Day 10 Highlights

On Day 10, I asked you to pick a location and write about it. I feel so redundant, but these poems just keep getting better and better. Seriously. I actually had to do a couple rounds of cuts to get a manageable highlights list. Great job everyone! Here are the highlights.

*****

 

ROOM

 

Dirty jeans tossed on the green rug,

an old geometry test crumpled by the bed;

Harry Potter on the bookshelf,

and Western Philosophy by the computer,

fill the room by the attic stairs.

 

A few more months and he’ll be gone,

but now the air smells of push-ups,

a first girlfriend, deoderant,

and Dr. Pepper.

Bed sheets are pulled from the mattress,

emo posters forgotten on the wall.

Red sneakers, white baseball caps,

black sweatshirts –

what’s dirty? what’s clean?

A mother’s nightmare of a room;

will it disappear? will he?

 

 

ann malaspina

 

*****

 

where i am will always be

 

the city is simple:

a freckle

on a heart-

shaped state

 

anytown, usa

with a twist:

emilio estevez

once lived here

 

the litter of broken

glass sleeps

beside a dumpster

at night

 

and daytime

is a forecast

of grey and a 50%

chance of happiness

 

would we be

any different

if we wandered

anywhere else?

 

i change

my hair color

every few weeks

but no matter what

 

longitude

my chair sits on

home is still

that little river

 

city on a midwestern

map

 

 

k weber |ilovehateyouAT NOSPAMhotmail dot com

 

*****

 

Fear of Heights

 

In Battery Park

we board the ferry

boat blasting its horn,

ride across the chop

to Liberty’s feet, climb

up and up, then

down and down

while the stairs

sway in the still air.

 

 

Margaret Fieland |infoAT NOSPAMmargaretfieland dot com

 

*****

 

Record Store

 

Brick-and-mortar dinosaur,

endangered species, whose habitat

is encroached by downloads,

mail-order websites and big-box

superstores – why am I still drawn

to it, why do I still walk right into

its welcoming mouth? It must be

the organized jumble, alphabetic chaos

of racks and racks of cases and sleeves,

CD’s and vinyl LP’s lined up

like thousands of ribs. What is it

about the air inside that renders me

amnesiac, forgetting everything else

to do in the world, as I flip methodically

through the rows, searching for treasure?

I could hunt for hours, the stack

of booty growing in my hands –

a used Miles Davis CD, a cut-out

copy of Bach cantatas, a mint-condition

vinyl of Dark Side of the Moon.

If the guy at the register plays

something I like, I could languish

all afternoon.. There’s something

real here, the slightly musty smell

of old records, the rainbow sheen of

the CD surface I inspect for scratches,

the lost art of the gatefold sleeve,

even just the heft of my catch,

that one can never get from watching

the crawling bar on a monitor

and the message, “Download Complete”.

 

 

Bruce Niedt |jackbugsAT NOSPAMcomcast dot net

 

*****

 

My Bathroom

 

Thank goodness walls can’t talk.

These walls have seen me naked,

popping zits, throwing up in the toilet . . .

not all at the same time.

I keep my strawberry bubble bath

on the tub’s ledge, seek solace

in its calming waters,

catch up on my reading,

work a few crossword puzzles.

This is where, tired of burned ears,

I learned to curl my own hair,

and later, to shave my legs.

This is where I first sat on the floor

as the now-familiar wave of nausea

that comes with migraines washed over me.

All my little soldiers line up

on the window sill,

the cucumber shampoo,

shea butter extra moisturizing body wash,

apricot face scrub, and the rebellious

razor that reclines where everything else

stands at attention.

 

 

Sarah |MusicToKnitToAT NOSPAMyahoo dot com

 

*****

 

Backyard

 

I can see between

the blades of grass, never

cut short, soft to bare

 

feet, hand mower chuck-a-

chuck-a, the blades then

the release. Daddy never tries

 

to beat the dandelions—

good for making wine,

so we gather the little

 

sunshines for him and blow

away the ones turned shivering

white. Buttercups paint your

 

chin yellow if someone loves you,

says my mother, checking my

chin and smiling.

 

I tend my one row of sturdy

orange carrots. In fall I will collect

apples before they can turn to mush,

 

make butter and pies, breathe

the cinnamon steam.

All summer my big brother

 

shines like a sea animal,

all baby oil and swimsuit

in the lounge chair. In a family

 

of fair skin his turns to milk

chocolate while my own skin

quietly flakes away.

 

The grass is soft. I try to see

it from the insects’ point of

view and fear nothing.

 

 

Elizabeth K. Keggi |lilyclarissaAT NOSPAMhotmail dot com

 

*****

 

Apartment 1

 

The day

begins with:

echos of life

racing down asphalt

warm coffee in hand

and not enough sleep.

and the pitter patter of neighbors’ dogs

old couch cushions tilting

and my love handing out kisses

as we head out into the frey.

The night

ends with:

the next doors talking to loud

the across the courtyard

conversing on cellphones disregarding echo

while two floors up an argument flares.

In the alleyway

dog tags jingle

for one last

sniff before bed

and

inside this Apartment

is life

snuggling up for a

crime show episode

and dinner on the fly.

 

 

Jennifer Fagala

 

*****

 

Driving to Meet His Family

 

This is where, he says,

I lived until my parents were divorced.

He shows me his first school

as he takes me to

the only other home he’s ever known,

drives past the places of his childhood

points out where he first kissed a girl,

the school where he graduated before

settling down in his life. He brags about

the famous names that came from his hometown,

the third largest in his state, while I

try to remember how many places I called home.

I smirk at his pride, belittle it with

my descriptions of my big city memories,

moving from Chelsea

to the west side

to Alphabet City and,

very briefly, to Staten Island.

