Saturday, April 25, 2020

Day 25 ... NaPoWriMo / Poem-a-Day 2020


Robert Lee Brewer’s Poem-a-Day prompt: “write a remix poem. That is, take one (or more) of your poems from earlier this month and remix it. Make a free verse poem into a villanelle. Or condense a sestina into a haiku or senryu. Or forget form. Just completely jumble up the words . . . or respond to the original poem(s).”

Maureen Thorson’s NaPoWriMo prompt today can only be described, not quoted. She suggests following Hoa Nguyen’s exercise called “Writing After James Schuyler’s ‘Hymn to Life.’” This poetic algorithm is based on the Schuyler poem named and includes such instructions as “Bring your perspective and verbs back to the present tense, even when addressing memory,” and “Introduce a swerve or observation that serves as interjection, non-sequitur,” and “Animate the landscape or nearby object, imbue it with expressiveness of action or address,” and so on.


One of the options in Robert’s prompt today is to “respond to the original poem.” Today’s poem is a response to my aswang poem from April 22, “The Truth.” The NaPoWriMo prompt that day involved including a proverb. My curtal sonnet today begins with the proverb I used, echoing that earlier poem’s ending in this current poem’s opening. (A bit of background on the aswang poems here.)

As far as today’s NaPoWriMo prompt is concerned, I haven’t fully engaged the Nguyen exercise, but I did incorporate the three instructions I cited above as examples.

The Future: Clara’s Dark Night

While there’s life, there’s hope. But I have Malcolm
to raise by myself now. Although we aswang
are not known here, there is still the danger
that he is seen as aberrant, like some
Frankenstein monster. Susmariosep, putang
ina!
Villagers attacking the stranger.

I must find a job. I must feed my boy.
The clock on the wall, its face is smirking,
mocking, “How can you escape your nature?
Like Tiyago, you’re both aswang. No joy
                ahead, just pain there.”

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

How I followed the selected Nguyen instructions: (1) I restricted myself to present tense; (2) Clara interjects by swearing: susmariosep is an abbreviation for “Jesus, Mary, and Joseph” (common cuss words in Filipino), and putang ina is equivalent to “son of a bitch,” literally meaning “whore mother”; and (3) I’ve animated the clock on Clara’s wall, even giving it some dialog.


Today, Alan is remixing "Ode to the Shop Vac" from April 18. Click here to revisit that poem.

Ode to the Oldsmobile

If it was out of courtesy to clean
the Oldsmobile I gave away last year,
despairing we could not find a repair
for that ill-used, short-circuited machine
that gave two schoolkids rides between
their classes near and far, and our home here,
where I could check the oil and tank, and swear
that they may never do it. I’d seen
the floorboard detritus, leaf-mulched rugs,
headliner blown loose and hair-brushing low,
receipts tucked curled between cushions, unread
and unrecorded, desiccated bugs,
while in one ashtray, something tried to grow
out of all that junkyard refugee, dead.

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

   

So interesting to compare the two poems; the earlier poem is in blank verse and this one is a Petrarchan sonnet. Details cross over between the poems but the thematic focus is so different between them.


I wrote a second poem today, a remix of the tanka I composed for Day 7. Since it's small, here's that poem again:

Hydroxychloroquine Tanka

Aren’t we lucky Trump
has friends and money in big
pharma? No, we’re not.
So he can make a few bucks
he’ll cash in millions of us.

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

I've remixed this tanka into a hybrid sonnet, mostly Shakesperean but with one Petrarchan envelope quatrain.

Follow the Money Trail

Only hope we got is that we stay well,
that somehow we can keep out of the curve
at the same time that we flatten it. While
we pray to stay safe, what do you think the Perv-

in-Chief desires — besides grabbing kitties —
he’d like to make some moolah, gravy, cash,
greenbacks, from this profit opportunity
called a pandemic. Why do you think he was

pushing hydroxychloroquine so hard
for weeks? Turns out he and some of his cronies
have financial dibs in the French company
that produces the drug. What if the world’s

cure was HCQ? Bankroll for this POTUS!
For that payday, he’d cash in millions of us.

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

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.   



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4 comments:

Kim Whysall-Hammond aka The Cheesesellers Wife said...


Interesting as always Vince. I'm really liking these posts. This one sparked off a poem --- all about our old Estate car (Station Wagon in USA).

Vince Gotera said...

Kim, thanks! I'll tell Alan that happened!

Bruce Niedt said...

Yeah, Vince, I found the Nguyen prompt rather daunting too (though I did listen to Schuyler's poem and really got drawn into it, despite its length). I am really enjoying these "aswang" poems.

Thomas Alan Holmes said...

We finally could not afford to repair that Oldsmobile any more, so I gave it to the good ol' boys at the garage so they can run it in a demolition derby. The plan was to compete this summer, which I imagine our backward Governor of the State of Tennessee will permit during this summer of social distancing, but my concern lies in the fact that that car can run like a sewing machine and then suddenly quit. I think the driver will make it to the intersection of the figure eight and wind up stranded, symbolic of the straits Tennessee citizens endure with our so-called leaders.

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