NaPoWriMo – Day 14

Busy with poems this morning! I am participating in CV2‘s 2 day poem contest again this year (fun!) and was also tweaked by this morning’s NaPoWriMo.net prompt to write a dream dictionary entry poem. But, the one I am posting here is a response to the Poetic Asides prompt asking for a “report” poem. It’s almost a found poem based on Species Profile pages listed on the Canadian Government website, and modified with my own sarcasm.

Species At Risk: Status Report

Addition to the registry —

Scientific Name: Homo sapiens
Taxonomy Group: Primate
Range: Global

Threats

Drought, famine, pollution and conflict may impact the entire population in a short period. Greed has been identified as an imminent threat. Stupidity has been noted as an epizootic event.

Federal Protection

The Homo sapien is not currently protected under the federal Species at Risk Act. Parliamentary approval to amend the act has been sought, but is awaiting third reading.

Advertisements

NaPoWriMo – Day 13

Went weird, and steam of consciousness for Friday the 13th. I combined the NaPoWriMo.net prompt asking to upend or change a popular saying, with the Poetic Asides prompt asking for an insect title poem. I settled on the phrase “barking up the wrong tree” and changed it (I don’t know why) to “whispering into a flower’s ear.”  That naturally made me think of bees.

 

The Bees

There have been first-hand reports of bees in the area. Bumbling from one rare patch of exposed, dead grass to the next. Carrying a dusting of post-season snow on their backs. An old woman in line at the grocery store told me she saw one hovering at her window, its oversized eyes fixed on a potted daisy inside. (Her niece sent it to her after the cataracts operation — a total success. Everything looks much sharper now!) The bee, she said, was whispering into the flower’s ear. Reciting an incantation through the glass. Stayed for a full ten minutes, and three more bees gathered at the window. A barbershop quartet of bees, bedecked in their striped suits. All that was missing was the little hats, and wouldn’t that be cute? When their serenade was done, she said, she watched the daisies grow. Green stems stretching up, up. Bright white heads bending toward the grey light of a spring morning masquerading as December. Their yellow centers grinning, because they’d been asked to join the call. An uprising of chutes and flora, persisting despite winter’s insistence. Then, the old women said, a burst of purple through the snow. Then another. A whole crop of crocuses, their petals parting, yearning for the sweet bee kiss.

NaPoWriMo – Day 12

Today’s NaPoWriMo.net prompt called for a haibun, and included a link to this excellent essay on the form. I mashed it with the Poetic Asides prompt asking for a poetic lament.

Lament for Downtown Living

I miss things. The barista at the coffee shop  who knew not to ask, “Room for cream?” The friendly nod of the man who always got to the bus stop before me.  The thundering bass from the apartment above, rhythmic declaration that the weekend had arrived. The chorus of cooing pigeons on the balcony, calling us awake before the alarm. The jagged shadows of the leafless trees, back lit by a row of streetlamps. The smell of fresh-baked croissants sneaking  into the apartment lobby. The overheard banter between students walking back to campus after last call. The consumption limits, imposed by small spaces. The naive faith we shared, that a 2-bedroom apartment would be plenty of room for us and a baby. The ease of slipping a rent cheque in a slot. The ignorance about the pros and cons of variable or fixed mortgages.  The righteous opinion that suburbia was for the old and boring.

picture window

neighbour stops shoveling

to wave

NaPoWriMo – Day 11

Playing with the NaPoWriMo.net prompt asking for a “future” poem, and adding in the Poetic Asides call for a “warning” poem.

Theory of Relative Optimism

 

Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst.

Is it possible? That warning?

 

I’m no Einstein, but what if he was onto something

with that relativity business? No real difference

between the future and the past. Then, before.

Ahead, behind. To be, done. Imagine, remember.

 

Define hope: Noun — an expectation and desire

for a certain thing to happen. Verb — to want

something to be. To happen. Seems like

small magic. Wish, with your eyes

closed. Can you see it? In your mind?

