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 14

A bit pressed for time today, which means I’ve gone with a compressed poem in my attempt to hit two prompts in one. I combined the NaPoWriMo challenge to write a poem that deals with the poems, poets, and other people who inspired you to write poems, with the Poetic Asides call for a form or anti-form poem. One of my favourite forms is the haiku or senryu, and of course that means appreciating the work of 17th-century haiku master Bashō. Since this is hardly a traditional haiku, maybe I have written an anti-form poem after all?

 

Bashō I am not

but I echo in honour

of his superb form

close up photography of cherry blossom tree

Photo by Bagus Pangestu on Pexels.com

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 7

One week into Poetry Month and I’ve written a poem (sometimes more than one) each day! Considering how creatively stunted and numb I’ve felt lately, I’m happy that any words are rising to the surface. Thinking about how to revise them into good words is a May problem.

Today’s NaPoWriMo prompt asked for a poem based on a news article. It was a bit of a chore to find a story that wasn’t about the pandemic, but then I hit upon this interesting one about discovering the age of whale sharks. But, true to my nature, I ended up turning it into something with an undertone of doom.

This one is an erasure poem taken directly from the text of the article. I don’t do those often, because I find them extremely challenging, but this month is all about experimentation and breaking out of comfort zones (without leaving your house), right?

 

Endangered Creatures

 

Whale sharks swim in mystery.

Count lines in the vertebrae

like rings in a tree trunk.

Reasons behind age, what persists —

 

every living thing decays

the older the creature, the less you find

 

The hard part is these intensely vulnerable humans.

Why they exploit.

Scientists believe they      humans      can be helped.

Cooperation is key to survival.

This is a good news story after all.

 

whale shark

 

 

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 25

I liked today’s NaPoWriMo suggestion to write a season-specific poem engaging all five senses and using a rhetorical question. I decided to blend it with the Poetic Asides call for an “exile” poem.

Exiling Winter

 

Why is it so difficult to banish?

That stubborn cold that burrows down to the bone,

pinch felt on the skin when you dare to step outside uncovered.

The look of winter remains long after spring has made its calendar declaration.

Gaunt branches poking at cloudy skies, the scent of fetid leaves in murky melt puddles.

Stubborn islands of snow and ice in the shadowy parts of a yard imploring a seasonal shift.

Guardian birds who’ve overseen winter’s term sing songs of eviction and welcome.

Leaveleave Leaveleave calls the chickadee. Come Come Come rallies the crow.

We munch sweet greenhouse carrots, savour tangy lemons imported from hot places.

Ingest what we desire  — freshness, tenderness, growth. Forced internal blooming

to overtake a season of still grey.

 

 

Poetry Festival excitement

I am super excited to be reading at the Edmonton Poetry Festival today for Poetry Central 1 at City Hall, and honoured to be on the bill with four other poets I admire. The theme of this year’s fest is HomeWord, and I have tried to keep that in mind when I chose the pieces I want to share.

The fest actually kicked off yesterday morning with a BYOV (local poets organizing their own events at various city venues) called Poetry and Stillness. It was meditative and beautiful. The words were enriching. It gave me the focus and energy I need for the rest of the busy week.

Hoping to catch as many events as I can, and then finish with a workshop by Arleen Pare on Saturday. The Fest always puts on spectacular workshops.

Still plan to post the Poem-A-Day to finish out the month. If you’ve been reading any of my posts, thank you so much. And hopefully you’re poeming along too. The world needs your words. Poetry can be the force that makes us protect what’s important, and fight for the world we want. But Alice Walker said it better, with one of my favourite quotes about poetry:

“Poetry is the lifeblood of rebellion, revolution, and the raising of consciousness.”

 

PAD 2017 – Day 30

The last day! Unfortunately, also a day when I am feeling quite under the weather, so didn’t have as much time and energy to devote to the final poem as I would’ve liked. Today’s Writer’s Digest prompt was the very wide open suggestion to write a  “The ____” poem. I decided to narrow it down a bit with the NaPoWriMo prompt to write about something that happens again and again.

 

The Sun & You

 

the sunrise

missed

when you’re in my bed

 

hot on my neck

the midday sun

your breath

 

the sunset

always better

next to you

 

My last Alberta poet of the month is Edmonton writer and artist Laurie MacFayden.  In keeping with the “The ___ ” theme, I thought of Laurie’s stunning poem “The Last Night,”  from her book Kissing Keeps Us Afloat. It resonates with me especially well, as it reminds me of things I’ve written (or tried to write, perhaps less successfully) about dealing with my Mom’s death. Listen and watch Laurie give a wonderful reading of it here.

PAD 2017 – Day 29

The penultimate day of the poem-a-day challenge! I liked today’s NaPoWriMo prompt, which asked writers to take a noun from a favourite poem, do some word association with it, then use it in a new poem. I went with a classic, T.S. Eliot’s “The Lovesong of J. Alfred Prufrock.” Fun fact: it also happens to be the poem that inspired the name of this blog! Many interesting nouns in that one, but “sawdust” stuck out for me. It also combined well with today’s Writer’s Digest prompt to write a poem that uses the language, or a theme from,  the metric system.

Sawdust

 

Watching you from the open window that summer,

grind and whine of the electric saw a soundtrack

as you worked to build our girls a play fort

drawn purely from your own imagination.

I saw the way your brow furrowed,

as you measured twice to cut once,

sometimes still ending up a centimetre off.

I saw the way your spine straightened, small smile

on your face when you made one piece

fit so perfectly into the next.

I knew when I married you that there were

depths I would get to discover years later, or maybe never.

Surprises that might reveal themselves gradually

in stories you told, or the way your eyes looked

when I told you mine. But I never expected that new tingle

on my lips, a whole seventeen years in, when you came

inside for a glass of water, and leaned over to kiss me,

the scent of fresh sawdust all over your skin.

 

My Alberta poem today is by Calgary writer Nikki Reimer. With a title like “I suppose the ideal basement tenant would be a quiet retiree in good health, partially deaf, with reclusive but not unpleasant habits. Maybe tenants like that are already all taken,” you have to know the rest of the poem will be filled with wonderful wordplay and wit. Some worldly wisdom in  it too. Watch Ms. Reimer read it here.