Archive for the ‘off a prompt’ Category

RECESS

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2009

The following is poem number 22 of 2009’s NaPoWriMo – 30 poems in 30 days during the month of April. The original prompt was, “outdoor play”. It feels like a bookend to poem #8, BLUE BLUR.



RECESS

I’m a wisp around the flagpole. I disappear. No one knows.
Call me Sherlock, see if you can find me
under the grass. Go ahead. We’re not supposed to go home
with stains on our jeans but we do – there’s a whole bunch of
just because going on around here.

That’s why Timmy caught the kickball in the teeth, Kim
threw her tuna fish out, Mikey flattened his tires
popping wheelies by the swings. How should I know why
I have this magnifying glass. I burn ants. Then I don’t.
Fifteen-minutes to reappear. Watch me go.

-

SPARKS

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2009

The following is poem number 21 of 2009’s NaPoWriMo – 30 poems in 30 days during the month of April. The original prompt was, ‘in away”. I’m not sure how it got to its final form, but my initial thought had something to do with the unique kind of love you only experience in your adolescence.


SPARKS

Shelly only visited once a summer and couldn’t sit still.
My best friend’s cousin from New York, at night by tiki torch

she did cartwheels back and forth as our pack watched
awestruck at her body beginning to form. She didn’t care
when her T-shirt came untucked, snuck up over her head
and parts of her we’d never seen fell out, even if all we saw
was the idea of what we thought was there.

She said we’d never know how it felt to touch
then let us one-by-one, made me go last
because we were in love. Once the rest scattered off

she led me behind a row of pines, showed my hand
where to go, motioned to a downed power line that hissed
like a snake just waking. If you stare long enough
sparks fly out. And we did.

-

MIDWIFE

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2009

The following is poem number 20 of 2009’s NaPoWriMo – 30 poems in 30 days during the month of April. “Midwife” was the original prompt. I wrote the poem for Courtney, who is on a midwife’s journey.



MIDWIFE

The best I can do is guide you through, explain the taste
of losing yourself to you once you get the feel of life.

First you’re young. You’ll need to run, cry over things
that leave you fast. Then, and this is the tricky part –

there’s a moment when your soul knows it’s lost, calls back
to your mother’s bulge, further still to a star,

and further yet, a spark, the intersect of left and right
as you multiply over night into simple breathing form.

Yes. Yawn your way across the band. I’ve made my hands for you.



-

RED TEETH

Tuesday, April 21st, 2009

The following is poem number 19 of 2009’s NaPoWriMo – 30 poems in 30 days during the month of April. The original prompt was “red ones are my second favorite”.


RED TEETH

A day like this has to be your birthday,
the birth you would have had
if you knew you could – shot out
under water blue skies, dolphin clouds

that wisp you off like smoke where birds
with too much to sing say nothing,
just hop to rooftop lookouts in case
things change, the jet stream bends south,

a volcano goes. Daisy knows. She smiles
big and wide, rattles chores she ignored –
laundry stuff, a library fine,
spore removal from part of the house

she doesn’t name. She winks at her drink,
blows near candles with lipstick teeth,
breathes sweet maraschino breath until
the most joyous belch seeps out.

-

WOMAN WEARING PEARLS

Monday, April 20th, 2009

The following is poem number 18 of 2009’s NaPoWriMo – 30 poems in 30 days during the month of April. The original prompt was, “happy hour” It started off with a cup of coffee but soon the woman in pearls took over.


WOMAN WEARING PEARLS

She steps into Schott’s to see if I’ll break a hundred
dollar bill so her husband can pay for parking. I fix her
a coffee then she asks for a whisky neat, starts to tell me
about her daughter the artist

who’s wasting her life in this town – no offense,
but she’s got an MFA, could do something else.
It’s not like she’s young. Pushing 30 now,
still with that clown who welds bike frames for a living.

I ask if she’d like something to wash the whisky down.
She orders another, then a third when her husband
walks in from the car, rolls his eyes because he’s had
this dream before.

She tells the old fish to drink, quiet down, then veers
to the free-play juke, lines up an hour of songs. Her skirt
rumpled in the back, she dances alone
amongst the hardwood dust.

