Melding prompts again today with Poetic Asides suggestion to take the name of a plant, flower or tree and make it the title of your poem, and the NaPoWriMo.net prompt to pick something impossible from a list of statements, and then write a poem in which the impossible thing happens. The statement I picked was The stars cannot rearrange themselves in the sky. Because it’s Earth Day, I was also thinking about humanity’s propensity to shoot ourselves in our own earthbound feet.
Some things aren’t supposed to happen.
Stars aren’t supposed to rearrange themselves in the sky.
Flowers aren’t supposed to bloom at midnight.
We’re not supposed to be our own worst enemy.
Under the hood of night
Cassiopeia does yoga, corpse pose,
tries the lazy letter I on for size.
The datura opens, moonflower
swallowing the dark with her
soft white lips. Seducing
the sphinx moth with her scent.
The city’s backyard aglow
with the twinkling
oil refinery, burning 24/7.
the dark side.
Today’s prompt asked for a response poem, perhaps to something in the news, or a previously penned poem from this month. So many of my poems have already been responses to headlines, but today I saw a photo of a sand sculpture from the Karavali Utsav sand sculpture exhibition (link here) that inspired something. Maybe a response poem, maybe an ekphrastic piece.
World Peace is carved into the sand, with Gandhi’s hooded, hopeful eyes, looking out through his round frames. An award-winning sculpture, as much for the craft as the idea. Care and detail evident in each clean cut and smooth line. I’ve never built more than simple castles, from blunt pail shapes. Never etched more than imperfect square windows, or added detail beyond a flag made from a stick and a leaf. I’ve never considered the message of the medium, tenuous sand. Moved with the whim of water or wind. Or done in by a heavy foot, tired of the display. Threatened by the allure. I’ve focused too long on the fragility. Overlooked the composition, a billion tiny rocks as old as the world. Each grain a small word in a developing story.
Today’s prompt asked for a “What I learned” poem. I suppose what I wrote is almost a found poem, discovered in dire tids and interesting bits on my morning email check and headline browse.
The morning has barely broken, and already the internet enlightens me. Word of the day, ballooning, not blowing air and twisting latex into animal shapes, but the work of a spider, when it throws out lines of gossamer, snags the breeze and sails on silk strands. Is there a name for the spot a spider lands? I try to invent one while I read more headlines: These popular toys could be putting your child in danger. Maybe the spot is called a cushion. Hate crimes in the United States have increased to a point not seen in recent history. Or the target. Charles Manson, murderous cult leader, dead at 83. Perhaps it’s just called safety. Impact of Arctic climate change being felt farther south, scientists say. It’s surely not Arcadia, but I’ll call it that anyway.
Today’s prompt asked for a letter to the world. I wanted to write a beautiful love poem to the earth, but what came out today was not my solitary voice, but a cynical chorus heard all around — one that reads so much like a rejection letter.
Dear world, thank you for sharing your work with us. While we have enjoyed exploring your great wonders — the ones we love to take photos of, and the mysterious ones we can only tickle the edges of when we are deeply dreaming, or have just fallen in love — we regret to inform you that we have not chosen to include you in our forthcoming preservation anthology. Members of our collective take into consideration many factors when deciding what is worth protecting, including whether or not it serves a particular hobby of our sons’, how much it strokes our ego, and how much profit we might lose were we to deem this particular part worth saving. As you can imagine, we have to make some very tough choices, and many stunning creatures, or life-sustaining elements, such as air or water, are often left out. Please trust us when we say this is no reflection on your work, but rather an indication of our own moral bankruptcy. We acknowledge that in many ways, your work is what allows us to continue, and we thank you for that. Best of luck in your sustainability pursuits.