Free write today. After 29 prompts, I was actually stymied. Whatever shall I write about?
Lessons Learned from NaPoWriMo
Procrastination is futile.
I don’t need to be in my favorite place
using my favorite pen and journal
my favorite music in the background
with a glass of my favorite merlot,
I can write without a comfy setting,
under the strangest of conditions.
Spontaneity often counts more
than relentless effort .
Though poetry darts by on gauzy wings,
often missed in so much noise,
I learned the silence needed
comes from within.
Thank you ReadWritePoem
for the challenges,
for the good community of poets,
and for much, much more.
It's been extraordinary.
Friday, April 30, 2010
Free write today. After 29 prompts, I was actually stymied. Whatever shall I write about?
Thursday, April 29, 2010
The prompt - take several headlines from today's newspapers, select words from them and make a new headline. Write your poem about that.
Asteroid Poisoned Earth’s Origin
It’s clear a mistake has been made
the learned scientists said.
When the earth was forming
a huge poisoned glob
of an exploded planet
fell into our mix and altered
our nucleotide chaining.
To make the story shorter,
we are shorter
than we are supposed to be
in the Universe scale of things.
Of course we built our houses,
machine guns, tanks, accordingly.
Stephen Hawking says
stop advertising our presence
we only have to look at ourselves
to know what we should fear
from aliens, and he’s right, except
for one factor -
they are also much, much larger.
All of them.
Have a pleasant day!
Posted by Wanda McCollar at 6:53 PM
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
The prompt calls for another "aha" moment. This really happened to me, I'm not making it up. I changed the personna of the narrator, so that it would be more feasible. But this happened to me - I have no TV, in my defense.
For an old gal I’m pretty hep
not fazed by terms like transvestite,
transgender, genderqueer, two spirit
or any androgyne. I keep in step.
Live and let live I always say.
Nope, genders don’t bother me
grammatical , sexual, or third,
neutered nouns, or splat pronouns,
if you get my meaning.
But driving to work the other day
I heard a new one on the radio.
What in the heck is golden sex?
They were really negative, angry.
The Senate put golden sex on display
(mercy me!) and the government
banned the practice, media’s bashing it.
How dirty can it be?
My imagination gets the best of me.
Glad I didn’t work up the courage to ask
before I saw that article this morning
– about Goldman Sachs.
Posted by Wanda McCollar at 5:02 PM
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Pondering palpable pulchritude, preternatural palaver, posing prestidigitation, possibly
Opposing obstreperous obloquies, obvious oxymoron, obnoxious ordinariness, otherwise
Enthusiastic, even ebullient every enjambment, evocative elision, elegantly eviscerated elegy,
Tantalizing tercet, timbered tone, trochee true to theme, terribly tempting tall tale tellingly told.
Posted by Wanda McCollar at 8:38 PM
Monday, April 26, 2010
The 26th prompt is to take an abandoned poem, and rework it. For some reason unknown to me, I'm compelled to keep coming back to this poem. This gives me a chance to look at at again. After today's revision, is it now a finished poem? Maybe, or maybe not - there's still something about it...
Goodbye to Elephants
Down the road in single file,
dust blurring our sorrow,
slow plodding round feet on planks
into a boxcar leaving forever,
and the band plays on unaware.
Drum, calliope, creak of cage,
stubby parade and lift of tents
defined spring. Then, offhand,
they weren’t coming back;
how could it ever be summer again?
We’d connected with elephants,
with their still eyes following us,
with surprises of sloshed water,
with musk, straw, slow litanies
of rumbles, trumpets, snorts,
huge swaying to ancient rhythms -
(we thought they were pleased to
be in the circus)
we’d look for elephants
the rest of our lives.
Posted by Wanda McCollar at 6:18 PM
Sunday, April 25, 2010
To Sleep, perchance
to drive a cliff-hugging road
with aplomb or to fly by
willing my body to rise –
a simple process I’ve always known,
or to lecture with uncanny
wisdom to all applause. But
what was that remedy – and
what was the cause?
