Wednesday, April 2, 2014

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


Two / dos / deux / dalawa. The number two in languages I have some knowledge of: English / Spanish / French / Filipino. Wait, I forgot Klingon: cha’ . . . nah, I don't really know Klingon. That's Google "knowledge," right there.

Well, as you know from Day One, all this month, you'll see TWO poets here. My friend Thomas Alan Holmes and me. Since he writes in the morning before the NaPoWriMo and Poem-a-Day prompts appear, Alan is writing today from yesterday's NaPoWriMo Bibliomancy Oracle prompt. Here's the quote the Oracle gave him:
"For reasons unclear,
and in circumstances unknown,
the Ideal ceased to be content with itself."

(From “Plato, or Why on Earth” by Wislawa Szymborska,
translated by Justyna Kostkowska)
And now here's Alan's poem based on this Szymborska passage.

Piercing the Sphere

I'm driving the teens like a chauffeur,
playing the current pop
I've heard from their rooms
and their smartphones,
listening to the pronouncement
one makes that in Nature
one finds no perfect circle.

In 1983, Michael Stipe
murmured about a "perfect circle
of acquaintances and friends,"
but the song speaks of leaving
and suggests regret to come
in that moment of saying goodbye.

I had one of these kids
in this parking lot last Sunday,
making him circuit around the lot
in reverse, preparing him
to maneuver this Suburban
for his driving test,
expecting him one day
to make it home on his own.

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

Ah yes, I've taught four kids how to drive so far, and my fifth child Gabe will be turning 16 in a few months, so I'll be doing this again soon. I have driven teens for many years, and yes, one hopes they will always make it home on their own. Thanks for the excellent poem, Alan.


Okay, now to the TWO official prompts for Day TWO . . .

Poem-a-day guru Robert Lee Brewer's suggestion today is "a voyage poem," reminding us "the process of writing a poem is a sort of voyage all its own" (Poetic Asides).

"There are many good poems based on myths," NaPoWriMo guru Maureen Thorson says. "Lots of these use Greek or Roman myths. . . . But today I challenge you to write a poem based on a non-Greco-Roman myth" (NaPoWriMo).

Okay, you regular readers of the blog out there — all TWO of you, probably — I bet you can guess that my mythological figure will be an aswang. Actually, given what today is, TWO aswang. And you can probably also guess the voyage will involve the Philippines or California.

Remember a couple of NaPoWriMo seasons back when I wrote an aswang poem starring a shapeshifter who could turn into a wolf? Jesús de los Santos was his name. And then a couple of weeks after that, I wrote another aswang poem about a manananggal who falls in love with Jesús. Today, these TWO aswang go on vacation to my hometown, San Francisco.

Lovers at the Golden Gate
— May 26, 1937
"Isn't that simply magnificent, Jesús?"
Clara pointed above the steamship's prow
as they sailed under the brand-new bridge,
its orange towers gleaming in setting sun.

Jesús could only nod, speechless at the beauty
of the orange cables shimmering as they swooped
in graceful arc. Thousands of San Franciscans
had walked across the Golden Gate that day,

a grand feat never before possible.
Clara and Jesús hurried but got to the bridge
too late, almost dark. The next morning,
at the dedication, people had laughed

at the loony old man, the bridge watchman
who swore he'd heard leathery wings wak wak
and saw silhouetted against the moon a bizarre
flying thing, holding a gigantic dog.

"Holding a dog?" Nearby listeners laughed,
pantomiming drinking from a bottle
behind the poor man's back. "Crazy drunk,"
they whispered to each other, smirking.

How beautiful it must have been on top
of the eight-hundred-foot tower nearest
to the glistening lights of San Francisco,
tiny diamonds strewn on jet black cloth.

The bride's wings beating slow and soft,
the groom's wolf fur shining sable and sleek,
holding hand and paw in the velvet night,
a thousand stars showering glittery light.

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

A narrative poem, which I don't do often. Blank verse quatrains. TWO lines rhyming at the end. Gotta get a TWO in there again. Double fun!


Alan and I would love to hear from you, friends. 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 says "Posted by" and click on the word "comments."

Ingat, everyone. See you on day three?


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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