Saturday, April 12, 2014

Day 12 ... NaPoWriMo / Poem-a-Day 2014


Day Twelve. The Dirty Dozen, 12 eggs in a carton, 12 apostles, 12 tribes of Israel, the duodecimal number system (base 12), the Twelve Days of Christmas, 12 Angry Men, 12 beer cans in a case, 12-step progam, 12 inches on a ruler, 12 signs of the Zodiac, 12 months in a year — 12 items in this list of 12's!  

At the NaPoWriMo website, Maureen Thorson suggests "a replacement poem. Pick a common noun for a physical thing, for example, desk or hat or bear, and then pick one for something intangible, like love or memories or aspiration. Then Google your tangible noun, and find some sentences using it. Now, replace that tangible noun in those sentences with your intangible noun, and use those sentences to create (or inspire) a poem."

In the Poetic Asides blog, Robert Lee Brewer challenges us to "write a city poem. The poem can take place in a city, can remember the city (in a general sense), be an ode to a specific city, or well, you should know the drill by now. City poem: Write it!"

Mixing the two prompts as always, I googled sentences online that contained pavement and city, simplified them by removing any city names, then replaced pavement with happiness. And there you are . . . ¡una poema!

Happiness Underfoot in the City
— a found poem
The city maintains more than 1,800 miles of street happiness.

The city has been able to implement an ambitious happiness
maintenance plan.

The small city happiness account is created in the state treasury.

To assess the effectiveness of previous happiness options in
the city the partnership chose to conduct a pilot project.

Utilizing this program, the City can rate the road happiness
conditions.

In 2010, the city collected happiness condition data as part of
the Mobile Asset Data Collection project.

Happiness dwelling is likely to aggravate malnutrition among
the residents of the city.

When I walk on the city happiness, it's like a trigger going off
in my mind.

—Draft by Vince Gotera    [Do not copy or quote . . . thanks.]

The last line, incidentally, is converted from the opening lyrics of The Subways song "City Pavement" (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qSkHO-_LKk4). Actually, my text might be a kind of parody of that punk song and of city poems in general. Hmm. What do you think?


Alan says by way of intro, "I'm running a bit late today; my apologies. I was going to try the 'Google something and change the word' prompt, but I kept reading about recent stabbings and decided it would be better to find a bench outside, away from everything, and let my mind wander. I find that a fixed form helps me, sometimes, to develop ideas, as if I am solving a puzzle. Please indulge this small bit of autobiography (the explanation and the poem)."

Relativity

We could have bought a good used car for what
our first PC cost. We took out a loan;
our credit history was brief. No one
in our small student circle had yet bought
one. We read magazines and were self taught,
enticed by color Commodores, but fun
was out. We needed Microsoft to run
a word processor and risked getting caught
by bright displays and cartridges. I still
recall our IT in-law’s scoffing, how
we’d bought a hard drive well beyond our needs
and how, a short time later, I could fill
it up with drafts of dissertation. Now
my cell phone holds more than he ever reads.

—Draft by Thomas Alan Holmes     [Do not copy or quote . . . thanks.]

Ain't that the truth. I bet one of our cell phones holds more than those WWII-era computers that took up entire buildings. I learned in a computer class 30+ years ago that the term "bug" for a computer problem came from these building-size computers where real live insects would gum up the works.


My first computer was an early generation Mac that I was able to buy because I won a writing award that had some prize money attached to it: the Mary Roberts Rinehart Award. I've always been grateful to George Mason University for that prize and how it got me going, computer-wise. Before that I had done all my computing and word processing on Indiana University mainframes, printing out poems on that newsprint accordion computer paper.

Anyway, good poem, Alan. Very gracefully and elegantly constructed Petrarchan sonnet. Bravo!

About being "late" . . . remember, Alan, that I gave a reading tonight at Southeastern Community College in southeastern Iowa. So I was tied up till almost 10:00 p.m. and couldn't get to my blogging duties until less than two hours before midnight. So, anyway, all is well, my friend.

About tonight's reading . . . many thanks to Professor Charles Burm for his great hospitality and also to his students Julie, Dom, and Joe with whom I had an excellent dinner. Thanks to all of you and to the excellent audience tonight and to Southeastern Community College for a wonderful evening.


Faithful readers, won't you comment, please? To post a comment, look for a blue link below that says Post a comment; if you don't see that, look in the red line that starts Posted by Vince and click on the word comments.

Ingat, everyone. Look for happiness in the city — one hopes not underfoot.   

POEM-A-DAY 2014 • Pick a day in April: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30


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