PAD 2020 – Day 17

Today’s NaPoWriMo prompt asked for a poem that features forgotten technology. I immediately thought of the cassette tapes of my youth. I still have some kicking around, with absolutely nothing to play them on.

 

Mixtape

 

Plan ahead. Write out the songs, then make your shortlist.

Abandon any that are too similar. Too off vibe. Think about

the mood you want, from start to finish. Each melody its own

chord in the brand-new track that is this mixtape. Start loud,

heavy, something to get the blood flowing and the ears perked.

Massage in the slow jams for aural relief, but don’t put ‘em to sleep.

Find a story and tell it. Think of your audience, always. Let ‘em feel

what you feel when you press play, when you hit the high notes,

when you belt out the chorus with your eyes closed. Dedicate it —

this passion project made of plastic and magnetic tape. Grab a good pen

and write out the track list. The start times too, if you’re really in love.

Draw a heart on the paper insert. Put their name inside. Use your best stickers.

 

close up photo of cassette tapes

Photo by Suzy Hazelwood on Pexels.com

PAD 2020 – Day 16

A little short on writing time again today, but still wanted to answer the Poetic Asides call for “The Last _________ ” poem. In my house, we used the pandemic as an excuse to stock up on a lot of treats during our last big grocery shop. But now that some of the most popular items are dwindling, each bite comes with more thoughtful consideration. I even took a photo to document the evidence.

 

The Last Cookie

 

I opened the bag

as carefully as a thief

moving through a sleeping house

but could not commit the crime

knowing there’d be none left for you.

 

The last cookie

 

 

 

 

PAD 2020 – Day 11

Used today’s NaPoWriMo prompt to write a poem in which one or more flowers take on specific meanings. I used the suggested glossary of flower meanings and added it to a childhood memory.

 

First Emotions of Love

 

I didn’t know that’s what purple lilacs meant

when I nicked a bouquet of them

off the neighbour’s bush,

gripped them in my small fist

and thrust them at Mom

while she plucked weeds from the rows of carrots.

But from the look on her face, it’s clear she did.

 

close up photo of purple lilac flowers

Photo by Irina Iriser on Pexels.com

PAD 2020 – Day 9

The NaPoWriMo call today was to write a concrete poem. That is, a poem in which the lines and words are organized to take a shape that reflects in some way the theme of the poem. I decided to be cheeky (lazy?) and write a poem about concrete using a block shape. (In my word doc it came out in a perfect rectangle shape, but I can’t get it to work here!!!) I took much inspiration and a few phrases (including the last line of my poem, which is taken verbatim) from this Wiki page on concrete.

Committing to Concrete

When fine and coarse bond together, something hardens over time. A cure for solitude. Binders are necessary. If not limebased, than lovebased. Words that seal the deal. Actions that keep it from crumbling. Many non-cementitious types will be skeptical that the concrete block is better than gravel. No chance for this stone to roll, to scatter dust they might say. But aggregate strength is its own sort of freedom — knowing the winds of the world may wear on you less. The most romantic may link their initials in wet slurry. Wait for the united letters to become rock solid. If favoured, the mixture may be reinforced with rebar or two gold rings. How concrete is handled after it is poured is just as important as before.

Initials-In-Concrete

PAD 2020 – Day 6

Today’s poem is a short one, but blends a couple prompts and bits of inspiration. The NaPoWriMo prompt called for a poem written from the point of view of one person/animal/thing from Hieronymous Bosch’s famous (and fantastically weird) triptych The Garden of Earthly DelightsI chose the naked man carrying the lovers in a mussel shell (image below), and added in the Poetic Asides call for a “trap” poem. The image immediately made me think of the 1980 Squeeze song “Pulling Mussels (From the Shell)” — which also happens to be a euphemism for sex — so, naturally, that made it into the poem too.

Under the Black Shell

 

Love is a trap, snapped

and those ensnared in its teeth

abandon all care for freedom.

I’ve carried lovers on my back,

felt the burden of the heart

when pearls of wisdom

are traded for beads of sweat.

Judgement lost in passioned frenzy.

How much innovation

has been wasted

by those who’d spend all

their waking days and wanton nights

pulling mussels from the shell?

