Day 9 Highlights

On Day 9, I asked you to pick a word (any word) and write a poem about it or using it. My hope was that you would have fun and be playful with language, and y’all didn’t let me down. It’s becoming increasingly difficult to pick highlighted poems, because you’re getting better every day. I’m guessing part of that is just the act of writing each day, and maybe part of it is due to reading and being inspired by your peers. Regardless of the reasoning, keep it up and enjoy Day 9’s highlights.

*****

 

Saltshakers

 

There are clever things

being said all over this bar.

Previously rehearsed perhaps.

(Like a perfect toast.

Glass smile to glass smile,

they clink carefully,

so as not to shatter.)

 

I am too enamored with

the flickering candles and

eyelashes to join them. Instead,

I fondle the sugar packets and salt shakers

as if I could make the molecules separate.

I line, stack and gather to keep from shouting,

“Guys, can you believe the glow in this place!”

 

I don’t know why I’m here.

I feel like I’ve been clipped

from glossy magazine pages.

We all wear colorful scarves in magazines.

We wear jingling earrings and carefully ripped jeans.

We sip on drinks that sing like little status messages.

Kendall is easy and willing.

Ella is fed up with boys.

Chloe is quirky but loyal.

Lauren is scared that if a boy

comes up to talk to her she will

blurt out something ridiculous

or bland and he will leave to

find someone drinking a Yager Bomb.

 

So I go back to the salt shakers.

Memorize their edges and make guesses

at the number of grains that will leave

to become seasoning for someone’s

warm body tonight. The only substance

in this place that will intimately mingle

with tongues with no agenda

other than to make life less bland.

 

 

Lauren Zuniga |lazuniAT NOSPAMgmail dot com

 

*****

 

Underground

 

Not really underground;

There were no tunnels or caves,

No stalagtites or bats or sleeping bears.

Sometimes it was a river, the Choptank,

The current going the wrong way,

Her feet numb and her dress soaked.

Or a Baltimore street, her eyes down,

Bonnet pulled so low she could hardly breath,

Not underground at all.

 

If it had been underground,

Then she wouldn’t have put the

Children to sleep so they wouldn’t cry,

Or pulled her old mother along, thin hand

Tugging back home, to favorite grandchildren

And sweet Chesapeake mornings,

Or fear every broken branch and bird cry.

If it had been underground,

Then she could have finally exited

The bears’ den and the bats’ nest,

Instead of returning again and again,

until all were saved, but that was impossible.

 

 

ann malaspina

 

*****

 

Vermicelli

 

Vermicelli is my favourite word.

Don’t know why, just is.

A versatile little noodle, smaller

Than the big bold spaghetti but bigger than his tiny cousin

Fedelini, which is hardly worth the effort.

He translates as Little Worms and comes from Tuscany

But he’s often found in disguise

Sneaking into other languages and cuisines

In his native Italy his slyness starts:

Orati in Bologna, Minutelli in Venice

Fermentini in Reggio and

Pancardelle in Mantua

See what I mean?

Cunning!

But his guile doesn’t stop there.

Oh no! Heading east we find our skinny friend masquerading

In South East Asia as Shemai, in Bengal he’s Seviyan,

In Hindi they call him Shavige and to the Tamils he’s Semiya

Ah! You think. His trickery knows no bounds

And so it is as in East Asia he magically is made from rice:

Bee Hoon in Hokkien, Mai Fun in Canton.

The Burmese pin him down under the delicious pseudonom of

Kyar-Zun but in Vietnamese his nom de cuisine is Bún

Get the picture?

Master of Disguise!

And here in Spain or in Latin America he is plain old Fideo

But that’s not why I love him so, oh no!

It’s just his original Tuscan tag that gets me

Smiling broad as a lake

I just love to say it:

Vermicelli, Vermicelli, Vermicelli.

Go on, try it. You’ll like it…

VERMICELLI!!!!

 

 

Iain D. Kemp |iainAT NOSPAMmovistar dot es

 

*****

 

Canorous (Kuh-NOR-us; KAN-or-uhs)

 

It slips,

sips,

and saunters

across the way

up the stairs

of my soul

resonating

with each memory,

moment and meticulously

kept secret.

It curves

verves, and vibrates

melodic and methodic-

all in its tenor

and embrace.

I am speechless,

rendered helpless

to visions and vexations

tears and frustrations.

I sway, dip

spin and twirl

My body not my own

as it moves in,

out,

and through me.

Up and down

mixing emotion

and sound

until

I cannot

stand: Music

 

 

Jennifer Fagala

 

*****

 

Short

 

I’ve always been short

I feel short-changed

The short and sweet of it

is that it’s a shortfall

But as this short testifies

Short is sufficient

 

 

Tonya Root |booklet dot geoAT NOSPAMyahoo dot com

 

*****

 

Ahhh! Café, Kaffe, Coffee

 

To paraphrase the bard,

Would coffee by any other name

Taste, you know, like coffee?

