The Silk Beauty: Inspired by PSH Poetry Prompt 4-30-13

When I was small
the mimosa tree stood tall
and graceful in our front yard--
its long fans of leaves
and puffy pink flowers marked
my pathway to faerie-land.

The neighbor would complain
long after the rain
of the mess of flowers
clogging his windshield wipers
and would curse the way the seeds
would spread like weeds
in everybody's garden.

When the trunk cracked
at the branching "Y"
I mourned and watched the axe
close yet another door
to Neverland.

The prompt for April 30, 2013 was submitted by Stanley H. Barkan from Merrick, New York: "Write a poem about the trees of your childhood..."

The last prompt for National Poetry Month 2013... let's see if I can keep it going.

Bent on Being Banned: Inspired by PSH Poetry Prompt 4-29-13

So the cops booked me on trumped up charges
and I find myself in a Catch-22.
Out on the Animal Farm,
I walked among The Color Purple
to meet The Catcher in the Rye
when The Lord of the Flies came
To Kill a Mockingbird and
instead stumbled on a Brave New World
where The Sun Also Rises,
and killed me instead.
As I Lay Dying, giving A Farewell to Arms
and a host of mea culpas,
the EMS arrived and declared me An American Tragedy.
As Their Eyes Were Watching God,
this Native Son came back from the brink
and penned an end to them all In Cold Blood.
Now, sitting in the slammer,
I sing a Song of Solomon,
my mind now Gone with the Wind
and I’m damned if I’ll talk...

The prompt for April 29, 2013 was submitted by Suzanne Lummis from Los Angeles, California: "A prompt inspired by Suzanne Lummis’ essay defining the poem noir, forthcoming in Malpais Review: Write a poem that begins 'So the cops booked me on trumped up charges' and ends 'I'm damned if I'll talk'. Somewhere along the way the poet must incorporate one foreign phrase or word, or words."

Okay... Latin counts as foreign , yes? ;) For more information on banned and challenged books, see The American Library Association or simply use any search engine to look up a list of banned and challenged books.

Pondering Divinity

Sometimes I wonder if
God is watching as we wade
through those parts of our lives like
ants in molasses.
I wonder if, as we flail
and kick and curse
in fierce determination
to meet some esoteric goal,
God props Himself up on his elbows
to witness - fascinated as a child
and entertained by the struggle
or if he merely shrugs
and walks away,
knowing our choices
bear their own consequences.

Battling the Frigid Fiend

I try not to think of the pain--
the short sharp jabs
in my feet
my knees
my shoulders
my back
and I can't even speak of my hands.

As I sit cold,
all but numb
at this desk typing
and filing
and longing to be out
in the sunshine and warmth,
my endeavors to ignore the imp
who pricks me with his nasty pick
are thwarted by the little bastard--
as he mercilessly

I really do need to find a way to keep warm at work... 

I Didn’t See It: Inspired by PSH Poetry Prompt 4-24-13

I didn’t see it--
the source of the
in rapid succession
then pause
and tap-tap-tap-tap-tap.

close to my ear
but as yet unseen,
the tap-tap-tap-tap-tap
through the early morning air,
betraying the presence
of a red bellied beauty
to my delight and,
no doubt,
to the bark bugs' dismay.

The prompt for April 24, 2013 was submitted by Scott Wiggerman from Austin, Texas:
All too often we get caught up with purely visual images; this is a prompt focused on aural ones. Go sit somewhere outside (e.g., a park bench, front stoop, bus stop, etc.). Listen carefully to all the sounds you hear, making a list of them (close your eyes if it helps eliminate visual cues). Use approximations of sounds if need be (e.g., wha-wha-whee-ee to describe a bird noise). After you have a sufficient list, read it aloud (more aural!) and choose five sounds, words, or phrases that resonate with you (or perhaps suggest additional images you hadn’t considered). Use these as a basis for a nature poem titled "I Didn’t See It."

Lunar Longing: Inspired by PSH Poetry Prompt 4-23-13

Climbing high
in the chill of midnight
shining with the glow
of tomorrow's hidden sunlight
and singing to the sleeping crocus flowers
closed and blue and waiting
for another day,
I would smile with the stars
and gaze down upon the quiet world
and the woman that I am,
wide-eyed and reverent,
looking up at me.

