Sunday, April 6, 2014

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


Hello, everyone. Yesterday, on Day Five, we were a sixth of the way through the month. Today, the numbers switch places: on Day Six, we are a fifth of the way through. Interesting, huh? Okay, with no further ado, let's turn to today's poetry suggestions.

Robert Lee Brewer: "For today’s prompt, write a night poem. Vampires and werewolves? Cool. Clubbing and saloons? You got it. Lovers together alone? Right. Ex-lovers alone on their own? Sure thing. You figure out your night poem–and, yes, (k)night poems are fine too." (Poetic Asides).

Maureen Thorson: "Take a good look outside your window" and write down nouns, colors, and verbs from out there, then use the "whole list of words . . . to build a poem, mixing and matching as you go." (NaPoWriMo).

In order to mix these prompts, I faithfully waited for night to fall. Then I looked out my window, and here's the poem the universe gave me this night.  

Night Through My Dining Room Window

Glowing squares of tan and bright ecru
shiver in black air, like cellphone screens
shimmering fire. Paving stones levitate

above invisible ground, stone gray smeared
with dark mossy green. Lampposts are tall
matchsticks striking their Saturn yellow

and Venus blue haloes against violet sky.
The university’s campanile, on the horizon,
along with nearby pine trees, scrape clouds,

secret rocketships set to soar forever among
stars and nebulas. The jungle gym, royal blue
and hot-wheel orange by day, sprawls now,

a chameleon-skinned octopus or friendly
technicolor spider. Forest green picnic table
dreams of kids laughing and somersaulting

near its shiny bent-metal elbows and knees.
“Nothing is happening,” sings a five-year-old
girl to a new baby brother. Everything is well.

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

Here is Alan's intro for today's poem: "Vince was feeling so good about writing a 'golden shovel' poem yesterday that I thought I would try one, but I was in a fix, because I felt that Gwendolyn Brooks's 'We Real Cool' had already gotten adequate representation. However, my colleague Catherine Childress once wrote a solid parody of it:

The English Professors
Five at El Charolais


We real neat. We
Go eat. We

Munch chips. We
Leave tips. We

Write verse. We
Might curse. We

Shoot bull. We
Get full.

—Draft by Catherine Pritchard Childress    [Do not copy or quote . . . thanks.]

"El Charolais (named for a breed of bull — it's a French breed brought to Mexico for a while — the Mexicans at the restaurant pronounce it El Char-uh-Lice) is the favorite place for many folks in our Department of Literature and Language at East Tennessee State University, and, unfortunately, many more men go on these lunches than do women, although we regularly ask our women colleagues to go with us. In that spirit, this poem invites more of our colleagues to accompany us to lunch (if Catherine doesn't get this hint, I'm flummoxed)."

Bull Session
with respect to Gwendolyn Brooks
and Catherine Pritchard Childress
When we gather at El Charolais when we
can get away for company, the real
experience of colleagues, not the neat
and documented meeting minutes. We
make jokes about it, but before we go
we recognize we want more than to eat

some tasty food. We want to gossip. We
will see young parents steal a hurried munch
and pacify a restless child with chips
as each of us has done. Sometimes, if we
feel shoptalk guilty, just before we leave
we’ll act the fool in case the workday tips

to utter shit once we get back. If we
avoid discussion of the stuff we write,
that means we don’t extemporize our verse
with beer and habanero sauce, and we
all share the superstition that we might,
describing drafts, bring down the dreaded curse

of writer’s block. Please come with us, and we
will mask affection as we do, just shoot
the breeze with thoughtful pause, our big white bull
temptation to a happy place where we,
communing, yearn to share what chance we get
to laugh and plan, more than our bellies full.

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

Such a treat to have Catherine's poem on the blog today. You may recall that in 2012, she was my poetry partner in the blog during National Poetry Month. Love the slapstick of Catherine's parody of Brooks above and then Alan's subtly humorous tribute to both "We Real Cool" and "Professors Five." Brava and bravo to the two of you.

I'm also glad to have the cultural thread that joins today's post with yesterday's — a Mexican thread — first, the axolotl, and second, El Charolais cattle.

Charolais Bull
by Wilfredor (Own work) [CC0],
via Wikimedia Commons

Won't you comment, please? 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" 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


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