Sunday, April 27, 2014

Day 27 ... NaPoWriMo / Poem-a-Day 2014


Day 27. Four poems to go, counting today's.

Robert Lee Brewer's prompt today: "a monster poem" (Poetic Asides). Maureen Thorson suggests a "poem from a photograph," providing four photos one could use, though one could also use a photo of one's own (NaPoWriMo). Here's the photo I've chosen.



Skeleton Talks to Pumpkin

I'm not so much articulate as articulated.
Though I can talk a goodly amount. Thank God

for museum techs and the colony of hide beetles
that devoured the flesh from my bones. It tickled

when the larvae crawled all over me and munched
munched munched. Then the techs reconnected my bones

with rods and screws. And so I became a meatless
zombie. But smarter and nicer than any zombies

you know. None of that pointless grunting and hissing,
that staggering and grabbing, mindlessly grubbing for brains.

I don't need brains. I get along fine without them.
And you, brother pumpkin, I know you feel the same.

Though you are stuffed with seeds and pulp and fiber,
and my skull is full of nothing but atmosphere,

We are the same. We are happy only to be.
We love the sun and the moon, the trees and the sea.

We desire nothing. We compete with no one else.
We love everything. We gladly brook all fools.

We only seek to please, help others delight.
Provide sweets and joy when they trick or treat.
And for that we need no brains, we need no meat.

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

This poem was a joy to write because I had no idea where it was going to go and where it was going to end up. Just three lines from what is now the ending, I told Kathy I had no idea how to get out of the poem. And I'm still not sure how this ending came to me. I just had to empty myself of ideas and walk downhill, if you will.

I also enjoyed this process because I started off with rough blank verse and didn't know these were rhymed couplets — okay, slant rhyme — until I hit line 14 or so. And then I saw that indeed there were slant rhymes already there, though some were exceedingly distant, like beetles/tickled or munched/bones, which to some are probably not rhymes at all. From that point, I began to rhyme more consciously, as in be/see and else/fools. And really, it was trying to work the rhyme that got me to the end. Or that revealed, however mysteriously or impossibly, what might make an ending.

The zombie material came up because a few weeks ago, my friend Gary Beeler, who was my classmate in a beginning poetry writing class when we were first-year college students, challenged me to write a zombie poem. I tried to twist this poem in that direction, but it wouldn't go. So . . . sorry, Gary, this isn't the zombie poem.


And now on to Alan's poem. He tells us, "I am following Maureen Thorson's prompt inviting an ekphrastic poem for today. This poem does not describe anyone in particular; I see what, in my opinion, should not happen in promotional shots for writers, and I post this poem with the usual disclaimer (not intended to represent anyone you or I know in the entire span of human history) and with the hope that should I be put in the line of lens for having published something, I will remember this criticism. To be clear: I am not talking about the celebratory selfie/snapshot of when a person just gets hands on something newly released or has a friendly encounter with a reader somewhere. I am talking only about professionally produced promotional photos."

To the Poet Who Poses for Promotional Photos


I look at back covers, flaps
inside dust jackets, faces
at three-quarter, indirect
turn, in denial a photo
reveals any mystery,
keeping reserve behind eyes
almost always directed
at some potential readers.
You hold your book in the woods—
your own book. I look at you
and wonder, “Why your own book
in the woods?” I have taken
drafts into the woods to work
on them, to read them out loud
and hope for an echo out
there near the hollow, but I
find that your holding your book —
your own book — in the woods calls
for my projecting meaning.
You want me to think of you
bonded with nature, your book
an extension of kinship,
not to think that backdrop trees
or trees like them were cut down
to publish your new volume.
Mention to your publicist
the value of an inset —
separate published poets
from their published works, avoid
redundancy. The poet
stands a mere inspired corpus.

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

I know exactly what you mean, Alan. There's such hubris sometimes in those promotional photos. I tried to find something to illustrate without portraying an actual writer. The closest I could get is this image.


This guy's pipe (Hemingway-ing, anyone?) and his bowtie and suspenders matching his typewriter's blue color are all over the top. And really, who uses a typewriter anymore? Actually, one of my most prolific writer friends still uses legal pads and a typewriter, and he's published something like fifty books, so I take back that snark about typewriters. But the rest of what's pictured is clearly faux writer schtuff. Almost as bad as Hef's satin smoking jackets and pajamas. Ya know? (Hef smoked a pipe too.)


Won't you comment, please, friends? To make a comment, look for a blue link below that says Post a comment and click it once. If you don't see that, look in the red line that starts Posted by Vince, then find the word comments and click it once.

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


5 comments:

Thomas Alan Holmes said...

I never went the pipe and braces route, but I have been known to wear a tweed jacket from time to time; I don't have the leather patches yet.