I mock his third biggest for being

Andy Griffith quaint but I don’t know

the exact location of where I had

my first kiss from a boy whose name

has also been lost in the crowd.

 

 

satia |satia62AT NOSPAMyahoo dot com

 

*****

 

“A Place In The Country”

 

The sound in the cafe was deafening

the clatter of dishes

the chatter of voices

human insects rubbing their legs together in unison

to create a symphony devoid of any real substance.

 

Yet somehow I felt comfortable inside this beehive

sucking in the energy from both inside the corner eatery

and from the world outside through the bright windows

and the parade of two and four-legged passersby

providing momentary diversions as they entered stage left

and exited stage right.

 

I thought of sitting in a country field miles from all this

and wondered if I would be more comfortable there

or if the quiet stillness would smother me.

 

A place in the country and a small city apartment

would be perfect for us she always said.

Now she was living in the country while I languished in the city

licking my emotional wounds, laughing at myself.

I thought she meant together.

 

 

Marcus Smith |sleeperdesuAT NOSPAMhotmail dot com

 

*****

 

Up on Kail Road

 

Past the dark henhouse,

with its feathers in the corners,

the shed made by odds

and ends of two by fours,

and the plain white cabin,

past the line where the grass

was no longer mowed

and then to the top of the hill,

the pump that drew no water,

we ran through the sun

to the summer pond

with empty coffee cans,

waded into the water,

brown and green, warm

at the edges, cupped our hands

to catch the small frogs,

quick and as colorful

as gems that, left alone,

would sing to us all night.

 

 

Joannie Stangeland |joannieksAT NOSPAMmsn dot com

 

*****

 

In The Tepee

 

A tepee is the Indians’ pyramid, he said as

we lay staring up through the smoke-hole,

I spooned his ancient bones to keep him warm

while stars, turning in endless night,

fell to the fire and sparked gold

against deep red-grey coals,

shadows danced across the canvas,

the old man’s stories braiding

dreams, memories and being, the smoke of

sage, sweetgrass, and cedar scenting the hides,

layering time in blue, curling tendrils

above the blankets and circle of stones,

knowing nothing would to be the same again,

I slipped my hand into Kipapanan’s

and whispered to tell me more.

 

 

Lorraine Hart |lorrainehartAT NOSPAMgmail dot com

 

*****

 

Platform Attacks

 

13th Street Station

March 26, 2008

“36-year old Starbucks manager killed by group of youth,

(An asthma attack the official cause of death).”

 

Every second Wednesday,

I stood on this platform

At the same time of day.

Often I would stop at the victim’s store.

 

One night after Highwire Gallery

Spit us all out, post performances,

My husband pried me from a sidewalk

And inserted me into this station,

One part at a time,

Smoldering from street burn.

 

This very same March day, our friend,

An artist and musician was jumped.

The culprits did not take his new cordless drill,

Instead they broke his jaw, cracked his teeth.

 

Tunnel between 13th and 8th Street Stations

April 3, 2008

“12 youths rob and viciously beat 24-year old woman.”

 

I always refused to use the underground tunnels,

Especially when it rained or snowed.

The passages stretched too far

For any comfortable stroll.

 

They say this woman will recover.

She told police, “I have a headache

The size of Philadelphia.”

These girls and boys stole half her vision,

All of her belongings.

 

Every second and third Friday, I waited at 11 p.m.

At 8th street station. There were always youth,

But they were always attending our poetry series,

Not kicking a woman in the face for sport, or

Telling her to “watch her mouth.”

 

City Hall Station Platform

April 8, 2008 9:30 p.m.

“Woman is raped behind pylon.”

 

This was the scariest of all for me

As I walked alone from the Broad Street line

Onto this platform exactly one hour before.

Police say that this woman recanted her story,

But it still makes me shake every evening.

 

I used to say that as soon as

I get into SEPTA concourse, I am safe.

The Philadelphia night seemed much worse.

Now the city seems so hollow,

Gnawed out by rats, decorated by pigeons,

Skyscrapers that spell out Phillies light shows.

 

When I ascended to Fifth Street last night,

I felt my pulse in my feet,

My eyes survey a few times faster,

Shelter seems an anxious flashback.

 

 

Bonnie MacAllsiter |bmacallisterAT NOSPAMearthlink dot net

 

*****

 

Virtual Rock on Cape Cod

 

Flat planes shine in the sun

Inviting me to sprawl and

Spread out my Sunday newspaper.

My rock is surrounded by dark blue water,

And under the surface,

Yellow-green Fucus stems

And pretend-leaves swirl

And breathe in the soft

Surf of the Buzzard’s Bay.

My body takes up the rock’s heat,

Warms within as it bakes

without in its own right.

I give up on the newspaper

after the book review.

I lie on my stomach

And watch the tiny

Snails navigate the Fucus,

Watch the algae dance

Their minuets in rhythmic surges

Feel at one with the water..

 

 

Laural |lhoopesAT NOSPAMpomona dot edu

 

*****

 

Dog Park

 

Airedale anarchy

Beagle bedlam

Corgi chaos, collie commotion

Dachshund din

Elkhound excitement

foxhound fuss

Husky hullabaloo, Havanese hue and cry

Labrador lawlessness,

Malamute mayhem, Mastiff melee

Newfie noise

Poodle pandemonium

Rottwieler racket, Ridgeback rumpus

Samoyed scuffle

Terrier tumult

 

 

Kate |kberne50AT NOSPAMhotmail dot com

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3 thoughts on “Day 10 Highlights

  1. Tonya Root

    Oh, Robert, you are right. These are all so good! I can’t even pick from these one or two that I like ‘best’. They all evoke the sense of place so well. Thanks so much to all these fantastic writers!

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