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  • Poetic Asides

Day 7 Highlights

Categories: Poetry Challenge 2008, Poets.

On Day 7, I asked for a “ramble” poem. As usual, you came through in a big way. So many great poems, and here are some that really stuck out for me.

*****

 

I used to love to open the cottage

in the spring when there had been

all kinds of unseen wildlife around

the door and the back deck

I wondered who or what

upset the boat so carefully

turned keel up on the blocks

was it a deer or maybe a moose

or possibly the wind that whips in

off the Big Lake that wind that

causes Lake Effect over us

things nested in the leaves

when you kicked a pile

you might kick leaves or

you might connect with

something solid, a squealing

wriggling body that burrowed

further into the leaves or

maybe bared its teeth and

charged out to run off

wildly in an opposite direction

Inside was a different story

no matter what we put out

in the fall there were always

mice scattered some live

some dead from eating the

cake of soap always left

on the sink I shivered

deliciously after we cleaned

and made the beds, wondering

if the mice knew whe

were living there again

the cottage was always

tamer than I wanted it to be

but wilder than my life

back in the real world

 

 

halfmoon_mollie |tamsinAT NOSPAMtwcny dot rr dot com

 

*****

 

Ready Yet

 

He grabs a water bottle and Power Bar,

red sneakers and backwards baseball cap,

and only mumbles when asked if he has

everything, eyes bleary,

cell phone in his front pocket,

ready, not ready, for English first period.

 

Yesterday we visited his university,

where in September, we’ll drop him off,

jeans, t-shirts, laptop, red sneakers;

but this morning, I still have him,

(is he ready yet?)

in the front seat of the van, looking out

at a drizzly Monday, just April,

daffodils, still closed,

waiting to unfurl.

 

 

ann malaspina

 

*****

 

I went to the mall on Saturday

There was a kiosk in the atrium selling hermit crabs

I should buy one for my grandson

He would like a hermit crab

My daughter, Tina, had one when she was younger

She lost him (or her, its hard to tell with crabs) once for three days

We found him wedged behind the couch.

It’s amazing how many things find their way into tight places

Once I found a half eaten hot dog behind that couch

It was smeared with peanut butter—the only way Tina would eat them

The hot dog was shriveled and hard, the bread turning green with mold

Mold is used to make penicillin

They say Elvis liked to eat peanut butter and banana sandwiches

I wonder if he ever had a hermit crab.

Yea, I really should buy my grandson a hermit crab

But then again, maybe not.

 

 

Bonnie |bcholbrook05AT NOSPAMyahoo dot com

 

*****

 

The Dream Motel

 

It started about three years ago

the recurring dream of a seaside motel

sometimes I own it

sometimes other people do

but I am always there

and it is always dusk

 

First time it was Frank and his wife

he was rennovating it and I was trying

to find a room I could stay in

 

the second time I owned it

and Dad was back from wherever he went

after he died

he was with Bootsie, Cordy and Phoebe

I told him it wasn’t a pet motel

he laughed and put his teeth on the counter

and shared corned beef with my mother

who was hiding her boyfriend in the pool shed

“He would die if he knew,” she said

“He is dead” I reminded her

 

Everyone was there last night

Rich was at the bar and smelled like he did

that last time I saw him when I didn’t know

it was going to be the last time

“I’m forty now too,” he said

“and married and still unhappy.”

 

Frank was fixing the siding

after the storm no one remembered but him

 

Jon came with his third wife

“This is Treasurechest,” he said as he

stared at her breasts

“I can’t love a woman with a normal name”

 

I know.

 

You were there too

with another man you think you love

As he checked you in you whispered

“don’t tell him the truth about me”

as I carried your bags to your room

 

Outside the long island sound

lapped the pebbles of the rocky beach

I tried to remember where I parked my car

 

 

Teri Coyne |tmc329AT NOSPAMaol dot com

 

*****

 

Special Delivery

 

I waited for the mailman to come because there was a car parked in front of the mail box and he won’t deliver the mail if there is someone parked in front of the boxes. I don’t understand why he can’t just get out of his little truck and deliver the mail. But they say that is their policy. I don’t think I could get away with that on my job. Just let the people suffer because I am not going to inconvenience myself by standing up and walking three steps to help them. But he didn’t come. Or maybe he did and I missed him. Maybe he was early today because he was driving past mailboxes where people had parked their cars in front of them…

 

 

Ginger G |gingerbread dot caAT NOSPAMgmail dot com

 

*****

 

Chips

 

I got a light, tasty little banana chip here

Not a salty plantain

And I hope I can finish eating them

Before the patients arrive

They’re always so early and I want to scream

Don’t be such an overachiever!

