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Showing posts from April, 2016

Napowrimo 30

I think this is the first time I've ever successfully completed NAPOWRIMO! Woot woot!

The Goddess Washes Dishes
She washes them by hand – she wants to feel This quintessential part of life, this scrubbing away Of assemblages of coal, garlic, potato skin, the peeling of of gossamers of grease, this unraveling of everything that baked inside the bottom of the pan, refused to let go. She scrapes it all away, she lets it soak, she hums along with the tintinnabulation of water meeting water, pooling redolent, scented with the dulcet smell of pomegranate soap.
She breathes it in, finds peace in this dance Of hands and sponge and dinner plate, And salad bowl. She sighs with satisfaction As the flip on the garbage disposal swallowing everything that ever ailed her
Down its hatch with a mellifluous groan.

I can't say I'm incredibly proud of any of my poems, but some do show promise. Let May be the month of picking up the pieces, of finding something beautiful in these shards.

Napowrimo 29

Today's task, the day 30 prompt, was to translate a poem. I've always been afraid of translating, but I took a swing at it today.

The Rainy Day
At least that was the story, shit. The headlights and fender were torn off – Clean. The adjuster came, two hours Later – the Other, Arrived. What shit, what money, these things of life create -- The deductible, the rain and the train, when I would go to yoga with serene karma, a Tibetan monk
The rain, days of rain-soaked plumage, What is it going to create? A café, three readings, receptions, Concentrating on the money coming and going between buses that stops
Books, breath
Rain of grammatical indulgence, Snug, Breathing, Words that fall closer To the adjuster that faces the headlights
What a defense

Napowrimo 28

This is in response to the backwards story. Whenever I'm at a loss for words, I write about Eve. She never fails to inspire me. Here's her story, backwards. It might be interesting to play with this further.
Returning to Eden
She never looked back. She regretted nothing, knew it had to end this way as her bare feet stepped from carpet grass to brambles. She felt pleasure blossom in her heart as it fluttered. Her lips stained with mauve, She licked them clean. Juice dribbled from mouth to chin, Down her chest, marking her beautiful To herself. She brought the fruit To her lips, a plum, a pomegranate, An apple, a pear, the details Depend on who’s doing the telling, But always it was juicy, always It was sweet, always it was red Red, the color of fire and flame, Desire. She plucked it from the tree In a single tug. It fit perfectly In her palm, designed for her. The color red flashed against the green, So much green, so little of anything else. She could smell the ripened fles…

Napowrimo 27

Will I get caught up?! Maybe! My weekend looks pretty free :)

Today's prompt was to write a poem about something you remember.
I remember as a kid my dad always had cut fruit ready for snacking on the kitchen counters. Always. Without fail. I'm a fruitaholic, though I'm also a very lazy person. This typically results in me wanting fruit but not wanting to go through the work of washing, slicing, and storing. I know, how ridiculous, right? So I thought of that this afternoon while prepping a melon.

Slicing a Melon One Spring Afternoon
I remember eating melon as a child, How miraculous the slices appeared On the kitchen table, the color of sunset, The color of meadow, the color of blush.
Always fruit on the table. How did it get there? My father, standing at the kitchen counter, Always chopping. How blissful to live In this land of plenty. I remember this today,
As I stand at my kitchen counter, Halving the world of a musk melon Along its meridian.
There is a part of me tha…

Napowrimo 25 and an update

Life. It's got me again.

I've had some health issues again this week that have got me sidetracked, more mentally than anything else.

On Sunday evening, I had the strangest experience. For about fifteen minutes, I lost my ability to speak in full sentences, my ability to see out of one eye, and then the feeling on the same side of my face and arm. It was incredibly scary. The feeling passed and I was ok (I'm still ok) but it scared the crap out of me.

