PAD 2019 – Day 30

The final day! Woot! To anyone who’s been reading my poems, thank you. I write and post these drafts to keep myself on track, but it’s always nice to have the kind eyes of others on them too.

Today I decided to include all three of the prompt sites I’ve been using this month. A bit of a challenge since NaPoWriMo called for a micropoem. Packing more into less. That’s what poetry’s all about in many ways. So I tried to squeeze in the Poetic Asides call for a “stop” poem and the Stroll of Poets “standing in line” prompt.

 

tourist rest stop

 

cradled

by the rocky mountains

 

in the bathroom line

 

i hear “beautiful”

in six languages

 

 

PAD 2019 – Day 28

Never has mixing prompts been so fitting. Today’s NaPoWriMo prompt called for a poem about poetry, while Poetic Asides suggested “re-mixing” a poem or poems that have been penned earlier this month. I mined the poems from earlier days for words or phrases, then blended them into this.

 

Uncovering a Poem

 

It’s there to be found when it’s time,

but it means digging.

Poking at dreams wanting to be left undisturbed.

Peeking over the gate to see what’s growing.

Snaking the imagination, back — to gather traces of memory,

forward — to plant something new. Words, the closest ones to you,

unshared, but there like family. Reflections, imprints,

the bark of a tree, texture revealed

when it’s rubbed with a pencil.

PAD 2019 – Day 26

Today’s NaPoWriMo prompt called for a poem that uses repetition, while Poetic Asides suggested writing something about “evening”.  Here’s what came out of the mix:

Evenfall

 

Evening comes

faster the less you pay attention,

like everything that slips in unnoticed. Silver inch of growth

in the part of your hair,  shimmery skin cells sealing a wound,

lines on the face memorializing every frown or smile.

 

Evening comes

solemnly when you are not listening,

whispers of gold and pink asking you to let go

of fulgent preoccupations. A coolness in the gloaming,

offering calm restoration.

 

Evening comes

steadily no matter how much you long for pause,

reliable reminder of all you cannot, should not control.

Winds calm, stars test the sky with the first pricks of light,

darkness readies.

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.

 

NaPoWriMo – Day 2

Combining  the NaPoWriMo.net prompt that suggested a poem that played with voice and the Poetic Asides prompt asking for a portrait poem. Today would have been my Mom’s 75th birthday, and I have been thinking a lot today about birthdays past, as well as the tendentious nature of memory.

Birthday Memory

1.

I remember another birthday, Easter weekend too,

thirty degrees above zero and all of us sticky

in the K-Car on the long drive to Auntie Deb’s.

 

I remember your face, Mom.  Soft.

Young, though I didn’t recognize it then.

You hummed when Tom Jones came on the radio.

 

I remember the conversation between you

and Dad, farm kids gone city, speculating

on the state of the fields, the summer ahead.

 

I remember you holding a bouquet of pink tulips.

We asked Dad to buy them from all of us.

Afterthought gift  from the gas station.

 

2.

If you could feel the heat then, daughter

from the sun and family, too close.

Even affection can be stifling sometimes.

 

If you could paint my portrait

there’d be lies in the brushstrokes.

Smoothed over wrinkles and anger.

 

If you could hear only what was said

and not what was meant, I wouldn’t

blame you. Your optimistic child’s ear.

 

If you could see my fingers rubbing

the plush flower petals. Not meaning to

wear a hole in something I loved so much.

November PAD – Day 1

I thought about trying NaNoWriMo this year. I even have an idea for a novel that I’m rolling around in my brain, but it’s sort of at the marble in an empty bucket stage. I can’t imagine what the full bucket looks like just yet.

But, I remembered that the Poetic Asides blog on the Writer’s Digest site does a Poem-A-Day prompt in November, with the goal of producing a chapbook by the end of the month. What would this be called…NaChaWriMo? NaPoWriMoCha? I’ve decided to write prose poems, so maybe NaProPoChaWriMo? What ever the abbreviation, the challenge seems more do-able for me this year. And also keeps me writing. Even if it’s just stream of consciousness that I can trim and polish later.

The prompt today was to compose a “New Day” poem.  Here’s what grew:

1.

