Saturday, April 2, 2016

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


Welcome to Day Two, everyone. About to double our poem output for the month!

Maureen Thorson's NaPoWriMo prompt: "I challenge you to write a poem that takes the form of a family portrait. You could write, for example, a stanza for each member of your family. You could also find an actual snapshot of your family and write a poem about it, spending a little bit of time on each person in the picture. You don’t need to observe any particular form or meter. Happy writing!"

Robert Lee Brewer's PAD prompt: "Write a what he said and/or what she said poem. Maybe he or she said a rumor; maybe he or she gave directions; or maybe he or she said something that made absolutely no sense at all. I don’t know what they said; rather, each poet is tasked with revealing that knowledge."

Okay, here are today's poems by our small community of poets, including Thomas Alan Holmes, Sarah Smith, Jedediah Kurth, and Vince Gotera.

"I have attempted to blend two prompts again today," says Alan, "the Thorson prompt for a family portrait and the Brewer prompt about a 'he said/she said' situation. It just seemed natural, somehow, that a revelation would happen when someone started talking about a family portrait, which is always a gossip prompt, anyway."

The Widow Remarries

There’s always risk in family, I guess,
especially the great big shots with all
the fiancés and newlyweds, the ones
who soon break up or get divorced and, then,
within a year or so, we have a face
we might forget, an inconvenient face
we might regret. We miss our dead, of course,
but when your grandchild asks about the man
who’s hugging on his mama, you can’t lie,
but you can’t tell the entire truth, that he
was used, that she had reconciled enough
to make a child, a grandson for her dad
before he passed away. Just wrap it up,
and when I settle in with you know who
while being newlywed again, I can
decide where it belongs in my new home.

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

Very interesting, Alan. As with Robert Browning's Duke of Ferrara, I can't help but wonder who did what? who knew what? and if this family portrait is in some way cognate to the last Duchess's portrait?

Like Alan, I have also melded the prompts (family portrait and "he said/she said"). This poem will be part of my ongoing narrative sequence — a novel-in-poems, I think — about two aswang, mythical Philippine monsters who, against type, fall in love, marry, and move to the US to escape oppression in 1937.

Aswang Christening: A Family Photo

Radiant parents and bouncy baby, all silken
and crinoline, taffeta and three-piece wool,
are posed in this portrait next to the baptismal
font at St. George’s. The baby smells of milk and,

slightly, of turned earth. They name him Malcolm.
The mother, Clara, whispers to herself, she’ll
swear off womb water, that sweet foetal
liquor, now that she’s bearing children.

Santiago, the father, thanks the parish priest
but thinks to himself how plump the man is.
Imagines Father Simon running for his
life, pale skin glimmering in dim forest.

Behind them, in stained glass, a drenched black
bird, the Holy Ghost’s wings have turned dark.

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

Today Sarah merged the family portrait and he said/she said prompts with a sestina. An excellent formal choice, Sarah!

When she left

Dad doesn’t say much of anything at all,
but then again, he never does. His fount of wisdom
doesn’t splurge in sudden bursts, but trickles slowly,
coursing through well-worn rivers’ paths
to lap at the bare toes of children who splash with delight.
He does crack a joke and his hug is the longest.

Mom quickly devolves into conversations of the longest
quality known to man. She adamantly claims to hate any and all
attempts at prosy eloquence, but her continued delight
lies in long letters and cute post-its filled with the wisdom
only moms can bear. These she hides along daily paths
to be found later, hoping that the memory of her will fade slowly.

Best friend of a sister slides on a brave smile but slowly
the façade begins to slip as time ticks away. Her love is the longest,
not by years but by moments. She reminisces about wayward paths
from a childhood full of ethereal palaces and illusory adventures for all.
Worn out ballet shoes, lumpy pillow forts, a handful of chipped Legos; her wisdom
has found residence in these bodies, like horcruxes of delight.

Warrior brother actually grins with genuine delight
because he knows that true bravery flowers slowly
and being alone catalyzes the action of true wisdom
sometimes. The gaps between words are the longest
in his world, but he stands straightest and speaks most honest of all,
trusting the silver bond that has been forged and tested on many paths.

Popular sister feigns disdain for someone who chooses paths
she never would, but when mentions of visits arise, delight
fires in her eyes and even she can’t hide all
her exhilaration. A past filled with battle slowly
falls translucent and disappears. For years, the longest
reach was the door just across the hall, despite conventional wisdom.

Adoring brother shares quips of his boyish “wisdom,”
discovered somewhere amid Little League football helmets and dirt paths
trodden by a sixth grade Boy Scout troop. To him time passes longest
when a chair is empty, so a newcomer is always treated with puppy-like delight.
He clowns through life to a soundtrack of laughs and slowly
teaches others that joy is the best philosophy after all.

Baby sister’s wisdom is not passed on without giggles of delight
from listening ears. She will find her path too, slowly,
as the longest years pass and her whisper echoes, “I love you most of all.”

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

Ven went with Brewer's "she said" prompt, combined with a family vibe. Bravo, Ven!

Cheers my Dears.

She said your brother’s off his meds again he’s climbing up the walls.
She said I love him dearly but he’s clearly headed for a fall.
She said your brother’s life is a pink muscato that bubbles until it spoils.

She said your sister’s kids are somehow doing okay in school.
She said I gave her another loan but I really laid down some rules.
She said your sister’s life is a cheap shiraz that stains everything because she drools.

She said your other sister’s gaining weight and still making lots of money.
She said I went to choir with her but kept on slurring the harmony.
She said your other sister’s life is a Dom Perignon that looks great but yet tastes funky.

Mother—you wonder why I never call but I always wonder what you’ll say
to someone who pops round your house for a little tipple, tomorrow, or the next day.
I imagine you say my life is like a double Jack—a bit too strong for polite company.

Bottoms up.

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

Jed went with his own muse again today, eschewing the two "official" prompts. Bravo to you too, Jed.

Collector Cards or Running Away

11:10 to 5:08
is all night.
Or so the ticket (5 am)
would have me think.
$10 (extra) over budget.

Money for the midnight game?
Sure.
I planned for it;
a special break. (I justify.)
A “Magic” night.
But.
I’m poor enough;
$10 hurts!

I wanted to
talk to the cop
still in his car.
Momentum
makes me pull away.

Driving. Thinking.
Where is the harm,
if I just ask:
Was it all night
if I’m leaving?

I circle back.
The long blonde hair
of one of two
seated on the curb
catches my headlights.

A flashlight’s glare.
Doors are open.
The officer
is peering
here and there
in their car.

I do not stop.
An SUV
with flashing lights
is coming up.

I keep driving.
$10?
That’s not so much.
I’m going home.

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

The photo above, by the way, is a little Photoshopped image that's making the rounds online as a play on family relationships in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, from a SlashGear.com article titled "The Curious Case of the Star Wars Family Portrait."

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


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