fluorescent light, linoleum.
Two cold-blooded singers
face off in the corner, circling,
testing–lunge and feint.
I wash my hands.
Watch the black-clad
rivals unable to back down
or go around until someone
brings a broom and dustpan,
sweeps up these two, away
to feed chickens in the yard,
their twelve legs locked
in pointless combat.
For Prompt #1 at This Is Not a Literary Journal: Write about the first animal you see today. I didn’t include my dogs, opting instead for wild animals. Those turned out to be crickets and the beetles that appear to stalk them, both of which have infested our school, and are now being swept up and taken to feed the chickens.
She went deeper and the boat receded. She worked her chains. The world was locks and water, but she knew the key and smiled as she sank.
The waves came and went leaving constant patterns in the surf. A message: Help me. The beach litter was a map of the seafloor.
He swam for hours into the darkening sea, found her lying in the coral. You came, she said. He exhaled for the last time.
The sea was air, the coral home. Their love the fish, the legs they grew as they evolved back to land to invent boats, chains and locks.
I posted this to my Twitter feed about a year ago and found it in my files. So, a rerun.
Hint of vanilla in the wine
glass stains on the table
two circles orbit each other
tidally locked. Paper wings
tremble. A mole of moths
flutters against my heart.
Red Wolf Poems: Wordle #26 | Magpie Tales #236
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