That future dream, sketched with coloured

memories. It can happen. It’s happening.

It’s happened. Hope for it, again.

 

Define warning: Noun — a statement or event

indicating possible danger.  Verb — to give advance

notice. To caution. Seems like there’s reason to worry

What did you know and when did you know it?

Have you seen it happen, before or after?

That past mistake, italicized, set in bold,

highlighted in yellow. It was right there,

foresight. Hindsight. Look, I’m warning you.

 

But I really hope I’ll be wrong. I have been in the past.

NaPoWriMo – Day 10

Got a late start today to the poem creation, and when I finally got there, I let my tired mind experiment. I attempted to follow the NaPoWriMo.net prompt calling for a poem of  simultaneity – in which multiple things are happening at once.

 

Mind Exercises

 

Imagine a mahogany dinner table, a family of five around it.

Forget it, if you can, the nightly rituals you’ve seen and lived.

 

See the pea green plates, a wedding gift to the parents

The dull eyes of those parents who once made each other

 

the wife has always hated, but they are good quality and not

tingle, who used to bite each other’s lower lips during kisses.

 

yet cracked or chipped, even after 18 years of use. Funny, right?

There was once an entire month where they didn’t touch at all.

 

How the things we care least about can be so steadfast? Like the

Shell, it was like a shell, growing over each of them. House beetles,

 

meal the husband made, because it’s Monday, and that’s his night,

black and prone to hiding in their own corners. Quiet, creeping

 

so the kids expect something simple, mostly pre-packaged — spaghetti

life. After awhile they didn’t have to try to forget, it boiled away

 

with a jar of bought sauce, or hot dogs with a side of carrots because

on its own, down to the dry bottom of a saucepan, the sickening smell,

 

you gotta have some vegetables, right? And after they’ve eaten,

smoke, clouding up the kitchen, choking down the hall to the kids’

 

it will be the wife who cleans up, while the others take to screens

rooms, though the parents didn’t notice because it was all so grey.

 

or books, for the daughter. In the kitchen the wife will sigh, and

The windows didn’t open anymore, or no one thought to try them.

 

the cat will meow, almost in response, but mostly because he’s hungry.

Fish, in an aquarium, floating limp at the top, but inside the tank, green

 

Tomorrow, or 6 months, imagine it again, but cracked, chipped and with

real plants, the son insisted on it. They swayed when the filter glugged.

 

a gleaming blade, because reality can slice you in half if you let it.

They started to flower, bright red buds everywhere, if you can believe it.

NaPoWriMo – Day 9

Today I tried to combine the NaPoWriMo.net  prompt to write a poem in which something big and something small come together, with the Poetic Asides prompt calling for a “Battle __________ ” poem. Took a conversation with my Dad as inspiration, and used the writing to help tame my own burgeoning worry.

Battle the Weather

 

Morning phone call.

You start with the temperature,

-5 still, but better than yesterday. Supposed to

be in the pluses again by the weekend.

This damn province.

 

Then you give me the real headline,

preface of Don’t worry, but…

 

It could be nothing. Seeing the doctor tomorrow.

Probably lots of tests. We’ll know when we know.

 

I parrot it back, you don’t worry either.

Child counseling parent, or maybe

both of us

just saying what’s said. Rote words.

Learned eventually.

 

But I know

how even a small worries

bloat so big

fueled by the constant hot puff of

whatifwhatifwhatifwhatifwhatifwhatif

 

Mine’s already growing. I feel it,

hollow balloon in the chest, rising.

Little brain ember, taking hold,

starting a fire that will keep me burning

all night long, working to throw

drops of reason

on a fear inferno.

 

But hope builds too, or can.

In quiet places. The same spot

softened each day with silence.

Faith flourished, not with expected words

like Don’t worry, but with something true

and lived.

Remember six years ago, Dad,

leaving the hospital? December.

-31 with the wind chill.

You told me the sky

looked too blue to be that cold.

Damn this province! If the cancer didn’t kill me

this weather surely will.

