POEM: Spread Love like Mustard

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“Spread Love like Mustard”

Spread love like mustard
on a reality sandwich,
Lay it on thick and strong.
Slice time in thin layered segments,
press those moments together
Sweet and sour, tart and spicy
Raspberry preserve minutes on
Sauerkraut days.

Consume all at once or pull off
the bits we like best: Relish them.

Crunch through each delicious layer.
Let each bite fill us, make us whole.

 

*inspired by a FB post on May 1st, 2018 from Kisha Nicole Foster.

 

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POEM: Flight

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“Flight”

 

A shadow flock of birds sails

against the sky, black silhouettes

against cutout paper clouds, swarming,

dancing in air like ebony fish performing

ballet in their small glass stage,

promenades and pirouettes

choreographed against twilight

backdrop lives.

 

* image courtesy of PublicDomainPictures.Net

**poem inspired by the Cuyahoga Library writing prompt on April 26th, 2018 for National Poetry Month.

Book Review: Blood Work by Kisha Nicole Foster

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Blood Work by Kisha Nicole Foster is a thoughtful, moving collection of verse from one of Cleveland’s many great poets. Since her first collection was published, her style has evolved to become more visual, more elegant–relying less heavily on sound and more on the written form. Metaphors rather than multiple rhymes.

These are poems about family: specifically her father and son. However, the loss and regret felt over interactions with family are universal and relatable. The visceral connections of blood are used, as the title implies, as well as other metaphors. For example, she speaks about wooden roller coasters in both “Wooden Siamese Cats” and “I Smiled Back.”

[from “Wooden Siamese Cats”]

A wooden roller coaster

you and I

looping through air.

An unauthorized aerial act

of understanding.

She also references testimony in “Forcing Smiles” and (again) “I Smiled Back”, two complimentary poems placed next to each other in the collection.

[from “Forcing Smiles”]

you said whether you lived or died

you would be testimony

and

[from “I Smiled Back”]

When we talked on the phone,

he told me that this thing was life or death.

That if he lived he was going to be a testimony

and if he died he was going to be a testimony.

I wanted to overlook the death part.

I didn’t really need those words in my ears.

The shared use of key words and images makes the entire collection stronger. All the poems are so connected, each one feels like part of a larger narrative. Her streamlined approach uses straight forward language to eloquently convey deeply felt emotions. I know I felt emotional reading her words, especially the ones about her father, since it connected me to my own father’s loss a couple years ago. It’s beautiful.

So if you are a fellow poetry lover, I suggest you get this book immediately. If you are lucky enough to live in the Cleveland area, you can purchase it from Kisha Nicole Foster directly at a poetry event; otherwise, you can contact her through her FaceBook page. I’m sure you will enjoy these verses as much as I did.

Book Review: CHAPTER ELEVEN by E.F. Schraeder

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E.F. Schraeder‘s Chapter Eleven poetry collection links both the financial and political aspects of health care and other industries with the real people that are effected. Poems like “Stopwatch Medicine” illustrate how healthcare feels like a churning machine to the doctor forced to ration time treating each patient. “For These Reasons” continues the thought of people being treated as cogs in a machine, with brilliant lines like:

Every aisle a staggering surprise of

consumer options that tie my hands

with dish rags (10 for $1!)

to women 12,000 miles away.

The poems within this deceptively thin book detail personal loss, health scares, education, the decline and deaths of loved ones–as well as biting social commentary. She even uses the ready-made metaphor of Humpty Dumpty for her purposes on more than one occasion. For example, in “Almost OK — for Humpty” she turns the nursery rhyme’s disturbing imagery into insights on living as a damaged person:

A certain light still reveals

the shadows of the cracks.

My only regret about this poetry collection is that I can’t give you a direct link to buy it from any of the big bookstore sites.. You can, however, order it directly from Partisan Press, or if you are lucky enough to live near Cleveland, pick up a copy at Mac’s Backs  or Visible Voice  bookstores! Trust me. It’s worth the trip.

POEM: Haiking Haikus

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Emergent Tower at Holden Arboretum

“Haiking Haikus”

In the forest, the

illusion of loneliness

is overwhelming.

I lose the Spring in

my step somewhere along the

Emergent Tower.

Towering among

the forest canopy, its

wooden bones reach out.

White smoke rises from

above and beyond the tree-

tops: Nuclear steam.

The world sways beneath

my feet. I know it’s better

to bend than to break.

*image taken during the Haiku Hike on May 6th, 2018 at Holden Arboretum

POEM: Mourning Dandelions

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“Mourning Dandelions”

 

I walk in my front yard, the dawn

brings out golden lions

lounging in emerald grass.

Their teeth drip sunlight.

Perhaps later, I will

harvest bright blossoms for

an herbal infusion, light and sweet,

to celebrate May’s arrival.

 

Then I hear the lawnmower’s low growl.

Those sharp lion teeth can’t survive

the sharper blades cutting, splitting,

ripping them from the ground until

 

they come back again

Bright and beautiful.

Nothing keeps them down for long.

 

Upcoming events:

May 4th

Star Wars Day: look for events in your area, follow social media posts and celebrations, or just celebrate the franchise in your own way at home!

May 4th-5th

25th Annual Dandelion Festival at Breitenbach Wine Cellars! I used to take my son to this every year when he was little. There is a dandelion picking contest every year for the little kids, who then turn the blossoms into dandelion jelly. There are vendors and tours of the winery, dandelion wine and jelly for sale, and the big event is the annual Dandelion cookoff!

May 5th

Free Comic Book Day falls on the first Saturday of every May. Participating Comic Book stores around the country give away special edition FCBD comics to the delight long time comic book fans and the enticement of new ones. The special editions are created to be stand alones, so you don’t need to worry about jumping into the middle of an unfamiliar series. Many stores also hold costume contests and giveaways, so don’t miss out!

May 25th

Towel Day is a fan created holiday in honor of Douglas Adams, creator of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and other series, former Doctor Who writer, and all around hoopy frood. In addition to such activities as learning to fly or drinking (Terran versions of) Pan Galactic Gargle Blasters, fans conspicuously wear towels on this day in order to call attention to the author’s work. The idea is drawn from The Guide itself:

“A towel, [The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy] says, is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have. Partly it has great practical value. You can wrap it around you for warmth as you bound across the cold moons of Jaglan Beta; you can lie on it on the brilliant marble-sanded beaches of Santraginus V, inhaling the heady sea vapors; you can sleep under it beneath the stars which shine so redly on the desert world of Kakrafoon; use it to sail a miniraft down the slow heavy River Moth; wet it for use in hand-to-hand-combat; wrap it round your head to ward off noxious fumes or avoid the gaze of the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal (such a mind-boggingly stupid animal, it assumes that if you can’t see it, it can’t see you); you can wave your towel in emergencies as a distress signal, and of course dry yourself off with it if it still seems to be clean enough.”

I’m sure there are more obscure holidays this month that I’ve missed, but at least I’ve called your attention to my favorites. Go forth, and May the Fourth be with you…always.

 

*I wrote today’s poem in honor of the Dandelion Festival this weekend.

***image courtesy of http://publicdomainpictures.net/