Posts Tagged ‘national poetry writing month’

FETAL DREAMS

Monday, April 13th, 2009

The following is poem number 12 of 2009’s NaPoWriMo – 30 poems in 30 days during the month of April. “Fetal dreams” was the original prompt.”


FETAL DREAMS

My dream is a laugh in the gurgle of sleep.
Your stomach churns, a sink leaks,
someone fills the bathtub. The hour
before birth I dream light turns cream,
of being tethered but not seen.

I dream my cry is God’s small voice,
a soul designed on many things. Dream
of rain that comes once a life, of going blind.
Dream no one knows our umbilical code.
That I can live in you for still some time.

-

HEAT OF DAY

Saturday, April 11th, 2009

The following is poem number 11 of 2009’s NaPoWriMo – 30 poems in 30 days during the month of April. The original prompt was, “remember that time in Milwaukee…”. I’ll leave it up to the reader to decide how much of what follows comes from memory.

HEAT OF DAY

I soak tomato plants because the heat
melts paint and morning moisture is gone
by noon. The neighbor kid watches,
throws rocks at ants, asks about girls,
being the age where nothing makes sense.
I shrug, tell him to get a book, talk
to his father which scares him to death.
He runs off and I go inside, stare
for a minute at the tenant from upstairs
who likes to prune petunias out front. Not dressed
for garden work, she wears a mini skirt,
wooden clogs, halter top that barely keeps
her skin tucked in. She looks up, says Hi
through the screen, a smudge of dirt
on her cheek, while the neighbor boy
hides behind a tree, peeks
at her bent-over frame for answers.

-

ONCE IN A WICHITA HOTEL

Friday, April 10th, 2009

The following is poem number 10 of 2009’s NaPoWriMo – 30 poems in 30 days during the month of April. The original prompt was, “laughing buddha”. Like poem number 9 (CHICAGO), it’s quite a deviation. In the original draft, which took a while to come to light, the little girl was carrying a stone buddha. It made more sense to give her a doll.

ONCE IN A WICHITA HOTEL

I saw a little girl walking along railroad tracks
carrying a baby doll while a three-legged dog
hopped nearby. I wanted to yank the window up,
say something, Good morning, ask how the dog
lost its leg, anything, but figured she’d think
I was crazy. What kind of person yells
to little girls from a hotel window but a madman
running from life? Surely someone has told her
to beware of men like me. And to think
the only reason I was awake was because
a train ran past the hotel on those same tracks
every other hour all night – just when
my rhythms were almost in sync
a new locomotive blew past like a ghost,
until I gave up on sleep all together, made a pot
of coffee from a bag left in the wicker bowl
on the empty dresser and decided to wait
for the next train to go by, so I could yank up
the window and yell at it – but what kind of madman
yells into a wheat-colored sunrise
at a train that can’t hear you and wouldn’t care
if it did? I decided at least I should call out to the girl
to watch for the train which was sure to pass
any moment – that’s when I discovered
the window was painted shut, probably to keep
men like me from doing anything but thinking
about what we’d say if we could.

-

CHICAGO

Thursday, April 9th, 2009

The following is poem number 9 of 2009’s NaPoWriMo – 30 poems in 30 days during the month of April. The original prompt was, “If you send me the right amount of cash, I can help you”. I deviated more with this one than any other so far – the initial writing involved a phone call, which is all that remains in the version below. Somewhere there’s a poem about a telemarketer waiting to happen.


CHICAGO

Remember getting drunk in Chicago after the game
when I called Soriano’s home run in the first?
You bet me a beer I couldn’t do it again. I tried
and bought. Then we got caught between bars

in Wrigleyville while a rain washed down. You told me
Claire was pregnant, you were scared shitless,
couldn’t stop thinking about other women,
not with the milk-fed Midwestern girls
busting out of Cubs shirts.

You bet me I wouldn’t say hello to the two
who smiled behind the next pub’s smoke.
After I did we talked about how easy it would be
to do something and forget, then called our wives
to say we missed them, couldn’t wait to be back.

We finished, caught the long train to where
we were staying, went out for last call
then fell asleep, woke hung over, got our flights
and split the country in half.

I was thinking about you right before you called
to say your girl was born. By now you’ve worked through
thoughts of leaving, the ones we all have,
even our fathers who never said.

Let’s be men like them, do the right thing when
we don’t know what it is, just work off
a list of do’s and don’ts, as easy as calling a shot
like I did that day in Chicago before we got drunk.

-

BLUE BLUR

Wednesday, April 8th, 2009

The following is poem number 8 of 2009’s NaPoWriMo – 30 poems in 30 days during the month of April. The original prompt was, “purple crystal wavy blue”.


BLUE BLUR

My students don’t care about tomorrow’s rain.
When I say it’s a false spring they ask
what’s false, what don’t I see?

They’re off at the door where I watch, sure
one of them will break an arm,
run head long into a pole,

bowl someone over near the slide.
They disperse in packs,
two-by-two into the trees,

teeter-totters, swarm to the merry-go-round,
push out of breath until it and them
are the same thing –

a blue blur that spins clockwise with the earth
until the sky sucks down,
lifts them home.

-

HEAVENLY BODY

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

The following is poem number 7 of 2009’s NaPoWriMo – 30 poems in 30 days during the month of April. The original prompt was, “tattoo”.


HEAVENLY BODY

Her first tattoo was a star on her wrist
to hide burn scars –
in a few years she’s inked
a constellation up her arm,
calls it the cosmic tree,

traces dots that make roots, leaves,
limbs bent over her neck
toward a sun that blazes down
the small of her back
where a second cluster

orbits tight around her waste in the shape
of a snake, a moon
in its jaws above her pubis
where she tells me to bite,
feel the world fold back.

-

ORDER OF EASTERN STARS

Sunday, April 5th, 2009

The following is poem number 5 of 2009′s NaPoWriMo – 30 poems in 30 days during the month of April. The original prompt was, “write about pregnancy and birth”. I took a few liberties with the birth theme; also, the essence of this poem appears in a recent poem, CREATION, which I wrote for FaBoStaMe ’09, a Facebook poetry writing experiment. In full disclosure, I’ve been working on ORDER OF EASTERN STARS for a few weeks, and borrowed a part of it when writing CREATION.

ORDER OF EASTERN STARS

Beneath the one red light that blinks
stop      stop      stop

in an all too dark night, my mind lifts
to the stars, memories of bright gas
burnt out long ago. I’d like to go back
to the star where I was born,

peek in on my start but I have legs, arms –
the best I can do is head home, fall
into a dream and hope I’ll keep some part

of it as shades roll up on this street
and I return to my bleeding life.



THINKING OF YOU

Saturday, April 4th, 2009

The following is poem number 4 of 2009′s NaPoWriMo – 30 poems in 30 days during the month of April. The original prompt was, “when I write”.

THINK OF YOU

You wonder how your hat wound up here, the way
your lip curls before you sneeze. If I said
I invented you, would you believe me? Confuse me
for something that could do such a thing?

It’s not that I asked for any of this – I woke
under water, my lungs could only hold so much
before I sucked you in. Imagine if I could
take us back to the fort we built in your yard

that summer the cat ran off, back when you hated
your braces and we mistreated the neighbor kid
with his lazy gaze. Would you ask me to change you?
Go ahead. I have everything we need.


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