 

download

PAD 2019 – Day 27

Blending today’s Poetic Asides call for a “direction” poem with the Stroll of Poets prompt, “where the heart beats.”

 

Behind the sternum

 

is where the heart beats

in the most literal sense,

but also wherever it is that you

are closest to me.

 

It all comes down to impulses,

electric and erotic.

The zap of every kiss.

 

How fitting that it’s

about the size of a fist,

because of the punch I feel,

the pow, right in the chest

when I look at you,

remembering you’ve

chosen me.

 

PAD 2019 – Day 9

Writing about love is hard, isn’t it? Especially when you’re not really the romantic type. So here’s my attempted response to today’s “love or anti-love” prompt from Poetic Asides.

The Non-Romantic Defines Romantic

 

adjective

conducive to or characterized by the expression of love

noun

a person with romantic beliefs or attitudes.

 

By definition then, who isn’t this? Who hasn’t

felt this?  Only monsters  unwilling to consider

the way the features of the person most desired

adopt a kind of supernatural glow at sunset.

Or the way electrical impulses of the heart disrupt

when the person most desired brushes their hand

against your thigh. Or the way hunger of the belly

dissipates when thoughts stutter over the person

most desired and  hunger of the soul takes over.

Or the way the voice of the person most desired

becomes the most pleasing vibration to pass through

the inner ear. Or the way scribes of every language,

every age, have fumbled for millennia to write a single

phrase that can capture the emotion stirred when the

person most desired looks at you and moves their

mouth into that gratifying shape known as a smile.

Ruth’s Pancakes

Ruth’s Pancakes

I adore Pancake Tuesday, and not just for the obvious reason that it gives me an excuse to indulge in tasty, tasty pancakes.  It’s a day that also brings back warm childhood memories for me. I didn’t grow up in a religious household, but we did partake in many of the Christian traditions that have become the norm in Canada — Christmas, Easter and Shrove Tuesday (though we certainly never gave up any vices for Lent). My Mom made the best pancakes. I know everyone probably thinks that about their Mom, but “Ruth’s Pancakes”, as they were called by the many friends and family members who had the chance to taste them, were something special. We didn’t need Pancake Tuesday as an excuse to eat them, because the delicious cakes were also on the menu for many weekend brunches and even random breakfast-for-supper days. She’d make them into fun shapes, long before pancake art was a thing, and always let me eat way more than was necessary.

My Mom died just over four years ago, and since then I’ve realized just how many of my fondest memories of her, and of childhood, are ones that incorporate food and cooking. Food was love for my Mom, and it is for me too. Trying out a new recipe with my kids, or telling them stories about my family as we make a tried and true classic, is important to me. Emotion, nostalgia, that feeling of comfort and security that is especially treasured once you lose someone so close to you — all of these are ingredients in my best food memories. So of course I’ll be making “Ruth’s Pancakes” for supper tonight, to keep the tradition alive with my kids, and to feel just a little closer to my Mom.

Ruth’s Pancakes

4 large eggs

1/4 cup sugar

1/3 cup oil

3 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. salt

2 cups milk

2 cups flour

Separate eggs. In a small bowl, beat egg whites until stiff and stand in peaks. An electric hand mixer works best. Set aside. In another large bowl, beat egg yolks, sugar and oil until light and fluffy. Add baking powder, salt, flour and milk. Beat only until mixed. Fold in egg whites. Let stand for 5-10 minutes. Spoon batter into desired size, or fun shape, on to hot griddle and bake until bubbles begin to form on surface. Flip and bake until golden brown.

 

 

NaPoWriMo – Day 17

Another natural fit day for the prompts. NaPoWriMo.net asked for a family anecdote poem, while Poetic Asides suggested a love or anti-love poem. I went with love, based on a memory of my brother and our cat.

Mistaken Identity

 

What convinced a bellicose boy of sixteen

to walk towards the chain link fence,

unprompted, but with a heavy head,

shovel in one hand, box in the other,

ready to gather what remained of our

orange tabby from the edge of a freeway?

 

It could only be love.

 

There it glistened in his reddened eyes when,

just as he was about to climb the fence,

he heard a croaky meow from below,

felt the nudge of our adventurous Rusty,

who’d been missing for three days,

pushing his head against my brother’s boot,

asking to be taken home and fed.

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