PAD 2019 – Day 20

Sometimes the prompts align seamlessly. Today’s Stroll of Poets prompt called for an “unknowable” poem, while Poetic Asides suggested poems having anything to do with “dark.”  Infinite possibilities, but this is what sparked in my brain.

Unknowable Darkness

 

Staring at the night sky, December, north of the 52nd parallel, fixate

not on every glimmering point of light, but the blackness that holds them.

Face bit by the kind of cold that reminds you you’re alive.

That distracts you from the impenetrable idea  of infinity.

Even darkness, silence have their wonders, but grasping them seems

impossible. Too much for an earthbound body to bear.

PAD 2019 – Day 19

Mixing the Poetic Asides call for a “license” poem with NaPoWriMo’s suggestion to write an abecedarian poem. (Something I’ve never done before…which is likely painfully obvious).

PAD 2019 – Day 19

Alphabetic License

 

Always, bearing certain disaster,

everything finds great happiness.

I just kissed lovely morning.

New order perfecting quiet rights.

Still trees — ulmus, verbena, walnut,

eXhalted yellowbark. Zinging.

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?

November PAD – Day 15

The prompt today asked for a poem titled “Stranger________.” My mind went on a bit of a meandering trip, and strange or not, I decided to follow.

15.

Stranger days I do not recall. The newspaper’s running a story about ten waitresses working at ten different restaurants who have won the lottery this month, and five women on my block had healthy babies this week . The hares, too, have multiplied. Twenty-five count on my lawn this morning, and they’ve lost their fear of people. My daughter walked right up to one, placed a red velvet ribbon around its neck, then leaned in close to hear it whispering. She told me it’s all part of the change, and soon we’ll know, my daughter said. Any other day I’d credit her imagination, but stranger days I do not recall. Every plant in my house bloomed overnight, and the air outside smells of cinnamon. At the grocery store, every piece of fruit felt plump, perfect and unblemished. And all the shoppers broke into “Good Vibrations” at the exact same time. The harmonies were perfect. I didn’t even know I knew the words, but they knew me. And we sang ourselves out en mass into the parking lot, all knowing exactly how long to hold the final note.  An older woman began laughing when we were done, and I laughed too when I caught her soft brown eye.  We all laughed for what felt like a year, but the sun never set, so it might have been just a minute. Ahhh, she sighed, like you do when you’re spent from the best belly laugh. Have you ever felt so happy? What is it, the rapture?  I don’t know, I replied, and I really didn’t, but it was the strangest thing —  soon I was floating out of my shoes, unbuttoning my blouse, grinning as I flew up, up, up, with all the women, completely unencumbered.

 

November PAD – Day 5

Five days in already! Time flies when you’re working words. Today’s prompt was to write a “self-destruct” poem. Hard not to go to the big picture of humanity place with the state of things, so I rolled with it.

5.

There are reasons to be hopeful. At this exact moment, a man in California is hearing his child laugh for the first time. Better, he’s the one making the child laugh. A woman is being pulled from the Mediterranean Sea, and will live. People are dancing in Helsinki. Imagination burns. Someone is inventing new ways to be or not to be at all. Lighting the slow burning match that sets off the self-destruct. The end of everything — except. Radioactivity subsides. Fauna revives. Flora grows. Winds blow. It lightens the heart, really, this universal resilience. Take a sip of tea. Dip your cookie. It all goes on just fine without us.

****

In other poetry news, I am so excited that my first ever haiga has been chosen as an honorable mention in the Second Annual Jane Reichhold Haiga Competition, photography category.  I took this photo at the Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Village just outside Edmonton, Alberta. The poem didn’t come immediately, but I could tell those old gloves had a story or two. Please take a moment to read all the winning entries in this issue of Failed Haiku magazine, and see my haiga, as well as the judge’s comments below.

 

Comments from contest judge Linda Papanicolaou:

If senryu is about the human condition, old age can be an endless source of humor. This is a warm poem in the way it depicts an old man who retains the charisma of his younger days despite decrepitude. The image reinforces the poem nicely, illustrating line two with an image of boxing gloves. Its pale coloration evokes elderly skin while the empty space between the hanging gloves evokes missing teeth.”