But I saw you take a breath, deep,

zing of cold filling your lungs.

You shut your eyes and smiled.

 

NaPoWriMo – Day 8

Today’s NaPoWriMo.net prompt asked for “poems in which mysterious and magical things occur. A spell, for example.” I liked that example, and mashed it with the Poetic Asides prompt asking for a “family” poem. This one was strange and mysterious for me, as I so rarely attempt to write anything with rhyme.

Endurance Incantation

Strand of hair shines
with mother’s mothers’ whim
Strength of fifty golden
mothers before them.

Drop of carmine blood
we grow, share and shed.
Dancers in the shadows
of a full moon, red.

Never silent, mother’s mothers,
even shackled voices swell
humming in the pulse
stories born to tell.

Glint in daughters’ eyes,
lines etched on their skin.
Mother’s mothers’ journey
unbroken, within.

NaPoWriMo – Day 7

Mixing the Poetic Asides prompt to write a “senses” poem, with my local, Stroll of Poets prompt to write a “climate” poem. I recently read an article about how people in my province are the least likely in Canada to “believe” in climate change. This is so disheartening to me, as while I believe we can debate strategies on how we operate in the world now, and plans for better environmental practices, climate change is real. And I worry for the future of our beautiful planet if we continue to spin in a cycle of denial, rather than take action together.

Assessing the Patterns of Variation

 

You wouldn’t think it’d be possible

in my (relatively) short life.

 

Firs would know better,

the dry soil at their base.

The petrichor hanging

less often in the air,

the welcome quench of rain

climbing their roots,

sparkling in drops

that dangle from their sharp needles

like earrings. Can they taste it?

The small changes, over seasons and years,

drawing the facts

in concentric circles

at their core.

 

It might not be evident, they say

until you look at the evidence.

Some patterns are best seen close-up,

under a microscopic lens,

 

but I know I’ve heard the change

in the summer winds, roaring.

Different than the breeze of my youth.

Breath, blowing hotter.

Dragon flare, warning.

Tree souls darkening

summer skies.

NaPoWriMo – Day 6

The NaPoWriMo.net prompt today suggested playing with line breaks to emphasize, or de-emphasize sounds, rhythm and thoughts. Over at Poetic Asides, the instructions were to create a poem with a food item as the title. A good one to mash up.

Pie Crust

I stopped trying
to make pie dough

You always told me
it was easy
only a few ingredients
just a little practice

Like the way they retire
an athlete’s number
the process is honoured
the recipe stored

You never wore
an apron — too fussy
just dig in and get it
done
but I should’ve
kept one
of your threadbare
tea towels

Mounted it in a shadow box
a smattering of flour
still
dusting the corner

 

 

NaPoWriMo – Day 5

I love today’s prompt. The challenge put for at NaPoWriMo.net was to write a poem that reacts both to photography and to words in a language not your own. Begin with a photograph and then find a poem in another language, ignoring any accompanying English translation. Write with the idea that the poem is actually “about” your photograph. Use the look and feel of the words in the original to guide you along as you write, while trying to describe your photograph.

I picked an untitled, Dutch poem with no author (that I could find) and used the photo of the cat below. I noticed some words seemed to suggest an English counterpart, while other times it was the rhythm or look of a line that caused me to “translate”. A cool experiment, and one I would definitely try again with a longer piece.

 

Natuurlijk moest je nog lang niet

dood, dat wist ik best, maar hijdiede liedjes

zingt voor de hazen en beren waarin hij vertelt

hoe hij ze heft geschoten, was juist begonnen

het jouwe te maken, ik kon het

horen in mijn hoof, pieng

pong¸ de eerste,

voor zichtige tonen.

 

Cat Work

Nature made cats so the dead can

speak, messages sent through a thrum in the chest,

the glint of a green eye catching moonlight

like a hurried mouse, the faint paw print

marking fresh snow, the quick flick

of impatient tails, meow,

yowl,  they say, meaning,

we never left.