Saturday's attempt, day 4

The Barnacle Says

I am a lunar crater on a gray whale’s back,
a lightening bolt on the Bering Sea.
I am hailstorms stinging Pacific swells,
baby fog drifting on hidden lagoons.

I am feathers that tickle el Niño,
a calm morning before the storm,
the wing of a dove as it lands on a branch,
a curl of smoke from distant lands.

I am the silent breath of a slow ride,
the chill in the air, an alpine moon,
a shiny nickel found on the sand.
I am antique paper rolled in a bottle,

faded letters scratched in blood.
I am the tip of a whittled stick,
the thoughts that drift out to sea
and return with the incoming tide.


Day 4. I wrote this poem using a few words for colors found on paint chip samples, the idea for my prompt currently up at Read Write Poem. I’ve used this idea before with some amusing results. Sometimes the names for colors on those paint samples are beyond the pale… . I also wrote about an animal for Poetic Asides. dyalns-letter-a

April poetry, day 3

The Problem with 3

3 doesn’t know it’s overexposed.
Just look at it, mugging for the camera,
mouth open, ready to devour 1 and 2.

3 insinuates itself into crowds –
Jesus, Mary, Joseph, the Father,
the Son, the Holy Ghost, the Fates,

the Furies, the Graces, the hearts
of a squid, the pieces of a suit,
the beginning, the middle, the end.

3 needs to lie on its back, let another
number take center stage.
With both curves on the floor,

3 could be an adorable derriere,
a waxed-tip moustache, a wave
in the ocean. 3 could be 2 –

2 smiles, 2 chins, a pair of mango
breasts, 2 arms open for company.


Thanks, Carolee, for a great prompt at Read Write Poem. I also combined Carolee’s suggestions with Robert’s prompt at Poetic Asides.

Writing this poem helped me make it through an MRI this morning. I wrote it in my head while the machine droned like a jack hammer outside a window. The MRI is done, I’m fine, and poetry lives on!


April poetry, day 2

Jorge Teaches the Preterit Tense

Saturday night, a pub crawl with a group
of Latin American exchange students.
We stroll along the Savannah River,
cobbled streets, neon flashing
in puddles and dark currents.

Inside Luna Loca I dance techno beat salsa
with Jorge. Guapo, fuerte, de Venezuela.
It doesn’t matter that he wears three gold chains
or leaves his shirt unbuttoned a few too many holes.
A warm arm around my waist, he kisses me.
His tongue tastes like ice cubes, rum and Coke.
Hmm, me gustaba, I tell him. I was liking that.
No, you say me gustó, it pleased me,
and he kisses me again.

My prompt is up at Read Write Poem – to pick some words from one subject area to write about another. I started with geographical terms and grammar terms, but discarded all those words except in the title. The other idea behind this poem came from Robert Lee Brewer’s Poetic Asides, which suggests that we write an Outsider poem.


April poetry challenge day 1

Birth of the Sun

Across the bathroom floor,
the house shrouded
in a caul of night,
I lie face up.
In spite of cool tiles
against bare skin,
my five-year-old body
arcs from fever.
Mother and Father
crouch over me, swab my torso
with rubbing alcohol.
My heart turns to lava,
leaks out my pores, swirls
into a mass above my parents’ backs.
There is no movement toward the light –
I am the source.

Day 1 of napowrimo at Read Write Poem and Poetic Asides. I’m trying to do both challenges, because I’m an over achiever like that. Today’s prompt from Poetic Asides is to write an origin poem. Jill’s prompt is to make up a metaphor and include it in the poem.

Jill has asked us to gather 50 words as part of this month of poetry writing. If you have a cool word or two you’d like to donate to my personal cause, please leave it here in the comments section. Thanks!


A Bop for Read Write Poem

Crow Angel

Their calls rip through the air after they’ve gone.
I’ve pieced together an opera cloak
from their fallen feathers,
lined it with clouds and swathes
of midnight sky. I fly by your window.
Can you hear my cries?

Days when birds abandon trees
I comb the grass for feathers.

My cloak is black as a vanished star,
You’ll see me from afar, above a crowded
opera house, soaring
in time with Exsultate, Jubilate.
Voices lift me to a ceiling
as frothy white as a wedding cake.
It is shining with the tears
of all the arias.

Days when birds abandon trees
I comb the grass for feathers.

Crows flap their wings in my chest.
I twirl in the space above you,
my torso a treble clef,
my legs quarter notes, darker than soot.
Join me in this shadow dance,
my cloak is large enough for two,
but if you doubt me, I’ll gather

some feathers for you – on those days
when birds abandon trees, I’ll comb the grass, for you.


The prompt this week at Read write Poem is to write a bop using donated lines as the refrain. My refrain comes from Jillypoet. Birds are a leitmotif in many of Jill’s poems, and I thank her for sharing her perspective on them with me.

By the way, Jill has two new poems up at Mannequin Envy.

*Alleluja – Exsultate, Jubilate is an aria by Mozart. If you haven’t heard Kathleen Battle sing it, listen here.

Donate some lines of poetry to a good cause

Calling all generous poets! We’re doing a collaborative prompt at Read Write Poem this week, and we’re asking people to donate two lines of poetry for others to use as a springboard to write a poem.

The instructions are to use the donated lines as the refrain of a bop, whose form I wrote about a few days ago. So check out the prompt, donate two lines, and grab two for yourselves. It’s nice to share the inspiration.

My room with a view

I’m not a nature lover, which is not to say that I don’t love the outdoors, I’m just not a transcendentalist sort of person, having grown up in the suburbs, close to a large city. Haiku, with layers of meaning based on observations of the natural world, don’t interest me. Maybe that makes me shallow, but it’s the truth.

That said, right now I’m looking out the window of my writing room (slash guest room, storage closet, and yoga room) at the bare branches of the tulip poplar beyond the neighbor’s house, and can see a red-tailed hawk high above the roof tops. We are both at our perches, looking around. It’s a thrill to see this animal in its environment, peaceful yet primed to find its next meal – a little squirrel or chipmunk digging for acorns.

There’s a hawk’s nest in my backyard too, about fifty feet up. I can judge the height from the time I did one of those team-building exercises which involved climbing forty feet up a tree trunk. We climbed on metal rungs that had been hammered into the trunk, and then inched our way across a metal cable suspended between two trees. There were ropes hanging from another cable every five feet or so. The object was to cross to the other side by walking across the cable, grabbing onto the ropes.

What I learned that day was not to look down. The PE coach (it was a teacher training weekend) kept yelling, “Keep your eyes on the next rope!”

The analogy is to apply the lesson to life, as in goal setting. Instead of being afraid of failing, continue envisioning the end result.

The hawk is still placidly surveying the the gray morning.

Update: My column is up at read write poem. Go read about the bop!