If you know me, you know I hate going to the doctor, so I went home and hoped I'd feel normal in the morning. And I did, only, I was really worried and scared, and I couldn't shake the feeling that something was wrong with me. I put off going to the doctor until Tuesday morning and went to my family doctor, who scared the bejeezus out of me by telling me I'd had a stroke. A mini-stroke. He didn't want to alarm me, he said, but it is very serious. He said if anything, anything like that ever happens again, it…

Napowrimo 24

I'm still a few days behind on the prompt thing, but I responded to the earth day one today and wrote about the prickly pear. 


Self Portrait as a Prickly Pear
Admire my beauty from afar – Each spring, I’ll dawn the finest pastel hues,
Canary, blush and alabaster Drape them from my body like accessories
And wear them proud against the Texas sky. These bright colors are my favorite –
They compliment my avocado eyes, The smoothness of my skin.
It’s the season, after all, when the sweaters Come off, the arms go bare, the feet
Go naked. I’m not exception, sitting pretty on the monte’s edge.
I like the way the hummingbirds take notice, Whet their tongues visit for a spell.
I spritz myself with pollen, Wear the scent of spring,
Of sweet seduction. I like the power This beauty brings, the opening
Of petals at my will. I raise my pads To the sky, an offering of myself,
Bask in the glory of my own beauty, Digging my toes deep into the soil –
Yes, it’s miraculous I look this good Even in d…

Napowrimo 23

Prompt: Write a sonnet!
Lady Sisyphus
What did I do to earn this nasty fate? I’m working at the bookstore on the weekend, Organizing magazines that hate To stay put on the shelves. I’ll have to spend The evening setting chaos into order, Laboring like Sisyphus in vain – There’s always one more porno in the corner The boulder’s rolling down the hill again.
This is my punishment for asking questions When my lot in life is just to nod My head, absorb another of life’s lessons, Accept my place beneath the boss, my god For these eight hours of my life. As long
as I am poor I’ll have to play along.

Napowrimo 22

Witness Report
We were only picking flowers, Honest, near the schoolyard’s edge, By the wall where the sunflowers Grow tallest, where we could get lost Together in the labyrinth of them, Giggling, running, holding hands Like we always did, like two best friends.
The flowers so tall no one could see us By that chain link fence that separates The schoolyard from the outside world. She stood there, clutching the metal With both hands, staring off into the abyss Of a laurel tree’s perse blossoms.
Wouldn’t those look nice braided in your hair? She asked, you’d be a princess, Don’t you want to be a princess? I’ve always wanted to be a princess of something, Of some kingdom far far away.
And she leapt the fence with a single bound, I swear I tried to stop her, called her name, As she pulled the lowest limb down, Her ponytail bouncing with her movements. She grabbed fistful after fistful of blossoms Giggling delirious at the sudden freedom, And I watched from a safe distance, Held the chain…

Napowrimo 21

I'm behind again -_- why do these days have to be so busy??

Today's task was to write a kenning poem. I kinda sorta did it and also broke the rules.

You are
You are Large, the heat-creator, My day swirls around your needs Like planets swirl around the sun. Globe-devourer, hunger-creator, earth-rumbler. You always want more, Need more, Morning, noon, and night, Swallowing pancakes like worlds, Sandwiches like stars, Salads like atoms,
Fusing them together, Energy-begetter.
You are my catch-basin of all, Of desire, where everything Ends up, life-nourisher, A pillow for the head.
You are the life-cradler, Underneath this skin, Miracle-generator, a tiny place where cells join and leap into being.
You are a truth-knower – Rising in hope And sinking in despair, A gut-wrencher, A pain-holder, An everything-swallower, Spit, food, hopes, sadness Into your darkness Into your light.
You are Always expanding With my breath, Always contracting With my breath. I suck you in Hold you…

