Friday, April 30, 2021

Day 30 ... NaPoWriMo / Poem-a-Day 2021


Last day! It's been a lot of fun!

Robert Lee Brewer’s Poem-a-Day prompt: [W]rite a goodbye poem. Whether leaving for a holiday or going to get groceries, many people find themselves in positions of saying goodbye to each other. So this feels like an appropriate way to close out this year's challenge ... until we meet again.”

Maureen Thorson’s NaPoWriMo suggestion: “Today’s prompt is based on a prompt written by Jacqueline Saphra, and featured in this group of prompts published back in 2015 by The Poetry Society of the U.K. This prompt challenges you to write a poem in the form of a series of directions describing how a person should get to a particular place. It could be a real place, like your local park, or an imaginary or unreal place, like 'the bottom of your heart,' or 'where missing socks go.' Fill your poem with sensory details, and make them as wild or intimate as you like.”


For the last poem, a tanka, melding both prompts. Usually tanka, like haiku, are not titled unless they are linked into sequences, but I'll give this one a title for the sake of fulfilling the prompts. Probably if I submit this poem somewhere, I'll remove the title.

Goodbye for Now

follow the same path
to get here every April —
walk the labyrinth
step here     here     reach the center
last poem     last day     last beauty

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

Photos from LabyrinthCompany.com
   

Alan's poem today is a very detailed look at family history.



P O E M   R E M O V E D

while being submitted for publication.

 

Please come back later. The poem may
return at some time in the future.

Thank you!

 


Well, there we go! Thirty poems for each of us. We'll see how many of these poems we'll each pursue further.

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

Ingat, everyone.   


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Thursday, April 29, 2021

Day 29 ... NaPoWriMo / Poem-a-Day 2021


Penultimate day of National Poetry Month!

Robert Lee Brewer’s Poem-a-Day prompt: “For today's prompt, write an evening poem. The evening can be a quiet and contemplative time, a stressed or fearful time, or, well, party time. Evenings can be lonely or romantic, cool or humid, inspirational or numbing. And today (or tonight, depending on when you consume your poetry prompts), evening is the time for poeming--even if you're doing it in the middle of the afternoon.”

Maureen Thorson’s NaPoWriMo suggestion: “And now, for our prompt (optional, as always). This one is called 'in the window.' Imagine a window looking into a place or onto a particular scene. It could be your childhood neighbor’s workshop, or a window looking into an alien spaceship. Maybe a window looking into a witch’s gingerbread cottage, or Lord Nelson’s cabin aboard the H.M.S. Victory. What do you see? What’s going on?”


Mashing up both prompts but probably not quite in the manner Robert and Maureen might have envisioned. I offer an ekphrastic tanka sequence (or linked tanka) on a famous Edward Hopper etching, in which a window and evening figure.

Tryst
—on Evening Wind, etching
   by Edward Hopper (1921)
bedsheets shape mountains
of soft muslin, a landscape
in a world of sleep
but not yet — the evening light
out the window glimmering

white curtains billow
like feathery angel's wings
against a backdrop —
inky dark heavy brick walls
framing the open window

she gazes outside,
auburn hair hiding her face
from us and yet not
from someone out there, young man
she’s waiting for, gentle smile

her hand smooths the bed:
come in, be my muse, sing me
a sweet aria,
velvet nocturne, till morning
brings dawn’s silky serenade

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

Edward Hopper, Evening Wind (1921)   (WikiArt)

Alan's window and evening are the wrought center of this poem, which orbits around that nexus.

Evening Window

From the domed hill in our backyard, one can see into the lit living room of our home, although we
            keep it lit by only a single lamp and the large panel of our television.
Depending on where one stands, one can perhaps peer into our dining room, through the large glass
            doors, but we keep that room unlit unless we sit at the table together before twilight.
Who would stand in the tangled back lot and look?
Once, my father warned me that someone could wait in the back of our lot and shoot through the
            kitchen window to wound me as I stood washing dishes,
as he once warned me that the political stickers on my truck could lead to vandalism or even road
            rage—this warning came years ago, before grievance became the primary means of
            expressing political tribalism,
and that Hell was a place for punishment with a wandering warden, walking to find vulnerable
            suckers for eternal punishment.
Who could stand back there, among the tangled honeysuckle and barbed black locust, to case our
            small home
where our routine has so exhausted us of stories
that we search for them on pages, in recordings, through streamed feeds
and not for a stranger crouched behind the elderberry, beneath the redbud?
Who would say “Flowering Judas” to my neighbors and expect them to understand?