The prompt for April 23, 2013 was submitted Jerry Carlin from Concord, California: "Write a poem about the desire to be the moon in spring."

And A Dinosaur Roars...

You would think
with all the "i" technology:
we would learn:
  I can
  I do
  I will.
Maybe the next new thing could be:
  i am
with free apps for:

 Just musing... ;)

Impeded Inspiration

Lump of nothing.
Block of blankness.
A stymied slab of squat.

Illumination everywhere
but the puckish muse
         with invisible ink.

Bearing Witness to Boston

I wasn't there
and those whom I love
were nowhere near the blasts…
but I am affected.

As angry as I become
looking at the footage--
thinking of the malevolence that had set this plan to pass--
seeing pictures of exploded pressure-cooker pieces
and the metaphor it evokes in my poetic mind,
I find myself in tears only
upon reading acts of kindness--
of angels risking their own wings
to help a stranger scared
and down
and bleeding.
It is the evidence of yin and yang,
of light and dark,
of the universe always seeking balance
not in the form of Muhammad
or Buddha
or Christ
or Krishna
but in the love shared among common souls
that overflows my eyes
and fills my humbled heart.

For Molly and Dave and Maggie... and everyone else.

Intonation for Insomniacs: Inspired by PSH Poetry Prompt 4-16-13

I've been told
many times
that my voice is comforting--
that in the early morning hours
the timbre of my tone
is soothing.
When he lost vision in one eye
with diminished sight in the other,
I began to read to him
and more than once--
many times
I have stopped to find him sleeping.
Perhaps I should read with more inflection...

The prompt for April 16, 2013 was submitted by Eloise Klein Healy from Sherman Oaks, California: "Write a recipe for curing sleeplessness."

Passive-Aggressive Poetry

If I am destined for Hell,
it will consist of cubicle catacombs
perpetually lit by long banks of bare florescent bulbs.

Teetering on the brink of bleak,
staring at a multitude of columns and rows
filled with inconsequential data,
I dare to decide
I need another cup of coffee
if only to warm my hands.
It’s Monday and I long for inspiration outside
of this mundane establishment.
With a recklessness borne by dire desire,
I risk the “write-up” and steal company time
to create a pittance of  poetry –
exercising the audacity to think beyond
the working drone in a wasteland of compliant servitude.

If you hadn't guessed, I'm "off-prompt" again. Perhaps it is my mood or just that I have such a great and natural aversion to authority of any kind. I could have predicted that I wouldn't stay with a "guided" plan for National Poetry Month for very long... Ah well, maybe tomorrow's prompt will push me back in line -- or not. ;)


Unimaginative Static

My mind mashed by countless keystrokes
and convoluted requests to shift
their work to
my desk,
I struggle with being
by a prompt I prayed would save my brain
as a software conversion snaps my synapses,
crushing my creativity.

The prompt for April 11, 2013 was submitted by Mindy Nettifee from the Portland, Oregon. It fizzled for me so, I wrote off-prompt but if you are interested: "HI, THIS IS AWKWARD -- Have a conversation with something or someone or some idea that can’t speak back to you. Give it power over you. Small or profound, this power it has over you is f***ing with you. It’s preventing you from doing something necessary. By the end of poem, find a way to ask for the power back."

Culinary Contumacy: Inspired by PSH Poetry Prompt 4-10-13

outside and in,
I start a pot of soup.
Chicken for strength,
spinach for health,
garlic and onion for taste...
but, alas,
the blandness of the day
has permeated my palate.
With temerity,
I toss in a can of diced tomatoes
and more than a dash of hot sauce.

The prompt for April 10, 2013 was submitted by Dorrie Johnson from the United Kingdom: "Name a herb, a spice and a weather condition.   If you need to, add a place."

Love at Lunchtime: Inspired by PSH Poetry Prompt 4-9-13

I watch in the side view mirror
as he sits at the top of the back stairs
head slightly cocked
white ears perked
dark eyes bright
for the moment the engine stops growling
and mama opens the car door
to tear down the concrete path
and dance on his hind legs
snuffling kisses while his tiny tail
threatens to wag off.

