Sunday, April 30, 2017

NaPoWriMo Day #17

The prompt at NaPoWriMo today was:

Today, I challenge you to write a nocturne. In music, a nocturne is a composition meant to be played at night, usually for piano, and with a tender and melancholy sort of sound. Your nocturne should aim to translate this sensibility into poetic form! Need more inspiration? Why not listen to one of history’s most famous nocturnes, Chopin’s Op. 9 No. 2?

My Nocturne

I found the twilight a tawny, withering thing.  Feeble in octave, its fingers cool of a cold-front kind of pre-storm frigidity.  The moon osculated between clouds of white-gray, a sorry little gloaming for the lone nocturnal mammal.  And, of myself atop a balcony where balustrades twisted between the shadows of a quiet night like gray bone.  Why, I was elated with the whims of woman.  Giddy in my toes for the feel of a kiss.  The breeze delivered both, albeit a steady, sultry, late-night sort of moan amidst the trees that formed a myriad of colors as they shadow-danced against the full-moon.

NaPoWriMo Day #16

The prompt at NaPoWriMo today was;

Today I challenge you to take your inspiration, like our featured interviewee did in the chapbook she co-authored with Ross Gay, from the act of letter-writing. Your poem can be in the form of a letter to a person, place, or thing, or in the form of a back-and-forth correspondence.

Dear Ex-Lover

I'm finding your absence a little easier to swallow considering you've left a smear of your former self, a frown I've yet to decontaminate from my picture-window view.  For there's a certain contentment found in the theory that you refuse to remove yourself more thoroughly.  It would appear to me that there's something still left of me unaffected that you feel I'd be humbled by your ever-awkward touch.  Perhaps you wish to still persuade some part of me.  Yet I rest you assure that whatever portion I had once reserved for you is available no longer.

Enjoy Moving Along &
Never Yours Again,

NaPoWriMo Day #15

The prompt at NaPoWriMo today is:

Because we’re halfway through NaPoWriMo/GloPoWriMo today, I’d like to challenge you to write a poem that reflects on the nature of being in the middle of something. The poem could be about being on a journey and stopping for a break, or the gap between something half-done and all-done. Half a loaf is supposedly better than none, but what’s the difference between half of a very large loaf and all of a very small one? Let your mind wander into the middle distance, betwixt the beginning of things and the end. Hopefully, you will find some poetry there!

The Changeling

The rain midday was
only enough to wet the sidewalk.
I'm more so taken
by a storm that rages.
Give me gray thunderclouds
and a wind that quakes
the foundation of my shutters.
Maybe I'm invigorated
by the emotional sensation
in the unfulfilled pregnancy
of the feel of danger.

My last lover left me with
a sense of emptiness,
as if the distilled air of a vintage
whisky bottle had been stuffed
inside my chest for keeps.
I'd rather be transformed by
the agape sort of admiration,
or else left inconsolable,
by some irreconcilable
difference in agenda.

Teacher, if you must do anything,
please leave me altered.
An immaculate painting
smeared center-stroke,
or a table full of only
the best sort of food, minus
some vital, minuscule seasoning.
Steal something, or else
unburden your baggage.

Friday, April 14, 2017

NaPoWriMo Day #14

The prompt from NaPoWriMo today is:

Last but not least, our prompt! Because it’s Friday, let’s keep it light and silly today, with a clerihew. This is a four line biographical poem that satirizes a famous person.

The Mannerisms of Anne (Sexton)

She reveled the yogis among their rigid corpse-pose 
testified to the colossal man-hate of Plath.
She was a ten-toed Geanie with her belly full of
writer's glow and one last wish for the fishes.

NaPoWriMo Day #13

I wasn't too inspired by the prompt at the official NaPoWriMo site today, so I just wrote a free verse of my own.

I was reading a book of poetry by Paul Zaller today.  He wrote a quite a few poems about war.  I like to reflect when I read poetry, sort of see where my thoughts take me.  The year 1969 came up in one of the poems and I thought to myself, 'that would have been in some previous life for me.'  And thus, this poem was born.

