Diva Dressing: a poem

None of it works
I have a specific vision
A diva must always look spectacular
No, not that. I couldn’t possibly

I have a specific vision
And I must wear the clothes to match
No, not that. I couldn’t possibly
Don’t you see? Amazing is my trademark.

I must wear the clothes to match
My exuberant personality and how I feel today
Don’t you see? Amazing is my trademark.
I suppose I could try this on

A diva must always look spectacular
Befitting my exuberant personality
I suppose I could try this on
I do suppose it works.

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Morning Rush: A Poem

Hurry and bustle
Rush all around
Getting ready for school
A rush, a hurry, a breath of spring

Rush all around
Mustn’t be late
A rush, a hurry, a breath of spring
Gather this, grab that

Mustn’t be late
Gather this, grab that
Hurry and bustle
Getting ready for school

Pray for Us

Are you happy now, 
      secure in your warm houses and cars  
As the rain falls and the grass 
      grows  in what ought to be cold December? 
May our children forgive us 
      our complacency and our pride 
As we ignore the changing climate 
      for our convenience. 

As the rain falls and the grass 
      grows  in what ought to be cold December, 
Say a prayer for the polar bear 
      ice crumbling under her feet 
As we ignore the changing climate 
      for our convenience, 
For the sake of our laziness, 
      in the name of saving time. 

Say a prayer for the polar bear 
      ice crumbling under her feet 
Say a prayer for the coral reef 
      bleaching and dying in warming, acidic water 
For the sake of our laziness, 
      in the name of saving time 
We destroy the world. 

Say a prayer for the coral reef 
      bleaching and dying in warming, acidic water 
Are you happy now? 
May our children forgive us 
      our complacency and our pride 
We are destroying the world.

Drafting a Poem

Yesterday, I was inspired by a post over at Daily Writing Practice, and I wrote this poem, which I felt was a first draft (and one for my newest chapbook project):

After

After he found them
His whole life lying in ruins
He couldn’t stay in the smoky, reeking ruins
His whole life had been (was) in this sky riser
He stumbled out the front door
Just enough aware to know he mustn’t look like prey
What if those who did this were still around?
He paced carefully down the deserted street
Watching his feet and noting every crack in the hard surface
Still hyper-aware of every shadowy movement
It seemed an eternity ’till he reached
The sky-riser belonging to his mother’s clan
He knocked the secret knock
The door opened to a noisy, normal evening clan gathering
He collapsed right there in the entry,
His mother’s brother catching him
And laying him out for all to gather
Round in curiosity.

Then I set to work on it, and I came up with this 2nd draft in pantoum form (but you will notice that the meter is still irregular and the end is left undone, I’m not sure what I want to do with it):

After

After he found them
His whole life lying in ruins
He couldn’t stay in the smoky, reeking ruins
His whole life had been (was) in this sky-riser

His whole life lying in ruins
He stumbled out the front door
His whole life had been (was) in this sky-riser
Just enough aware to know he mustn’t look vulnerable

He stumbled out the front door
He paced carefully down the street
Just enough aware to know he mustn’t look vulnerable
A yell, “Hey, Punk!”

He looked around wildly

He broke into a running tangle of arms and legs
Darting into the door shelter of his mother’s clan sky-riser
A yell, “Hey, Punk!”
He rapped out the secret knock

Huddled in the door shelter of his mother’s clan sky-riser
Would the door never open?
He rapped out the secret knock
The door opened, he stumbled inside

The Lost Letter #poetry

Written and sent, but lost
Changed the course of his life
An avowal of his love, star-crossed
For the unfaithful one.

Changed the course of his life
Vowing faithfulness forever
For the unfaithful one
He dreamed of his letter every night

Vowing faithfulness forever
Obsessing in his monk’s cell of stamps misplaced
He dreamed of his letter every night
Unfaithful in spirit to his vows

Obsessing in his monk’s cell of stamps misplaced
An avowal of his love, star-crossed
Unfaithful in spirit to his vows
Written and sent, but lost.

The Man in White: Evolution of a Poem through Three Forms

Trigger warning.

This poem started out in answer to a prompt at Daily Writing Practice as a quick little poem.

Lurking in the corners of your mind
He was never there until the day you weren’t
Now he won’t leave you alone
In a moment of inattention
He springs and brings the memories flooding back.

Not bad, but it felt unfinished and rough. One of the other writers over at Daily Writing Practice commented that he especially liked the second line. So I set out to finish the poem, keeping the second line. I thought perhaps it would work well as a pantoum.

Lurking in the corners of your mind
He was never there until the day you weren’t
Now he won’t leave you alone
He springs and brings the nightmares flooding back.

He was never there until the day you weren’t
Just when you think you’ve forgotten
He springs and brings the nightmares flooding back
Of explosions and pain and a small girl dying in your arms

Just when you think you’ve forgotten
There he is in the shadows, bearing memories
Of explosions and pain and a small girl dying in your arms
Will you ever truly forget?

Now he won’t leave you alone
Lurking in the corners of your mind
There he is in the shadows, bearing memories
Will you ever truly forget?

I felt it was much improved, but the pantoum form was too repetitious and too pat, especially towards the end. I made it much more explicitly about war and PTSD, moving farther away from my own experience.

I thought perhaps a cascade or villanelle would do well, keeping some of the repetition but making it much less pat. First, I tried it as a cascade.

Lurking in the corners of your mind
He was never there until the day you weren’t
Now he won’t leave you alone

Just when you think you’ve forgotten
He springs and the nightmares come flooding back
Lurking in the corners of your mind

There he is in the shadows, bearing memories
Of explosions and pain, a small girl dying in your arms
He was never there until the day you weren’t

Can you forget?
Will you ever forget?
Now he won’t leave you alone.

I felt it was much, much better, but still in need of work. It still seemed too pat at the end, and to not have enough repetition, and it wasn’t flowing quite right. Plus it was still farther away from my own experience than I like. I thought I would try a villanelle. I won’t bore you with the initial versions, but here is the final villanelle I wrote. As I wrote it, I found the parts that were not from my experience fell away, and I reached for words and phrases much closer to my experiences.

He was never there until the day you weren’t
Lurking in the corners of your mind
Now he won’t leave you alone
He won’t go away and you find

You cannot forget
He was never there until the day you weren’t
Hasn’t he done enough?
How can you forget?

Now he won’t leave you alone
Just when you think you’ve forgotten
He springs and the nightmares come flooding back
He was never there until the day you weren’t

You never expected this,
Perhaps you were in the wrong place at the wrong time
Now he won’t leave you alone

Everywhere you turn, there he is
Even when he’s not.
He was never there until the day you weren’t
Now he won’t leave you alone.

Softly Now

In the quiet room
She sits, hands folded
The mantel clock ticks
The morning passes

She sits, hands folded,
Waiting. She has no worries.
The morning passes.
The sun moves across the floor.

Waiting, she has no worries.
It will be time soon.
The sun moves across the floor.
She closes her eyes.

It will be time soon
The mantel clock ticks
She closes her eyes
In the quiet room.

cross-posted at Daily Writing Practice.

Mama’s Jewelry

Old lockets and charms sparkle
Open the ancient boxes
Ivory and bakelite creak
Lift out each one and sigh

Open the ancient boxes
Full of love and glitter
Lift out each one and sigh
For those who were here once

Full of love and glitter
A necklace holds a story
For those who were here once
I listen and see smiles

Ivory and bakelite creak
A necklace holds a story
I listen and they smile,
Sparkling old lockets and charms.

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