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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Monday, April 25, 2022

Day 25 ... NaPoWriMo / Poem-a-Day 2022


Robert Lee Brewer’s Poem-a-Day prompt: “[W]rite a response poem. Your poem could be in response to a popular poem by another poet, sure, but it could also be a response to a poem you wrote earlier this month. ”

Maureen Thorson’s NaPoWriMo prompt today “is based on the aisling, a poetic form that developed in Ireland. An aisling recounts a dream or vision featuring a woman who represents the land or country on/in which the poet lives, and who speaks to the poet about it. Today, I’d like to challenge you to write a poem that recounts a dream or vision, and in which a woman appears who represents or reflects the area in which you live. Perhaps she will be the Madonna of the Traffic Lights, or the Mysterious Spirit of Bus Stops. Or maybe you will be addressed by the Lost Lady of the Stony Coves.”

Today, following Brewer’s prompt, I’m responding to a poem I wrote on Day Ten: "Ode to Chicharon," the iconic snack of the Philippines, pork belly chicharon, fried to a crispy goodness: chunks of meat, fat, and luscious skin. Following Thorson’s prompt, I’m imagining an aisling visit from my mom in a dream, done in tanka prose, a Japanese combination of prose text with a tanka, a five-line poem that traditionally has a syllabic pattern of 5-7-5-7-7 (at least in the US, though not all American tanka writers follow that convention these days).

My Mother, 22 in 2022

I dreamed of a wispy thick fog like one finds in San Francisco, like the inside of a cloud, gray translucence. Out of this mist came a woman in a dress of light pink covered faintly with light gray flowers. It was Mama! In the dream, I was still in my 60s but my mother was lovely in her 20s, though I knew her right away, as if I was 6 years old again. She handed me a crystal bowl heaped with crispy chicharon, of all things. Then she stood next to me and waved her hand from left to right in front of us, a queenly gesture, and the fog swept away to the side, melting in bright sunlight. I could feel tropical heat on my hair, waves of intense warmth. The landscape in front of us was lush and green, the Banaue terraced rice paddies of Ifugao mountain, so beautiful. My mother leaned toward me, smelling of sampaguita flowers, and whispered in my ear, "Remember." And then she was gone, like tendrils of steam in a perfumed breeze. And I awoke in my own bed, tears on my cheeks.

                                Mama came to me
                                in a dream with a glass bowl
                                full of chicharon.
                                She said, "Remember The Land
                                of the Morning, Vin. Our land."

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

            Candida Fajardo, 1947
            Image by lester56 on Pixabay.


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

Ingat, everyone.   


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Sunday, April 24, 2022

Day 24 ... NaPoWriMo / Poem-a-Day 2022


Maureen Thorson's NaPoWriMo prompt begins today by noting, "Hard-boiled detective novels are known for their use of vivid similes, often with an ironic or sarcastic tone," and quoting some great examples from "[n]ovelist Raymond Chandler," then following up with a challenge "to channel your inner gumshoe, and write a poem in which you describe something with a hard-boiled simile. Feel free to use just one, or try to go for broke and stuff your poem with similes till it’s . . . as dense as bread baked by a plumber, as round as the eyes of a girl who wants you to think she’s never heard such language, and as easy to miss as a brass band in a cathedral."

Robert Lee Brewer’s Poem-a-Day prompt: “[W]rite a superhero or supervillain poem. It's OK to write a poem about an established hero or villain, like Thor, Green Lantern, or The Tick. But it would be more fun to have poems about lesser known (as in, you just invented them) heroes and villains. People like The Recycler, Dr. Dirty Dishes, or the diabolical Pie Bandit. Save the day; wreck the day; but please, write a poem.”

Merging both prompts, I turn again to the aswang myth. Not the monsters in my novel-in-progress, but an earlier aswang from a previous century, a manananggal — a woman who can split off her upper body, growing wings to fly off to hunt human prey, leaving her lower body standing below, waiting to reunite. I wondered what a high-born Philippine woman would be like as an aswang, a kind of superhero or supervillain. This is my eighth curtal sonnet this NaPoWriMo.

Aswang Lady in Crinoline, 1875

She stands in a forest clearing, looking
up at the moon, dressed in an evening gown,
a Maria Clara with a hoop skirt.
Her waist ripping, she lifts off, torn satin
shreds hanging, like bloody kite tails, while down
on the forest floor, bright against the dirt,

is the bottom of her dress, a church dome
glowing in moonlight, hoops holding the round
shape whole. Dark goddess flies above the earth,
hunting a treasure hidden in a womb,
                                   thwarting another birth.

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

Here's a photo showing a Filipina from the 1870s in a fancy dress with a voluminous skirt, called a Maria Clara, from the article "The Filipiniana Dress: The Rebirth of the Terno," from Vinta Gallery.

            Image from Vinta Gallery.

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

Ingat, everyone.   


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Saturday, April 23, 2022

Day 23 ... NaPoWriMo / Poem-a-Day 2022


Robert Lee Brewer’s Poem-a-Day prompt: “[W]rite a conspiracy poem. Line your ball caps with aluminum foil, cover your walls with cryptic sticky notes, and write a poem that exposes (or refutes) a conspiracy. Is the Earth flat? Are all professional sports (and entertainment awards ceremonies) fixed? Did people really talk about Bruno? Write your poem, because I want to believe.”