Showing up forty five minutes before your appointment

Doesn’t get you a little gold star

Like when you were in elementary school

Those heady, heedless days of construction paper

And the burgeoning social skills like muscles

Learning how to flex, how to strengthen, how to squeeze

An empty Valentine box one year and stuffed the next

With trophies of your building popularity

Before transferring to a new school

And starting all over again

 

 

IleanaCarmina |cathleenbakkerAT NOSPAMyahoo dot com

 

*****

 

Open Mic Poetry Night

 

I went with Katrina to open mic poetry night

right away I was sorry

 

grasping the mic someone chanted “I’m a

wuh-ma-han! Yes a wuh-ma-ha-an!” thrusting

her hips at each syllable to the swelling

adoration of the crowd and I thought

good god I hope this gets better

 

not that I’m a purist, not that I think

I’m better (except that maybe I am)

 

the next at the mic tossed off an anecdote-

cum-poem whose resonance

lay only in her halting delivery

 

where do we poets learn this stuff?

the stilted [pause] vocalizations [pause]

that pass [pause] somehow [pause]

for significance [pause], the SEEsaw

alterAtions of enunciAtion that plAgue

texts about FLYing SQUEEZing DRIVing

or any other verbiage we must enact

and the rising tone…

as we leave each line…

trailing into the universe…

 

from the bar’s window I could see a television flicker

in a second-story apartment across the alley and I thought

how lucky they are not to be here

 

things looked up when a genuine poet

stepped up to riff on tones, pulled

pure wordmusic from his throat

unpretentious and genius jazz that soared

over most everyone’s head

 

after he left the emcee cruelly impersonated him

to the great amusement of most everyone

then launched into a singsong singalong

“everybody clap!” verse about Volkswagens and pot

that caused much whooping

 

as we left Katrina asked wasn’t it great

and I was polite but this is my answer now:

no

 

 

tria

 

*****

 

Hands

 

After I’ve dried the last of the dishes,

I light lavender incense

before carrying the garbage out to

the compacter chute.

I lock the door and collapse onto my sofa.

 

I look down at my hands.

 

My cuticles are dry and thickening.

I thought I had pushed them back

as I washed my hair last night.

 

I go to my bedroom and snatch the cocoa butter off the dresser

and as I moisten my hands,

I study them.

My fingertips are slightly bent, like my father’s.

 

I remember the flecks of black grease that used to dot our sink

after Daddy washed his hands when he came home

from long days of handling baggage at the airport

or fixing our neighbors’ cars.

 

My sister and I would tease Daddy

about his ashy hands.

He’d laugh, and

began keeping a tiny tube of Curacel in his car.

I’d watch him shake the lotion down into his palms

rubbing his long strong brown fingers

until they had a light fragrant sheen.

 

After he died,

I couldn’t bring myself to throw out

that little white bottle with the blue cap.

 

How I wish we had just

held his hands

in ours

every day

and said,

“Thank you.”

 

 

Carla Cherry |cmcmagiconeAT NOSPAMgmail dot com

 

*****

 

Lost in Wikiburbia

 

It starts out innocently enough. You need

to help your fifth grader write a report on ants,

but soon enough you are following link after link

& you find yourself an hour later, alone at the screen

reading about John Wayne Gacy, the report

long since faded from your memory and that of your child

who gave up on you and is now watching Spongebob.

So you look him up to learn the creator

was a marine biologist. That makes sense.

From there it’s only a click to find out the guy

who voices Patrick is the actor who played Tom Cullen

on The Stand. “M-O-O-N. That spells Moon.”

You tell yourself ten more minutes because you forgot

that one actor from 16 Candles. Not Anthony Michael Hall,

but the guy who played Jake Ryan, gave up acting

to become a woodworker. And who was it

that wrote and directed Harold & Maud? It’s all

coming back to you now, all the questions you had

when you were a kid. Getting Serious, you want to see

what people have to say about JFK’s assassination

or if George Washington really did have wooden teeth.

If you’re not careful, you will be reading all night

about this president or remember that you read

how Rosalynn Carter once posed for a picture

with then unknown serial killer John Wayne Gacy.

Now you are off thinking about Karl Jung, synchronicity,

how everything is connected deeper than we know,

only catching brief glimpses of our vast unconscious.

