NaPoMo – April 15 “Poppies”

Poppies

From atop the cliff the sun
at a certain angle sets them
afire, pulsing light
hearts beating

theirs, and yours, and then
the light moves on, you blink
and they are shadowed

so don’t stop looking

hold your breath, feel the thumpa-thump
of that good muscle—and the instant becomes
as eternal as you risk making it

as you risk holding the sun in place
holding the cliff
holding time
so the petals go on with their blazing and neither the poppies
nor you, watching
nor me, writing you watching
nor the flashing in your brain for each word read
are consumed by the flames.

NaPoMo Haiku Chase – day 5

Three more Haiku Chases have begun! To see the first 9, and find out how to join in, see Day 3 and Day 4.

The brief version of how to join the chase: choose the last line of any haiku and use it as the first line of your own haiku. Post your new one in the comments section, and I’ll add it in on the next day’s post. Easy!

10.
Bluebells and tulips
should never be both in bloom
But still—such beauty

But still—such beauty
A forest of pink petals
Cherry trees in bloom(DD)

Cherry trees in bloom
Petals fall, tears one year
after tsunami

after tsunami
heart heavy aching with grief
the sun insults me (KW)

the sun insults me—
how it shone the day after
though too far to warm

the sun insults me
exaggerating my years
candlelight was kind (MB)

11.
Bluebells and tulips
should never be both in bloom
But still—such beauty

But still—such beauty
A forest of pink petals
Cherry trees in bloom (DD)

Cherry trees in bloom
Spring’s colors teasing my eyes
Wonder what might loom (LK)

Wonder what might loom
might veer, might barrel my way
in April—Tax Day

12.
Bluebells and tulips
should never be both in bloom
But still—such beauty

But still—such beauty
A forest of pink petals
Cherry trees in bloom (DD)

Cherry trees in bloom
Petals fall, tears one year
after tsunami

after tsunami
heart heavy aching with grief
the sun insults me (KW)

the sun insults me—
how it shone the day after
though too far to warm

the sun insults me
exaggerating my years
candlelight was kind (MB)

candlelight was kind
as was starlight, blurring rough
rubble into moss

NaPoMo – April 8, “Grace”

a re-imagining of a poem from last April.

Grace
for Alexine

Not divine, not rare, perhaps unexpected,
not unearned—our brightest courage

shone back at us. She learned to trust
by trusting this horse, hurtling together

over fences or walls or any obstacles.
When Rosie died, when she found

her own knees could not lift her
up from the rough floor, she found

hands, reaching for her. Friends
of Rosie, people who paused at the pasture

nearly every day, people
she’d never suspected now stopping

their cars, saying: I’m sorry, she was
so beautiful, my child loved her.

Grief thrusts a rigid basket
of bricks into our arms. Grace

stretches a stranger’s hand to pluck
some of them, to make bearable

the crippling bulk. Old wives tell
the truest tales—a shared load

is lighter, so light it shines,
a spring sun on an old mare,

now blind, who trusted this woman
once, to fly, and always, to find her way back.

NaPoMo April 7 – notes toward a poem

and by “notes toward” I mean the ideas that may underlie a poem someday. I used to write just like this—have a deep-something-to-say, write it in short lines with rich language and be done. But that’s like scribbling some lyrics and claiming to have a song!

But poem-a-day is a difficult pace and often means “poem first draft a day.” Today’s poem first draft is historically based: on this date in 1927, the first city-to-city television broadcast occurred. Secretary of Commerce Herbert Hoover was in DC and his audience was in New York. After some moments of Profound Blather about the greatness of this tool, the real entertainment came on—a comedian in blackface. I think that the music of this poem wants to be a sonnet. Its got bits of rhythm going, and the internal turns and twists of a sonnet. We’ll see.

the transmission of sight, for the first time in the world’s history
(Herbert Hoover, opening statement of the first city-to-city television broadcast)

Proudly announced on the first television broadcast, D.C. to NYC
Directly after: a comedian in blackface
And so it goes
And so it’s gone ever since, blackface, womanface, childface,
redneck face, youcantrustmeface, with the transmission of sight
masks glued on, a new way to profit from prejudice so now
my country’s vicious idiocy can be spread
as capitalist-gospel truth
How I’d like to pretend language rises above that fray but
what language rises higher than billboards or blimps?
We make a new way to communicate, we make a new way to lie,
telling you a story and selling you a story just sweet
phonemic first cousins, truth a matter of road to hell,
good intentions, how arrogant we poets can be, complacently believing
we are somehow different from tv

NaPoMo April 6 – “Love Psalm”

Love Psalm

in the form of quassams, flung over
our prison walls, slingshots of sugar and
fertilizer, rockets whistling our tune,
carrying the words of our song:

          We will come back, we will come back
          We have not forgotten you, Mother, Land
          to whom we know we belong

And when they touch you, having burrowed through
the cement that pretends to be your tombstone, they deliver
our sweet kisses, our lips to yours sealing
our oath:

          We have not forgotten you, Mother, Land
          that rises to meet our lips
          that will never agree
          to be exiled from us

You open yourself to us
You will swallow these houses on the day we post notice
of the date of our return

NaPoMo April 5th “you don’t believe in god, but”

(Warning to casual blog readers – this is really explicit about violence against girls. Don’t read on if, right now, you just can’t go there)


you don’t believe in god, but


run down the hall
     dart in the room
          close the door
          block it with your whole body
run down the hall
     dart in the room
          close the door
          block it with your whole body
pray


not like it could’ve mattered he always opens the door
slowly
slowly so you can keep hoping you might be able to stop this so he
can drink in every subtle taste of your hope

not like he won’t let you go saying your litany of no no no no no an aperitif
so delicious he orders another: Quiet! If they hear you I’ll have to hurt them
which is so brilliant, really, such rhetorical concision, so few words
yet able to make you complicit and make you hope anyone who could hear
might care, then

Oh, go ahead. Yell all ya want. Everyone knows I’m here.