I’ve other skills morning disavows
or memory artfully denies.
So, where does it all go –
those actions abruptly cut short
by waking? The precious words,
the clever deeds, the ideas that will
save us – abruptly snuffed
by something circadian.
they sit around our hippocampus,
weaving puzzles to perplex us,
or screwing with our memories,
or creating metaphors
for our poems.
Posted by Wanda McCollar at 7:30 PM
Saturday, April 24, 2010
For April 24 - select a phrase from Shakespeare, the Bible, or other sources and let it inspire a poem. I chose "We have seen better times" from Timon of Athens by William Shakespeare. The form I used is an Elizabethan sonnet, which seemed appropriate.
We Have Seen Better Times
This growing old would get the best of you,
if you didn’t know it’s nature’s cunning play
for each body part in turn to bid adieu.
Could be your hearing’s first to sneak away,
poor fool, you’ll miss the gist but never know.
Your eyesight’s maybe next to go astray,
what’s written BIG is rarely apropos.
Joints’ cries then quite naughtily surprise
for pain, with knee, or neck it’s quid pro quo,
and muscles, well – fallen dough doesn’t rise
but no harm, you’re too pooped to miss the fun.
If you’re lucky your mind is the last that flies,
if not, these problems’ll bother you none.
So, watch it go, and laugh it up until it’s done.
Posted by Wanda McCollar at 8:12 PM
Friday, April 23, 2010
Today's prompt: place your narrator in a situation she/ he would not normally encounter.
The Flower Child Who Became a Flower
I’m back! Peace, brothers!
So what am I? A marigold?
Outtasight! Don’t need bread ,
don’t need a crash pad.
I dig that. But, if I’m a marigold
I’m a better looking one than anyone here -
good stem, fine leaves
great petals. I feel my essence.
So, what happened to you guys,
you look terrible, all chewed up.
You gotta mellow out.
The pigs do that to you?
You fought back, right? That don’t work.
Passive resistance – that’s the ticket.
Peace and love. I see we’re
in the front row here, right where
the fuzz can get at us.
What is this –the People’s Park?
I’ll show you how to go with the flow.
I’ll have you all lookin as good as me
in no time. So who’re these
big slow snail dudes moving in?
Groovy! Peace and love, brothers!
note: In many countries marigolds are planted solely to lure snails away from the rest of the garden.
Posted by Wanda McCollar at 5:16 PM
Thursday, April 22, 2010
Prompt is for a Wordle. Use one, some, or all of the folllowing words: reverberate, dizzy, squall, tomorrow, emporium, flinch, fierce, rust, saffron, pepper, tendril, crow. I got all but 2.
First, tendrils of smoke crept under the door,
then, the fierce pungent squall of
grandpa’s medical marijuana burst forth
as we entered his bedroom, reverberations
of his laughter peppered with colorful invectives
greeting us in the laden air, making us even dizzier.
Propped by pillows, sitting on top of his covers
wearing red pajamas, worn slippers and his saffron
smoking jacket - “No rust on me,” he crowed.
He was happier than I’d seen him in a decade.
Not Mary’s doing, Apple’s. He had an iPad
and could read again, write again. “Tomorrow,”
chuckled our nonagenarian, “ I start writing my memoirs.”
(This inspired by a news item in tonight's CNN about a 99 year old gal overjoyed she can see to read and write again by using her new iPad. Hooray for technology!)
Posted by Wanda McCollar at 9:35 PM
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
The 21st prompt deals with flaws as opposed to perfection, or perhaps both.
Some People Just Don’t Understand Parenting
She accepted the act of giving birth
as an agony of course but
she had hopes it’d
be worth it. Then she fussed, and
pampered, coaxed, and pondered,
couldn’t leave well enough
alone, but finally, with some small pride,
and no doubt overlooking what flaws
they might have, she let them go forth
and BAM one was stamped
ordinary, another flat, another
strange, even (horrors!)
She put them all away.
Posted by Wanda McCollar at 5:04 PM
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Write a poem about a hero.
