Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Day Six ... NaPoWriMo / Poem-a-Day 2016


Day Six . . . started counting on the other hand now. A fifth of the way through National Poetry Month.

Maureen Thorson's NaPoWriMo prompt: "Today, I challenge you to write a poem about food. This could be a poem about a particular food, or about your relationship to food in general. Or it could simply be a poem relating an incident that involves food, like David Ignatow’s 'The Bagel.' Still not convinced? Perhaps these thirteen food poems will give you some inspiration. Happy writing!"

Robert Lee Brewer's PAD prompt: "For today’s prompt, write an ekphrastic poem. An ekphrastic poem is a poem inspired by art. You can pick your own favorite piece of art if you wish. Or you can use one of the examples below." (See Robert's three painting examples here — by Michelangelo, Frida Kahlo, and Alphons Mucha.)

Jed got done first today. He went "rogue": "This is way cooler than writing about food."

Super

Do I have to wear a cape?
Do I have to rescue people?
Or plot nefarious schemes?
I just don’t follow the leap
Of thinking that practical
People can’t have their own dreams
Of how to use the powers
Bestowed by a toxic ooze,
Benevolent aliens,
Or by the ancient puissance
Of some sacred artifact.

Oh dear, I’m late for work.
I’ll just teleport . . .
                             

—Draft by Jedediah Kurth    [Do not copy or quote . . . thanks.]

Alan did not go rogue today. He offers an ekphrastic poem on a painting that features food, though Alan's focus is on the woman portrayed.

Dambourgez’s A Pork Butcher’s Shop

She stirs hot food with her right hand,
her left hand bears a wedding band,
and, to her left, a window bright
with sunshine gives the shop the light
the ceiling fixture doesn’t. Links
of chain with hooks hang, too. One thinks
the hanging saw is out of place
above the wife in her small space
behind the counter, her fixed eyes
still set past bottled merchandise.

The handle of a carving knife
lies, pointing at the butcher’s wife.

So many absent people—as she stands
behind the counter, unaware she’s not
the center of our gaze—we look behind
and find that her reflection stands upright
and gazes in its turn at racks of meat
unrendered. What’s prepared to eat
has earthy reds and browns, the counter white
but less so than her sleeve. We don’t, can’t find
a trace of blood, her face so fair, and what
are we to make of her soft, unchafed hands?
         
A Pork Butcher's Shop
Edouard-Jean Dambourgez (1844-1890)

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

You know, Alan, I like the attention you give to that carving knife: it's in an interesting place, being on the counter away from her. Did customers carve off their own slices of meat? Also, it seems odd that the woman is reflected in the mirror behind her, but there's no reflection for the point-of-view person. Makes me think of vampires.

The ekphrastic flavor of Sarah's poem today comes not from writing about an actual painting but rather evoking the making of art within the narrative. And the food is resplendent.

Tiffany’s Gift

She started with a sheet of newspaper, worked
her magic with decoupage and foam brushes,
creating an easel for an oil portrait
of Big Ben himself. He winks across at me
from the corner table; a framed memory
of hot, crusty fish and chips (vinegar-doused),
violet-red morsels of lamb dripping in sauce,
white wine and later, cheap beer, just off the Thames.
                       

—Draft by Sarah Smith    [Do not copy or quote . . . thanks.]

Yup, "food" and "ekphrastic" mashed up. You knew it.   

Eating Mr. MIMAL
after 50 States of Jell-O
by Bompas & Parr (2009)
In this gelatin map of the United States
Mr. MIMAL (sounds like “Bible”) stands
in mid-nation, mid-continent, facing east
towards Lady Liberty, Ellis Island, Europe.

Mr. MIMAL is a schoolkid’s mnemonic,
his name spelling out the five states from
Minnesota down to Louisiana. Iowans
love Mr. MIMAL because we are the head.

Bompas & Parr have given Mr. MIMAL
a chameleon-like eye, a gelatin mountain
that’s been planted here in enlightened Iowa.
Why we can see so clearly here, so sharp.

Mr. MIMAL seems none too smart though,
à la B & P, Brittania’s jellymongers.co.uk.
Green-skinned like the Hulk, with a lemon
yellow chef’s hat, orange shirt, red shorts,

humongous green bare feet with New Orleans
for toe jam. Let us love and cherish our Jell-O
Paul Bunyan, eat his mint green brain (studded
surely with sprigs of crunchy shredded carrot).

Let us bite and enjoy his luscious raspberry ass
and jiggler trunk: burly Arkansas and Missouri.
So we won’t offend our good friend Alan Holmes
let’s not point out Tennessee is . . . never mind.