Napowrimo 20

This prompt was to write a poem about how to do something. I'm pretty good at eating healthy, I think. I have a strange diet and some strange dietary habits. I reimagined some of today's contemporary diet advice through the lens of Eve. I wonder what she'd have to say about some of the crazy diets out there. 
What to Eat, According to Eve
I’m tired of commandments – thou shalt not eat carbs, no sugar. Saturated fat is the snake in the grass, french fries, the enemy of that gap between your thighs, A concave stomach, a well-trained waist, A butt that takes up no space.
To be an object of desire you must embrace emptiness– nibble little meals throughout the day, a timid doe munching baby carrots, a lean cuisine, a slimfast shake to keep your appetite for life at bay. Practice portion control. Go paleo. Go gluten free. Go vegan. Twelve hundred calories a day and nothing more. You must be always on the edge of hunger.
But ladies, let me tell you a secret -- I only eat …

Napowrimo 19

The sounds of home prompt:

The Sounds of Home
Growing up, home was a certain Eden -- A sound garden always in full bloom.
The birdsong of my brother’s laughter My father hooting at the football game clapping his hands like rolling thunder at each touchdown, roaring at each loss. A rustling of papers from my mom’s art room like the branches of an oak rustle as a cat leaps in. The thumping of feet Stampeding down the hallway. My baby brother babbling like a brook. Somehow, this life harmonized Into the soundtrack of a childhood.
And me, in the kitchen, standing at the stove, Humming a sweet tune, always off key, Chopping garlic to the rhythm of raindrops,
The hot pan sizzling like the rattle of a snake.

Napowrimo 18

I'm a few days behind in terms of the prompts, but this one's instructions was to write a poem using a specialized glossary. Lately, I've been reading up on oil terms, so...
Boom Town Lover
I was your wildcat well, a risk to take And you went for it, spud-in, eyes closed, Arms open wide like a fool. In love, There is no need for coring when you know Just what you like. Roustabout, roughneck, tool-pusher, you, toiling without reward, You stumbled here upon the right place, This body a landscape of curves, the sweet Scent of sulfur on the surface of skin.
Come with your drills and bits, come ready To fish in this vast sea of sediment and earth. Come without abandon, stay awhile in this place --
The moonpool was open, ready for you To drip your toes, to submerge yourself in love, To find that sweet payzone that gives and gives Until there’s nothing left, a dry hole, a ghost town
Filled with memories, potholes, the dust of us.

Napowrimo 17

Will I ever get caught up? :-/

At a McDonalds in the Middle of Nowhere, Texas
Welcome to the crossroads of the world – This place of respite for all travelers and migrants seeking refuge from the brushland and the endless, open roads of Texas.
I stumble in with stomach empty, bladder Overflowing, order some familiar food to eat. The girl who takes my order’s nails sparkle Underneath the sheen of the florescent lights.
In the background, country music drones A worn-out song that makes me want to sleep.   The manager sashes from register To register with ease. He calls my number.
I take my food and fade into the backdrop As I watch the scene of everyman unfold – A tale as old oak, a rugged man Walks in and drags the dust of work across
The clean tiled floors. A smile like a firewheel Blooms on his face. The manager slicks back His hair and leans into the counter, whispers To him with a wink. Their giggles boom
Like welcomed thunder just before the rain. I’ve come to pressure wash you…

Napowrimo 16

Just trying not to get further behind! Today, I'm writing about palm trees.

The Valley of Palms
The palm trees along highway 281 Begin popping up just south of Encino, Their fronds waving hello, Welcome me home. I sigh with relief –
A regal sabal stands against a slate sky, A bit of paradise in the brushland, Just a taste of the magic to come, As I return to the valley, this place
I’ve learned to call home, like the palm, Who, as I race south, multiply, Dig their shallow roots into this soil And claim it their own, the great-grandchildren
Of palms from the Greece or Florida or California Who grow tall and proud, tower over the nopales,
The mesquite, the huisache. The palms, like me, are immigrants To this landscape. Honeybees drink From the queen palms nectar.
Kisskadees have learned to feast On dates. The valley welcomes Us with open arms, a gulf breeze, A tight hug, a kiss on the cheek.

Like the palms, I’ve found my home.