Ode to the Caped Crusader
You know, Batman, you made more sense to me
than that other guy in the blue tights, after all –
how could he fight crime on a reporter’s pay
even if he didn’t have to buy plane tickets,
better to be a rich philanthropist and have a batmobile, batplane
and all those cool gadgets stashed away in your bat cave.
I understand the utility belt
and the boots and bat cape and the need to fight crime
but I was disappointed you chose Robin
it should’ve been Batman and Wanda,
lord knows my skinned knees proved I practiced.
Posted by Wanda McCollar at 8:58 PM
Monday, April 19, 2010
Today's prompt - write about a moment of sudden understanding.
Knowledge Often Arrives Ungraciously
In Japan where we lived
it dishonored neighbors
to lock one's front door.
A neighbor would never knock
but open the door and call
Anata wa koko desu ka?
If receiving no answer,
honored neighbor was free
to remove shoes at the threshold
and wait inside.
My shower room adjoined
the living room. Need I go on?
It was a good warm shower
I enjoyed that day until
I spied a very large spider
on the opposite wall who then
jumped across that safe space
to within inches of my face.
I ran shrieking into my living room
and there sat my landlord
most formally attired,
most formally posed,
in contrast to my nudity, of course.
Without a twitch of eye
he said in his impeccable English,
I wish to invite you and your family
to dinner next week but I see
there is a problem with the plumbing.
Posted by Wanda McCollar at 6:50 PM
Sunday, April 18, 2010
Today's prompt is to write about a feline creature - tiger, panther, or a bit more domesticated.
Seeing me busy,
with a swift silent leap
she’s on my desk,
pausing to lick her paws
before she curls herself
on my keybemop
Posted by Wanda McCollar at 1:34 PM
Saturday, April 17, 2010
The prompt is to write about one of the essentials: Fire, Water, Wind, Earth. This took me a long time - found myself going on at great length. Taught me to cut to the quick!
“In earth as quiet as thy father's skull.” King Richard II, IV i
Where worms poop
and bacteria flourish
in wet muddy bubbles,
of clay and silt,
in darkest silence of
mold and fungus,
our dead regenerate
into fertile soil, a
cycle that’s worked
for a very long time.
This much we know.
Posted by Wanda McCollar at 10:27 PM
Friday, April 16, 2010
The prompt is to let smell help you remember, and guide your writing. A stau is the unexpected slowing of high speed autobahn traffic, eventually bringing all vehicles to a stop. Although there can be many reasons, what causes a stau is often never known.
a wobbled double line of us,
bad pop art caught
while trying to escape,
between earth and moon.
We turn off our engines,
morning heat fills our small spaces.
I lower my window -
a surprise rush of pine tar,
dried grass, something fecal, and
a bird’s song.
What – birds on the autobahn?
Are they always here to intrude,
if only we could hear them?
But we are the intruders, for they
have a tree and a grainy field,
and there’s a farm house,
a woman working in her garden.
She stands and shields her eyes
peering at the phenomenon of us.
Leave your car, she calls to me.
Step over the barrier,
walk through the field,
feel the rough ground under your thin soles,
kneel beside me and work with marigolds, yellow
and soft in the black soil, a pungency of flower
and earth on your fingers. Let the soil’s soul
sift into yours, dark and living.
Your mother kept a bed of marigolds;
she needed them, but you forgot that.
The cars ahead
start their engines,
windows slide shut,
AC kicks in,
radios resume their noise,
we pick up speed.
Posted by Wanda McCollar at 10:10 PM
Thursday, April 15, 2010
The prompt is to take a failed poem, select a part of it, and find its tune by singing it. Keep the part of the poem that matches a tune, throw away the rest of it, and write two more stanzas. Excellent prompt. I have many failed poems - tried singing parts of them all day. Finally became "stuck" with this one. Though I could find no tune to match it - I really tried. Did everything the prompt asked - found a sort of rythmn - threw the rest away, wrote a refrain and two new stanzas based on that rythmn. But there's no song here.
