April 25, 2013 · 11:22 pm
For today’s Writer’s Digest prompt, Robert Lee Brewer invites us to take the phrase “Everyone (blank),” replace the blank with a word or phrase, make the new phrase the title of a poem, and then, write the poem. Possible titles he suggests: “Everyone Thinks I’m Crazy,” “Everyone Knows the World Is Round,” “Everyone Needs to Leave Me Alone,” or whatever it is that everyone is doing (or not doing).
Here’s my response. It was the first idea that popped into my head, so I just decided to go with it and see where it went.
everyone lived in an ugly cow town
everyone lived in an ugly cow town
(with dull unthinking so many knows down)
birth youth age death
they shouted their isms they flung their hate
women and men (and children too)
circled the wagons to keep not-us out
they oiled their other they drove out their strange
city suburb village grange
some people guessed (but only a few
and down they forgot as upward they grew
age death birth youth)
that no one remembered untruth by untruth
late by never and why by why not
she always remembered yet never forgot
rake by august and heaven by hell
was anyone’s way to talk but untell
somebodies married their no ones-but-him
they nothinged their chatting they danced their undid
(sleep wake work and then) they
said their farewells and unstood by the door
stars rain sun moon
(and only the chaff can seem to explain
how no one remembers and many regret
with dull unthinking so many knows down)
one day nobody died i guess
(and nobody wept to unmourn the unloss)
all were too busy to stop for a look
nothing by nothing by hook or by crook
shallow by shallow and none too deep
and less by less they undream when asleep
someone and no one betwixt by between
and nothing at all can appear if it’s seen.
women and men (both worth and unworth)
youth age death birth
unreaped as unsown, they unplayed their game
sun moon stars rain
Filed under Poetry, Quick takes, writing
Tagged as e.e. cummings, hate, hypocrisy, ignorance, National Poetry Month, poem, Poem-A-Day, racism, Robert Lee Brewer, sexism, small towns, Writer's Digest
April 23, 2013 · 11:12 am
Today’s poetry prompt from Robert Lee Brewer at Writer’s Digest is a Two-for-Tuesday prompt. “In fact,” he writes, “this is one I include with every challenge.” Here are the options he offers:
- Write a love poem.
- Write an anti-love poem.
And mine is a single poem that does both.
’Twas The Beast Killed Beauty
Last night she dreamed she was in love with King Kong.
A big hulking brute of a beast he was,
Who petted and scorned her by turns.
He built her a shelter of sorts in the air,
Perched high on his haunches where no one could reach her.
He made it of sticks and mud and promises,
The ephemeral flora of the forest.
And from the outside
And from the ground
And from a distance
It looked solid enough.
Inside was all she needed:
A bed, a mop, a stove,
And one tiny window to let some outside light filter in,
But none of hers out.
And although he often squeezed her too tight,
And, truth be told, it did scare her some
When he pounded his chest or threw things,
‘Till one day he lowered his great hairy hindquarters
To reach for some low-lying fruit,
Where, finding her feet on solid earth,
She tremblingly crept toward the palm-shaded window
And leaning her elbows upon the sill,
Stood looking and looking out.
Filed under Domestic violence, machismo, Misogyny, Poetry, Quick takes, writing
Tagged as beast, beauty, killed, King Kong, National Poetry Month, poem, Poem-A-Day, poetry prompt, Robert Lee Brewer, Writer's Digest
April 22, 2013 · 11:52 am
For today’s prompt, Robert Lee Brewer suggests writing a complex poem. “Complex is a complex word,” he explains, “that can refer to mental state, apartments, difficulty of a situation, and so many other complex situations.”
She thinks she is manic-depressive, she says, using
The language of a generation ago to describe
What I saw every day:
The bursts of creativity, the beautiful melodies,
Whole programs taking shape in a single flash of insight.
These she juxtaposed among the late nights she dragged me out of bed
She said to shore her up
But really just to pull me down and down into her nightmare realm.
Did she have a choice?
I say she did.
There were those lucid moments when she knew,
When she could see the wreckage in her wake,
But it was too easy to make it someone else’s choice:
Her husband, her friends, her family all gave her the easy out
(And themselves, too, no doubt),
All said she could not help herself,
And therefore I must.
Which left me with a choice:
To follow suit, or to chart a different course.
I preferred Plan B,
Which despite its many pitfalls and uncertainties,
Has mostly worked out rather well.
Especially for her granddaughters.
She pauses, fork poised with the next bite,
Waiting for … what? I’m not sure. Disbelief? Evidence to the contrary?
Reassurance that she is fine
And everyone else is nuts? Yes. Probably that one. That was always my job.
But instead I laugh, my years of anger and misery long since passed.
“No,” I say, meaning yes.
Filed under compassion, Poetry, Quick takes, writing
Tagged as ambivalence, bipolar, choice, complex, complexity, manic-depressive, mental health, mental illness, mother, National Poetry Month, poem, Poem-A-Day, poetry prompt, Robert Lee Brewer, Writer's Digest
April 12, 2013 · 10:47 am
For today’s selection, I’m back to my source at Writer’s Digest. Robert Lee Brewer suggests writing a poem about something that’s broken. I’m finding that I like the compactness and natural cadence of haiku, so I’ll use that form again.
Tears that once flowed free
Fall back on my aching heart
And lie there, burning.
Filed under crying, Poetry, Quick takes, tears, Uncategorized, writing
Tagged as haiku, melancholy, National Poetry Month, poem, Poem-A-Day, poetry, Robert Lee Brewer, tears, Writer's Digest
April 11, 2013 · 10:56 am
I wasn’t inspired by today’s Poem-A-Day challenge from my usual source, so I decided to use my own idea. Because you can never have too many flower haikus.