I Was Once Some Other Woman

Somewhere there is a cozy room,
it holds fresh linen and smells of cedar.
There's a paint-chipped window sill
behind the sink where the breeze used
to blow my evening candles asleep.
A classic 50's cooler is nestled in the corner,
metal ice-trays ready to clink their
ready-made cubes against the smooth bodies
of one another over late-dinner drinks.
The paint on the walls is faded
and the linoleum is peeling near the edges,
but love lives behind it's lose corners
for there's an old red cooler on the porch
waiting for summer, and some wading
boots worn by a man I loved.
I cannot remember the bend of his neck,
nor the tan clasp of his gentle hands, those
details are closed behind the closet of my mind,
each moment a brilliant stroke of color,
the complete experience a mere
fine-detailed painting and, dip as I may,
my fingers into bowls-full of acrylic,
whole worlds of color and possibility all their own,
I cannot properly reassemble the picture
of fists-full of babies breath, a house on
the edge of a green-blue moor,
his hands in my hair, my head on his chest.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

NaPoWriMo Day #12

The prompt at NaPoWriMo for today is:

Today, I’d like you to write a poem that explicitly incorporates alliteration (the use of repeated consonant sounds) and assonance (the use of repeated vowel sounds). This doesn’t mean necessarily limiting yourself to a few consonants or vowels, although it could. Even relatively restrained alliteration and assonance can help tighten a poem, with the sounds reinforcing the sense. 

I Never Said I Wasn't...

I've been writing lately
in secret places
petty little box-top corners
where the weary carry
their invisible burdens
into careless corners of 
these empty, vacant cross-
ways near the cab wheels
where rusty rims stop my step.
And I've been wishing
on the emptiest nights
of wavering twilight
like the wishy-washy
I-dream-of-Jeanie in
a silver bottle already
washed of yesterdays Bicardi,
that I could fill the empty
well of myself with
anything swell, or real,
or wish-me-well?

Word List Wednesday #12 (Also my NaPoWriMo Day #11, 2017)

I know these weekly prompts are sporadic.  I lead a busy life.  I wish I was one of those people who could actually commit to a weekly posting on a certain day, but as it is, I can only do so when my schedule allows.  No matter, I hope I can inspire someone.

EVERY OTHER Wednesday (twice per month) I select a list of at least 10 words (sometimes more).  I pull these words from a favorite literary piece that has inspired me. Usually it's another poem.  I always provide the poem author and title unless you want to go read it for yourself.

The idea is to take those 10 words and create a new, unique piece of writing of our own.

I love word lists/wordles because  they allow me to use words I don't often use, and those new words encourage fresh concepts and ideas for my poetry.

I first created this weekly prompt to inspire myself.  However, I am extending the invitation to others who may enjoy writing with my word list.  I invite you to link your work in the comments section if so!

The Word List for this week is selected from the beautiful lyrics by Van Morrison as they appear in his song titled Astral Weeks.

Word List:

Here is my contribution:

Reminiscing a Trespass

She stood at the picture window near
the fireplace, looking beyond the
black stormy world of an astral kind of night.
The last of the guests had blown their
sherry-and-gin kisses into the space
beyond her cheeks, tip-toeing their
heels and crispy suits across the lawn
toward fancy cars, a distinct sort of music.
The whipporwills rattled in the elms
between the beginning of a Spring rain,
the wind spun softly, the sound of the ocean
caught between the inner-chamber of a seashell.
Dewdrops whispered from the intricately-shaped
leaves of the eves that swayed overhead.
And two addresses down the lane stood his house,
one window-block glowing like a California sun.
She watched his shadow flit momentarily past
the shaded pane, eyes traveling the backroads
of her mind.  Her memories were a slipstream,
the viaducts plugged.  She wanted to run
from the desire to wade the muddy waters
to his door, to bang the silver knocker
and fill his mouth with her kiss;  sultrily, hungry,
wet clothes peeling from her skin like sun-dried fruit.
She was a positively-charged ion, a 
spinning particle caught in the will of lust, made 
immobile in the absence of his touch.

NaPoWriMo Day #10

The prompt at NaPoWriMo today is:

Today, I’d like to challenge you to write a poem that is a portrait of someone important to you. It doesn’t need to focus so much on what a person looks (or looked) like, as what they are or were.

He Was An Old Soul

How ill-prepared, one whose heart
has been left to frolic the roadways
of the insides, pink glowing and
sometimes upside-down altogether,
each night a bright star flickering
all white-florescent, and then dropping
from the head like pieces of
a straw hat, nesting and twinkling
like tinsel, ridiculous as a wayward that
stops time on a sidewalk just to
stoop and stare, dipping his young
fingers into the glow-in-the-dark
brain-matter that drips from crown to ears
like sky-lava, an as-yet unnamed element
that fell into the eyes of someone I once
knew, a man who taught me with hands
as tender as bird-feather that the mind
is a raging super-highway, a crazy
moon-night ride, a fully-equipped apocalypse
of vintage muscle cars and the mad-eye
of a roadside opossum, and how each
thought only a mysterious grove in the 
black asphalt curving past towns with names
we've never yet heard about, times that carved
our bones into the bodies that we are,
indigenous as old blood, our veins a
constellation, our eyes a vexing lunar eclipse
of pupil-formed to words, a textbook annihilation.
We are the trapped moth of a porch-screen
wire, just flipping invisible wings and waiting to die
until some random window blows the shutters open
and the wind, again, finds our feet,
stiff and bare, old souls born into new toes,
and we drag our dreams, like bruised knees,
into a wild-star night, watching close the clouds
how they fold the tree-tops and white-noise
of the city into each other like an old, withering 
envelope that saves words and voice in
the gray space of it's empty pocket.