The prompt for April 9, 2013 was submitted by Michelle Angelini from Hollywood, California: "Relationships: dogs & their humans"

Off the Wrong Side of the Bed: Inspired by PSH Poetry Prompt 4-8-13

Floating in a haze of disbelief,
I parade along a bank of seven story cabinets
and feel the stack of files
multiplying exponentially in my arms.
I weave around electricians' legs
dangling from the ceiling at odd angles
and maintenance workers laying crappy carpet
over brand new marble tiles.
A flock of shirts and skirts
pass titillating tidbits
at the water cooler--
peering out like pigeons
all at once
to throw disgusted daggers
from their beady little eyes.
Dropping the files, now
too heavy for my hands,
I hurry to hide in the bathroom
only to find it closed for cleaning.
My cubicle,
a final refuge,
stretches beyond my reach
as a raffle basket rushes past
proclaiming the praises of the United Way
and strobe lights scream a sudden siren
as my alarm clock reminds me
it's Monday.

The prompt for April 8, 2013 was submitted by Fern G.Z. Carr from Kelowna, Canada: "Write a poem whereby you turn a nightmarish situation to your advantage:  ex. You awake to find yourself completely naked at an important job interview.  Incorporate the word “titillating” into your poem."

Okay, so I didn't really turn a nightmarish situation to my advantage... but I did incorporate "titillating" into the poem. ;)

Marking Books: 11/22/63 by Stephen King

Greg said that he wasn't interested in reading a book about the Kennedy assassination even if it was written by Stephen King. Then, my best bud out there in California sent 11/22/63 our way saying she liked it and that is wasn't what Greg thought it was. Julie's recommendations rarely miss when it comes to books and movies and she certainly wasn't wrong about this one.

Yes, the Kennedy assassination is addressed in this book but 11/22/63 is not about JFK. It is about a high school English teacher who finds himself thrown into a skewed reality that blurs both past and present. With 11/22/63Stephen King strings together yet another page-turner -- all 849 of them with accompanying questions for discussion, author Q & A, a playlist, and a menu with recipes. As the story unfolds through the eyes of Jake Epping (our reluctant would-be hero), Stephen King pulls the reader back and forth through time as small (and not-so-small) choices have cataclysmic consequences down the line. The truth of the human condition -- all the dirty, clean, loving, hating, horrible, beautiful mess that it is -- unfolds masterfully as Mr. King unveils the simple reality that there are no easy answers.

I wouldn't classify 11/22/63 as "horror" so much as a suspenseful drama where you think you know the history but quickly realize that history, like everything else, is relative. I definitely recommend this one (having read to Greg until I was hoarse on more than one occasion) and send out a huge "Thank you" to Woo for forwarding the book all the way from California.

A Bitter Morning: Inspired by PSH Poetry Prompt 4-5-13

Staring out her mother's windshield,
stewing in disgust
for the throng of classmates
cluttered on the corner
in the cold,
she sits swimming
in resentment of her mother
moving here--
away from her father
and far from Society Hill.
Grunting a good-bye
as the battered bus arrives,
she slams the door and measures her gait
with intentional effort
to make others wait--
lifting her chin
for all
to behold her superiority.

The prompt for April 5, 2013 was submitted by Lori Williams from Brooklyn, New York: "We see many people in our day to day lives... while going to work, shopping or simply taking a walk. Often we just  pass them by without a glance. In your travels, find an interesting looking stranger.  Use your powers of observation – note their clothes, demeanor, gait, etc.  and  write a poem from their perspective about what is going on in their life."

I actually wrote the poem below first, then realized that I hadn't written "from their perspective" and wrote "A Bitter Morning" to follow the prompt.

High School Peacock

A crowded corner waits
for its daily trek to LHS.
Every ethnicity represented,
shivers together in the early Spring frost.
Finally, a yellow behemoth rumbles to a stop
and the stampede shoves on board
as one straggler--
much too delicate to stand with the rest,
steps from her mother's warm car with a swish of silky hair
and saunters to her seat
with an air much colder than the morning chill.