Thomas Alan Holmes said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Vince Gotera said...

I got a tweed jacket when I finished my PhD. No leather patches too. But I've outgrown the tweed jacket. And a good thing, too.

Thomas Alan Holmes said...

The comment I deleted above was an accidental duplication of the previous comment. I did not realize that Blogger would rat on me for deleting my own comment.

Vince Gotera said...

Yeah, it annoyingly does that. So when I get a lot of spam comments, I just leave them in order not to have a bunch of "comment removed" blah blah.

13th floor elevators (1) 3d (1) 9/11 (3) a schneider (1) abecedarian (6) acrostic (2) adelaide crapsey (1) african american (1) aids (1) al robles (2) alberta turner (1) alex esclamado (1) alexander chen (1) alexandra bissell (1) alexandrines (1) alliteration (2) alphabet (1) alphabet poem (2) altered books (1) altered pages (2) amanda blue gotera (6) amelia blue gotera (3) amok (1) amy lowell (1) anacreon (1) anacreontics (1) anaphora (1) andrea boltwood (19) andrew davidson (1) andrew marvell (1) andrew oldham (1) angelina jolie (1) angels (1) animation (1) anna montgomery (3) anne reynolds (1) annie e. existence (1) annie finch (1) anny ballardini (1) anti- (1) antonio taguba (2) aprille (1) art (7) arturo islas (1) ash wednesday (1) asian american (4) assonance (1) astronomy (2) aswang (8) aswang wars (1) atlanta rhythm section (1) balato (1) ballad (1) barack obama (7) barbara jane reyes (1) barry a. morris (1) bass (2) bataan (5) becca andrea (1) beetle (2) belinda subraman (2) beowulf (1) best american poetry (1) bible (1) bill clinton (1) billy collins (2) blank verse (4) bob boynton (1) body farm (1) bolo (1) bongbong marcos (3) brian brodeur (2) bruce johnson (1) bruce niedt (2) buddah moskowitz (2) burns stanza (1) callaloo (1) candida fajardo gotera (5) cardinal sin (1) carlos bulosan (1) carlos santana (1) carmina figurata (1) carolina matsumura gotera (1) caroline klocksiem (1) carrie arizona (3) carrieola (3) carriezona (1) catherine childress pritchard (1) catherine pritchard childress (35) catullus (1) cebu (1) cecilia manguerra brainard (1) cedar falls (6) cedar falls public library (1) charles a hogan (2) chess (1) childhood (1) children's poetry (1) China (1) chorus of glories (1) chris durietz (1) christmas (2) chuck pahlaniuk (1) cinquain (1) civil rights (1) clarice (1) classics iv (1) cleave hay(na)ku (2) clerihews (2) cliché (1) computers (1) concreteness (1) consonance (3) cory aquino (2) couplet (5) couplet quatrains (1) crab (1) craft (5) creative nonfiction (1) crewrt-l (1) crucifixion (1) curtal sonnet (6) dactyls (1) daily palette (1) damián ortega (1) danielle filas (1) dante (4) dashiki (1) david foster wallace (1) david wojahn (1) de jackson (2) denise duhamel (1) deviantART (2) dick powell (1) diction (1) didactic cinquain (1) dinosaur (2) disaster relief (1) divine comedy (1) dodecasyllables (1) doggerel (2) doggie diner (1) don johnson (1) dr who (3) dr. seuss (1) draft (2) dragon (1) dragonfly (17) drug addiction (1) drums (1) dusty springfield (1) e e cummings (1) e-book (1) earth day (1) ebay (2) ecopoetry (1) ed hill (1) edgar allan poe (2) edgar rice burroughs (1) editing (1) eileen tabios (6) ekphrasis (2) election (2) elegy (1) elizabeth alexander (2) elizabeth bishop (2) elvis presley (1) emily dickinson (5) emma trelles (1) end-stop (3) enita meadows (1) enjambment (5) enola gay (1) environment (1) erasure poetry (9) erin mcreynolds (4) ernest lawrence thayer (1) exxon valdez oil spill (1) f. scott fitzgerald (1) facebook (3) family (4) fantasy (1) fashion (1) ferdinand magellan (1) ferdinand marcos (5) fib (1) fiction (3) fiera lingue (1) fighting kite (4) filipino (language) (1) filipino americans (6) filipino poetry (1) filipino veterans equity (3) filipinos (5) film (3) final thursday reading series (2) flannery o'connor (3) flute (1) fortune cookie (1) found poem (1) found poetry (6) found poetry review (2) fourteeners (1) frank frazetta (1) fred unwin (1) free verse (1) fructuosa gotera (1) fyodor dostoevsky (1) gabriel garcía márquez (1) gambling (1) garrett hongo (1) gary kelley (1) gawain (1) genre (1) george w. bush (1) gerard manley hopkins (8) ghazal (1) ghost wars (5) ghosts of a low moon (1) gogol bordello (1) golden shovel (3) goodreads (1) google (1) gotera (1) grace kelly (1) grant tracey (1) greek mythology (1) gregory k pincus (1) griffin lit (1) grimm (1) grinnell college (2) growing up (1) growing up filipino (2) guest blogger (1) guillaume appolinaire (1) guitar (9) gulf war (1) gustave doré (3) guy de maupassant (1) gwendolyn brooks (2) gypsy art show (1) gypsy punk (1) hades (1) haiku (16) haiku sonnet (3) hart crane (1) hawak kamay (1) hay(na)ku (16) hay(na)ku sonnet (8) header (1) hearst center for the arts (2) heirloom (1) herman melville (1) hey joe (1) hiroshima (1) hiv here & now (1) homer (1) how a poem happens (2) humboldt state university (1) humor (1) iain m. banks (1) iamb (1) ian parks (1) ibanez (1) imagery (1) imelda marcos (4) immigrants (1) imogen heap (1) indiana university (1) ink! (1) insect (2) insects (1) international hotel (1) interview (3) introduction (2) iowa (2) iran (1) iran-iraq war (1) irving levinson (1) italian bicycle (1) italian sonnet (1) ivania velez (2) j. d. schraffenberger (4) j. i. kleinberg (3) j. k. rowling (1) jack horner (2) jack kerouac (1) jack p nantell (1) james brown (1) james gorman (2) jan d. hodges (1) japan (1) jasmine dreame wagner (1) jeanette winterson (1) jedediah dougherty (1) jedediah kurth (31) jennifer bullis (1) jesse graves (1) jessica hagedorn (1) jessica mchugh (2) jim daniels (1) jim hall (1) jim hiduke (1) jim o'loughlin (1) jim simmerman (1) jimi hendrix (2) jimmy fallon (1) joan osborne (1) joe mcnally (1) john barth (1) john charles lawrence (2) john clare (1) john donne (1) john mccain (1) john welsh iii (2) joseph solo (1) josh hamzehee (1) joyce kilmer (1) justine wagner (1) kampilan (1) kathleen ann lawrence (1) kathy reichs (1) keith welsh (1) kelly cherry (1) kenning (1) kennings poem (3) kim groninga (1) king arthur (1) king tut (1) kumadre (1) kumpadre (1) kurt vonnegut (1) kyell gold (1) landays (1) lapu-lapu (1) lapwing publications (1) laurie kolp (2) les paul (1) leslie kebschull (1) library (1) library of congress (2) limerick (2) linda parsons marion (1) linda sue grimes (2) lineation (5) linked haiku (3) list poem (1) little brown brother (1) little free libraries (3) lost (tv) (1) louise glück (1) luis buñuel (1) lydia lunch (1) machismo (1) magazines (1) mah jong (1) man ray (1) manananggal (2) manong (3) margaret atwood (1) maria fleuette deguzman (1) marianne moore (1) marilyn cavicchia (1) marilyn hacker (1) mark jarman (1) marriage (1) martin avila gotera (16) martin luther king jr. (1) marty gotera (5) marty mcgoey (1) mary ann blue gotera (6) mary biddinger (1) mary roberts rinehart award (1) mary shelley (1) matchbook (1) maura stanton (1) maureen thorson (146) meena rose (3) megan hippler (1) melina blue gotera (3) mental illness (1) meter (7) mfa (2) michael heffernan (2) michael martone (2) michael ondaatje (1) michael shermer (2) michael spence (1) michelle obama (1) middle witch (1) mirror northwest (1) misky (1) molossus (1) monkey (1) morel mushrooms (2) mushroom hunting (1) music (3) muslim (1) my custom writer blog (1) myth (1) mythology (3) nagasaki (1) naked blonde writer (1) naked girls reading (1) naked novelist (1) napowrimo (153) narrative (2) natalya st. clair (1) nathan dahlhauser (1) nathaniel hawthorne (1) national geographic (3) national poetry month (154) native american (1) neil gaiman (2) neoformalism (1) New Formalists (1) New York School (1) nick carbó (3) ninang (1) north american review (7) north american review blog (2) of books and such (1) of this and such (1) ottava rima (2) oulipo (1) pablo picasso (2) pacific crossing (1) padre timoteo gotera (1) painting (1) palestinian american (1) palindrome (1) palinode (1) palmer hall (1) pantoum (1) paradelle (2) paranormal (1) parkersburg iowa (1) parody (3) parol (1) pastoral poetry (1) pat bertram (2) pat martin (1) paula berinstein (1) pause for the cause (2) pca/aca (1) peace (2) peace of mind band (1) pecan grove press (2) pepito gotera (1) percy bysshe shelley (2) performance poetry (1) persephone (1) persona phone (1) peter padua (1) petrarch (1) petrarchan sonnet (7) philip larkin (1) philippine news (1) philippine scouts (6) philippine-american war (1) philippines (8) phish (1) pinoy (1) pinoy poetics (1) pixie lott (1) podcast (1) podcasts (3) poem-a-day challenge (151) poetics (6) poetry (5) poetry imitation (1) poetry international (1) poetry reading (4) poets against (the) war (2) pop culture (2) prejudice (1) presidio of san francisco (1) prince (2) princess grace foundation (1) promotion (1) prose poem (3) ptsd (2) puppini sisters (1) puptent poets (2) pyrrhic (1) quatrain (3) r.e.m. (1) rachel morgan (2) racism (1) rainer maria rilke (1) rap (1) rattle (1) ray fajardo (1) reggie lee (1) rembrandt (1) ren powell (1) reviews (1) revision (1) rhyme (7) rhysling awards (1) rhythm (1) richard hugo (1) rick griffin (1) rime (1) rippled mirror hay(na)ku (1) robert bly (1) robert frost (2) robert fulghum (1) robert j christenson (1) robert lee brewer (151) robert mezey (1) robert neville (1) robert zemeckis (1) rock and roll (2) roger zelazny (1) ron kowit (1) ronald wallace (2) rondeau (1) ross gay (1) rubaiyat (1) rubaiyat sonnet (1) run-d.m.c. (1) saade mustafa (1) salt publishing (1) salvador dali (1) san francisco (8) sandra cisneros (1) santa claus (1) santana (1) sapphics (1) sarah deppe (1) sarah palin (1) sarah smith (26) satan (1) sayaka alessandra (1) schizophrenia (1) science fiction (1) science fiction poetry association (1) science friction (1) scifaiku (1) scott walker (1) screaming monkeys (1) scripture (1) sculpture (1) sena jeter naslund (1) senryu (3) sestina (6) sevenling (1) shadorma (1) shaindel beers (2) sharon olds (1) shawn wong (1) shiites or shia (1) sidney bechet (1) skateboard (1) skylaar amann (1) slant rhyme (5) slide shows (1) small fires press (1) sniper (1) somersault abecedarian (1) sonnet (27) sonnetina (3) soul (1) southeast asian american (1) specificity (1) spiraling abecedarian (1) spondee (1) spooky (1) st. patrick's day (1) stanford university (1) stanley meltzoff (1) stanza (1) stars and stripes (2) stereogram (1) steve hazlewood (1) stevie nicks (1) stone canoe (1) sue boynton (1) suite101 (2) sunflowers (1) surges (1) susan l. chast (1) syllabics (1) sylvia plath (1) syzygy poetry journal (2) t. m. sandrock (1) t. s. eliot (2) tanka (1) tarzan (1) teaching creative writing (2) ted kooser (1) term paper mill (1) terrance hayes (1) terza rima (9) terza rima haiku sonnet (7) terzaiku sonnet (4) terzanelle (1) the byrds (1) thomas alan holmes (90) thomas crofts (4) thomas faivre-duboz (1) thunderstorm (1) thurifer (1) tiger (1) tilly the laughing housewife (1) time travel (1) tom perrotta (1) tom petty (1) tom phillips (1) toni morrison (2) tornado (1) translation (2) translitic (3) tribute in light (1) trickster (1) triolet (1) triskaidekaphobia (1) tritina (1) trochee (1) tucson (1) typhoon haiyan (1) typhoon yolanda (1) university of northern iowa (6) us army (7) vampire (2) ven batista (29) verses typhoon yolanda (1) veterans' day (2) via dolorosa (1) video poetry (6) vietnam war (4) viktor vasnetsov (1) villanelle (1) vince del monte (1) vincent van gogh (1) virgil wren (1) virtual blog tour (1) visual poetry (3) volkswagen (1) w. somerset maugham (1) wallace stevens (3) walt mcdonald (1) walt whitman (3) war (7) war in afghanistan (2) war in iraq (2) wartburg college (1) waterloo (1) whypoetrymatters (1) wile e. coyote (1) wilfred owen (1) william blake (1) william carlos williams (1) william f tout (1) william gibson (1) william oandasan (1) william shakespeare (2) wind (1) winter (1) women's art (1) wooster review (1) writing (1) writing away retreats (1) writing show (1) wwii (6) young adult (1) yusef komunyakaa (6) zone 3 (1)