NaPoWriMo Day #9

The prompt at NaPoWriMo today is:

Because today is the ninth day of NaPoWriMo, I’d like to challenge you to write a nine-line poem. 

All The Real Stars Are Sleeping

The inner-city is already sweaty
in midspring; pedestrians undulating past
sidewalks and park-stops, swimming past
green-lit walkways and into
greasy mom-and-pop restaurants.
The lights across Broadway
are even brighter this year,
they hypnotize my camera-flash immoble,
those fiercely-shy transatlantic stars.

NaPoWriMo Day #8

The prompt at NaPoWriMo today is:

Today I’d like to challenge you to write a poem that relies on repetition. It can be repetition of a phrase, or just a word.

The Belle of Black and White Movies

She lived well.
She used to dine on fine wine
with men and women whose
names took them places,
her fingertips smelling of caviar
and a wine stain left on the breast
of her best dress, replacable.

She loved well.
She was always the first to dance,
a brunette-belle-in-silver-slippers
kind of girl, a lover at each hip,
all pink lips and fluid limbs as she
swirled at the oceans edge.
She rationed her body the way
a seamestress measured thread,
bit by bit, the spool still spinning.

She wrote well.
Love letters to foreign lovers
by names she couldn't enunciate,
formal complaints to state senators
following federal grant proposals for
programs in the name of the working poor,
birthday cards for the morning post
and a sack-full of mole-skin journals
for the sake of staying sane.

NaPoWriMo Day #7

The prompt at NaPoWriMo for today was:

Our prompt for the day (optional as always) comes to us from Elizabeth Boquet of Oaks to Acorns. In keeping with the fact that it’s the seventh day of NaPoWriMo/GloPoWriMo, Elizabeth and I challenge you to write a poem about luck and fortuitousness. For inspiration, take a look at Charles Simic’s “The Betrothal” and Stephen Dunn’s “The Arm”. Need something more? Perhaps these instructions from Elizabeth will get you going!
Create the following lists:
1. List 1 – 3 random objects. (Smaller tends to be better.)
2. List 1 – 3 random but specific locations. (Think in the cookie jar, or under my seat…)
3. List 1 – 2 objects you’ve lost and a few notes on their back-story.
4. List 1- 2 objects you’ve found and few notes on their back-story.
Now, choosing an object from List 1, a location from List 2, and connect them in a poem with ideas from Lists 3 & 4 and VoilĂ ! A fortuitous poem! 

On Carelessness 

I'm laying in corpse pose on my yoga mat.  There's a candle to my left, beacon for long-repressed memories.  Overhead, a chandalier tinkles as if toyed with by ghostly fingers.  I'm head-to-head level with the secrets nestled behind the sofa.  I almost wonder if a piece of my heart might be found there among the dust, or at least the white-gold wedding band from my first (and only, thus far) marriage.  I can barely remember the cold-metal hug it gave my finger but I'm sure in a journal somewhere in a box behind a shelf there's written a lengthy explanation of its absense.  I've lost plenty of important thngs...a notebook full of last years poetry, though I've all but forgotten what was written.  And a pair of earrings from my last romantic relationship, which was really merely a rendezvious of cabin rentals and condos and beaches where the sand probably remembers my former self better than I.  And how, somewhere before yesterday, I lost myself between mirror-glass and an intellectual clumbsiness too cruel to pardon.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

NaPoWriMo Day #6

The prompt at NaPoWriMo is:

Today, I’d like to challenge you to write a poem that looks at the same thing from various points of view. The most famous poem of this type is probably Wallace Stevens’ “Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird”. You don’t need to have thirteen ways of looking at something – just a few will do!

Variation on a Night Sky

Dark trees on the horizon sway
against a black-star night,
as the moon hangs, an
irridescent fingernail of light.

Two lovers stroll hand-in-hand
along the rivers edge,
bulbous yellow moon undulating
atop the breeze-strewn ripples.

The stars dip their spotlights
into the hazy evening fog,
stopping only at the corner
of Main where the post-lights blink.

Somewhere past the backstreets
where the silver-rimmed wheels
crack the pavement a shade past black,
crickets orchestrate the leg-strings
of their symphany and night moves
among the trees in the shape of gray.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

NaPoWriMo Day #5

The NaPoWriMo prompt for today is:

 In honor of Mary Oliver’s work, I’d like to challenge you to write a poem that is based in the natural world: it could be about a particular plant, animal, or a particular landscape. But it should be about a slice of the natural world that you have personally experienced and optimally, one that you have experienced often. Try to incorporate specific details while also stating why you find the chosen place or plant/animal meaningful.