Maureen Thorson’s NaPoWriMo prompt: "Today I’d like to challenge you to write a poem in the style of Kay Ryan, whose poems tend to be short and snappy – with a lot of rhyme and soundplay. They also have a deceptive simplicity about them, like proverbs or aphorisms. Once you’ve read a few, you’ll see what I mean. Here’s her 'Token Loss,' 'Blue China Doorknob,' 'Houdini,' and 'Crustacean Island.'"

Here's what really happened today, folks, at least before the conspiracy stuff kicks in in the second half of the poem!

Conspiracy of the Wind

Today, my daughter
Amelia and I — we're
the band Groovy News
— played an outdoor gig
for Good Neighbor Iowa,
a non-profit that tries
to change people's lawn
and garden practices
to stay away from using
pesticides. It was a very
blustery day, and Amelia's
music stand blew over.
Her music binder flew
open and sheet music
scattered in the wind.
The audience ran around
snagging the tumbleweed
pieces of runaway paper,
and stuck them willy-nilly
in the binder. Later I
discovered all the music
was there; We had lost
not a single sheet! What
had conspired with what
to make that happen?
Had the pro-pesticide folks
schemed with the wind gods
to interrupt our music hour?
And then had the wind gods,
behind the backs of their
erstwhile partners, made
a deal with the chaos god
to ensure our music sheets
were not lost? And why did
any of them do that? Was
there blood money afoot?
Were there invisible sprites
making sure all the people
caught every single sheet?
Should Amelia and I pick up
some lottery tickets right now?
Who knows? Somebody knows!
Give us a sign, whoever you are!

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

Here's the logo of the Good Neighbor Iowa program. Check them out at Good Neighbor Iowa .org. Worthy cause.

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

Ingat, everyone.   


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Friday, April 22, 2022

Day 22 ... NaPoWriMo / Poem-a-Day 2022


Maureen Thorson’s NaPoWriMo prompt: “In honor of today’s being the 22nd day of Na/GloPoWriMo 2022, I’d like to challenge you to write a poem that uses repetition. You can repeat a sound, a word, a phrase, or an image, or any combination of things.”

Robert Lee Brewer’s Poem-a-Day prompt: “[W]rite an organism poem. The really cool thing about our planet is that it is loaded with a variety of living organisms, from one-celled prokaryotes and eukaryotes to complex creatures (like blue whales and rhinos). Write about several organisms, or pick one and make it the title of your poem.”

These prompts reminded me of a news story: "[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. . . . For human applications, one could envision creating bots that produce insulin, regulated by built-in sensors for glucose levels. 'We could . . . put bots into a patient to home in on areas of tissue damage such as spinal cord injury, and release regenerative compounds to help with the repair process,' said [Douglas] Blackiston," one of the project scientists. (Tufts Now). Today's poem is, as I've written several times this month, a kimo, a variation of the haiku from Israel, with three lines of 10, 7, and 6 syllables. Melding both prompts.

Xenobots

make more xenobots and more xenobots . . .
some day they will heal humans,
microscopic doctors.

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

Here is a photo of a xenobot self-replicating. According to the caption, the "the 'parent' [is] colored red and the “baby” [is] green."


Photo by Doug Blackiston and Sam Kriegman from Tufts Now
.

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

Ingat, everyone.   


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Thursday, April 21, 2022

Day 21 ... NaPoWriMo / Poem-a-Day 2022


Robert Lee Brewer’s Poem-a-Day suggestion: “For today's prompt, write a sound poem. We've already done smell, taste, and touch; I hope you can see where this is headed. For today, write about sounds in general or hone in on one particular sound.”

Maureen Thorson’s NaPoWriMo prompt: “[W]rite a poem in which you first recall someone you used to know closely but are no longer in touch with, then a job you used to have but no longer do, and then a piece of art that you saw once and that has stuck with you over time. Finally, close the poem with an unanswerable question.”

In melding today's prompts, I was able to work in an old job, in the U.S. Army back in the '70s, and also someone I used to know, my Army drill sergeant. I happened to hear that he got cancer, and I sure hope he survived that. I'm working here with a curtal sonnet, so I didn't have enough room to fit in a piece of art, but I did work in a question at the end, which is not exactly unanswerable, but maybe is, because I don't recall my drill sergeant's first name, and an online search could be difficult. It was a lot of fun getting in the various sounds of Basic Training, so I'm grateful for Brewer's prompt today.

My Old Drill Sergeant
U.S. Army Basic Training, 1972
Being a soldier meant a lot of noise.
Rifles at the range, yells of Ready on
the left, ready on the right, fire at will!

M16 barrage fired by lonesome boys.
Live grenades, marching cadences, machine
gun practice, boots tramping on long hikes, drill

sergeants up in your face, What’s wrong, private,
missing Mama?
Even the nights were full
of sleeping troops’ loud snores and grunts, soft moans.
Then 6 a.m. — screams of Get up, maggots!
                    Where, now, is Sgt. Bowles?

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

            Image by Stephen Standifird on Wikimedia.

This photo doesn't match my basic training experience exactly because during the Vietnam war, we wore green fatigues, olive drab. But the face of the troop being schooled by three drill sergeants, that's forever!


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

Ingat, everyone.   


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