Today’s (optional) 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.
Spring facial, after friend’s directions
“You’ll love the beautician’s new center,” she said.
Striking, brand new, at the end of town, right where the cobblestones stop,
after roundabout, crossroads, traffic lights,
block of buildings, mushroomed overnight,
where caramel-colored cows once grazed
and plum trees quietly bloomed,
erasure made way for macadam boom,
relentless advance, no chance of respite,
busy barricades across no-name street.
Straight thru, she said, then sharp right,
can’t miss, grey cement, clear glass face,
center at number 4, Orchid the name.
Where to park? Trapped by roadwork, dazed by intrepid renewal game, or
head into setting sun, eyes blind,
when center gleams. Owner unfazed,
had sensed mainstream dream,
moved, modernized, determined to find
radical remake, fancy inventories,
for tweaking selves into shining shape,
no lurching back to plum memories.
* * *
And now for our final (still optional!) prompt. 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.
And now, for our prompt (optional, as always). This one is called “in the window.” (For detailed prompt, see below.)
who en earth am I
a multiple no one
I seem no thing yet
I can be a killer wall
I am the intermediary
let you sell yourself
warning I may switch
* * *
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?
Prompt: Today, I’d like to challenge you to write a poem that responds, in some way, to another. (For details, see below.)
“The damselflies pass as they would over water” from Aubade: Some Peaches, After Storm,” by Carl Phillips.
Damselfly, graceful, dainty,
iridescent, silvery green,
ephemeral dream, yet
you’re ancient, damselfly,
roamed the skies in the Permian age,
a predator, boasted an eagle’s
size, taunted dinosaurs.
You’ve survived, reinvented yourself,
a slimmed-down elf, you rise
above brook, pond, morning dew,
morphed from a nymph, you grew
savor life with humongous eyes,
surf on transparent wings.
Why of all things did you pass thru
the open window, mistaking glass
for watery sheen,
lured by a curious, fateful gleam,
fancy, neither sun nor moon,
till entranced beyond reprieve,
trapped in a luminous orb,
you lay dead among house flies,
intrepid wings no more to unfold.
I grieve, yet wanted the ending bold,
believing it’s ours to choose
invincible when we lose.
* * *
Now for today’s prompt (optional, as always). One thing that makes me want to write poetry is reading poetry. Sometimes, reading another poet’s work gives me an idea or image. And sometimes I read a poem that I want to formally respond to – whether because I agree with it, or disagree with it, or just because it starts a conversation in my head that I want to continue on the page.
Today, I’d like to challenge you to write a poem that responds, in some way, to another. This could be as simple as using a line or image from another poem as a jumping-off point, or it could be a more formal poetic response to the argument or ideas raised in another poem. You might use a favorite (or least favorite poem) as the source for your response. And if you’re having trouble finding a poem to respond to, here are a few that might help you generate ideas: “This World is Not Conclusion,” by Peter Gizzi, “In That Other Fantasy Where We Live Forever,” by Wanda Coleman, “La Chalupa, the Boat,” by Jean Valentine, or “Aubade: Some Peaches, After Storm,” by Carl Phillips.
Sunday, 29 Nov 2020 12.22 pm
It’s interesting to consider one’s body as a gift.
A gift is born of love and generosity, of exuberance, abundance, life overflowing.
A gift is something to be unwrapped, discovered, appreciated.
In the Japanese tradition a gift is something beyond the personal, never straight from your hands to mine or vice versa.
It is set down at a distance, a neutral place, almost as if didowned, belonging to no one in particular, a present bestowed by Life, by the Source of all that is.
Recognizing that all I claim I own is really a gift.
Writing: Write about Taboos, the Intimate, the Crazy
This is the globally announced, YouTube-spread writing advice of two luminaries: Margaret Atwood and Carol Oates.
So here I go.
This morning I awoke to a crazy thought, that should have been shrouded in awe but shone with childlike glee: offer your body to God!
It’s His anyway, reason muttered. But it’s always fun to receive a gift sang the heart. Wonder whether he’d accept it, crackeled doubt. Let’s take a look, I said.
And there he was, mighty luminous chest, arms crossed before it. And squeezed in between, my body, held couldn’t be tighter. Like: no one’s allowed to touch it.
The triumphant childlike glee is back! A feeling of sureness, of crazy trust having won. A smile, more truthful, a grin, lights up my face. A wave of gratitude sweeps over me, mingled with ripples of awe.
I sit and breathe. The image of the plastic contraption, a kind of breathing-trainer they gave me at the hospital pops into my mind. It still sitst untouched, hidden from sight, in my overnight bag.
See, my body has defects, reason protests. It’s pretty run down, worse for years of not so gentle wear. What about my assorted ailments? My out-of-sync heart? My trembling hands? My teeth-grinding?
Divine life experiences, comes the answer.
Don’t quite get what that means, but huge feeling of relief expands my chest, velvety warmth wraps all around me.
I feel crazy-happy.
Good time to do the laundry!