Friday, April 24, 2020

Day 24 ... NaPoWriMo / Poem-a-Day 2020


Robert Lee Brewer’s Poem-a-Day prompt: “write a nature poem. Could be nature like trees, leaves, grass, birds, etc. Or your poem could tackle human nature. Another possibility is to look at the nature of technology or the interaction of planets around each other and the sun. Or well, the nature of poetry! When in doubt, just see what happens naturally.”

Maureen Thorson’s NaPoWriMo prompt: “write about a particular fruit – your choice. But I’d like you to describe this fruit as closely as possible. Perhaps your poem could attempt to tell the reader some (or all!) of the following about your chosen fruit: What does it look like, how does it feel, how does it smell, what does it taste like, where did you find it, do you need to thump it to know if it’s ripe, how do you get into it (peeling, a knife, your teeth), do you need to spit out the seeds, should you bake it, can you make jam with it, do you have to fight the birds for it, when is it available, do you need a ladder to pick it, what is your favorite memory of eating it, if you threw it at someone’s head would it splatter them or knock them out, is it expensive . . . As you may have realized from this list, there’s honestly an awful lot you can write about a fruit!”


My poem today not only satisfies both prompts, it also fills in a gap in my aswang novella-in-poems (see here for more on that project). I needed a poem about Santiago’s love and desire for Clara soon after they first met. Clara is a manananggal, which means that at night when she takes on her aswang form, she separates her body at the waist; the top half grows wings and goes hunting, while the bottom half is guarded by Santiago. This poem is a curtal sonnet, which is the form I have used more than any other in the novella, exactly half of the overall book so far.

Aswang Mango: Santiago’s Fantasia

There is no fruit I love more than the mango.
Taut skin, yellow and red, the blushing cheek
of a maiden, the soft curve, the shy smile
on my girl’s sensuous mouth, a slow tango
smoldering in her eyes. The mango’s sleek
flesh, sweet and fragrant as her bosom. While

Clara’s away these summer nights, the heavens
cloudless and clear, moonlight-filled, where she wheels
in air, she leaves with me her hips, two cheeks
like shapely fruits, the moon’s curvy crescent,
                firm mango handfuls.

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





Alan's poem, like mine, takes on both prompts with another of my favorite fruits.

Peach Tree

In the narrow strip of grass
between the sidewalk and street
at the side of Papa John’s
near the university,
a peach tree grew. As I walked
by there some summers ago,
a smiling woman picked fruit,
fragrant fruit, thoroughly ripe,
just days before it would fall
bruised on the packed ground to rot.
I knew it was sweet; the tree
was full of yellowjackets,
but the woman filled a bag
and walked away, smiling
at this unclaimed gift for all
who thought to accept the fruit
from a tree that had survived
the failure of businesses
that surrounded it and grew
untended and neglected
except by the elements
that outlast corporations,
real estate development,
bad faith, and politics.
When I stand in narrow straits,
my head buzzing, I hope I
can be unwittingly kind
and generous, maybe sweet.

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





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Ingat, everyone.   


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