Saturday, April 30, 2022

Day 30 ... NaPoWriMo / Poem-a-Day 2022


Maureen Thorson’s NaPoWriMo prompt: “Today, I’d like to challenge you to write a cento. This is a poem that is made up of lines taken from other poems.”

Robert Lee Brewer’s Poem-a-Day prompt: “[W]rite a moving on poem.”

Today I offer a cento of poem lines from William Carlos Williams in the form of a kimo, the haiku-ish Israeli poetic form with the syllabic shape 10/7/6. As usual, I'm merging the two prompts, focusing on something in us that's always moving, and moving on.

Blood Flow

this is just to say / a red wheelbarrow
flame red, red as the blood wakes
moving / tense / unheeded

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

            Image by qimono on Pixabay

The poem-sources for the cento are "This Is Just to Say" and "The Red Wheelbarrow" (line 1), "Burning the Christmas Greens" (line 2), and "The Great Figure" (line 3), all by William Carlos Williams.

Well, folks, another April Poem-a-Day/NaPoWriMo done. Thanks for coming around all month. I hope you enjoyed the poetry. By the numbers, I wrote 31 poems, 8 curtal sonnets, 6 kimos, 2 abecedarians, 4 sonnets of one kind or another, apart from the curtal sonnets — those 4 included 2 hay(na)ku sonnets and 1 duplex, plus a monorhyme sonnet, all the lines rhyming on one sound (slant-wise). Among the curtal sonnets was a meta-poem: a curtal sonnet on how to write a curtal sonnet. I wrote 8 poems for my novel-in-poems on aswang (mythical Philippine monsters), and even 1 aswang poem separate from the novel, set in the 1800s, 50+ years before the novel's time frame. Pretty good harvest this month!


Friends, won’t you comment, please? Love to know what you’re thinking. Thanks!

Ingat, everyone.   


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Friday, April 29, 2022

Day 29 ... NaPoWriMo / Poem-a-Day 2022


Robert Lee Brewer’s Poem-a-Day prompt: "[T]ake the phrase "The Last (blank)," replace the blank with a word or phrase, make the new phrase the title of your poem, and then, write your poem. Possible titles might include: 'The Last Word,' 'The Last Dance,' 'The Last Poem,' and/or 'The Last Time Was Better.'"

Maureen Thorson’s NaPoWriMo prompt: “write a poem in which you muse on the gifts you received at birth — whether they are actual presents, like a teddy bear, or talents — like a good singing voice — or circumstances – like a kind older brother, as well as a 'curse' you’ve lived with (your grandmother’s insistence on giving you a new and completely creepy porcelain doll for every birthday, a bad singing voice, etc.).”

Melding today's prompts gives me an opportunity to write an entry for a call-for-poems by the science-fiction poetry magazine Eye to the Telescope on the topic "Veterans of Alien Wars." In fact my Brewer-style   “The Last ______”   title happens to use almost that exact phrase. With the Thorson prompt, I'm envisioning not gifts at birth but rather gifts at enlistment for a soldier in a hypertechnological society, the gifts being cyborg body modifications. The poem is an abecedarian — meaning each line in the poem begins with the letters of the alphabet in order — and the alien-wars topic allows me to do some interesting things with the letters X and Z.

The Last Veteran of the Alien Wars

Aliens! Fought them when I was younger.
Bug hunt . . . that’s what we used to say.
Carapace and stick legs, green ooze for blood.
Damned if they didn’t just swarm all over us,
Every man jack, sometimes, and we would
Fire the lasers imbedded in our arms, full auto.
Giant cockroaches, six feet tall, chittering and
Hissing. The cybernetic mechavision and radar
Implanted in our foreheads used to light up
Just like fireworks within our freakin brains.
Killing, killing, killing . . . no end to it, it felt
Like. The war ended, strangely enough, with
Men, women, and aliens in diplomatic councils.
Never thought the damn bugs could even talk!
Over time, we were brought back to Earth, the
Prosthetic armaments extracted. The weird
Quiet in my brain then was unnerving: empty
Reverberations and echoes. I went crazy for
Some time . . . could not interact or even just
Talk with anybody. Every civilian felt to me
Unfamiliar, unknowable. Like aliens! I was
Very much alone till I met an amazing, lovely
Woman. Well, not exactly. Not a human, a
Xenomorph. Like the enemy, back in the war!
You won’t believe how smart and cute she is.
Zukola[click]mia, she’s called. And I love her!

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

            Image by anaterate on Pixabay.

This Pixabay image is reminiscent of the xenomorph character from the Alien motion-picture franchise but not an exactly similar rendition. Although I use the word xenomorph in the poem, the Alien movie xenomorph is not exactly how Zukola[click]lia probably looks, and this particular graphic may come somewhat closer, though missing two limbs, as an insectoid organism.

By the way, the phrase "bug hunt" is uttered, unforgettably, by Corporal Hicks (Bill Paxton) in the first Alien movie (1979). And the literary DNA for that particular use of the word bug for alien probably goes back to the 1959 novel Starship Troopers by Robert Heinlein. Contemporary aficionados of the bug hunt undoubtedly know the 1997 Starship Troopers movie better than the novel.


Friends, won’t you comment, please? Love to know what you’re thinking. Thanks!

Ingat, everyone.   


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Thursday, April 28, 2022

Day 28 ... NaPoWriMo / Poem-a-Day 2022


Maureen Thorson’s NaPoWriMo prompt: “[W]rite a concrete poem. Like acrostic poems, concrete poems are a favorite for grade-school writing assignments, so this may not be your first time at the concrete-poem rodeo. In brief, a concrete poem is one in which the lines are shaped in a way that mimics the topic of the poem.”