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

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

Ingat, everyone.   


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Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Day 28 ... NaPoWriMo / Poem-a-Day 2021


Robert Lee Brewer’s Poem-a-Day prompt: “[W]rite a remix poem. This has become one of my favorite prompts, because it asks us to look over what we've written this month and pick something (or many somethings) to poem out in a new way. Maybe your free verse becomes a sonnet or your sestina transforms into haiku. Or take a line or phrase from each of your poems this month and work it into a cohesive new creation.”

Maureen Thorson’s NaPoWriMo prompt: “[W]rite a poem that poses a series of questions. The questions could be a mix of the serious ('What is the meaning of life?') and humorous ('What’s the deal with cats knocking things off tables?'), the interruptive ('Could you repeat that?') and the conversational ('Are those peanuts? Can I have some?'). You can choose to answer them – or just let the questions keep building up, creating a poem that asks the reader to come up with their own answer(s).”


Today I remixed my poem "The Moon, Always Waiting, Speaks" from Day 17 into a series of questions. The original poem, on Grant Wood's 1931 painting The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere, was spoken by the moon looking down from the sky at Revere riding through a hamlet at midnight. The remix focuses on the man standing in his doorway, startled by Revere's ride . . . see the detail from the painting below (click for a magnified view).

Grant Wood, The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere (1931)

Who Was That Masked Man?
—after The Midnight Ride of
    Paul Revere
by Grant Wood
Who just rode by, making such a clatter in the middle of the night?
Maybe a highwayman wearing a kerchief for a mask, up to no good?
All in black, astride a black horse — one of the Four Horsemen?
Do you think, dear wife, that the end of times are nigh upon us?
Could you hear what that rapscallion was yelling? Who's coming?
End of times indeed — pfft! — has this anything to do with us?
Come, let's back to bed. Did you see that beautiful moon above?
I wonder what the man in the moon thinks about all this uproar?
Surely we are safe here, wife. Won't good King George see to that?

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

Alan remixed his poem "Leech" from Day 19 into a question poem.

Leech, Reconsidered

And do you expect the guy
taking the 8:15 a.m. first-semester British survey
to have read the material any time but right before he fell asleep
the night before, having put off the chore of Beowulf
until the last possible moments of a long day?
And do you expect the guy
who sits in the back of a lecture hall
with something approaching stadium seating
although it holds only about fifty students, max,
to expect to draw your attention, much less offer his?
And do you expect the guy
whose political opinions take up less space
on the front of his trucker hat
than his own name would
to get or even acknowledge parallels
between the centuries-old texts
and current events?
Why should he recognize the tragicomic qualities of sexual relations?
Why should he be engaged by a bold Christ who would sacrifice His mortal being to
            fulfill a mission of love?
Why would he denigrate a self-delusional rebel who comes to understand only at the last
            that even his failed rebellion has been foreseen, defeated before begun?
Perhaps he is enjoying a rich internal life.
Perhaps he has calculated that his efforts would be better spent in his profitable major
            than in a gen ed course
where somebody evaluates his minimal effort assignment fulfillments
as if they matter in the long run.
Perhaps the only thing he read all the way through was Dr. Faustus, and he understood
            it, and he decided it was a good deal, after all.

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

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

Ingat, everyone.   


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Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Day 27 ... NaPoWriMo / Poem-a-Day 2021


Robert Lee Brewer’s Poem-a-Day suggestion is this month's “final Two-for-Tuesday ... prompt:  1. Write a believe poem and/or ... 2. Write a don't believe poem.”

It seems that the NaPoWriMo website was hacked yesterday! Maureen Thorson announced the hack on facebook and on Twitter, saying that her hosting company shut down the website "to prevent further damage." The website has since been brought back up but with no new material after Day 26. Instead Maureen issued the prompt on Facebook and twitter: “Today's prompt asks you to get in touch with some minor, haunting feelings.”