Napowrimo 15

I'm behind. Bleh. Trying to get caught up, one feverish poem at a time. Yesterday's prompt was to write about doubles, pairs.

The Woman in the Mirror
Her watching eyes are always on me. They police Every move I make. I see her face
At the most inopportune times. This morning, while strolling down the street
Past a line of coffee and gelato shops, The sweet smells of espresso wafting out,
She reminds me to suck in my stomach, To take up less space. While at the museum
This afternoon, my palms on a cool glass case, my eyes fixated on some old newspaper article
about Ma Ferguson, her scowling face, and then there’s mine, my eyes wide,
my mouth agape, my hair a wilderness my fingers immediately work to tame,
a smile unfolds to soften my face. I see her while I’m waiting in line,
And I glance down at my phone, The black screen, my chin almost double.
She reminds me to stand up straight, Extend the neck like a lamb, sacrificed,
waiting for a set of teeth to sink in. As I dress for t…

Napowrimo 14

I really hate these form prompts. Today's was to write a san-san. A what? Ugh.

Nothing special happened yesterday – I sloughed the cocoon of blankets from my body, Made my way through the labyrinth of traffic To order nothing special at the café To slough the sleepiness away, a cup of coffee. Somehow, I’d make it through; I always do.
This living thing, this special journey, it isn’t magic.
I’m just a monarch in maze continents, passing through.

Napowrimo 13

Today's prompt was to write a poem based off of a fortune cookie.



Your smile will tell you what makes you feel good

You can’t force a flower to open Into all of its glory, you can’t stick Your fingers inside a tight bud And pull out the soft golden petals In the same way I won’t smile While, walking down the street, When a stranger tells me to smile, My face to beautiful for a frown A frown that causes wrinkles a resting bitch face Because in this world, a smile Is only for pleasure, mine, Not yours, like a flower Opens on its own time, When the sun’s angle is right, When the bees are humming, When the gentle breeze tickles  her stem and she bursts into laughter
Like a dandelion turning to snow.

Napowrimo 12

Yesterday's prompt was interesting -- write an index poem. I looked at my bookshelf and pulled out Stealing the Language by Alicia Ostriker for some good old fashioned feminist theory.
Index Poem
Male an image of divinity
always shining from above.  I look up at him, taller, broader, bigger  Mistaken for stronger, smarter.
Heroism
knight in shining armor, prince charming, the one who saves me from myself,  opens the jar of pickles,
Rationalism
What you are,  everything I lack.  I see myself as night,  wild and howling at the moon,  woman in the attic,  hair like midnight in her face.
Father figure
Father, Father Father  in heaven looking down at me.  Another man to disappoint.  Another man who wants my flesh  scrubbed clean of my own scent.
Sexuality
you are desire,  I,  the sunflower waiting  to be plucked,  washed in sunrays,  petals unfolding,  quivering, always ready.
Violence

 when flesh meets flesh meets bone.  Within this index, that’s all we’ll be,  a tearing apart, a loosening of self. 

Napowrimo 11

Running in the Texas Hill Country
I reached the top of the hill, breathless, Feeling like a god who flies forever, My legs the immortal trunks of oaks, my heart a burning sun inside my chest.
Over my head hung cloud of slate, About to burst into a gentle drizzle. Down below, green is everywhere – The wild rye in full bloom, rolling With pastels against farmland, The neat rows, the pasture Where a herd of goats grazes as if the world were standing still.
To my right, a tractor rusts, returning to the earth In a field of sunlight between two cypresses. As I begin my dissent, a field of bluebonnets Come into view, so beautiful they take my breath.
How perfect to be here in this moment, With the smell of rain on my skin, The taste of sun on my lips, The skydancer’s song in my ear,
And I realize how short this season is, How life is far too short To take everything in, How one day I, too, will dry up
Like a blue bonnet in May.