A Dream After Six Months of Chemo
I’m flat on a silver platter
I too was silver but now I’m flatter
left eye pressed down wetly dark
right eye up in dry bright light
hey nonny nonny, up the falls we go.
My inner liquid’s gone, dry, dry
left side of me in this odd pond
doesn’t help, my gills don’t move
and it doesn’t seem to matter
hey nonny nonny, up the falls we go
Green and white vegetables circle me
they don’t care but our two kinds
are to be ingested by another species
and it doesn’t matter anymore.
hey nonny nonny, up the falls we go.
Posted by Wanda McCollar at 8:29 PM
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
This is like the Cleave prompt in only one way. It's something I've been fooling with - a new form of my own, perhaps. My intention is to weave, like tapestry. Thus there is a relation, symbiotic or otherwise, between the third line and the first two of the next triplet in every stanza - a weaving. That relationship is not metric, not rhyme - but something intrinsically related - a texture, a sound, a motion, an intention. I was going to go up to the town of Speyer today to take a picture of the Rhein to go with this - but ran out of time.
Over rocks, slippery grass
where strawberries run wild
we walk the riverside
ripples of pigeons
in quick formations
home to their whistle
salutes from barges
pass each other
low gray clouds sail over
storks’ nests settled
above chimney walls
crossed with dark beams
the town’s old white houses
we do not hurry
this last talk
once woven will
Posted by Wanda McCollar at 10:17 PM
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
Smoke a Dubie. The prompt is to use a line from a Norman Dubie poem as the first line.
A Poem with a First Line from Norman Dubie
Worlds are being told like beads
between forefinger and thumb
Hail Mary full of grace
Allahu akhbar, lulling litanies,
Shiva's 108 names
moving between finger and thumb
om mani padme hum,
humans begging before God,
their worlds safely strung
as beggar beads
counting perpetual petitions
have mercy on us
and on the whole world
moving between finger and thumb.
Posted by Wanda McCollar at 7:00 PM
Monday, April 12, 2010
Write a a poem which includes a code. When is a code not a code?
Roughly 440–490 nm.
shark or whale ablowin’,
jay, or tiny-winged
butterfly, mold busy at
cheese, a berry to eat,
lapiz lazuli or
a missing moon rising,
I’m sapphire or diamond,
I’m wild sky,
maybe cerulean, or
Prussian. I'm flora
lactarius indigo –
I’m mood become rhythm.
by depth darker.
I’m soul uplifted,
the tekhelet in tzitzit,
I'm very Catholic, too,
or a Vishnu Avatar.
Posted by Wanda McCollar at 7:39 PM
Sunday, April 11, 2010
Prompt is to write about a choice you should have made in life, but didn't. Or to dig deeper, and write about a person you disconnected with along the way. A very difficult prompt.
sex had become, and other ironies.
We thought we heard the rumbling laughter
of John Steinbeck join us in the soft briny air.
But I flew that ocean, live half a world away.
Now we’re old gals and I bet you’re amazed we are.
Little else surprises us, everything droops.
Oh, we have some pity for our daughters,
their children now teenagers.
We should have consoled each other
while all that was going on.
I still see us watching our babies play,
as we tempered our troubles with laughter.
Not giving up our expectation of miracles,
someday we’ll sit on that white sand again,
look out over the sparkling waters and tell
the good stories to sustain us.
photograph by Aurelie Young
Posted by Wanda McCollar at 9:18 PM
Saturday, April 10, 2010
The prompt was to write a poem about a celebration. Well, this turns out not to be a celebration, per se, like a birthday party, but a celebration of a ritual begun before the couple is married and carried on throughout the family's existence.
Our Scary Family Album
Here’s my mother
just graduated, looking
into the lens suspiciously,
her starched nurse’s cap
This is my father astride
his Harley, booted right foot
asserted on the dirt road,
goggles posed in his wild hair,
his grin naughty.
A gorgeous man before he had us.
