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.
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
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.
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?
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…
Iain D. Kemp |iainAT NOSPAMmovistar dot es
Canorous (Kuh-NOR-us; KAN-or-uhs)
across the way
up the stairs
of my soul
with each memory,
moment and meticulously
verves, and vibrates
melodic and methodic-
all in its tenor
I am speechless,
to visions and vexations
tears and frustrations.
I sway, dip
spin and twirl
My body not my own
as it moves in,
and through me.
Up and down
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
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
—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
“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
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
Smoke gushing from
Like a tomato on a shish kabob
Heart kabump kabump
Regrettable words spewing forth
I’ll be paying for that later
Watching it happen
Can’t reach it
Trying to get it back
Carol -Amherst, Mass |cboudreauAT NOSPAMhampshire dot edu
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
Lyn Sedwick |LASMD925AT NOSPAMaol dot com
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
if she had
I would have showered more often
Oh some prefer congeal
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
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,
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
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
forty-three years on
this side of the pond
and no one understands
when I say it…
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,
the one word I can’t seem to
say in American
Lorraine Hart |lorrainehartAT NOSPAMgmail dot com
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.
run through my head,
but now it’s time
to go to bed.
Diane |annie_5675AT NOSPAMyahoo dot com
–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