Let us celebrate our communion of collagen
rendered from cow and pig ligaments, tendons,
and bones. Though it may be that B & P are vegan
and used agar, made from algae and seaweed.

Let us sing the body MIMAL. Luxuriate
in the squishy liquid explosion of MIMAL
jelly against our teeth. Let our tongues
lyricize the legend: Mr. MIMAL, our messiah.
50 States of Jell-O
Sam Bompas and Harry Parr
(2009) bompasandparr.com


Sam Bompas (l) and Harry Parr (r)
and the US map on the Early Show.
Photography by Mark Dye.
youtu.be/jw1Ijl32PKY 

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

Ven's ekphrastic poem today takes on one of the twentieth century's supreme surrealists, noting the various actions of eating in the painting.

Autumnal Cannibalism by Salvador Dalí (1936)
On Salvador Dalí’s Autumnal Cannibalism

Giants kiss and meld together by devouring each other’s features.
An impossible but all too real scene—mutual destruction through feeding.

Back left: a charred cliff face rises out of nicotine stained sand,
casting a thin shadow that reveals that this seemingly imposing cliff
is just a thin sniff of rock. A mere morsel—but one with an occluded fire at its heart.

Back right: more distant than the cliff larger moutains of black loom. A heartier
helping, a voluptuous valley, which is home to a structure. An ivory building. Strong,
permanent, at this distance it appears normal. Safe, solid. Not burned or melted
or devoured or self-replicating. That distant ivory building is the strangest thing in this painting.

Foreground: attention mainly falls on the main course of course, our lovers, our giants,
our towering facades of self that are eating themselves and each other. Their faces are everymans
and everywomans. Their faces are featureless. Unimportant. Blank slates. Well, except for ears.
Ears are all gristle I guess, not very appetizing. The figure on the left appears to possibly have breasts—
her red shirt is open and where breasts would be ooze warm white wax, melted of all shapely sensuality.
The figure on the right appears to want to take a bite of this titty-wax. He’s is eagerly inserting his spoon
into this ooze with one hand, whilst reaching round and attempting to vigorously cup more wax with the
other. I say “he” purely because he is clearly so into boobs. That being said, the female is also eating her
own breast. Her left arm wrapping all the way around the other and slicing into her own left breast in a
somewhat casual manner. Her right hand is thrusting a fork into her own face. The couple’s featureless
heads (apart from ears) are in the process of fusing together.

These sexfilled sexless titans are leaning on a green table. I say leaning, but it is entirely possible that
these beasts are just torsos. They could be lower body deprived. Perhaps they started their meal from
the ground and worked their way up. Or started at the genitals and moved down and are now starting
their face course. Perhaps they were born this way.

The green table knows nothing of straight lines. A planeless carpenter clearly cared more for the
smoothness of the wood than hard angles and tidy surfaces.
Items are strewn, forgotten, in front of our lovers/devourers/titans—some olives, some nuts, half a loaf
of bread. This is clearly a kitchen table, useful, practical, a sign of domesticity and homeliness.

Above a half-open drawer some sort of long tongue has been hung on a single imposing nail.

I’ve been calling them devourers but it’s important to note that the couple do not have mouths, at least
not anymore. They are no longer eating. They are spooning, they are forking, they are knifing each other
in an endless cycle— their warm wax bodies absorb the offerings from the cutlery and flow them out
again. Perhaps if they stop their meal they will simply drip into the sand and form a primordial soup.

But there is some hope. Ants scurry over possible honey, dripping a smile where the female’s mouth
used to be.


—Draft by Ven Batista    [Do not copy or quote . . . thanks.]

Ven, that's quite a striking prose-poem meditation on this arresting image. Bravo!


Friends, won't you comment, please? Love to know what you're thinking. To comment, look for a red line below that starts Posted by, then click once on the word comments in that line. If you don't find the word "comments" in that line, then look for a blue link below that says Post a comment and click it once. Thanks!

Ingat, everyone.   



NAPOWRIMO / PAD 2016 • 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:

vstefani said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
vstefani said...

Vince, I really enjoyed reading all these poems. Had never heard of Mr MIMAL but he's very cool (as is the Jell-o map, good choice of topic!). Along those lines, you might enjoy the Wolfe Tones' Irish rebel song, "The Teddy Bear's Head" at http://www.irish-folk-songs.com/the-teddy-bears-head-lyrics-and-guitar-chords.html. Is Jello political? I wonder. Anyway, I'd love it if you'd take a look at yesterday's first and belated entry regarding NaPoWriMo on my new blog, http://useofabook.blogspot.com - and of course I'd be delighted if you'd leave a comment there. V.

Vince Gotera said...

V-- I thought I responded to this ... sorry. Thank you! Did you see my comment on your blog? --V

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