Has anyone stupid ever become a truly successful sadist?

Then he reaches around the door, grabs your arm, just like scene 4
of every slasher movie (need you ask where they get
their formula?) and you (the babysitter who was dreaming of kissing,
the head cheerleader, the loose girl, the bookish girl with glasses, the jock,
the any-other-stereotype of a girl who has it coming) feel your green
and growing bones compress, your shoulder wrench and you go
(     )
(     )
(          )

you don’t believe in god but somehow
you grew up and you’ve never done this to a child, never fucked,
never mind-fucked, never lied, never twisted or broken, never fed
from hope or pain, never dislocated an arm
or a soul and how
outside of some supernatural
compassion can you account for how you get to live each day knowing
you’ll never have to account?

NaPoMo Haiku Chase – day 4

3 new chases going! For the first 6, see this post: Haiku Chase Day 3

The newest chases are below. Choose any one, start a new haiku with the last line of any existing haiku, and post your work in the comments. I’ll add it to the next update!

7.
Bluebells and tulips
should never be both in bloom
But still—such beauty

but still, such beauty!
laugh lines kvell bubbe’s punim,
to hell with botox! (JS)

to hell with botox!
chicken fat, patent pending,
fresh from the schmaltz pot. (JS)

fresh from the schmaltz pot
pealing onions for fishstock
carp ogle glukel. (JS)

8.
Bluebells and tulips
should never be both in bloom
But still—such beauty

But still–such beauty
A forest of pink petals
Cherry trees in bloom (DD)

Cherry trees in bloom
Spring’s colors teasing my eyes
Wonder what might loom (LK)

9.
Bluebells and tulips
should never be both in bloom
But still—such beauty

But still–such beauty
A forest of pink petals
Cherry trees in bloom

Cherry trees in bloom
Petals fall, tears one year
after tsunami

after tsunami
heart heavy aching with grief
the sun insults me (KW)

the sun insults me—
how it shone the day after
though too far to warm

NaPoMo Haiku Chase – day 3

Yeah! We have 6 different strands going! To join in, choose any strand and write a new haiku using the last line of the last haiku in the strand.

Or, for the more creative or stubborn, start a new strand by using the last line of the foundational haiku (that’s the one that’s at the beginning of each strand). Or riff on any existing strand by writing new haiku after the 2nd or 3rd or 4th one, thereby creating a new strand like a new branch of a creek.

1
Bluebells and tulips
should never be both in bloom
But still—such beauty

But still—such beauty
the deer jawbone parched in mud,
teeth, even, intact

teeth, even intact,
ache, throb, clenched after reading
ice melts, white bears, dead

2

Bluebells and tulips
should never be both in bloom
But still—such beauty

But still – such beauty.
Seattle springtime washes
everything in gray.

3
Bluebells and tulips
should never be both in bloom
But still—such beauty

But still–such beauty
A forest of pink petals
Cherry trees in bloom

4
Bluebells and tulips
should never be both in bloom
But still—such beauty

But still—such beauty
the deer jawbone parched in mud,
teeth, even, intact

teeth, even intact,
ache, throb, clenched after reading
ice melts, white bears, dead

Ice melts, white bears, dead.
we pretend a misty dream;
Santa’s North Pole cold.

5.
Bluebells and tulips
should never be both in bloom
But still—such beauty

but still, such beauty!
laugh lines kvell bubbe’s punim,
to hell with botox!

to hell with botox!
chicken fat, patent pending,
fresh from the schmaltz pot.

6.
Bluebells and tulips
should never be both in bloom
But still—such beauty

But still–such beauty
A forest of pink petals
Cherry trees in bloom

Cherry trees in bloom
Petals fall, tears one year
after tsunami

NaPoMo April 3rd – “an infinity of outcomes”

an infinity of outcomes
Elliott batTzedek

such fragility in stone if
atoms began to unbond themselves my house
would be dust or even mystery for a future Ph.D.
dung heap missing walls, stone
having become gas

and if our planet’s protons, depressed by the state of
things, go all negative on us we might
find ourselves water or copper or
toolittletoolate-amonium

a change so small you can barely
understand it, knowledge dissolving into
chaos of no-longer-theoretical-physics
probability disintegrating into
pray lib obit or baby lip riot or pitiably orb

anything, in short, could so easily be anything
else and yet you lie by me quivering
cells controlled by some unknown, alien, invader bent
on making your nerves set themselves ablaze, a burning
doctors cannot name so cannot help so I

am again up late looking for healers: psychics, palm readers,
proctors of past lives, providers of snake skins or bee balm,
re-birthers, re-energizers, the energizer bunny, particle physicists,
particle board, anything that might be
an answer or that at the very least will not stare past us proclaiming
Some people learn to live like this
for in a universe of infinite realities this can’t go on being real:
you lying there, like that
me watching you, like this

NaPoMo Haiku Chase day 2

The founding haiku:

Bluebells and tulips
should never be both in bloom
But still—such beauty

A response from Lisa Wujnovich:

But still—such beauty
the deer jawbone parched in mud,
teeth, even, intact

My response to hers:

teeth, even intact,
ache, throb, clenched after reading
ice melts, white bears, dead

AND we have other first day responses you can use to launch your next haiku in the chase!

But still – such beauty.
Seattle springtime washes
everything in gray.
Dane Kuttler

but still – such beauty
in the deep of new-found grief
shattered love revived
Lynne McEniry

But still–such beauty
A forest of pink petals
Cherry trees in bloom
Debra D’Alessandro