Poem: Dubbing Planet 9

Most days, reading or watching the news makes my heart ache.  This week, hearing about the quiet planet chillin’ at the edge of our solar system, took me to a different kind of dark place — the beautiful mystery of space.

 

Dubbing Planet 9

 

We can’t see you, shadow planet,

but we know you’re there.

This is more than faith.

More than wishes made

on all the shining stars.

(Maybe it’s your light, so bright,

that we’ll see tonight —

forgive us our mistake).

 

You can’t hide forever,

even floating far

past imagination.

 

We’ve got your tracks, elusive giant.

You Bigfoot in space,

and we’re excited, tittering,

because we love to dub.

 

This is our time, baby.

Our chance to claim the cosmos.

No more stuffy Roman gods,

no more démodé Greek deities.

 

You need a now name.

Something trending:

#PlanetSoFar

Uber

Drake

 

Make you mononymous, female:

Marilyn

Oprah

Adele

 

Or formal, with title,

honorifics for our stellar stone:

King Orb

Lady Rondure

Miss Mary Mack Mack Mack

(Way out in black, black, black).

 

A century from now,

if you’re spotted, snapped, shown

to all the world, will we know better

how to name?

 

Is something ineffable until it’s seen?

 

What new words will have sprung from

our multilingual human tongue?

 

A millennium from now, if humanity remains,

curious, searching, able

to touch your primordial face,

will we know you then?

 

Will we be any closer to understanding

why you’re there, why we’re here,

why anything is

at all?

poem: Footpath

Footpath

Inside me she kicked

tiny, newly formed feet

firm against womb wall

and up into my ribs

when she floated

upside down

 

In bed, between us

she flings her legs in slumber

and doesn’t wake

when her feet hit our backs,

bellies, heads, when she ends up

reversed.

We are too tired to protest.

Maddening at 3 a.m.

and forgivable by dawn

when we roll over and see her

rosebud mouth

suspended in half-smile

of contented sleep.

 

She kicks at her little sister

when fury hits

and then, later,

a boy on the playground

who threatens her sister.

 

She connects with soccer balls

easily now. Proud in new sneakers

that light up when she runs

alongside other girls

and boys.

 

I worry about school.

Will she have it in her to quash

playground taunts?

Stomp out frustration

over answers that don’t come easily?

 

She is a girl now.

My girl.

And I know there will be

a lot of kicking left to do

before she is a woman.

When she is a woman.

 

Doors to kick.

Habits to kick.

Ideas to kick around

while she figures out

who she wants to be.

There will be kicks to the teeth

that rattle her for years.

And kicks in the ass

that help her move

when she’s stuck.

 

It’s kick or be kicked

at every stage.

And I want her to remember

as she is kicking the mud from her boots

that it will be a dirty, hard path.

But she has it,

the strong legs, strong heart, strong mind.

To get her through.

poem: On Michigan Beach

A few weeks ago, I was going through old boxes in my parents’ basement. One contained a bunch of papers, books and writing from high school. It was a fun little box of discovery and memory, and I found my creative writing assignments from Grade 12. It was interesting to see what my 17-year-old self thought about things. Some pieces were so bad it was funny, and others I don’t remember writing at all, and can’t figure out what would’ve inspired me. But that summer before Grade 12, I had the opportunity to go to this international leadership camp in Michigan. Sounds nerdy, and in ways it was, but it was also an amazing experience for me — especially at that time in my life. I met some interesting and inspiring people from all over the globe, and to a girl who grew up in, (at that time) boring and uniform Saskatoon, meeting people from such exotic places as Ecuador, Ghana and Japan made a pretty big impact. Much of what I wrote about that year came from my few weeks at that camp, including this poem.

 

On Michigan Beach

The pleasant smell of smoke

and burning pine, as fire

steals each face from shadows.

They are laughing, singing,

and in the spaces between

they look at stars.

At night, this place

feels different.

Bigger.

Water and land

kiss softly in darkness.

Sometimes, they are so quiet.

Only the sounds of

breath and waves.

Skin brushing skin.

They huddle in the damp air

and press their memories into sand.