Posted by Wanda McCollar at 7:29 PM
Friday, April 9, 2010
Use at least twelve words from this list: flap, winter, torch, pail, jug, strum, lever, massage, octopus, marionette, stow, pumice, rug, jam, limp, campfire, startle, wattle, bruise, chimney, tome, talon, fringe, walker. Mention something that tastes terrible, a sound that is pleasant, and include some lines from one of your failed poems. Oh my!
A blustery evening.
of burnt wood
acrid on my tongue.
I'm a lonely walker
at the fringe of town,
startled by wing's flap
and talon's click
in the graveyard.
Rather than flee, I enter.
and a pottery jug
not stowed away,
all is in order.
The wind strums in
winter’s thin branches.
I'm walking to your
In lurches of moonlight
as swift black curtains
blow aside, I see mound
after mound, neat beds
with grass rugs tucked tight
and stone headboards.
once watched the same moon
shining now on graves empty
of souls passed from here.
Are you there beyond those
swift black clouds, there among
the winking specks I see
in patches of night sky?
Thursday, April 8, 2010
The prompt for April 8 is another love poem - this time using metaphors to tell the love story. It seems I used allusions more than metaphors.
Her mother referred to him as Pinocchio
but she was naive, her beau’s nose was normal
and his pants were not burned away.
Her father warned he was a Shylock,
his purse strings tighter than an anal sphincter
but she was naive and blushed, “Oh, Dad!”
“He’s a Lothario, Sis, he’ll break your heart,”
and she cried and stopped speaking to her brother.
Naive she was, he’d never betray her.
She loved loving him, her mind was blind
and so they married, which worked
until the day she lost her naivety.
Posted by Wanda McCollar at 8:25 PM
Wednesday, April 7, 2010
Prompt # 7 calls for a Tanka - five lines with the turning point at line 3. It must be about love, and humorous.
He wondered if chocolates would be appropriate.
He pictured the surprise, the adoration, in her soft brown eyes.
Bravely he placed three chocolates from his pocket on her desk.
And she was surprised by the much-handled linty candy.
He had made his move. About time, he was almost eight.
Posted by Wanda McCollar at 8:29 PM
Tuesday, April 6, 2010
You need to know the form of the Triolet. 8 lines, only two rhymes. Five of the 8 lines are repeated, or refrain lines. The form is:
A - rhymes with first line
A - identical to first line
A - Rhymes with first line
B - Rhymes with second line
A - identical to first line
B - identical to second line
Pablo Picasso's "Weeping"
We women have a way of knowing when we see one who’s abused.
Hide your tears, dress your best, yet we know you know you’re betrayed.
The more guilty his betrayal the louder he brays and you’re emotionally bruised.
We women have a way of knowing when we see one who’s abused
It’s your care to look normal though disconnected, angry, and confused
Your denial, your hidden tears, your refusal to admit you’re afraid.
We women have a way of knowing when we see one who’s misused.
Hide your tears, dress your best, yet we know you know you’re afraid
Posted by Wanda McCollar at 6:38 PM
Monday, April 5, 2010
Come Out, Erato!
When I was a child,
you chose me.
You woke me in the darkest nights
to listen; in storms you led me to watch
trees dance and waves toil; you
pulled me from bed in the silence
before daybreak for birds’ greetings.
But what have you made me do
Erato, Eratus, Eratum!
There, I’ve conjugated you,
Eratalgia – you’re a pain,
Eratosis – you’re a neurosis,
ad feminan Eratorium – you make
illogical excuses based on,
based on ...
Where was I?
Oh yes - what’s up with you?
Your whispers are ineffective
your demands common,
you’re easily deterred.
You've stopped wheedling me just because
I’m older. Coward!
What? How can you be tired?
You say you’re getting older, too?
Impossible. You’re immortal.
You say it’s all relative?
Well, Sister, get off your duff,
we’re going to lie down in a meadow
where bees buzz and flowers wink,
and watch clouds gather.
We’ll be young again.