Reading Exhaust: Inspired by PSH Poetry Prompt 4-4-13

Jesus says he loves me,
But Satan thinks I'm cool.

         Mean People Suck


                 I Love My Granddog

Spending lunchtime hungry
catching up on bumper sticker slogans
waiting for the flagman to finish his sandwich.

The prompt for April 4, 2013 was submitted by Daniel Irwin from Illinois:
Start with the line: 
    Jesus says he loves me,
    But Satan thinks I'm cool. 

Death by Pushpin: Inspired by PSH Poetry Prompt 4-3-13

I couldn't do it.
The thought brought out
a thin white lab coat
with a pushpin
turned into a pithing needle.
Even the ratty old copy of Ethan Frome 
(required reading with its dreadful broken pickle dish)
was spared the stabbing
for the sake of inspiration.
As much as I despised the story,
the book still lives and breathes--
its yellowed pages
like wrinkles on the face of an old friend.

The prompt for April 1, 2013 was submitted by Jim Knowles from Andover Massachusetts: 
The "push-pin with coherence" method. 
1) get an old or clearance book (yellowed paper pierces easily) (eloquent author makes it cool) 
2) wiggle/pierce a pushpin through the book in a spot 
3) So it is not random, pick any word from within one inch of the hole on each page. Your mind will try to force some order, to ‘cohere’ the words, as you pick the next and the next, the fit the prior words. 
4) Now, when you have about 20 to 100 words, insert connecting words and shift the words you took  (verb tense, synonym, etc) 
5) You should see a theme emerge, with some catchy phrases. Feel free to chuck or rewrite at this point. There are scenes emerging, hopefully. Oddly enough, the original author counts. Former best sellers from  the dollar store can be good. Old, badly oxidized acid paper makes things easy... those cheap books at the used book store that are crumbling. the job easy.

Zilch: Inspired by PSH Poetry Prompt 4-2-13

Legal yellow paper
with narrow lines
full of color
yet blank --
devoid of creativity.
The blue sideways stripes
bend to a grimace
in my mind --
mocking the poetic "nothing"
that pours from my pen.

The prompt for April 2, 2013 was submitted by Nicholas Petrone: "Nothing is more difficult to write about than nothing. Write a poem of 10 lines or more about “nothing” and see where it leads."

Savage Seating: Inspired by PSH Poetry Prompt 4-1-13

dressed in old red velvet
with mahogany lion's feet,
it lived in the basement of my grandmother's house.
in front of the indoor garden
that was overgrown
and unattended
and wild,
the sullied sofa seemed to growl
at me in my swimsuit and bare feet
creeping on tiptoes
across the peel-and-stick carpet
that was damp with cold slime.
I was heading for the bathroom
just on the other side,
and gave the beast a wide berth--
hoping I would make it
to the toilet
and out again
without being eaten alive.

The prompt for April 1, 2013 was submitted by Laurel Ann Bogen: "Write a poem about a sofa from your youth."

PSH Celebrates National Poetry Month with: A Poetry Writing Prompt A Day

For the first time, PSH (Poetry Super Highway) will be publishing a poetry writing prompt every day during the month of April in honor of National Poetry Month. The prompts are submitted by any and all who have an idea and wish to submit it. (See: Poetry Writing Prompt Submission Form.)

If motivated to write, you are also invited to post any poems written from the prompt as a comment underneath the prompt in the Poetry Super Highway Facebook Group. I must admit that am neither a fan nor advocate of Facebook... call me a fool, a dinosaur, a slug, anything you like... I just don't like Facebook. So, I'm posting any poems I write from PSH prompts here on The Rogue Nun and encouraging any and all to go to PSH and participate. And... by all means post your poetry to Facebook too. I'm certainly not advocating censorship or boycotts either. ;) 

Friends have called my personal writing style "snapshot poetry" since it tends to be short and resemble a picture of life experience. So, if you don't consider yourself a poet but can take a picture with a camera, why not stretch a bit and try taking one with words? It is National Poetry Month after all...

The Goddess Project: Mielikki

I was first introduced to the Finnish goddess of the forest years ago when my brother and I were creating characters in AD&D. Mielikki w...