Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Poem-a-day - April 27

Today's prompt: Write about hope or hopelessness

Heart ache

What do you do when there is no hope?
When there is no light, only a tunnel.
I imagine you take this breath
and then the next one. You eat breakfast,
read the mail, you cry. You curse the fate
that has landed in your lap - or you don't.
You reach out or you withdraw.
You learn something about what is beneath
The deep dark place no-one wants to explore,
ever. The bedrock below the soil.
You must find the deepest place
that will hold even hopelessness.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Poem-a-day - April 26

Today's Prompt: Write a poem about "more than 5 times"
Some poets claim
more than 50 rewrites
for a single poem.
I want to dare
to lay a beginning
onto a blank page.
Allow the poem
to unfold on its own.
Not to cling or try
to bend the thing
into a familiar shape.
Not to hoist the sails
to catch the usual
trade wind. But
to let the sails luff -
midstream. To face
into not knowing.
To make space
without expectation,
knowing I'll have
50 more chances
to get it right...

Poem-a-day - April 25

Today's Prompt: Write a poem based on a line from a song
Saturday Night's Alright, alright, alright
--- Elton John
Saturday night's the night he likes.
He dudes himself up, polishes his shoes
and sets off to find his girl at the bar.
He wants only the finest, no compromise
in quality for him. The blonde blue-eyed
one stares at only him. The corseted one,
with breasts falling out of her white blouse.
She's just the one. She'll do indeed.
He strokes her sloping shoulders, licks
her green lips. He grabs her and prepares
to take her all the way... right then, right there.
Yep. His St. Pauli Girl always gives him
what he's lookin' for on a Saturday night.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Poem-a-day - April 24

Today's prompt: Write about evening
when the earth turns
away from the sun
towards tomorrow
when the birds unruffle
their feathers, let their last song
float into purple air
when the to dos are checked off
and you can settle down
with a glass of chardonnay and a book
when the children are asleep
and the dishes gleam
in the rack on the sink
when the insistent sun
yields to the gentle moon
and nothing is required of you
when all that is possible
has been considered
and you can turn the calendar page.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Poem-a-day - April 23

Today's prompt: Write about being exhausted
It's exhausting when the world's woes
come into your bedroom at three A.M;
You neighbor who has too many health problems,
Your friend who's son has cancer,
the poor of the world meeting in Bolivia
to find a way to ask for justice.
Then there's your own backyard
filling with dandelions,
your hemorrhoids and hangnails.
How do you hold all this with intention,
with awareness and still not lose
the perfect square of glittering white moonlight
that has fallen on your bedspread?

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Poem-a-day - April 22

Today's prompt: Write about earth...
Spring (after poet Elizabeth Bohnhorst)
Open the grave!
Wake the great artist of spring.
Let her paint pastel blooms, let colors run.
Let the lakes melt their skins,
trees open their green fingers
and yellow spread through lawns.
Watch carefully as the earth
loosens its hold
on roots longing to grow.
You have this too--
this softening of your hardened heart;
Allow it to melt at least until the first frost returns.

Poem-A-Day - April 21

Today's prompt: Write about "according to..."
My Mother never did things
according to the recipe.
She freely substituted whatever
she had on hand.
A child of the depression,
putting a whole cup of butter
in any recipe
ran against her grain.
A daughter has to rebel somehow.
Accordingly, I myself like extravagance.
I'm more likely to double
the amount of butter in the recipe
buy the best cut of meat,
use real cream in my fair trade coffee.
I wonder what my daughter will do?

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Poem-a-day - April 20

Today's prompt: Write about "looking back"
My Rearview Mirror
I like my rearview mirror,
I keep wanting confirmation
that what is behind me
is still there.
It gives that receding
view of history.
You see only
the reflection of things.
But, there is always
that warning;
"objects are closer
than they appear"
Everything is closer
than it appears;
our death,
the deadline we agreed to,
Monday morning,
as well as the car
behind us.
You can't trust
the reflection of the past.
The rearview
is always an approximation.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Poem-a-day - April 19

Today's prompt: Write a poem to a person

Nancy Sue

The perfect sister
I never had -
but imagined.
A year or two older,
with a blond "flip",
svelte and popular.
She'd mentor me.
Her boyfriends would
toussle my hair.
We'd play board games
on rainy days.
She'd hug me.
She would say
Oh Penny, you're sad -
or scared or angry.
She'd help me to know
myself. I'd be
her maid-of-honor
and she'd by mine.
We'd plan surprise parties
for our parents.
Our house
would not be quiet
or dark brown
or sad. Our parents
would love each other.
There would be
no fights, we
would eat dinner
and say grace
and watch T.V.
with popcorn.

All because
of my favorite sister,
Nancy Sue.

Poem-a-day - April 18

Today's Prompt: Write a poem "To ______"
To the Grim Reaper
All of us walking towards the sunset --
the grim reaper lounging by the side of the road
smoking a cigarette, watching us go by,
pretending not to see him.
He's invisible as air, always in the shadows,
frightening us. Whispering threats
when we can't sleep, think we might have a mole
that's odd, a heartbeat that's irregular, a pain
in our gut, a lump in our breast.
We know he's there, but we don't believe it.
We're mostly surprised at his quick strikes
at who he chooses and when and why --
There's never a satisfactory answer.
We keep walking our death-defying path
holding our breath, one foot in front of the other
passing every year the date of our death
without knowing it.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Poem-a-day - April 17

