Monday, April 24, 2017

Napo 24

Image result for medieval marginalia pig with hat

An interesting prompt today! Write a poem inspired by medieval marginalia. Google it and you'll find some really interesting stuff. Here's mine:
Javalina in a Hat
She wants to know what beauty feels like,
A bee slipping between the petals of flesh,
The brush of a monarch’s flapping wings
On her skin, the warmth of a breathless gaze
As someone spots her from across the monte.
Caliche-caked, she sits pretty in the field
Of wild sunflowers, lets the South Texas sun
Brush the bristles on her back. This hide,
A husk of who she is, defines her – a tank,
Built for survival when survival is all
This tough landscape can muster.
Beauty’s in the eye of the beholder.
What must a she-hog give up in pursuit
Of such perfection? Her tusks for rooting,
The cool mud on her skin on a hot afternoon,
the bristles on her back that sway and dance,
stand up at the slightest bit of danger?
The javalina studies her reflection in the mirror,
Preens and smiles. This landscape frames
Her body well. She slips on a fetching hat.




Sunday, April 23, 2017

Napo 23

Today's prompt was to write two elevenies. I wrote four because I'm an over-achiever. Whatever.
Anyway, these short forms are a challenge for me, so it was good poetic practice. I wrote four about the different south Texas seasons.

a beginning
dangling huisache flowers
emerge, a child’s laughter,

The sun
Looming, scorching, loving.
It’s all too much,

Heavy sigh
Encinos release acorns
Parakeets return to paradise,

And gentle,
A cold front
Wafts in, a welcome


Saturday, April 22, 2017

Napo 22

It's Earth Day! Today's prompt was to write a georgic, or a poem about how to grow a plant that can perhaps be a bit political.
I tried doing that, but I think my poem morphed a bit into something more personal. The personal is political? Hmph. Whatever. Either way, I like this. More promise!

The Care and Keeping of Grapes

To grow a grape vine, you must
Have both patience and hunger
In equal measures. You must believe
There’s something sacred in the sweetness
Of the earth, the way the sun warms
The soil, the way drops sail down
From the clouds, clean and perfect.
You must believe this without proof,
The definition of faith.
It will outlive you, bearing your fruit
For generations to enjoy, the vines
Hardening to wood. A lifetime isn’t enough
To savor everything this grapevine has to offer.
Unless a bulldozer has its way,
Or the oceans swallows everything again,
Or the world explodes in an inferno.
You must consider this as you shovel soil,
Reshape the earth to make way for its coming.
If your faith is greater than your fear,
slip the seed into the waiting loam.

Watch it grow all season long.
Know that everything takes time,
more of course than you’ll ever have.
When the seedling pushes through,
Rejoice, give thanks, a trellis.

It will grow, inch by inch at first,
And you will clap your hands, bathe it
With gentle streams from your hose,
Pull the weeds that threaten to steal
The nourishment you give and give.
If you do this, the vine explodes,
in Fibonacci measures. Leaves reach towards sky,
Tendrils like a toddler’s fingers grasping for the cookies
On the kitchen counter. It will become unruly,
So much green and life in all directions.
You will want to let it be, let beauty
Have her way. But if you want to savor
The real fruits, you must unsheathe
Your shears and do the hardest thing of all.

Tell yourself this thump to the ground
Is nothing like death. Tell yourself it doesn’t hurt
While swallowing the pain inside your throat.

And if you do this right, as seasons pass,
You will catch the laughter of buds,
Fleeting and white. You’ll notice
Honey bees and butterflies stopping by,
Ladybugs and katydids. You’ll notice,
Tiny at first, clusters of green,
Orbs of life that promise the sweetness
Of forgiveness. They will swell up,
Dulcet-breathed and perfect
Until they sag, heavy, towards the earth.

Harvest joy where you can.
It only comes once a season
Before the sugar ants march in,
Devouring with a hunger much like ours.

Understand the leaves will fade to brown.
Understand life works this way,
That what falls to the earth feeds tomorrow.
It’s hard. I know.

Hold onto the victories you can.
Cup them in your hands and know
This grapevine will outlive you,
Continue giving sweetness to the world.
Your blood and sweat will flow
Through those vines forever.
Take this knowledge into yourself
Like a sip of wine at communion
And rejoice, knowing life goes on.
Perhaps this is what was meant

By resurrection. 

Friday, April 21, 2017

Napo 21

I gotta say, I've been really enjoying this Napowrimo daily writing thing. The prompts have been pushing me beyond my comfort zone. Having to write daily has helped me to let go of the idea of a perfect poem, too. I've enjoyed making these messy poems. Come May, I'll enjoy cleaning them up.

Which brings me to my NAPO 21!
Today's prompt was to write a poem inspired by something you overheard. Well, yesterday, a certain professor was enjoying a snack in the classroom, and he left his trash behind. Que cochino! My friend remarked as we were all leaving, and pointed to the mess.
Que cochino indeed.
It made me think about the kind of guts it takes to leave a mess, expecting someone else to clean it up.
And maybe we do that, collectively, on a larger scale, too.

