It was ordinary:
the hill, the town,
the sky, a wisp
of cloud against
the stars. Ordinary
as methane rain
on Titan or the dry
on the windswept
Common as each
flower in this field
around my feet,
each one a star
to mirror constellations
above my blood-filled
head. The window
lights in town
click off, a chorus
of everyday amens,
whispered in the holy
darkness of the night.
Magpie Tales #234
Listen: She dreamt the sky
and settled a few strange feet
above this shattered axeland.
She floated there for ages
and pilgrims came and rubbed
their names with clumsy fingers
in the dirt. Their names vanished
like the rolling highway scenery
outside your half-down window,
like your tears drying in the wind
as you fled from town to town.
Magpie Tales #219 | Sunday Whirl #160
The old man lost faith in rain,
stopped praying, whispered soft,
I’ve had enough. I give.
How many poems can you give,
brother, to call the goddess of the rain?
A shadow in a sheep’s clothes, soft
wings flutter, a sound so soft
you stop the car, pull over and give
a listen to the whistle of a train.
To hear the rain fall soft again? I’ll give.
Quickly #30: Respond | PAD 2014 #30: Calling it a day
Miz Quickly’s prompt was to respond to a poem you like. I wanted to end the month with another tritina, a form I stumbled upon a few weeks ago, and so I decided to use three words (rain, soft, give) from Dave Bonta’s “Springy,” which is part of his 3verses series.
And that makes 31 poems for National Poetry Writing Month. I didn’t plan to do it. I just wrote one or two and then kept going. And then it was the 15th, and now here we are. Thank you to Robert Brewer’s Poetic Asides Daily, NaPoWriMo, Magpie Tales, Miz Quickly, and the soon to be defunct We Write Poems (why do so many prompt sites/poetry communities close up after NaPoWriMo? Is it just too much?) for the prompts and inspiration. And be sure to check out Red Wolf Poems, a sequel to We Write Poems that starts tomorrow.
Thank you also to all of you who have stopped by to read and comment on my poems. I can’t tell you how grateful I am.
Today is a battered guitar crafted
from the light of a new wolf moon
and renewable Canadian cedar.
The strings are made of the glow
of city lights, the rumble of thunder,
the bitterness of coffee, the itch
of poison ivy, the smell of gasoline,
and, well, the sixth string is broken
but it sounded like the dirt under
your porch, Billy, at your house on
birdless Audubon. But with only five
strings, it’s more a banjo, jangling
too fast to understand, summoning
cold front clouds and grokking rain
with some minor diminished seventh
chord of gloom, that J-sharp-flat note
JB spent too many late night hours
trying to discover between the notes
of the western scale and the pages of
his misprinted Bible. And so we will walk
all through the night, a thousand miles
and never leave Austin, the barbed
hours picking and strumming that old
acoustic guitar in the neon pawn shop
window, the one you swear maybe
once belonged to some old testament
angel or maybe even Willie Nelson.
NaPoWriMo #29: 20 Little Poetry Projects | PAD 2014 #29: Magical/Realism
This is based on a NaPoWriMo prompt to incorporate 20 random and strange things from a list into one poem. I think I got all of them in, but I cut one or two for readability. Anyway, here’s the recipe.
I tried this with my students today. It went over quite well with several of my kids coming up with some astonishingly good stuff, most of them having fun, and more than a few wanting to read to the class.
Oh, and Happy Birthday, Willie.
Do you see rust in the radio sky?
The laughing truth of the galaxies’ weight
can be borne in the chambers of one heart,
or an insect like that blue dragonfly,
the buzzing one circling your empty plate.
Perhaps the time zones aren’t so far apart.
Do you feel the dust in the shifting wind?
How many crooked roads can you make straight,
organized like some magician’s flowchart?
Did you answer no and no and none, friend?
Here is where we start.
NaPoWriMo #26: Curtal Sonnet | We Write Poems: Wordle #16
This is an attempt at a curtal sonnet. Sometimes, the form and the rhyme drive and take you nowhere.
