writers or not, we all are world builders. We choose between the couscous or the rice pilaf. We choose friends and lifemates. With every decision, we make our world.

Juan Felipe Herrera unveiled his project, la familia (the family), for his stint as our new U.S. Poet Laureate. La familia (the family) is a collaborative project open to all Americans to help in telling America’s (our) story.

World-building, if you will, and giving us all a part in it.

I’m excited about having a chance to be part of such a big thing. I want to dive in and add my voice to project…BUT I’m also afraid. Afraid my voice is too insignificant, my writing too juvenile. That I’m too…silly, somehow.

So I’ve decided to start on a small scale and locally (or as local as the internet and social media allows) to begin, InCollaboration, my own collaborative poem project with you. I invite you — poet and non-poet — to help me fashion a series of poems.

Together we’ll build a world.

 

I Often Feel Silly

It grabs on the point of waking
a previous night’s remark
or the moment of my birth.

In the middle of joyful dance
I become ankles, elbows,
geometric angles.

After the echo of our lovemaking,
I cringe. There is no place, no
time, it is not. Even here–

my voice, now,
speaking to you.

Room for others

Sometimes I have to remind myself it’s not all about me.  I have to make room in this life for others.  Otherwise, life’s not worth living.

With that  firmly in mind, I’m sharing a most excellent poem, Happiness, from The Poetry Foundation by a favorite poet of mine, the late Jane Kenyon.

Happiness

by Jane Kenyon

There’s just no accounting for happiness,
or the way it turns up like a prodigal
who comes back to the dust at your feet
having squandered a fortune far away.

And how can you not forgive?
You make a feast in honor of what
was lost, and take from its place the finest
garment, which you saved for an occasion
you could not imagine, and you weep night and day
to know that you were not abandoned,
that happiness saved its most extreme form
for you alone.

No, happiness is the uncle you never
knew about, who flies a single-engine plane
onto the grassy landing strip, hitchhikes
into town, and inquires at every door
until he finds you asleep midafternoon
as you so often are during the unmerciful
hours of your despair.

It comes to the monk in his cell.
It comes to the woman sweeping the street
with a birch broom, to the child
whose mother has passed out from drink.
It comes to the lover, to the dog chewing
a sock, to the pusher, to the basketmaker,
and to the clerk stacking cans of carrots
in the night.

It even comes to the boulder
in the perpetual shade of pine barrens,
to rain falling on the open sea,
to the wineglass, weary of holding wine.

Jane Kenyon, “Happiness” from Otherwise: New and Selected Poems. Copyright © 2005 by the Estate of Jane Kenyon. Reprinted with the permission of Graywolf Press, St. Paul, Minnesota, www.graywolfpress.org.

Source: Poetry (February 1995).

 

At Home in the World

Some years ago, I went to New York and Connecticut.  I attended the New Yorker Festival; hit the Metropolitan Museum; took a train from Grand Central Station to visit friends and walked miles. It was glorious.

Yet, my small town heart suffered.  Where I’m from, we speak to people on the street, whether you know them or not.   Heck, we even say Hey! to drivers in cars as we wait to cross the street.  In Riverside Park, I met a most wondrous little pug named Olive.  She made me feel right at home.

Riverside, Manhattan, New York

The verdant piece of parkland at 80th and Riverside,
a repotted scrap of home, is filled with clusters
of walkers, dogs and owners in tow.  My small town heart
breaks its restraints and I call unacknowledged

hellos to pets and their humans, to squirrels in hiding
and flocks of sparrows barely visible among browning
leaves and grass.  I move deeper into the park, chilled
out and in, when she makes her move.  Her brindled body

travels in the perfect trajectory of meeting.  Unsure of intent,
I turn to face her.  A lolling smile, the radiating warmth
of flesh leaning into flesh and a rapid swipe of tongue
against my leg and she’s off to her next welcome.

Color A World

There’s nothing like the smell of crayons to reclaim childhood.  As a kid, I spent hours sprawled on the floor–coloring book center stage and all of a 64-count box of Crayola crayons scattered around me.  Coloring was my meditation and play well into junior high school.  Now I’m well into adulthood and I rediscover the joy of coloring books, crayons (and gel pens) every 15 years or so.  Long Live Crayola!

 

you take a gel pen and place
a chartreuse swipe within the lines
of a flower        maybe gerbera
or ox-eye          could be sunflower

 

you follow the curve of petal
remake it into yours in saffron
in azure       is it rudbeckia
or black-eyed susan

 

you don’t care about realism
whether it follows proper form
because it is whatever you want
your need right now

 

you focus on the drawing
let it fill your eye’s horizon     color
a hand-reach outside expectation
bold enough to muffle feeling

 

 

Take A Look

I’ve been absolutely terrified every moment of my life and I’ve never let it keep me from doing a single thing that I wanted to do.” — Georgia O’Keeffe

 

Look up in the mirror
The mirror look at me
The mirror be like baby you the sh*t
God dammit you the sh*t
You the sh*t, you the sh*t
God dammit you the sh*t
God dammit you the sh*t
You the sh*t, yes sir

 from Feelin’ Myself by  will.i.am and Wiz Khalifa

 

Sometimes the hardest thing to do is to look at yourself in the mirror.

 

 

Take A Look

 

Do you see that face reflected there?  The one
dark and sharp with yearning. How to answer
the question those eyes ask. You tremble
when they hold your own, don’t you?

 
Hold still now and take it.  Interrogation
is daunting, is it not?  Especially face to face.
Turning away won’t save you. Come back.
This a face you know.

 

It is yours.

 

Umami

I’ve never understood people who say they only eat to live.  As for me, food is my friend.  Just as you would with a close friend, I spend a lot of time with it on my mind.  😀  So imagine my surprise when saw this picture about five weeks ago. I had never heard of a cruffin.  Now it’s all I can think of thanks to a new bakery I found out about.

Interestingly enough, I am not even remotely a “bread” person usually but… Too bad I’m already taken or I’d marry that coffee cream cruffin in a snap.  Funny, the things you discover about yourself.

Umami

crust, burnished and butttery
dusted in white grains of sweetness filled
with the lush unctiousness of coffeed cream
a deep-bodied bouquet of dark chocolate
and round-jaggedness of salt
or the sunny wholesomeness of strawberry
married to the airy neutrality of yeast

Terra Incognita

Some years ago, I had an e-mail address–with a provider which is now defunct–that was forever inundated with spam. ( I have the nasty suspicion they sold my address to various and sundry unsavory operators.) I discovered the crooked e-mails contained scraps of random prose. It appealed to my inner poet, so I cribbed snippets of prose from those and other spam.

I figured since I couldn’t block them all, I would at least subvert them into a bit of beauty. Transform them into poetry. Years after I began I stumbled across the term–found poem. A new poetic form!

Silk from a sow’s ear.

 

Terra Incognita: a found poem

What should I have been without him? Still
I lost him into the silence like a sloping roof,
as if he were a stranger upon earth,
a revelation of human inconsistency.

Underneath burning glass, he looked strong.
There is something I want to tell you, he said.
Trust me no more, but trust me no less,
than you would an inspired heap of sand.