Napo 10

Napo 10 was super easy. It's basically a poem that writes itself -- look at your bookshelf and write down the titles in the spines of the books. Use those titles to write your own poem. I'm pretty proud of my bookshelf, so here's what I found:

Ruin

Each and her,
the other fugitives and strangers,
everyone who doesn't fit,
who lives in the maverick room
with a view of the middle way,
who know the feeling of duende,
when bent to the earth,
the boundlessness of form,
the making of the poem and love,
all the facts about the moon.

They are invisible (wo)men, who,
were, too, fearfully and wonderfully made,
love the color purple in excess,
read Lolita in Tehran.

When will you join these rogue apostles
from the outer bands,
where good ideas come from?

Those who aren't afraid to dance
with Lucifer at the Starlight,
those ordinary geniuses
who pity the beautiful
as they dance backwards in Texas,
tear every seam apart?

Without them, this will never be
a beautiful country. You…

Napowrimo 9

So...
I didn't post yesterday. Let me explain why.
I frickin' ran a half marathon, that's why!
I wanted to blog a bit about the experience, since it kind of relates to my poem below, and also, well, it was a beautifully emotional day for me. If you've been following this blog, you know that my running is my rebellion -- it's me saying FU to my health issues, it's about living life to the fullest because you really don't know what tomorrow's going to bring. Running makes me feel alive. 
Anyway, this was my second half marathon, and it was an amazing experience. I ran with my dad and also, B joined us and ran the 5k. The event took place in Luckenbach, a tiny nothing of a town made famous by a country song. It's adorable. I figured this race would be a good second half to run for a few reasons. 1. It was an excuse to visit the Texas hill country in spring (wildflowers much?) 2. It's one of my dad's favorite places since he's a musician, 3…

Napowrimo 8

Today's prompt is to write a poem about a flower. I love writing about flowers, so this wasn't too tough.
My Husband Never Buys Me Flowers
I see them every Saturday, those men Cradling a bouquet of grocery store flowers – Usually dyed daisies, sometimes carnations, Hydrangeas, a single rose in rouge.
It’s enough to make a gal feel jipped Out of romance, if it’s supposed to look Like this – a nervous man in a suit, Standing in line, tapping his foot, As I empty my shopping cart Behind him in line, as he pays For the flowers, disappears into the night.
This is the image of what love is supposed to be – Men on white horses Men charming Men buying flowers Men in clean pressed suits Men coming in to save the day
My husband, at home, slumbers on the couch After a long day of work in the garden, Trimming back the chaos of the oak Whose shade was suffocating my marigolds.
His hands bloom with blisters Like the rouge petals of a rose.

Napowrimo 6 and 7

The going is getting tough. I'm chugging along.

Yesterday I got so tied up with grading essays that my brain went numb. Then I went for a run, seven miles. And by the time I got home it was eleven in the evening and I collapsed into the wonder of slumber.

Needless to say, I didn't get any writing done.

Today was tough, too, but I found bits and pieces of time to put together two shitty poems. Ugh. One I wrote in the brief moment I had before class. The other I wrote after my night class, lying on the sofa, my brain only halfway turned on. I'm beat. Tomorrow I'm traveling. I'm thinking that, on the road, I'll have some time to scribble something if B does the majority of the driving as he oft does. We shall see.

An Ode to Carbohydrates
I’m told you’re bad for me – That you’ll linger on the stomach, Go straight for the thighs.
Diabetes. Obesity. Stress All come from you. You’re the enemy, white bread Today’s forbidden fruit That I pluck from the garden Of the br…

Napo 5

This evening, the prompt was to write about an heirloom seed. I chose the Sleeping Beauty Cantaloupe. 
Sleeping Beauty
These globes of sweetness Nestle together as they ripen in neat rows in West Texas.
Imagine spending all season, A lifetime, hanging on the vine, Cheek to cheek, rind to rind, Basking in the glory of the sun.
How can such sweetness grow Against this landscape of ruggedness, Against the jagged mountains, The unforgiving heat, this land Of thorns, ticks, and snakes?
It’s her tough skin, her rind That keeps the moisture The sugar, the ginger flesh Tucked away as she slumbers.
Do you imagine she’s dreaming of the moment she’ll be plucked, the kiss of the knife, the slicing open at the meridian, the sweet sucking of juices, the roll of a tongue across the honeyed fruit, the teeth, the slow slide down the throat, the devouring, the moan.
Don’t be fooled. As she slumbers There in her naked glory, pregnant With seeds, she dreams of sweet rain, The moist earth around her ro…

