“shield” during months or years of peace his wife has been polishing--the shield blackened as it hung in the chimney corner respond to the call to fight plain duty admits no hesitation. a hard interruption of their happy lives, the risk of passing from the warm company of men to the chill shades of death. they knew bravery is not an everyday possession. highly as they prized it to warm their hearts for the clash most Greek armies as they charged, shouted, that each might borrow from the general stock courage. what best suits the citizen-soldier battle in which one short effort carries him forward, in which a man’s duty to his immediate comrade best spurs his intent. during months or years of peace the shield blackened as it hung in the chimney corner his wife has been polishing * --found poem taken from The Greek and Macedonian Art of War by F.E. Adcock. If you are unfamiliar with this type of poetry, it’s a way of collaging the work of another author into a unique poem by clipping, altering, and rearranging pieces into something new. *image courtesy of publicdomainpictures.net via Creative Commons Licensing.
“last year’s revels” the toddler rolls from bed, a ballerina princess excited for the special day ahead, anticipates her long-awaited party. strawberry-topped chocolate cake with a grape soda chaser, she’s fueled for festivity: rainbowed streamers wave above a table piled with gifts, sunshine yellow ribbon seals each shining gold wrapper, as storm clouds gather unheaded outside her window’s thin glass. she tears a first package apart, eager, greedy for its contents, frowns at the dimestore damsel’s impossible figure and painted smile, tosses her aside for another bright box’s glinting temptation, enchanted to find inside flint enough to fire her tinder home. caffeine-fueled and sugar-dosed, she blazes pirouette on tip-toes, ecstatic homage to firenadoes swirling flame outside her door. she watches in delight, her face crimson bright as a demon risen to scorch this mortal earth with hellfire. hay-colored landscapes wither, flames kindle the world: fireworks enough to entertain her swollen all-too-childish brain. she collapses, in a fit of giggles watches murder hornets bloom across the blood red sky. her joy indisputable on a face free from the thin cotton mask she refuses to wear. she knows these days are hallowed, these endless nights will last for years to come. exhausted from her revels, quietly she tears the Barbie’s bloodless arms; the doll’s blank eyes reflect nothing, the hollow chest holds her silent scream, her frozen face beaming an eternally vacant grin. #
Today’s poem was inspired by a prompt to write a poem personifying the last year. Many thanks to Diane Kendig and Cuyahoga County Library for their Read + Write Poetry daily postings, which included this prompt!
If you’d like to know more about the craft that went into this poem, next week I will be posting a poem dissection on my Patreon–which is free during the pandemic. Thank you for stopping by. Stay safe, stay well, and read often!
“A Short Series of
Haikus Falling Like Autumn
Leaves through Fading Sun”
Not the burning bush but
a flaming tree ignited
by God’s dying breath
Golden leaves outstretched
to capture sunlight within
this darkened tunnel
Trio of vultures
survey sunken waters from
their damned concrete perch
Deer peer from wooded
shadows, play hide and seek with
sleek metal killers
Bromfield’s ghost haunts
Malabar Farm’s gift shop from
within printed pulps
A roadside market
beckens with the promise
of great hanging gourds
The cliff’s deep beauty,
once its origin is known,
falls like a sharp drop
Daytime’s pattern strobes
across my retinas as
the highway unfolds
A wooly welcome
waits on our concrete driveway
worming its path home
Rhythmic heat beneath
cool sheets steam windows viewing
the summer’s last gasp
The above string of haikus was inspired by a family daytrip to Mohican State Park, with a series of stops along the way.
“Diana Prince for President“
No Blue No Matter Who
but someone brave and true
an Independent candidate
her only mandate:
to heal the world.
Instead of quick fixes, cures
Instead of ignorance,truth
Instead of violence, peace
Instead of hatred, love
No need of accoutrements:
lasso, bracelet, or tiara.
Her character’s unimpeachable.
Steve Trevor could be her VP.
evening songs tattoed
across an autumn breeze
a golden sky’s nutbrown breath
leaves pepper the air
birds prepare to flee the coming freeze
frost’s first exhale boldens the winds
the burgundy and orange world
crunches beneath our feet
no wonder we call this season
I sip poetry with my tea,
it seeps out like sun through a window,
it leaks through my fingertips.