Against the brick wall,
Bowing their luminous heads;
Cold rain stains the earth.
Filed under Poetry, Quick takes, Uncategorized, writing
Tagged as brick, cold, golden, haiku, jonquil, National Poetry Month, Poem-A-Day, poetry, rain
April 10, 2013 · 10:36 am
For today’s prompt, Robert Lee Brewer at Writer’s Digest challenges readers to write a suffering poem. “A person or animal in the poem could be suffering,” Brewer writes. Or, he adds, “The poem itself could be suffering.”
Here’s my response:
She came to class today, hat pulled low over her ears.
He pulled her hair out in clumps, she says.
She should never have gone out with him, she says,
When she had a paper due about global food injustice.
She should have known better.
This is not the first time it’s happened.
It’s been a pattern since her earliest days;
Men coming in and out of her life like so many jackals stalking their prey,
Waiting for some small unguarded moment that will allow them
To seize the opportunity.
She doesn’t say it, perhaps doesn’t see it,
Perhaps is hoping against hope that someone else, finally, will see it.
There is another kind of injustice playing out here;
Something else she could write a paper on,
That is much more pressing than the human-rights abuses
Committed by faceless corporations against nameless multitudes.
This is a tyranny that is hers alone to explore,
And I will be asking her to walk across a field of broken glass
That lies deep within her own soul,
To embark on a treacherous journey
That no one ever volunteers to undertake,
And whose destination is far from certain.
Write me a paper, I tell her,
In which you tell me what you already know,
But no one has been willing to hear you say.
Tell me, I say,
Because so many have said everything is all your fault,
And you know and I know that it’s not,
Tell me all the reasons why not.
I’m listening. I believe you.
And in her eyes, terror and hope.
Her journey begins.
Filed under academia, compassion, crying, education, Poetry, Quick takes, Rape, student, tears, Uncategorized, writing
Tagged as misogyny, National Poetry Month, poem, Poem-A-Day, poetry, rape, Robert Lee Brewer, Writer's Digest
April 9, 2013 · 11:37 am
Today’s Poem-A-Day challenge for National Poetry Month is a Two-for-Tuesday prompt. Again, credit for the challenge goes to Robert Lee Brewer of Writer’s Digest. He challenges us to write one of the following (or both):
- Write a hunter poem.
- Write a hunted poem.
My offering for today is about both the hunter and the hunted:
He invades her dreams at night, cold and quiet as the grave.
Turning toward him, she sees those dark features transformed
Into the face she knows only too well — but no —
She turns away again, she closes her eyes against the thought.
She mustn’t know. She must forget.
He must remain a figure cloaked in mystery,
A nameless phantom from some morbid legend found in books,
Or else she could never face the dawn.
For if she has no hope that he will vanish with morning’s light,
Where then is she safe? Where can she hide?
More than once she has thought how strange it is
To be haunted by a vampire with such sad eyes.
He comes, and stands there, and watches her in the dark
(As she has so often sensed him watching her in the day):
And he tells her, not in words but through grotesque pantomime,
How he will regenerate himself by degenerating her innocence.
But how can she tell him, as she shivers in pity and dread,
Trapped in a helpless limbo where sleep and wakefulness merge,
That she would gladly drive the stake through his heart herself,
If she did not fear breaking her own as well?
Filed under Poetry, Quick takes, Rape, Uncategorized, writing, writing
Tagged as hunted, hunter, National Poetry Month, poem, Poem-A-Day, poetry, Robert Lee Brewer, vampire, Writer's Digest, writing
April 9, 2013 · 12:59 am
Today’s National Poetry Month challenge comes from Robert Lee Brewer in Writer’s Digest: write an instructional poem.
Here’s my Poem-A-Day offering for Monday, April 8:
How to skin a cat
There’s more than one way, I’m told.
One could, for instance,
Marry a cat.
Divorce said cat.
Take cat to court for all it’s worth in alimony.
Not the marrying kind?
Try challenging the cat to a game of strip poker,
And cheat your brains out
By using a stacked deck.
My favorite method requires considerable athletic prowess,
A high bar, and enough nerve to hang upside down
All the while threading your feet through your arms.
But why, of all possible metaphors, this one?
Why would it even occur to anyone
That such a skill might come in handy,
Let alone in multiple variations?
Why not “skin a snake” or “skin a big old warthog”?
For that matter, why not
“Skin a really obnoxious person who thinks it’s appropriate
To enact cruel and unusual punishment on a small house pet
That mostly just wants to cuddle in your lap”?
And if one is really pressed for a metaphor–
One that doesn’t incite violence against harmless domestic creatures–
There is always, simply,
Plain old Plan B.
April 7, 2013 · 11:35 am
Here’s my offering for the poem–a-day challenge in observance of National Poetry Month.
Quatrain: a poetic form consisting of stanzas containing four lines, most typically with the rhyme scheme abab (also called the heroic stanza). This is written in iambic pentameter.
When, some years hence, my words have all been penned,
My stories told, my poems nearly spent,
If I have but one more–oh, then, dear friend,
Let that one be for you. I am content.
And if the passing years should steal my song,
If, on some day, my notes no more ring true,
Let every one of them be somehow wrong,
Save but this one–I still will sing for you.
And someday, as we look back on these days,
And smile at how we’ve lasted the years through,
If I am granted but one final gaze,
In that one glance, my eyes will be on you.
© 2013 Ann Graham Price
All rights reserved
Filed under friendship, Poetry, writing
Tagged as friendship, iambic pentameter, muse, National Poetry Month, poem, Poem-A-Day, quatrain, singing, song, writing