Napowrimo Poem 21
Cochino, the busboy whispers
Under his breath as he clears the table.
The beer glasses emptied, the food devoured,
The plates all smudged and stained, what else
Remains but the task of setting right
This chaos, this mess someone careless
Ordered with the flick of a finger,
Enjoyed with the smacking of lips,
Created with the thoughtlessness
Of hunger? But for every stain,
A hand must sweep in, dangling a rag
To wipe away the rubicund.
For every empty martini glass with lipstick stains,
someone scrubs the rose away
with suds and mercy for the sloppiness.
For every bomb of chicken bones
Dropped onto the plate,
someone clears away the debris,
throws it out into the oblivion
of a dumpster out back so we can all forget.
For every napkin crumpled and strewn
like rubble across the table’s battlefield,
someone clears it all away
for one more skirmish
in this eternal war of hunger.
Bien cochino, all of us, to forget
about the trash we leave behind.
Create chaos. Pay the tab. Leave.
As if the world owed us this privilege
of a nameless pair of arms to clear it all away.
Que cochino to think a tip
slipped under the check
is enough to wash you clean.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Napo 20

Today's prompt was to write using the vocabulary of a sport. I chose chess. And then I wondered how Helen of Troy would play chess? Lately, she's my muse.

Helen of Troy Plays Chess

Helen knows the real object of this game:
Protect the king no matter the cost.
She plays the queen. The most valuable
Piece on the board. She loves the way
She can wrap her fingers around its waist,
Move it wistfully across the board
As if it were a frothing sea. But Helen
Knows that every move has consequences,
Every smile, every flick of her golden hair,
Every bat of her lashes. One wrong move
And the balance turns. Suddenly, the bishop’s
Sliding into place. Suddenly, the castle is your prison.
Suddenly, even a pawn can swallow the mighty queen.

She knows what it’s like to have a hand
From the sky sweep in, capture her,
Into the oblivion of the sidelines.
She’s felt the pressure of the tongue
Flinging the word “check” into her ear
As she slides away to save the day again.
Though no one will admit that she’s a hero.

Helen plans her gambit, the strategy
Of ungathering her hair, splaying it
Across her bare shoulders. This is life.
Her power lies in her movement.
No retreat in this game called love,
This game called war, this game of survival.
Her body on the line and waiting

To win, to lose. No such thing as stalemate. 

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

The Lost Chronicles of Slue Foot Sue Coming Soon!

Hooray! My next poetry collection, The Lost Chronicles of Slue Foot Sue, will be released this fall from Angelina River Press! I'm over-the-moon excited to share this lovely with the world. Publisher sent me the cover design and the book is now officially in the works. I can't wait to hold it in my hands. 

The book revisions three Texas legends, the eponymous one, Slue Foot Sue, is Pecos Bill's lesser known girlfriend and partner in crime. The poems tell her narrative as the focus. She's just as wild as he is, maybe more, and totally larger than life. The other narratives include Lobo Girl, a feral child case from the 1830's in Del Rio, and La Sirena, a Native American legend about a woman who morphed into a mermaid after kissing a catfish. It's a collection of feminist revisionist myth, but of course, revisionist myth is my thing.

Publisher had this to say:

Award-winning poet Katherine Hoerth's The Lost Chronicles of Slue Foot Sue opens with a poem presenting the birth of a wild Texas red-headed woman who springs full-grown from an ear of corn. She rides away--no doubt on one of those quarter horses on the cover--to vanish in the distance on the High Plains of Texas with the skyline of Amarillo on the horizon.

You know, this whole new book thing never gets old. It's always an adventure. This book taught me so much about structuring a collection, theme, and it allowed me to experiment and grow as a poet. I think it's my best work yet, and I can't wait to share it with the world! Of course, I'll be keeping y'all posted on the details. 

You can find out more about Angelina River Press here! They've got some nifty titles by some nifty authors I admire greatly (uh, Jan Seale much?). Anywho, seeing this book take shape inspires me to get working on the next one, which is already a dirty little thought in my dirty little mind. Onward! 

Napo 19

Today' prompt was to write about the creation myth. So, I did! In my own way :)


On the first day, she let the light in
Her body radiant with life and bathed
In sweat. On the second day, she traced
The borderline between the earth and sky,
Looked out into the horizon, and knew
Her life would never be the same.
On the third day, she willed the forming
Of a world within herself, continents
Of cells awash within the ocean of love.
On the fourth day, she gave that world
A heart, a burning, eternal sun, a moon
For balance, confetti stars like dreams
To light the night. On the fifth day,
The world teamed at the snap
Of her finger within the depths of her,
The belly an ocean filled with life
That multiples, expands, and fills the emptiness.
On the sixth day, the greatest day of all,
She created, in the image of herself,
An embryo the size of a pin within,
Commands it to multiply, to grow
Beyond the confines of herself,
To burst through the door of the world.
On the seventh day, she rested,

Her universe a glimmer in her eye.