I wrote that (above) at 6:30 this morning. It is now a little after 9:00am and NaPoWriMo seems to be back to normal. Maureen Thorson’s NaPoWriMo full prompt today is “I’d like to challenge you to write a poem inspired by an entry from the Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows. The entries are very vivid – maybe too vivid! But perhaps one of the sorrows will strike a chord with you, or even get you thinking about defining an in-between, minor, haunting feeling that you have, and that does not yet have a name.”


Mashing up all three prompts, with some tanka prose, where the ending tanka is an acrostic poem spelling out a word from the Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows, "wytai," which means, "a feature of modern society that suddenly strikes you as absurd and grotesque."

Real Lives?

I can’t believe someone would actually take the time to hack
a poetry website like NaPoWriMo.net. There’s no money in it.
No adventure, like hackers in Neuromancer wearing a haptic
suit with virtual goggles and storming websites imaged as
castles in cyberspace. Don’t hackers have real lives?

At the same time, I do believe it, and I just shake my head. It’s
a sign of our times that there are people for whom conspiracy
theories literally are real life, like the QAnon Shaman, in his
buffalo-horn headdress and leather chaps, shirtless, leading
the Capitol invasion in January. Is that how a hacker sees
themselves, as some kind of Messiah? As Moses in the
wilderness, with a burning bush telling them, go take down
Poetry . . . it’s a Democrat sex-trafficking scheme that's
threatening the life-blood of the nation.

                              W hy do hackers do it?
                               Y ou would think
                               T hey’d be cooking chili
                               A nd walking the dog.
                                I t’s weirder than QAnon.

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

QAnon Shaman at the Capitol riots, January 2021.

Alan did the NaPoWriMo prompt today, drawing a word from the Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows.



P O E M   R E M O V E D

while being submitted for publication.

 

Please come back later. The poem may
return at some time in the future.

Thank you!

 


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

Ingat, everyone.   


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Monday, April 26, 2021

Day 26 ... NaPoWriMo / Poem-a-Day 2021


Robert Lee Brewer’s Poem-a-Day prompt: “[T]ake the phrase '(blank) World,' replace the blank with a word or phrase, make the new phrase the title of your poem, and then, write your poem. Possible titles include: 'Theme Park World,' 'Poeming World,' and/or 'Brave New World.' Have fun putting the world in a poem.”

Maureen Thorson’s NaPoWriMo prompt: “Today, I’d like to challenge you to write a parody. Besides being fun, writing parodies can be a great way to hone your poetic skills – particularly your sense of rhyme and sound, as you try to mimic the form of an existing poem while changing the content. Just find a poem – or a song – that has always annoyed you, and write an altered, silly version of it. Or, alternatively, find a poem with a very particular rhyme scheme or form, and use that scheme/form as the basis for a poem that mocks something else.”


Okay, mashing up both prompts as usual, but this time with utter, consummate silliness.

Out of this World

Star Warsh is a laundromat
where spacemen clean their spacesuits,
where Yoda washes his T-shirts and undies
and artfully scuffs up his boots.

Where Chewie buffs up his shoulder belt
and Han launders his vest,
where Luke cleans off his off-white leggings
and Leia bleaches her dress.

Star Warsh is run by Obi-Wan,
who always chants this motto:
“We keep you clean in Tatooine,”
sung with sweet vibrato.

After they get themselves spiffed up,
they board the Millennium Falcon,
then blast off to battle dirty Darth Vader,
and live happily ever afton.

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

A couple of footnotes: (1) Thanks to F. Scott Fitzgerald, from whom lifted the advert jingle, and (2) Thanks also to Dr. Seuss, from whom I learned this cool poetic lesson: if you can't find a rhyme word, make one up! (Shakespeare used to do it too, but his coinages often stayed in our vocabularies.)

C3PO Laundry Day — Guess he didn't make the laundromat.

Alan's poem today mashes up the two prompts, riffing on "We Real Cool" by Gwendolyn Brooks while also doing some trenchant social commentary.

We’re Q World
(Stay Out of Trenton, Georgia)

We’re Trump-trained. We’re
Bad-brained. We’re

Fake news. We’re
False clues. We’re

Greene-graced. We’re
False-faced. We’re

Q World. We’re
Pig-pearled.

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

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

Ingat, everyone.   


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