Why, how could the question even be asked?

From the devout, there can be only one reply:

“Yes, a thousand times, yes!”

For proof, just consider the choices

In origins, types, flavors and roasts,

Not to mention additives and methods of preparation.

 

There’s café, café au lait, café latte,

Capucino, espresso, java and joe.

Get it for “here” or get it to go.

As for types, what’s you pleasure?

“High test”, half-caf, or de-caf?

Columbian, Kona, Mountain Grown (isn’t it all?),

Roasted dark, medium or light?

Then there’s Irish Cream, Vanilla Nut,

Macadamia and Chocolate,

Not to mention all manner of sprinkles,

From chocolate, to cinnamon to nutmeg.

 

As for additives, don’t get me started.

Well, OK. You don’t have to get me started.

I’m already there.

In milk alone, there’s non-fat,

Half and half, whole and even

Whipped cream for the decadent among us.

And did someone ask for non-dairy creamers?

What flavor would you like?

Sweeteners alone will boggle the mind,

From real to fake, from raw to refined.

 

Of course, it goes without saying

Coffee is actually meant to be experienced—

Not just consumed.

And there’s no more need to confirm (as in olden times)

That the last drop is as good as the first.

As a sign of largesse, I’ve even heard said

It’s polite to leave a tad in the bottom of one’s

Heat shield protected carry out cup,

That is, unless one is a regular who has

Invested in a designer mug

From one’s favorite coffee emporium.

To demonstrate one’s oneness with the earth.

 

I saw Black Pearl Coffee the other day—

Thought it was tea but it was coffee all right.

There it was, a bit exotic and aloof, if you ask me,

Just sitting right there on the counter

Next to an urn of brazen Amaretto.

It took me aback for a moment until I got my bearings

And found my usual—mind you, I ain’t sayin’ what that is.

Don’t want to be labeled.

 

 

Bill Kirk |RnBKirkAT NOSPAMaol dot com

 

*****

 

Camp

 

We camp every summer

taking what seems like the entire house hundreds of miles by car to the mountains:

Clothes, bedding, food, utensils, chairs, stove, lighting, beer, magazines.

Once Jim brought his battery-powered blender and made daiquiris.

We eschew privacy—living, dining, conversing in the open air (or soggy tents) for days at a time. Ah, this is the life.

It’s fun, an adventure! but not in 1942

for Nobuo—Sueko—Mitsuo—Tadamitsu—Toko—

—a hundred others of our friends and family.

Taken away: homes, possessions, farms and businesses, even children’s pets, and toys. Taken with them: only what they could carry.

Relationships suffering; struggles to overcome bitterness.

Manzanar. Tule Lake. Jerome.

Shikata ga nai, many said. Can’t be helped.

When it’s over, what home is left to go to?

 

When camp is a verb, it’s a joy.

When it’s a noun, it’s not.

 

 

Cathy Sapunor |cathsapAT NOSPAMyahoo dot com

 

*****

 

“Sucks”

 

“Well, life sucks anyway.”

Don’t know why he said it. The words

just came out of his mouth, unbidden.

They fell out and hung in the air between

us, as if waiting for a reply. “Why do you

say that?” I had to ask. Had to know the

reason someone would suddenly tell a

perfect stranger that life sucks. He shook

his head, stared at the scenery that flew

by outside the train’s window. Greens and

blues blurred by, as if an artists brush had

simply slapped the color across a blank

canvass. “Maybe sucks was too harsh a word,”

he finally said. “Maybe I just need to take

it easy and find my way.” I sat quietly, wondering

exactly how he would be able to find his way;

still wondering what in the first place

made him say those words to me,

a perfect stranger on a train.

 

 

Susan M. Bell |maylandwritersAT NOSPAMgmail dot com

 

*****

 

Madness

 

The yoga teacher shares,

“Robaron el banco, esta la locura.”

They rob the bank, it is the madness.

They kill someone, it is the madness.

The madness of a life off center.

 

We breath and stretch.

We concentrate on our bodies;

on the energy flow.

We allow the madness

to pass by on the street.

 

We learn to be connected

first with ourselves, then

with each other, watch

madness leap and dance..

Yes, it exists, but we need not

jump on that rollercoaster.

 

We breath and stretch,

learn how the energy flows.

We are connected like

a lamp plugged into the wall

we plug into the infinite.

 

Madness is part of life

he teaches with a smile,

don’t ignore it.

See it, step aside and

let it roll by. Maybe

inertia will cure it.

 

 

Kimberly K |kekinserAT NOSPAMmac dot com

 

*****

 

Anger

 

Smoke gushing from

My ears

 

Nose beaming

Like a tomato on a shish kabob

 

Heart kabump kabump

kabumpiddybumping

 

Regrettable words spewing forth

I’ll be paying for that later

 

Watching it happen

Can’t reach it

 

Trying to get it back

Too late

 

 

Carol -Amherst, Mass |cboudreauAT NOSPAMhampshire dot edu

 

*****

 

Scale

 

I pass a pencil-thin

Asian lady on my way

Out of the grocery store–

She asks a buff blonde

Teenager who just stepped

Onto it, do you think the scale

Is accurate? He replies, with

A light laugh, I hope not!