Posted by Wanda McCollar at 7:47 PM
Sunday, April 4, 2010
The prompt today is to write a poem from the inside out, or from the ouside in. Hmmm - I see my effort below as needing work.
From the Inside Out
watching became her daily duty.
To get out of bed, to wash and dress,
to find something edible from the
groceries brought her,
to clean the dish or two, straighten that
which needed no straightening,
Right Hip burning pain,
Left Leg shocking stabs from patella to
toe with every step.
Her chair, positioned by the window,
was her dry oasis, her confessional,
the window’s gauze curtain, her veil.
She would sit through the days, regretting
her life’s foolishness, watching traffic, neighbors,
and the children in the playground,
thanking God she could still watch,
still hear the screams of the swings,
the children’s shrieks and laughter, a
“Come out and play,” they called to her.
And she did. She heard the slap of her
Buster Browns on the asphalt, saw
her bare knees lifting one after the other
below her short playdress as she ran,
felt her pig tails flying, felt the familiar
wooden swing seat under her rump
the ropes in her hands –
pumping her legs upward
lifting herself to the bluest of skies,
then as the swing fell backwards, tucking
her legs under, hard – and, free, crazy, light
as the air she was flashing through,
no thought of breath or bone or balance
“Watch me, see how high I can go!”
But, the streetlights were coming on
the playground was emptying. With a sigh
and a great agony of effort
she rose from her chair to prepare
for the night.
Posted by Wanda McCollar at 8:32 PM
Saturday, April 3, 2010
I wasn’t watching –
and he was gone.
I push past laughing faces,
legs, shoes walking,
but can’t find him.
Sometimes he’d pull away,
following other people,
How often had I told him,
“Stay by me.”
I call his name
again, again, again.
It’s impossible to believe
I have lost him.
I awake wet-faced
remembering my child
is a man, long safe.
In the darkness, only
a ticking clock
This is Just to Say Goodby
My spine is shrinking
My shoulders rounding
My flesh is becoming seawater
My bones show through, black and jagged,
I have split in two
Even the most insensitive can see
I'll soon be gone.
Only a few even care.
I am Chacaltaya, Malospina,
Perteze, names sliding over your tongue
as you did over ours. We’re gray smudges
from satellites too far
to sense the loss of our leaving
what we marked pre-history,
too far to understand
rivers must cease reliable flows,
lakes must become basins
to brim over, seas must rise.
We’ll all be gone soon.
Ours are voices you can’t hear,
it's not your concern.
Not your generation,
not your children’s
not your nations'
not your concern.
Posted by Wanda McCollar at 3:03 PM
Friday, April 2, 2010
Is a poem I have to write
about RWP, not the Site
but only the letters RWP
and whatever that can be -
Regular White Paper might do
or Rain Water Pipe, too,
but Random Weird Person
is certainly the intriguing one
if t’were a thing possible to know
but of course that's not so
what‘s weird after all these days
and random is really how it plays.
Is Mr. Bean an RWP,
Posted by Wanda McCollar at 9:57 PM
Thursday, April 1, 2010
OK - I have pledged to write a poem to a given prompt every day for the month of April. The first prompt this morning was to "shuffle" one's iPod and use the first five titles intact in the poem, no matter what comes up.
Rather than a shuffle (I have an iPod Touch) I touched a spot blindly in the index and asked for a Genius Playlist. These were the first five titles: Oh Deed I Do, On an Island, The Ghost of Tom Joad, Fisherman’s Blues, Pale Blue Eyes
Got the Blues Tonight
The night is cold,
a pale blue moon
hangs in the bare branches
of the elm tree
outside my back door,
and here comes the ghost
of Tom Joad sitting
on an island of blue mist
drifting over my snowy
field of stubbled corn stalks.
He’s strummin’ his guitar
and singin’ fisherman’s blues
about whales ablowin’,
specks of cold blue sea spray
glisten in his pale blue eyes
and I think that’s pretty odd
for a man from Oklahoma,
Oh, deed I do.
Posted by Wanda McCollar at 7:23 PM