Monday, April 14, 2014

Day 14 ... NaPoWriMo / Poem-a-Day 2014


Hello, everyone. Day 14. A fortnight in. I've always found it interesting that "fortnight" and "fourteen" share the same opening sounds. Is there a connection there, do you think? A shared root sometime in the past, perhaps. If you know, would you share in a comment, please? Thanks. And now, as always, the "official" prompts.

"For today's prompt," Robert Lee Brewer says, "take the phrase 'If I Were (blank),' replace the blank with a word or phrase, make the new phrase the title of your poem, and then, write the poem. Possible titles might include: 'If I Were President,' 'If I Were Smarter,' 'If I Were a Little More Sensitive,' or 'If I Were Born on April 14.' If I were you, I'd get poeming about now." (Poetic Asides).

"Today's prompt (optional, as always)," Maureen Thorson begins, "is a little something I'm calling 'Twenty Questions.' The idea is to write a poem in which every sentence, except for the last one, is in the form of a question. That's it! It can be as long or short as you like. The questions can be deep and philosophical ('what is the meaning of life') or routine and practical ('are you going to eat that?'). Or both!" (NaPoWriMo).

Okay, mixing the prompts, as usual. And lowering the number of questions from Maureen's 20 to 14. Why? Because it's April 14, and because the poem I'm presenting below is a sonnet, at least in shape if not in argument. Here we go.

If I Were a Sonnet, I Would Ask 14 Questions

How do I love thee? Or should that really be "you"?
And of course, I would ask how do you love me?
Or should that be "I"? Does linguistics figure into
How one asks questions of lovers? Should we

Even care about linguistics at a time
Like this, when one is writing a love poem?
Should we rhyme? Full rhyme or slant rhyme?
Capitalize each line? One could write a tome

Or at least a monograph about whether
Or not grammar — or spelling, for that matter —
Should even, in a romantic sonnet, matter?
Shall we count the ways? For example, whether

We should be like Bill Clinton? Debate what is, is?
Is there no answer? If there be, the answer simply is . . .

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

Just for fun, here's Bill Clinton. Let's imagine that he's pondering the questions in the poem. Or maybe he's actually laughing at how ludicrous the whole thing is. Or was.


Speaking of "ludicrous," I'm pretty ludicrously proud of using identical rhyme in the last six lines: rhyming a word with itself. You gots to take your humor where you finds it.      I used full rhyme throughout the poem because the other day my girlfriend Kathy (lucky Kathy from a couple of days ago) asked me why I use so much slant rhyme. I just want to prove, ha ha, that I can do full rhyme. But slant rhyme, I think, is harder to do and less chime-like.


All right, on to Alan's poem for Day 14. Here is Alan's set up: "After noting that Vince did not allude to the Stevie Nicks/Tom Petty collaboration 'Stop Draggin' My Heart Around' in his 'Dragon Sestina' yesterday (April 13), I joked that I would write a Stevie Nicks poem for today. I'm bringing in an old friend to help."

The old friend to whom Alan is referring is his real-life colleague Thomas Crofts, medievalist, who appeared as a character in several of Alan's NaPoWriMo poems last year. Alan, I'm glad to "see" Thomas Crofts, medievalist; I was starting to despair that he wouldn't make an appearance this April.

Thomas Crofts and I Encounter
a Cosplayer Dressed as Stevie Nicks


I like the subtle ones the best:
the preppie in the suit with tie
askew, his open collar just
revealing blue beneath, a red
line of a symbol scarce in sight;
the Goth girl, Horus sigil black
mascaraed right eye, silver ankh
around her neck, and startled I,
of anyone, would recognize
the Endless Death; that quiet guy
who never spoke in class and wore
a power ring, symbolic strength
through will. These plain-sight, camouflaged
creative ones who soon will see
how many of us cycle through
identities throughout our days,
relying on acknowledgment
of mere allusion, grateful seen,
not wanting to attract. And so
it was that colleague Thomas Crofts,
medievalist, and I first saw
Rhiannon in the flesh, her hair
in ringlets, doleful eyes, her lips
bee-stung and full, her macramé
handmade hemp vest and silken blouse,
her matching scarf a band tied loose
around her top hat’s crown, our nod,
and Thomas, “Taken by the sky?”
She smiled and twirled and kept in step.

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

Fun poem, Alan. Thanks for taking on yourself your own challenge to me to slip Stevie Nicks into my "Dragon Sestina." You saved me a lot of trouble and heartache. Wink wink. 

Stevie Nicks in a top hat (2011)
Hey, let's watch YouTube videos of Stevie Nicks and Tom Petty singing "Stop Draggin' My Heart Around," shall we? Here's a reunion version of the two of them reprising the song in 2006. And from just last week, here's a re-creation with Stevie Nicks doing the song on the Tonight show and Jimmy Fallon cosplaying Tom Petty. Actually, Jimmy does a spot-on impression of Petty. And, you Nirvana fans, look who introduces them. Fun, huh?


Won't you comment, please, friends? To make 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.  


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


3 comments:

Thomas Alan Holmes said...

Vince, I'm pleased to say that Thomas Crofts, medievalist, and I will be in a poem published in the upcoming Inscape, a literary magazine published at Morehead State University.

Vince Gotera said...

Hey, congrats, Alan! Will Thomas Crofts, medievalist, be wearing armor and wielding a claymore?

Thomas Alan Holmes said...

In this case, he and I will be discussing Doc Watson with one of the local banjoists of note. ETSU has a bachelor's degree in Bluegrass, Old Time, and Country Music--the first in the nation--and on good days there are students with stringed instruments all over the place.

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