And I think: I would scale

Ten fish, or a whole mountain,

Or sing an opera of scales

If I could get on that thing

Without crying.

 

 

Lyn Sedwick |LASMD925AT NOSPAMaol dot com

 

*****

 

Coagulate

 

It sounds like it is

the inside of a Tupperware container

with Grandma’s gravy

from last Thanksgiving

 

It is not a word you want to hear

from a doctor who is looking

at your veins

“all those cheeseburgers

have coagulated near your heart”

the sound is as bad as the news

 

Mom never said

take a shower before your sweat

coagulates

if she had

I would have showered more often

 

Oh some prefer congeal

or thicken

they are the ones who say things like

“he is in heaven now”

or “Aunt Mary passed away,”

 

I want my truth served

up on a platter

as solid as it can be

once it coagulates

 

it’s too late.

 

 

Teri Coyne |tmc329AT NOSPAMaol dot com

 

*****

 

Hack

 

Wielding the backspace key –

the poet’s machete –

I hack through a jungle of letters

leering at me,

a grey kudzu strangling the clarity

of the perfect page,

the sublime paragraph,

faultless sentence,

the sublime word,

only to realize

as I survey once breathing syllables,

phrases, and crumpled pages,

such editorial masturbation

exposes my verity:

I am a hack.

 

 

Linda |drwasyAT NOSPAMgmail dot com

 

*****

 

No Word for Love

 

Eskimos have over 2 dozen words for snow.

Ancient Egyptians had more for sand.

There seem to be literally hundreds of words for love,

although most of them

seem to apply only to the sex part,

which is fine, I guess.

 

I was trying to think of what word best describes

our love,

but what comes to mind

is your understanding special smile,

and how our bodies mold together

when we sleep,

and there’s no word for that.

 

 

Gene McParland from Long Island |iamgene450AT NOSPAMaol dot com

 

*****

 

Water

 

Water…

wawtuh…

wahdda,

forty-three years on

this side of the pond

and no one understands

when I say it…

agua…l’eau…warturr,

liquid-coolin’

thirst-slakin’

cowboy-singin’

WAAAAAATER!

where is that accent from

they ask…as my tongue peels

from the back of my throat and

I consider the glass half-full

on a neighbouring table,

WADAWADAWADAWADAWADA dammit!

the one word I can’t seem to

say in American

 

 

Lorraine Hart |lorrainehartAT NOSPAMgmail dot com

 

*****

 

Word

 

The problem

with writing a poem about one word

is finding just the right word

because not any word will do.

It must be a word that sings

or creaks or seeks to evoke

an emotion deep in the gut,

a word that tickles in the throat

or hums with sweet nostalgia.

It can’t be just an ordinary word

plucked haphazardly from anywhere

because a poem is better than that.

 

 

Renee Goularte |share2learnAT NOSPAMsbcglobal dot net

 

*****

 

Ways to Run

 

How many ways

are there to run?

To count them all

cannot be done!

 

You can run a race

or run a car,

run a blockade

or run for par.

 

The colors run

in my best dress.

The ice cream runs

and makes a mess.

 

You can run riot

and run about

and be run ragged

or just run out.

 

When you get a cold

your nose will run;

when you get a snag

your hose will run.

 

You can run a fever

or run around,

but let the mayor

run the town.

 

Run into trouble

run into a friend

run into a pole

run to the end.

 

You can run the risk

run up the bill

run off some copies

run at will.

 

Let the illness

run its course,

run off the road,

and run the horse.

 

Many thoughts

run through my head,

but now it’s time

to go to bed.

 

 

Diane |annie_5675AT NOSPAMyahoo dot com

 

*****

 

Perfidious

 

–deliberately faithless; treacherous; deceitful—false, disloyal; unfaithful, traitorous

 

Even the sound creeps up the spine

and stumbles out the mouth

as if the bitterness and shock

must slither in order to be understood.

While Penelope spun her lies

to stay true to Odysseus,

Clytemnestra arranged a bath

for Agamemnon so she could strangle

him as he washed and purified himself.

Humanity refuses to learn the lesson—

Judas did the same thing with his kiss.

 

 

Sara Diane Doyle |saras dot sojournsAT NOSPAMgmail dot com

 

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4 thoughts on “Day 9 Highlights

  1. Lorraine Hart

    Thank you very much Tonya. You packed a lot in a ‘short’ piece!

    Iain…love-a-da vermicelli all the slippery way down.

    Gene, I’ve been enjoying your work…and give a shout-out to Long Island…Land of Shells as the natives called it…used to live in Huntington.

    Love the Scale poem Lyn…can sooooo relate…always tell my doc that I’m wearing my twenty-pound chastity belt before climbing on!

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