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.
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?
where i am will always be
the city is simple:
on a heart-
with a twist:
once lived here
the litter of broken
beside a dumpster
is a forecast
of grey and a 50%
chance of happiness
would we be
if we wandered
my hair color
every few weeks
but no matter what
my chair sits on
home is still
that little river
city on a midwestern
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
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
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
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
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 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
inside this Apartment
snuggling up for a
crime show episode
and dinner on the fly.
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
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
Corgi chaos, collie commotion
Husky hullabaloo, Havanese hue and cry
Malamute mayhem, Mastiff melee
Rottwieler racket, Ridgeback rumpus
Kate |kberne50AT NOSPAMhotmail dot com