I breathe in each page,
I live in these words.
Can I claim my voice as my own
when nothing comes of nothing?
There is no sound in a vacuum.
Can my whisper be heard
above the roaring wind,
or am I part of the chorus?
“A Bee Sucking Honey”
Leaving is so hard to do.
A million things call me back
from this respite from the drudgery
of my life’s day to day to day.
I sip honey words dripped
from fragrant tongues, flutter
from one to the other
as the dial quickly ticks on by.
My time is over. I’m called away
back to toil and tedium, but
my feet, stuck in viscous sweet syrup,
slow this unwelcome parting:
I am an insect caught in amber,
unable to tear herself away.
I’ve been feeling very nostalgic lately, and the above poem was inspired by my attendance at multiple poetry readings last year. Hopefully, we’ll all be able to attend them again soon. In the meantime, stay safe, stay well, and read often!
“To The Poetess”
epic battles of heroes on bloody foreign fields
or gods meddling in the lives of men and women
were not subject fit enough for your sweet lines.
instead you delved deep into the bittersweet
affairs of human hearts, the union of souls,
the intoxication of lovers sharing the common cup.
your words like wine lingered on the lips
of ancient vocalists thirsting for vintage reds
singing verses you cultured long ago.
your gleaming feast of words filled from apple trees
you strode by long ago as honey breezes blew waves
through your shining locks. your bold steps soon followed.
your words are only known to us from ancient admirers
or from torn and tattered fractions lining paper mache coffins.
How great your work when fragments alone
grant you immortality.
Socially distant, virtually inseparable
the links between us:
the ways we touch others,
not warm fingers interlaced
but swept across cool keyboards,
music shared across balconies,
tasting notes like a crisp wind
crossing borders and boundaries,
not the comforting embrace
but the smiling face miles away,
countries or continents or
six full feet apart
so long as we’re not six feet under
we can bridge any distance.
smoothly typed texts, raised
voices spanning gaps, our words
heard by ears, read by wide eyes,
felt by drumming heartbeats:
emotion’s rising tide.
in this new world of isolation,
We all pull together.
April is National Poetry Month, and although many poetry and writing events have been cancelled due to the current world crisis, we have also come together in other ways through technology. Many open mics, book launches, and other meetups have switched to virtual venues, and people are searching for new ways to come together, support each other, and consume art.
So in the spirit of this unity, I’d love to share some online venues to help get through these trying times. My favorite poetry magazine, Rattle, has a podcast and a virtual open mic called Rattlecast that meets/posts weekly. The FaceBook group for Latitudes Poetry Night has switched from monthly (in person) meetups to weekly Wednesday night (online) Open Mics as a way to support others during quarantine. Different libraries have switched to online meetups for book clubs such as Barberton Library’s monthly Hooks and Books.
There are also free downloadable ebooks from ManyBooks.Net, Project Gutenberg, and (for audiobooks) Librivox. And, last but not least, many libraries have online resources as well for checkouts–as well as other events. My favorite of these is the annual Read + Write: 30 Days of Poetry via Cuyahoga County Public Library; just sign up on the site for April emails with poems from Ohio poets as well as writing prompts.
This year, on April 5th, one of my poems from Soul Picked Clean will be the featured poem for Read + Write. I’m so honored to be part of this event and beyond thrilled!
So, I hope you enjoyed my poem! If you can, I urge you to take advantage of some of these online resources. If you are quarantined at home, you are helping to save lives. If you need to venture out to work to keep everyone else going during these difficult times, thank you. Your efforts are appreciated, and my heart goes out to you all.
Take solace in the good things, and try to get through the bad. Stay safe, stay well, and read often!
Today is the one year anniversary of the Book Launch for my first published book, my poetry collection, Soul Picked Clean.
Since an in-person event is obviously not possible now, I wanted to celebrate online! I read a few of my poems, explain the thoughts behind them, and talk about how to keep in touch online. Enjoy!
If you would like to attend my FaceBook LIVE Book Birthday Party tonight, please visit: https://tinyurl.com/rhmzktp