Wednesday, April 9, 2014

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


Day Nine. Number nine, number nine, number nine. I wonder who owns that song now? Maybe Michael Jackson's kids? Anyway, on to today's official (but optional) prompts.

Robert Lee Brewer suggests a "shelter poem" (Poetic Asides). Maureen Thorson's prompt comes from Bruce Niedt: "take any random song play list (from your iPod, CD player, favorite radio station, Pandora or Spotify, etc.) and use the next five song titles on that randomized list in a poem" (NaPoWriMo).

Incidentally, Bruce Niedt, who suggested today's NaPoWriMo prompt, has been mashing up Thorson's and Brewer's prompts like I do. Might be fun to check out his blog Orangepeel.

Okay, here's my mash-up of Maureen's and Robert's prompts: a "shelter poem" incorporating five song titles gleaned, in order, from Pandora. The poem uses the hay(na)ku tercet form: one word in the first line, two words in the second, and three in the third, with good, productive line breaks, one hopes.

Oye Como Va

Listen,
my friends,
how it goes.

Above
the jardin
of lonely lovers,

fairytale
moon rises,
yellow blemished black.

Tower
points up,
purple-bruised sky.

Granite
and iron,
tower braves storms.

Imprisoned
blonde princess
cries there softly.

Silence
between tears:
she scrapes fingernails

against
harsh stone,
unyielding, no shelter.

Unfettered
wind whistles
through open windows.

Princess
shivers, waits
desperately for rescue.

You
know it:
typical cartoon ending.

Arrives
Prince Charming.
Scales jardin walls.

Hacks
through thorns,
climbs the tower.

Kiss.
Ride away
on noble stallion.

But
there’s more.
The tower’s not

happy
ever after.
As wind blows,

tower
keens, wails
through windows, gaping.

Princess,
sweet beloved,
stolen, kidnapped, gone.

Tower,
I speak
your language, wordless.

I
have wept.
Nobody to shelter

anymore.
Nothing remains
but scraggly jardin.

Tower,
you sob,
and I understand.

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

The song titles from Pandora were "Between Tears" by Johannes Linstead, "Oye Como Va" by Santana, "Jardin" by Strunz and Farah, "Fairytale Moon" by Armik, and "I Speak Your Language" by Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers. The phrases "fairytale moon" and "jardin" (Spanish for "garden") set the tone and scene. The Spanish sentence "Oye como va" (listen how it goes) took the place of the customary "once upon a time." At first, I thought the princess and the prince would say "I speak your language" to each other until I got to thinking about the aftermath of a fairy tale: who is devastated by the ending? Cinderella's stepmom and stepsisters, for example. The wolf, in many tales. Witches, often.


And now Alan's intro to his poem for Day Nine: "I decided to attempt today's 'official' writing prompt from the NaPoWriMo.net site — where you take the titles of the first five songs on a streaming site and incorporate them into a poem. I tuned into my "Steve Earle" station on iRadio, and the five songs I got, in order, were Alexi Murdoch's "Orange Sky," The Avett Brothers' "Heart Full of Doubt / Road Full of Promise," Gillian Welch's "Look at Miss Ohio," Bruce Springsteen's "Human Touch," and Jamestown Revival's "California (Cast Iron Soul)." Did I panic? Nearly, given my tendency to write narrative poems, but I was working hard, and some ingenuity helped me to think of a situation where I could put these titles together, and, then, once I found a voice for that situation, I came up with something. I hope you all will enjoy.

Kerouac Goodbye

A moment, I approached
my loaded car with heart
full of doubt. A road full
of promise ahead, old
On the Road thumbed with spine
broken, I searched each face,
Mom and Dad, finally
convinced I was ready
to cross the continent.
"Be sure to stay awake
out west when there's nothing
to look at. Miss Ohio
if you can on the way
to California.
Cast iron soul food cooking
in Memphis might save you
from too much homesickness.
Stop in Arizona
only if it's human.
Touch base all that you can."
Orange sky behind me,
I waved and drove away,
open window catching
Dad's last shout of goodbye,
"Be sure to check your oil!"

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

Wonderful, Alan. I particularly like how each of the phrases "look at Miss Ohio" and "human touch" got split, each ending up in different sentences. And also how "Miss Ohio" became, rather than a title, a verb and a noun. Brilliant! I especially liked Dad saying "Be sure to check your oil!" I don't remember my dad saying that but it is my mantra — learned the hard way, in several cars.

From NYC, missing Ohio, stopping in Memphis and Phoenix, then LA and SF.

Won't you comment, please, friends? 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. And be sure to check your oil!  


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:

Bruce Niedt said...

Thanks for the shout-out, Vince! Love your stuff, especially that "playlist hay(na)ku".

Vince Gotera said...

Bruce, missed your comment last week. Sorry. Thanks!

Thomas Alan Holmes said...

In hindsight, I think this poetry prompt outstrips the rest for toughness. Still, I wonder how it would have been different if the requirement was to listen to a radio station whose music format is not one's favorite. I'm thinking that one would be a bit more in tune with a favorite station but would work differently with a genre otherwise of limited interest.

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