Yes. No. Perhaps. It’s a quantum universe,

this world of Wikipedia. It is the world’s biggest

practical Schrodinger Cat experiment, who in truth

never was convinced of quantum theory at all.

 

 

Justin Evans |evjustinAT NOSPAMyahoo dot com

 

*****

 

Old glasses

 

Old glasses that I

Wear in private

Covering my face

Like two full moons

Fragments of those

Half-forgotten

Teenage years I

Wept because of

Not being beautiful.

Now I wear contacts

Everywhere, premium

Placed on success

And happy in having

Discovered lip gloss

Except for these

Late nights up

Writing poetry when

My half-forgotten

Teenage years

Come to peer out

Of my glasses

Like two full moons.

 

 

tara

 

*****

 

Seasonal Affective Disorder

 

This afternoon I spent three hours

riding back and forth on the Erie Canal Trail,

not giving a shit if I snuck up on people too fast

or if they caught me singing along with my iPod;

no, I was too far gone: too drugged-up

on the unspeakable beauty of spring, or just

too damn full of strength and stealth – and myself,

the quietest, quickest thing on that road,

the speeding bright yellow bullet,

the wheeled minotaur maverick

with that maniacal smile,

that rough facial contortion,

lips parted enough to let the flies in –

I was unrecognizable from the me of a month ago.

 

I was something new and elasticized and ready

or just recumbent, recombined like the phoenix:

I fell away to ashes when the cold came,

but the sun, sneaking towards summer,

pulled all my parts back together

in one-hundred and eighty minutes

as I pedaled past piles of pedestrians,

as I forced my way against the wind,

as I felt sunburn on my unready skin,

and as I thought of diving in Lock 21

to put out the crazed fires in me,

to cool down the searing strands

of feral thoughts in my mind –

oh, what the weather can do!

 

 

Callan Bignoli-Zale |shehadausernameAT NOSPAMgmail dot com

 

*****

 

Waiting

 

At least she lives near a pond

where the spring announces

its presence in bubbles on the

water and tender green shoots

line the identical buildings and

it reminds me of our house on

Long Island and the revolving

garden in front where we planted

tulips, crocuses, and daffodils

for spring, and gladiolas tall and

haughty for summer. When the

snowdrops bloomed we waited

for the tulip blossoms, red and

yellow, delicate like the skin on

elderly veins I see all the time.

I’d wait for summer for the few

days the gladiolas bloomed

towering over the other flowers

in a cacophony of reds, lavenders

and yellows. Their delicate

climbing blossoms lasted a few

weeks, yet I waited for that all year.

 

She is late for our appointment

but I’m lost in the twitterings of

birds and the wonder of signs

of spring I used to teach. Would

there be skunk cabbage on the

pond’s banks? I don’t check, the

weather is changing and I seek

refuge in my car. Making a pact

with myself I plan to leave at

6:30 if she doesn’t arrive. But she

arrives.

 

 

Barbara Ehrentreu |lionmotherAT NOSPAMaol dot com

 

*****

 

Nostalgia

 

Music catches memories like a net

drags them out of us like fish,

flopping around, gasping for air,

reminders of a turbulent past

in the cold clear light of the present.

I recall the song that drove us across

the country in our blue Ford van, Ohio to

Oregon, something about summertime and

distant thunder. Or that song I played after you left me,

alone in the third floor apartment, night after night,

verse after verse, a mournful ballad of leaving and being left,

how the neighbors must have hated that song.

Now this album, I remember we played it

when you called and asked me to come back, long

after midnight I left the warm bed of my new lover

and drove to your motel in the grey dawn.

You said you were leaving her, you said

she was out of town. That song was playing

as she came up the wide stairwell, fists clenched,

calling your name.

 

 

Kate |kberne50AT NOSPAMhotmail dot com

 

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About Robert Lee Brewer

Senior Content Editor, Writer's Digest Community.

5 Responses to Day 7 Highlights

  1. Sarah says:

    Tria, I love your open-mike poetry poem! I totally relate.

  2. Justin, how true! I’ve done that so often and then awoken to find hours have passed. Nice one.
    Tria, again, just love it.
    And Kate, oooh! Nice and shivery. Very cool!

  3. ann malaspina says:

    Thanks, Robert, for writing with a great blog, and inspiring me to write some poems this month.

  4. Corinne says:

    these are all lovely. I always enjoy yours, Teri Coyne.

    Corinne

  5. Carol -Amherst, Mass says:

    Tara, Your ‘glasses’ poem was very touching. I enjoyed that. Thank you. – Carol

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