Friday, April 3, 2020

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


Robert Lee Brewer’s Poem-a-Day suggestion: “For today’s prompt, take the phrase ‘Follow (blank),’ replace the blank with a new word or phrase, make the new phrase the title of your poem, and then, write your poem. Possible titles include: ‘Follow the Leader,’ ‘Follow Me on Twitter,’ ‘Follow Your Heart,’ and/or ‘Follow the Light.’ So many things to follow or not.”

Maureen Thorson’s NaPoWriMo prompt uses the online rhyming dictionary RhymeZone: She suggests starting with a “list of ten words” and using Rhymezone “to identify two to four similar-sounding or rhyming words. For example, if my word is ‘salt,’ my similar words might be ‘belt,’ ‘silt,’ ‘sailed,’ and ‘sell-out.’” Then use that “word bank” to create your poem.

Alan followed both prompts today in a fascinating fashion, which we can tease out if we try to follow his NaPoWriMo inspiration. (More on that after the poem.)

Follow the Comment Thread

Find those few minutes of feeling secure
and go wading—no, fishing
in a social media account you hold onto,
that Twitter account still linked to your phone
so you can keep an eye
on your hometown newspaper,
and then read the responses to any local news item—
it doesn’t even have to be an overtly political one,
just an everyday story
about that nice lunch lady who pays off a hungry kid’s balance
or the soldier just back from deployment
and getting to see her two-year-old boy
for the first time in eight months
or the smiling old man crowned
Sweetheart King at the assisted living facility
just outside the city limits so they can follow
different pay regulations
and then start reading the comments
where you get an idea of what’s not news,
that there are people who mistake access
for opportunity to spew the most hateful notions
they have, comfortable that sharing them
in a worldwide platform
somehow gives them validity, an equal footing
with a considered, reasoned compassionate analysis
of any human situation.
Then look at their last names, the last names your neighbors had
when you lived there and for a while could not imagine
wanting to live anywhere else in the world.
Follow the comment thread and ask yourself
what must have happened to you
that you feel sick at what you’re reading,
that you still check the hometown news
of a place that has not left you.

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

Can you see how Alan's playing with sound? The clue for me was in the second and third line from the end, with the phrases "feel sick" and "still check"; there is slant rhyme in the two first words (feel and still) and also in the two second words (sick and check). Can you see any other sound play?

The ten words I started with were Trump, corona, virus, bone-headed, White, House, mask, social, distance, and death. I ran those words through RhymeZone looking for rhymes (especially slant rhymes) and similar-sounding words. Here's the poem.

Follow the Leader

He tramps through fields of tripe,
surrounded by imagined cronies
and pirates full of virile crises,
a bone-headed, benighted band-aid
despite a frightful weight — what? —
Pennsylvania house of Faustian haze,
wearing a cloth mask from Moscow,
ignoble, immobile, a cycle of social
distance, endless concupiscence,
amid a deaf myth of health and debt.

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

I don't know what to say about that one. It wrote itself pretty much once I had four words elicited by each of the ten seed words. I had no idea what I was going to do once I got the 40 words (50 along with the original 10), but then I saw that the word bank already had a weird yet sensical logic, almost a narrative already, and I just sewed it together with connective words. Who knew?


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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2 comments:

Unknown said...

ooo, I liked "boneheaded, benighted band aid!

Vince Gotera said...

Thanks! Who is this? Lauren, maybe?




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