It isn’t hard to imagine her younger, floating around bars
like this, giving men a taste but never a bite until one night
she decides she’s through with it, buys into another idea -
now here she is getting shined

so she can see her daughter who’ll always be pretty
in an unrefined way, content with the rent-controlled place
down the street because even though we lose things
one-by-one, passion is the last and never comes back.

-

NEXT FLIGHT

Monday, April 20th, 2009

The following is poem number 17 of 2009’s NaPoWriMo – 30 poems in 30 days during the month of April. The original prompt was, “the flight I took before”.


NEXT FLIGHT

We’ll be a snow globe then. Let’s walk
until the next wind drops us off
in an easy blue, ride through the wake
some place new and never know where.

Lost in a kiss with a stranger, who cares
when the ride starts, carries you on
and on then further out. Just follow clouds
all the way, expect the weather will change.



-

2014

Thursday, April 16th, 2009

The following is poem number 16 of 2009’s NaPoWriMo – 30 poems in 30 days during the month of April. The original prompt was, “$20.14″ – as soon as I saw the number I knew I was losing the dollar sign and decimal point.


2014

Once he was done with his preoccupation of what
the future should have been, Michael made a home
on the edge of a new moon,
set panels up to catch lunar winds, olfactory light
and the slight drums that rise in dump storms.

Not one to dwell on trodden paths, now and again
as the earth sets he peers back
to that blue ball from youth, recalls
sometimes a safe distance is all that’s safe.



-

THE SQUARE AT NIGHT

Thursday, April 16th, 2009

The following is poem number 15 of 2009’s NaPoWriMo – 30 poems in 30 days during the month of April. The original prompt was, “Jack”. James Tate’s THE SQUARE AT DAWN, from his short collection, The Torches by Unicorn Press, copyright 1968 and 1971, inspired the title.


THE SQUARE AT NIGHT

Jack swore the only way to see the stars
was to spend the night in Schott’s alone
at the end of the bar, leave before close
for the long walk, stop halfway at a bench
on the Square near the bust of city fathers.

There he’d curl beneath the sports page,
doze, dream then wake before light
punched out the dark. The sky still full
of milky night, the stars would glow,
bow off stage for blurred brows
that cheered them home.



-

THE MOVER OF CREEKS

Tuesday, April 14th, 2009

The following is poem number 14 of 2009’s NaPoWriMo – 30 poems in 30 days during the month of April. The original prompt was, “my father’s moved creeks”, which I heard fall out of someone’s mouth yesterday (I’d never heard that before).


THE MOVER OF CREEKS

See the old man with his tools, red hands soft
from moving mud, tails of his flannel shirt wet,
blue jeans kept together by patches Ellie sewd.

Her cellar won’t take another flood, not like the last
that swept her canned pears downstream,
just about took the house. My father’s a sucker
for weepy women, especially ones

who bake good cobbler any time of year,
put a big piece of summer on a plate, sit and talk
about stars being closer in the winter,
then bring him more.

He loves the water, but mostly loves that cobbler
on nights when the moon is on top of the house
and he’s the last man on earth.

-

HAPPIER MOMENTS

Tuesday, April 14th, 2009

The following is poem number 13 of 2009’s NaPoWriMo – 30 poems in 30 days during the month of April. The original prompt was, “we’re happy they chose to…”. The first thing that came to mind was, “…open the windows”, which is how the hail arrived in the poem. The characters in the first stanza soon followed, and kept coming back with each draft.


HAPPIER MOMENTS

Fran calls to say her son stood up from his chair
for the first time in a month. She shares
that Helen with her nicotine teeth
finally cornered the priest about alms,
and Matt, fresh from the war, feels less numb
about the part of him that’s gone.

All of which rushes by in a gush of hail
that pounds the house – I’m moved to tears
by the news copter that went down last night,
how the crew washed safely to shore, cameras
aloft to capture their own rescue, klieg lights

and wives watching. When the paper shows
I carry its mascara headlines to the roof, wait
with the weather page as the forecast rolls in,
confused when it doesn’t then remember
to give it time.

-

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