C’est un nouveau jour. It always is, but today I stretch my tongue with unfamiliar words. Grind fresh coffee beans. Press my finger along the crease of a new notebook, the possibility of one blank page after the next. We woke up to snow, wet and conscious of its own arrival. A confident declaration, je suis là. Our daughter pulled on her new winter boots, still a little too big, but everything needs space to grow. I used to think the winter stopped that — flourishing. The season of pause. But that was before I forgot to kiss you goodbye. Missed the tickle of one day’s growth on your stubbly chin.

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.

 

PAD 2017 – Day 27

Today’s NaPoWriMo prompt asked for poems that incorporated the sense of taste. I decided to mix that with the Writer’s Digest prompt to use the words pest, crack, ramble, hiccup, wince & festoon in a poem. I had a small hiccup in that I couldn’t find a way to include “hiccup” at all, but I did use the others — or versions of them.

Picking Saskatoons

 

We leave as soon as there’s a crack in the cloud cover.

I don’t have a rain jacket, but Auntie’s offered me

an old windbreaker, bright orange and smeared with

mud on the front. It hangs loose on my ten-year-old

frame, and I push the baggy sleeves up past my elbows,

exposing summer tanned skin to the ravenous pest

mosquitoes. We ramble up the hill behind the house,

Auntie and Mom walking side-by-side through

ankle-high grass and scrubby weeds. I watch

small splashes of mud dot the backs of their bare

calves with each step. Oh! A deer! Mom says, voice

excited but quiet, as she points to a doe, munching

clover by a barbed wire fence.  Every lean muscle

on the animal goes stiff and Auntie says, Better not tell

the boys or they’ll run right out here with the rifle.

I wince, thinking of this reticent creature, turned into

the red, meaty cubes I’ve seen Uncle press into

the sausage grinder. The doe jolts across the field,

into a thicket of trees, and I exhale loudly.

Just a half a click more, Kimmy, Auntie says and smiles,

because she knows I don’t mind when she calls me that.

I knock the empty ice cream pail against my thigh

as we walk, and think of how the thin metal handle

will cut into my palm on the way back, when the pail’s

heavy with berries. The grass is a little taller here.

We  high-step our way up to the saskatoon bushes,

their short branches festooned with lush,

purple-blue berries. Auntie and Mom chatter about

some cousin’s husband’s accident, He’ll be better in time

for harvest, thankfully as their quick hands pluck-pluck

and plop-plop the berries into their buckets. I pull two

matching clumps off the bush, five-berries on each,

dangling like jewels and hold them up to my ears

when Mom looks over, trying to get a laugh. But she

only smiles and says Get busy, young lady, and don’t

eat more than you keep. I like them better in pie anyway,

or in sweet purple-black jam I can spread on my buttery toast

on cold November mornings. But there’s always something

tempting about the fat, ripe ones, when all the green’s gone

from the skin, and you know if you pull too hard, the juicy berry

will squish between your fingers. Those ones I pop into my

mouth, pressing them between my tongue and the back of

my front teeth. Savouring the tangy taste of right now.

 

 

My Alberta poem today is by Edmonton writer and editor Peter Midgley. His poetry collection, Unquiet Bones, dazzled me when I read it last year, and the cover art is nearly as gorgeous as the writing inside. All Lit Up recently published his poem “nongqawuse (it is tasteless, this meat)” as part of the Poets Resist series, and you can read it here.

PAD 2017 – Day 26

I regret to say that I didn’t have much time today to thoughtfully consider a poem about “regret”, which is the Writer’s Digest prompt. But, this micro did spring pretty quickly to mind.

Worst Words

Pointless but potent
heart sting of
If only

 

A few nights ago I had the pleasure of attending a Edmonton Poetry Festival reading, and discovering that poet Angela Kublik is a staff member at my own, beloved local library. I have read some of Ms. Kublik’s work in the past, and adore the anthologies she’s co-edited: Home and Away: Alberta’s Finest Poets Muse on the Meaning of Home and Writing the Land: Alberta through its Poets. Being a huge fan of haibun, I particularly enjoyed Ms. Kublik’s “An Unsuspecting Lump of Clay” series which was published on DailyHaiku.org.