Napowrimo #4 (a day late)

Bleh.
I spent all day yesterday grading research papers and got behind. My goal is to sneak in two writing sessions today. I'll be back in the evening, but for now, here's NAPO 4:

Napowrimo #4
Why September is the Cruelest Month
Every September, I feel that loss again – As the leaves loosen from the trees I remember his loosening grip, as the ground cools I remember his body growing cold. As the first front rips the summer into oblivion, I can’t help but feel it again, That end of bliss, of innocence, When days of the week bleed Into each other, a seamless mixing Of time only ignorance can bring – A time when death was an abstraction, Something that happened to parakeets, Gold fish, mosquitos, but not human beings like me.
There’s beauty, though, in change. When summer breaks apart, That’s when I realize, each year, That a season stands before me, That it’s time to get back to the hard work Of making the most of the time we have left, The hard work of the living.

Napo 3

Today's prompt was to write a fan letter. I love Betty White, so here's my freewrite about her!

Dear Betty White, A fan letter.
Dear Betty,
Can I call you Betty? Or maybe Mrs. White? Or how about Rose? That’s always how I’ll think of you – The goody-two shoes woman Who lived life to the fullest Every episode, who found joy In joyless situations, who reframed What it meant to grow old With a smile. Rose, thank you For being a friend, to me, As a teen, watching the re-runs On lifetime, I learned about friendship, The power that comes from women Sitting around a kitchen table, Solving all the problems of the world, From sex to men to cheesecakes running out, To AIDs, to healthcare, to aging, to loneliness.
I learned that life wasn’t going to end After “I do,” after children, after menopause, You wore pastels like a schoolgirl as if to tell the world fuck you with a sweet smile.
You refused to go quietly – To sit back in your rocking chair And knit your own oblivion in silence.
Y…

Napowrimo #2

Image
Today's prompt was to write about a family portrait. My dad and I take selfies together after our training runs most Sundays, so I thought it would be a good subject for a poem today.

Selfies with Dad
It’s hard to be his daughter, Though we’re one and the same. I run in his footsteps, Always trying to keep up With a man who doesn’t realize He’s the stuff of legend, A man who keeps me reaching For the sky. I imagine this is how Athena felt, a father so fierce, So strong, so full of life – Who can live up to that?
On Sundays, we worship our bloodline, Our good health, the miracles That keep the strands of us together With a run. It’s what he’s taught me to do, At first, as a toddler, as he’d open his arms And I’d run into his embrace.
Now, we run together towards the finish line, Sweat together, guzzle water, laugh at the pain And beauty of life, the long road ahead, The sunburn, the blisters, the sore muscles, And always afterwards, an ice cold beer.
On this day, we’ve run twelve…

Napowrimo #1

My oh my is it April already? Why yes, yes it is!

It's National Poetry Month!

This month, I'll be writing a poem a day, following along with the NaPoWriMo prompts. It's always a wild ride. I love this practice because it primes me for the coming summer and gives me material to work with. Like spring, it's generative. It's a time for creation. I'll work on honing these poems later. I'll post my freewrites here, free writes that for now are seedlings, freewrites that will hopefully blossom in to full blooming poems over the summer.

Today's prompt was to write a lune or a series of lunes. My latest obsession is the ghost town of Desdemona, Texas. I'm working on a series of love poems to the ghost town, comparing the boom and bust of the town to a white-hot marriage that, well, booms and busts. I'm hoping it will eventually incorporate elements of eco-feminism, but we shall see. My guess is that this will be my focus for the month, but who knows, ri…