PAD 2020 – Day 27

Today’s Stroll of Poets prompt asked for an “altered state” poem. Not surprisingly, my busier-than-usual mind went to a place of questioning and worry.

 

BrainWhys

 

Therapist says

You rely too heavily on the ordinary mind.

 

As though I possess a back-up, extraordinary mind,

tucked in my purse, or hidden somewhere inside me.

Leftover brain of a vanishing twin.

 

But I curb that bit of sarcasm.

I’m paying to listen, receive, as well as talk.

In the ordinary mind, she continues, we can become stuck,

ignoring the usefulness of

           altered states, like mindfulness.

 

A non-verbal mode. Just here.

 

Leaving the present

at that very moment,

against all advice, I wonder

 

why we’ve become hard-wired to think

in ways that so often erode our happiness?

Why just being is something we need to be taught,

prodded into practicing?

Why does “consciousness” sound like

“constant mess”?

Why does my ordinary mind

have so many damn questions?

 

brain

 

 

 

 

PAD 2020 – Day 8

Today’s attempt is another prompt two-for-one, combining the Poetic Asides call for a “future” poem, with the NaPoWriMo challenge to use a line, a phrase or word from a Twitter poetry bot as inspiration for a new poem. I used the pinned Tweet from @SylviaPlathBot, which just seemed to mesh perfectly with a future prompt and my own actively anxious state of mind.

 

It starts with a line from a Syliva Plath

 

I am not ready for anything to happen

yet I feel like I’ve been preparing my entire life.

Have you? We’re in this together, whether we like it

or not, but we didn’t walk the same path to get here.

We haven’t compared exit strategies. Worry

is a cruel teacher. Makes you a master of stasis,

mulling every kind of future, gluing yourself

to some version of a past. So little left for now.

If you can, imagine the frigid waters of a murky river

— one you will need to get across —

but that current, so tenacious.

Rabid dog crush of water that will not release you

from its teeth. I confess, since this started with her,

that I’m having a hard time remembering the shore.

Can you? Do you see it? Are the poplars still there?

The grassy cliffs? That spot where the mallards

gather in spring? Tell me it’s all still the same,

that nothing has or will happen. Tell me our limbs

will never tire from treading all this water.

 

wide_river_stock_by_tommygk-d6e0lt9

PAD 2019 – Day 16

Working off the Poetic Asides prompt asking for a catch and/or release poem, and my local Stroll of Poets call to write a poem more about sound than meaning.

 

The Frequency of Calm

 

In. Out. In. Out.

As though it were that simple.

As though thinking doesn’t complicate even this.

 

Chase away the panic.

Catch the breath. Hold. Release.

 

Draw it in with a rush, flurry, gulp.

Let it out with a hush, whisper, sigh.

 

Draw, draw, aww, aww, awe

for this. Now.

Hold , hold, whole, whole, hole

of worry. Fade.

Let go, let go, here, here, hear

the whisper. Still.

 

Vibrato hum. Hum. Hum.

Om. Om. Om.

 

PAD 2019 – Day 11

Another prompt mix, taking the NaPoWriMo suggestion to write a poem of emotional, physical or geographical origin, and the Poetic Asides call for a dedication poem.

 For All The Feline Confidantes

 

In the smallest bedroom

with the brightest carpet

I remember sunlight waking me

before I was supposed to leave my bed.

Then by the squeak of a door, left open a crack

to tame the night dark, I knew our black cat,

had entered to offer a morning greeting.

 

Strange to say a cat could be your first real friend,

but there he was — my playmate, consoler, the best listener.

On nights when my parents’ arguing spilled under closed doors,

their raised voices disturbing so much more than my sleep,

the cat’s warm body, steady purr, comforting me.

 

This morning I find my daughter, damp-eyed and tense,

running over worst case scenarios about a spelling test she thinks she’ll fail,

a friend who doesn’t seem to like her anymore, whether she’ll have time

to practice her drums well enough before her next lesson.

Big worries wracking a small body.

My  words of reassurance interrupted by our grey cat, pushing into the room,

jumping on her bed and curling up on her belly. She asks me to leave,

tells me she’ll be out in a minute, and as I close the door, I see her lean over,

whisper into his ear. Grateful she has a safe soul to help carry her fears.

PAD 2019 – Day 2

The prompts for today aligned nicely, with NaPoWriMo asking for a poem that ends with a question, and Poetic Asides prompting a worst-case scenario or best-case scenario poem.

 

The Curve

 

What is worry if not risk management?

A mental plan for potential disaster.

Worst-case scenario, or acknowledgement

of what’s most severe. What ifs

are the stuff of agitation. Imagination.

My therapist says Find peace in the now

but this mind frame’s empty of

the mirror, the painting, the possibilities.

Yet I do understand the allure of

a waveless ocean

a cloudless sky

a limitless horizon.

A quiet place to walk

around all sides of a thought, the curve

where the question shifts from

What if something terrible happens? to

What if it doesn’t?

NaPoWriMo – Day 15

Just a brief blurt today, in response to the Poetic Asides prompt calling for a poem built around a metaphor. Had to make it a quickie, because I’m still working on my poem for CV2‘s 2 Day Poem Contest (with little over 12 hours to go)  and I’ll be heading to read at this fun Stroll of Poets Magpie Poems chapbook launch later this afternoon.

 

Anxiety

 

A tornado in the dark

twisting

past get-over-its &

future but-what-ifs

into a rapidly rotating

system

of sleep destruction.