Reminder: My poetry collection Birds Nobody Loves is on sale through the end of April for National Poetry Month. The Kindle edition is $0.99 and the paperback is $5.18.
fields of wildflowers
I stop and watch
dancing, twisting, shimmering
lunchtime passes too fast
fields in red bloom
killdeer race through the grass
and bees hover silently, slow
This is an attempt to write cinquains in the three formats found here, but using the same or similar topics and words (firewheels, stop, enough) that I also used in today’s NaPoWriMo / PAD tritina poem “It Is Enough.”
It Is Enough
It is enough to walk among the firewheels
even if for a few minutes. It is enough
to breath the springtime air and let time stop.
It is enough to walk up the hill to the stop
sign. It is enough to feel the sun that firewheels
across the sky. Is it enough to say enough?
It is enough to savor cool water, enough
to lean against the wind imagining it will stop.
It is enough for bees to navigate the firewheels.
The firewheels are enough to make time stop.
PAD 2014 #25: Last Straw | NaPoWriMo #25: Anaphora
It was a sunnycool autumn day when I wandered
the Ramble in October of 2010. I wound up in
the 80s, planned to hit the Guggenheim, which I’d
wanted to visit ever since I took that art history
class my senior year when I sat between Emily
and sad Maria. But everything in the museum was
dead, just a bunch of paintings and tourists and
a couple of potheads giggling at these famous
pieces by Kandinsky and Pollock and Picasso
and other celebrity artists. But I wanted a hot dog
and to get back to that perfect day where I could
shoot birds with my Nikon, and the leaves all
changing colors in a way they never do in Austin.
I said it was a cool day and I suppose it was, but
I’m not from New York, so what do I know? Maybe
it was hot. And so out onto 5th and back across the
park to the Upper West Side. I hoofed it to Columbus,
loving the city, loving the day, the weather, the birds,
loving you, travelworking in some cubefarm in Midtown
on this beautiful day. I skipped the Natural History
Museum since you’d want to do that and someday
I bet we will, and we’ll bring our son who was with you
that day too even if we didn’t know it. Didn’t know it
at the time, it wasn’t just the two of us anymore.
PAD 2014 #23: Location | NaPoWriMo #21: “New York School
My attempt at a “New York School” poem using many of the “ingredients” listed here. I decided to set it in in my last trip to NYC back in 2010, tagging along with my wife on one of her work trips.
Love may be found by soaking a piece of moss
in spring water. Love is short and plump
with four pairs of legs, each with four to eight claws
called discs. Love occurs from the Himalayas
to the deep sea, the polar regions to the equator.
Love can withstand temperatures just above
absolute zero to well above the boiling point
of water, pressures six times those found
on the bottom of the oceans, ionizing
radiation at doses hundreds of times the
lethal dose for humans, and the vacuum
of outer space. Love is water dwelling. As water
expands upon freezing, dehydration ensures love
won’t get ripped apart by the ice. Love can survive
in a desiccated state for 10 years. Over 1100 species
of love have been identified. Most species of love
are plant eaters, but some are predatory. Love is
ancient, dating from the Cambrian. Love may be
viewed under a low power microscope, making love
accessible to students and amateur scientists.
This is a response to Dave Bonta’s Facebook call to write a poem about the extremophile Tardigrade aka Water Bear. It’s in a similar vein to last week’s Desire/Tarantula Hawk replacement poem. This is kind of a fun exercise, and I wonder if I might keep doing this. Maybe come up with a field guide to the emotions or something like that. I used Wikipedia for my source material.
Inside a shell, there was a sea
holding all the world’s blue waters.
But it was also half full of drought.
All she’d ever known was drought,
but ear to the shell, she heard the sea,
the circling cadence of the waters.
Caroline released the waters
and left a shell now full of drought
and threw it deep into the sea.
Sea waters stall the birth of drought.
PAD 2014: #22: Optimism/Pessimism | NaPoWriMo #19: Seashells
After yesterday’s attempt at a sestina, I decided to try the related tritina, which seems to offer a bit less rope with which to hang oneself.