Wednesday, April 3, 2013

PAD: Day 2

Today’s prompt is a Two-for-Tuesday prompt. For those new to the challenge, you have the option of writing to the first prompt or the second prompt–or even both if you feel so inclined. Here they are:

  • Write a bright poem.
  • Write a dark poem.

You want to say it now before it's too late.
Morning yawns sunbeams through a
slit in curtains. You turn and see the face
you touched in the dark last night.
You sneeze. A hand grazes your back.
Letters jumble around your eyelids and
you are overcome by vowels and
sounds pushing against your tongue.
Sunlight hits your eyes,
turns irises from brown to hazel.
He opens one eye; gasps.
Your eyes change color in the light?
This is it. The moment you could
string those vowels together,
say what you both run from every day.
Instead, you say yes.
The light hurts but not as much
as the words burning in your mouth.

Monday, April 1, 2013

PAD: Day 1

For today’s prompt, write a new arrival poem. The new arrival could be a baby or a person. The new arrival might be a car or other piece of technology. Heck, the new arrival might be an idea or poem.

Stage Four

He remembers when the news arrived:
on a Saturday, before their weekly bike ride
around the lake. Kate's helmet slipped from her fingers
when she heard, the doctor's voice
whispering spiderwebs in her ears: stage four.
Cancer so deep it was in her bones.

Surgery. Chemo. Hospice. In three short steps
she was on the stairway to heaven.
The pearly skin he painted during art class
in college became transparent as spring roll
wrappers, a network of blue veins
mapping out her pain.

He wraps a scarf around her head.
She smiles a thank you,
starts writing goodbye letters,
looping the t in her name like
a jump rope.

He doesn't know when she'll go,
only that it will be sooner than he wants.
Now they walk around the complex,
not the lake they've loved for
thirty years. He pushes her wheelchair around
the atrium, gazes at the trees swaying
in the wind, their limbs spread wide,
waiting to greet her with love.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

PAD: Day 3

For today’s prompt, there are actually two options, because it’s Tuesday, which means a “Two for Tuesday” prompt. They are:
  • Write an apology poem, or…
  • Write an unapologetic poem.
Your choice. You can be sorry–or not. Or write about someone who is sorry–or not.


It's 9:45. Over an hour late, I'll rush
to the store to get protein shake powder,
power bars and ice tea before willing myself home.
You'll call twice on the way, and I'll miss one.
When we finally talk, my tone short, curt,
ice lodged between my teeth, I'll say I'm driving,
rush off the phone. Oh, okay. Sorry.

No, my son. That would be me. I'm sorry
for always being late. For always having to do this,
this mad race to finish something that will never
get done. I'm sorry for missing your first tennis match,
for missing your lob over the net.
I can move earth and heaven, but not my work schedule.
I'm sorry I can't always say yes.

Sometimes all I have is hope to give you. The hope you
will see me and not be afraid to work. That you will see me
and learn how to care for you, to treat yourself
gently, to steel yourself when necessary.

I will walk into our house tonight. You will see my face
and know what to say. What not to say. You will quickly
clean up the mess you made in the kitchen, offer me a cup
of tea. Give me the movie reel highlights of your day,
the light in your voice flickering. I will sigh. Not because
I am mad. Because I'm sorry I missed it all.

Monday, April 2, 2012

PAD: Day 2

To Marvin, on Number 73
"I like music that makes you cry." -- Marvin Gaye

Clear the smoke from his voice
and you can hear it. The battle.
The ache. The chase of something bigger
than his body, bigger than his song.

Lay down the vocals. Lay down his life.
Change the chord progression and
change a life.

It creeps on me, that feeling when we're
alone on the car, Marvin. When the winds
are doing all they can to harmonize with you.
I clear the smoke and feel it.

I knew your music before I knew words.
I knew you before I knew myself,
your voice all in my head.
It's always been like this:
you, wailing a blanket of blue notes
all around my body. Me, giving in
to the alchemy of your music.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

PAD: Day 1

***I know I won't be posting every day, but I will write in the wonderful journal I have dedicated to National Poetry month. Year three and it's almost full. I hope to share as much as I can. But I will write. Every day.

In Movies

Samantha says to Theodorus Melville
as he serves a frothy cup of cappuccino
"I want to be a poet."
He smiles, tells her she can do it.
She arms herself with moleskine and pen,
inhales hard through her right nostril
to help the words come.

She wants to be a poet. As if it were easy,
like chores. Picking dry cleaning on Tuesday.
Laundry and floors on Saturday.
What shes doesn't know can't be found
in screenplay where she lives.

She doesn't know yet.
Know how to watch people.
And not be afraid to watch, be thought a
creepy stalker. A misfit. The quiet weird one.
She doesn't know to keep her moleskine
with her at all times.
Those words she wants will wake her up'at night,
keep her from sleeping in past dawn.

She wants to be a poet. Theodorus told her
she could do it, so she did. Left her husband
after she wrote a poem for Theodorus.
Maybe they lived happily ever after.
A poet's life so delightful, so clean
it could only be in a movie
She will live her life on a blank, white page.
I will color mine with words
she can only wish to own.

Friday, April 8, 2011

PAD #6: Michael


Your poem came today, Michael, on a brisk walk
with Maximus, the spring day wearing a bright
blue dress, stinging my face with her whip of wind.
I saw Styrofoam Dunkin' Donuts cups,  Snickers
wrappers, a child's camp t-shirt, and a McDonald's
cup strewn across the lawn of a synagogue.
Just as I shook my head in shame Earth Song
queued on my iPod, and I could see you. See you
as I saw you at Disney World the summer I graduated
high school, red shirt, black pants, black hat,
black shoes, pale skin, Macaulay Culkin by
your side. I left Mickey for you, to yell your name,
to nearly cry at the sight of you blowing kisses to
the crowd.You make me move, Michael, no matter
where I am. In the grocery store. In the car.
You will stay there, there in the Polaroid
pictures I have tucked away in a shoebox.
Three snapshots of you waving a
hello and goodbye to me.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

PAD #5: Home Alone

*I've wanted to write this poem for almost five years after I heard Mary Ellen's story on NPR. This poem is nowhere close to what it could be, but that's not the point. The point is to write every day. I wrote this in a fatigue-induced fog last night. It was fun.

Home Alone

Mary Ellen lived alone in a bunglow with green trim
just outside of LA. Every Friday, Sue, a runner
for the Sav-Right pharmacy, brought her insulin,
testing strips, crestor, Spiriva. Mary Ellen tipped
her two dollars every time. No family pictures
dotted the walls of her house. Instead, she filled
empty spaces with items she bought from QVC
or HSN. Her answering machine, connected to a yellow
rotary phone, told everyone the same thing for
ten years: No name, no number, no nothing.

At the hospital, before surgery, she couldn't think
of anyone but Sue to put down as her emergency
contact. She'd lost contact with her son, Robert,
after losing her address book. During surgery,
she thought she heard the faint cry of a baby,
so she rose to check on him, and never woke up.

Sue received the next-of-kin call that afternoon.
She had trouble placing Mary Ellen's face,
but could see her hands folding two dollar
bills into her own. The next day, the police
met her at Mary Ellen's house. Sue looked
at all the baby dolls lined up along the
dining room walls, their empty faces waiting
for someone to say hello.