Today's challenge - write about science
Mr. Goebel's 8th Grade Science Room
had the necessary
red geraniums growing
on the windowsill,
bunson burners
I never remember using.
A microscope in front
we lined up to look through,
a glass aquarium in the back
with a blue racer snake.
Alfonso tried to pick up
the snake one day,
got it by the tail.
Snake looped up and bit him
whereupon he released it.
I was and wasn't surprised
that Alfonso had red blood.
We jumped onto our chairs.
Mr. Goebel cornered the snake.
This was the biggest
event of science class
that year. The thing
that made our hearts race,
our head's spin.
How that snake taught
us something about wildness
and fear -- about the color
of blood we all shared,
about how we still needed
an adult to keep us safe.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Poem-a-day - April 13

Today's prompt: Write a love poem
How do I love thee?
How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
my hands can reach when feeling out of sight
for a package I know is stored beneath the shelf.
I love thee to the level of cholesterol
my doctor will accept, by sun and candlelight.
I love thee freely in every form;
Kettled, waved, rippled, Pringled, adorned
with ketchup, jalapenos, sour cream or cheddar.
I love thee un-purely, tainted with salt and oil.
I love thee with a passion unmatched by
other snacks. I love thee with
the cellulite, pounds, blood pressure and weight
you have given me. I shall but love thee better after my diet ceases.

Poem-a-day - April 12

Today's prompt: Write about a city
Rochester Hills
As we contemplate moving away,
the word turns in my heart.
The fingerprint of the place lies on me.
How much of me will be able to leave
this place called home for so long?
This little town where I have sewn
long threads? Nothing special
I've always thought. Until now.
The new has its allure,
which trumps my nostalgia most days.
But, today, I feel the echo
of long years quietly planted
one after the other after the other.
History takes a long time to make.
It is never unmade. Can I trust
that what has been will remain?
That to move is not to lose?

Monday, April 12, 2010

Poem-a-day - April 11

Today's prompt: Write about the "last..."
Last Chance
Bottom of the ninth
score tied
two out, two strikes
wild pitch
gets by the catcher
winning run scores.
We seem to prefer
the game with our backs
against the wall, time
running out.
We find joy
in odd places.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Poem-a-day - April 9

Today's prompt: A self-portrait
You can see through
my hair and my desire
to be liked.
My teeth,
though once braced,
have never
been straight.
I am. but am
a good ally
of those who aren't.
My ears don't work
as well as
they once did.
Neither do I.
I look at you
with both eyes.
One wanders left
tipping you off
to my politics.
My skin
is crinkling
around the edges.
My face
and life
show signs
of wear
and of life
lucky and well.

Friday, April 09, 2010

Poem-a-day - April 8

Today's prompt: Write about a tool

Dad was handy

with tools.

Tried to teach me

to pound nails.

A big board

all the nails I wanted.

I hit my thumb

became bored.

I've never really learned

how to hold

things together.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Poem-a-day - April 7

Today's prompt "Until..."
Until you get your driver's license
Until you graduate
Until you get a car
Until you get a degree
Until you find a partner
Until you buy a house
Until you have kids
Until the kids are in school
Until you get a promotion
Until you go on that vacation
Untiil the kids leave home
Until you retire
Until your kids get married
Until you have grandchildren
Until you finally decide
to be happy anyway -

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Poem-a-day - April 6

Todays' challenge is to write an "Ekphrastic" poem - - a poem written in response to a work of visual art. This is a painting I did in a class this winter:

I want to crawl
inside your blue skin,
find that calm
deep lake within.
Shut out distraction,
find my own colors.
Take up the whole space.
Just to know,
without words,
what I want
who I am..

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Poem-a-day - April 5

Today's prompt - Write about "TMI"

My friend jokes
that if you ask her husband
what time it is,
he'll tell you
how to build a clock.

I know people like that!

The natural-born teachers
always looking for students.
It's hard to put a lid
on our own superior knowledge.
I guess most of us
prefer talking to listening.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Poem-a-day - April 4

Today's prompt - write about history
For some reason I have never
been interested in history.
Not museums or antique shops,
Model Ts or vintage anything.
Not old buttons or coins,
certainly not first editions
or pre-Colombian art. Not even
aged wines or fossils.
Not period pieces or original instruments.
not rotary dials or ancient remedies.
Give me paintings that haven't dried yet,
newborns, computerized reality,
synthesizers, i-phone, i-pod, i-pad, i-anything.
I'm in a hurry!

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Poem-a-day April 3

today's prompt - write about something that is "partly..."

Partly sunny

says the forecaster

hedging all bets

on this spring day.

A C+ day.

A median day.

I let it slip

through my fingers,

pile up with the other

unremarkable ones.

Partly aware

of the partial sun

that almost shines

on my plodding path.

Friday, April 02, 2010

Poem-a-day April 2

Today's prompt is to write about water:

Waves thunder across the sea
bringing relentless news from the depths.
Full of themselves, they shout, roar,
must be reckoned with,
then end their gigantic voyage
in ethereal white foam, disappear.
Where do they begin? and how and why?
Such an urgency, thundering on
night and day trying to convince
the shore of something.

Poem-a-day - april 1

There is a group on the Internet posting a challenge to write a poem a day during April (National Poetry Month). a prompt is given each day at this website. Why don't you join in? Here is my first entry based on the prompt to write about loneliness:

I am sometimes lonely
for myself.
Not the perfect me,
but the honest me.
The one who is afraid.
The one underneath the one
who is afraid.
The one in the dark.
Not the one in the mirror.
The me of the stone
in my gut. The me
of random sobbing.
The me longing to be known
by the me who ignores her.
The inconvenient me,
the one who has
unacceptable desires.
the hidden me
who casts shadows
under my acceptable face.
The one who dances
alone underneath the basement,
humming haunting melodies.
The one who disappears
when glimpsed sideways.
We are not exactly
strangers. But we don't
spend much time looking
for each other.
The me who is afraid
to be seen -- the me
who always wants
the spotlight.