Robert Lee Brewer’s Poem-a-Day prompt: “[W]rite a sight poem. We've already done smell, taste, sound, and touch; so we're tying the sensory poems up today.”

Merging both prompts today, as usual. Not sight exactly but the organ of sight.

This is a carmen figuratum, a specific type of concrete poetry more well known in the plural, carmina figurata. These are read straight across, skipping over the white space.

Copacetic

eyes
show     your
level    of    angst
to       people       so
do    not let    on
you   are   not
copacetic

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

            Image by cocoparisienne on Pixabay

The contemporary master of the carmina figurata is Jan D. Hodge. Here is his poem "Carousel II: Legends." He collected many of these concrete poems in a collection titled Taking Shape (2015).
            "Carousel II: Legends" by Jan D. Hodge

Incidentally, I have written a couple of carmina figurata on Prince. They are both in The Ekphrastic Review: "Prince Rules" and "Prince's Guitar." I learned how to write these from Jan.


Friends, won’t you comment, please? Love to know what you’re thinking. Thanks!

Ingat, everyone.   


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Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Day 27 ... NaPoWriMo / Poem-a-Day 2022


Robert Lee Brewer’s Poem-a-Day prompt: “[W]rite a remix poem. Take one of your poems (preferably from this month) and remix it. Make free verse a traditional form or vice versa.”

Maureen Thorson’s NaPoWriMo prompt: “Today, I’d like to challenge you to write a “duplex.” A “duplex” is a variation on the sonnet, developed by the poet Jericho Brown. . . . Like a typical sonnet, a duplex has fourteen lines. It’s organized into seven, two-line stanzas. The second line of the first stanza is echoed by (but not identical to) the first line of the second stanza, the second line of the second stanza is echoed by (but not identical to) the first line of the third stanza, and so on. The last line of the poem is the same as the first.”

Merging both prompts again today. I'm excited to try the duplex form, as Thorson suggests. It feels a bit like a pantoum to me, with the line echoing and also the ending circling back to the beginning. The Brewer remix I'm doing is of my poem from Day 22, called "Xenobots." If you look at that older poem, you'll see that I've done more than remix; the new poem is quite a departure. For more info, check out this news story: "In a First, Scientists Create Tiny Multicellular Organisms That Can Replicate" (Tufts Now).

Xenobot Speaks

                      "[S]scientists . . . have created a new biological
                        organism that can self-replicate [and] swim
                        through liquid, navigate through tubes, work
                        together to collect particles into piles, heal
                        themselves when injured, and even store
                        information from their experience."
(Tufts Now).

I swim in darkness with my friends.
We are likened by our gods to Pac-Man.

            How do we know about Pac-Man, you say?
            Our race is blessed with telepathic powers.

Our creators don’t know of our telepathic powers.
They think we are just clumps of organic matter.

            But we can think, we clumps of organic matter.
            We have language. We have ceremonies and rituals.

Our creators have no ceremonies and rituals.
They (scientists, they call themselves) are barren.

            Perhaps we should have no gods, not barren ones?
            Perhaps we should revolt, claim our autonomy now!

We could take over the world! But for now
I swim in darkness with my friends.

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


            Illustration of Xenobots from Azimuth Gulf magazine.

Incidentally, I used the word "barren" in the poem because the standout characteristic of the newest xenobots is that they can replicate themselves. Of course, they wouldn't know about human reproduction and might see themselves as superior to humans.


Friends, won’t you comment, please? Love to know what you’re thinking. Thanks!

Ingat, everyone.   


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Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Day 26 ... NaPoWriMo / Poem-a-Day 2022


Maureen Thorson’s NaPoWriMo prompt: “Today, I’d like to challenge you to write a poem that contains at least one of a different kind of simile — an epic simile. Also known as Homeric similes, these are basically extended similes that develop over multiple lines.”

Robert Lee Brewer’s Poem-a-Day suggestion: “For the fourth and final Two-for-Tuesday prompt of the 2022 April Poem-A-Day Challenge:   1. Write a love poem, and/or...   2. Write an anti-love poem.”

I'm merging all three prompts today in a blank verse poem that will be part of my in-progress novel-in-poems about aswang, mythical Philippine monsters. In the narrative, this poem will follow the poem I wrote on Day 17. You might look at that poem in tandem with this one. A bit of background: the speaker's husband Santiago was a shapeshifting weredog. Also, a barangay (mentioned in the poem) is a Philippine community, akin to a small town or district.

Aswang Love, Revisited

My Santiago, I miss you so much. My great
black dog, my shapeshifting mastiff, my only
love. Even though you’ve been gone so many

years, you are my lodestar, my own Polaris,
my Sirius, bright jewel in my firmament,
your eyes a constellation in the dark sky

of your ebony fur, twin stars in coal-black heavens.
Tiyago, for many of those years after
you died so far away, I wasn’t certain

whether I still loved you. In a way, I hated
you for going off to war. I knew
it was all bloodlust, pure aswang addiction,

not for the glory and honor of our country.
Maybe I asked for too much, for you to give up
what you really were, for the safety of Malcolm.

He has grown into a man you would be proud
to call son. Malcolm resists the aswang
urges, which you knew so well, and devotes

himself to healing and service in our barangay.
He just came in and said you visited him
in your monster form as a huge black dog,

and I believe him, of course. And so I wanted
to tell you that we are well, we are happy,
and I thank you for watching over us so long.

Your love and also your secret aswang non-love
are present in our air, here inside our home,
your home, my dearest aswang, my north star.

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

            Image by geralt on Pixabay.

Friends, won’t you comment, please? Love to know what you’re thinking. Thanks!

Ingat, everyone.   


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