The Third Day of Spring

Somewhere in the distance
I hear chimes.
The ice in  my coffee
is slowly melting,
light brown morning lava,
manta for the poets brain.
I mean to drink it
bittersweet bean excrament,
but I've been made immobile
by the mid-day weather,
air as warm as skin,
the ghostly touch of a
sultry-cool breeze,
March weather made
of leaves and heat,
kisses the back of 
my neck, a sneaky lover
that teases,  yet eludes
tangible touch-of-hand.

NaPoWriMo Day #4

The prompt at NaPoWriMo today is:

The “enigma” of the title is widely believed to be a hidden melody that is not actually played, but which is tucked somehow into the composition through counterpoint. Today I’d like you to take some inspiration from Elgar and write a poem with a secret – in other words, a poem with a word or idea or line that it isn’t expressing directly. The poem should function as a sort of riddle, but not necessarily a riddle of the “Why is a raven like a writing desk?” variety. You could choose a word, for example, “yellow,” and make everything in the poem something yellow, but never actually allude to their color. Or perhaps you could closely describe a famous physical location or person without ever mentioning what or who it actually is.

The Long Winter

She said the feeling
was like an itch
in a place untouchable,
a steady burn between
the edges of her skin
and candles weren't
call for concern.

She walked circles
around the window
that was herself,
secrets sliding past glass,
a prototype for pain,
yet couldn't keep herself
from looking inside.

The night pulled her taunt,
a pendulum swinging
between elation and something
close to sorrow, her body
slowly migrating like
drops of water, a loss
of herself, irretreviable.

Monday, April 3, 2017

NaPoWriMo Day #3

The prompt at NaPoWriMo today is:

And now for our (optional) prompt! Today I’d like to challenge you to write an elegy – a poem that mourns or honors someone dead or something gone by.

An Elegy of my Heart

Somewhere amidst my
last trip-up of
the dating pool,
the damn thing
finally left me.
Funny how it never
made a clamour
as it edged between
the narrow bones
of my ribs and chest.
As spontaneous as
a jolt of lightning,
I woke up one morning
minus a hangover,
on a dreamy Sunday
and I abhorred
the idea of love,
thought the act of
intimacy a slimy violation,
refused the mushy words
of worn-out radio melodies.
I cashed my date-stash
in for red wine and
a fat, black cat
to keep my feet warm.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

NaPoWriMo Day #2

The prompt at NaPoWriMo today was:

I’d like you to write a poem inspired by, or in the form of, a recipe! It can be a recipe for something real, like your grandmother’s lemon chiffon cake, or for something imaginary, like a love potion or a spell.

Grandmother's Hands

They were always most agile,
even against the background
of her ever-stooping shoulders
(the most cornerstone 
stereotype of the elderly)
and her vague ears
remedied by aids without wires
for which she preferred
never to wear,
her hand-grasp never failed.
My seven-year-old self
would watch her squint against
the warm pink glint of her
glasses while I scoured
kitchen shelves for whatever
ingredients the cookbook called for.
Rather saltines and oats to
thicken the cream for meatloaf
or confectionary sugar
for her old-fashioned apple fritters,
I'd watch her strong hands
knead the dough with love.
With seventy years worth
of perseverance, and growing,
she'd work with an unfailing affinity
on the food that would replenish
four generations of her namesake. 
Gathered around the dinner table,
We never noticed the mismatched dishes,
how crystal and fine China were incognito,
nor the yellow wallpaper that frayed
at the edges; only the magic her food was,
the love in her hands I later held
in her eldest age, counting the wrinkles
and willing to my memory the
curve of her thumbnail,
the shape of her grasp I pressed
against my chest, as if to imprint
upon my heart a reminant of her strength.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

NaPoWriMo Day #1

The prompt today at NaPoWriMo is:

write a Kay-Ryan-esque poem: short, tight lines, rhymes interwoven throughout, maybe an animal or two, and, if you can manage to stuff it in, a sharp little philosophical conclusion.

Right-Hand Solstice

sometimes at intervals,
I find myself posessed 
by the bizaar necessity 
to record.
My hands twitch
toward the pen,
a thing as automatic
as breathing or sleeping,
the need for scribe
mews to me pitifully
like an old abandoned cat
until I slice a piece of time
between afternoon tea
and the evening laundry.
On the patio in late eve,
I write, write, write
against the incessant brag
my brain has to speak
constantly to my hand,
notebooks upon notebooks
stacked like the ghosts
of old lovers.