Love Crosses*

Photo by Possessed Photography on Unsplash

together they stand

as cars cross, the love

pulls the strings between them

they lean into

each other –

(the Other inveigles from far

their way in, dodging hits

wearing camo and leaves

avoiding the telescopic sight

then surprise – you’re taken

by a squirming show, the worm

will woo the trout, who

opens its mouth

and is caught: 

by hook – the sharp narrative curve

by line – the corny come-ons

and by sinker – the ultimate weight

of foreboding, of lead and captive’s dread

pulling down and cramping 

the host by the lower abdomen) –

the green light snaps on

behind the stencilled man – walk!

a protective arm slips down

on the woman’s waist

together they step away

maybe they’ll make it

perhaps she’ll be okay

the lovers reach

the other side, and on

the cars cross again 

Saffron – 6th April 2021

* slight pun on the word “crosses” which in Jamaican parlance is means difficulties or bad luck. 

Prompt from – The Time Is Now (Poets & Writers) 4th May 2021:

Forrest Gander’s poem “Pastoral,” published last month in the Academy of American Poets’ Poem-a-Day, begins with a scene of a couple gazing out a window that is interrupted by a stanza with a parenthetical meditation on the act of looking before the last lines complete the description of the scenery outside. The middle stanza in parentheses questions the language used in the first stanza’s description and moves away from the physical into the interiority of the speaker’s mind. Inspired by the poem’s form, write a poem about the act of looking. How can you subvert the expectations of the reader by leaving the scene to go into the interior of your mind?

After a marathon

What does one do after a marathon? Well, firstly rest, hydrate, eat well, catch up with what one could NOT do while running.

And then, because all these (poetry) muscles are so fit and ready, you know you can’t be resigned to the couch.

So a few days of breathing and basking in the past efforts, I’ll be back on weekly prompts and various updates to my site. Past published pieces have not been posted which I will soon amend.

Thanks for following this adventure…

Saffron

Day 30: Directions to a Dream Life

Photo by Tengyart on Unsplash

reverse and retrace

the adult experience and curse

cut back the Hawthorns

of Romantic Disappointments then

walk twenty steps north, run

as if the Boogie Man were breathing

hot down your neck

until you pass the Grand Boogle

of Betrayal Weasels, and you’ll reach

the eastern bluff of the Cliff of Poverty

take one of the parachutes there

and pretend to buckle it on – 

(you won’t need it)

a fearsome cloaked figure 

who is really quite kind

will hand you a Certificate

of Complete and Utter Rejection

then directing you to open 

a hidden rusty grate – go in

you are taking the Dark

Stairs of Depression, until

you reach the sea below

you can now take the red boat

and row across the Trials Cove

brace for an attack 

as dolphin-like mammals will seize 

both your oars, so you’ll feel

helplessness, loss and despair

when you cry enough tears

to fill two baskets, the vessel

will reach the other shore

now you have been stripped

of all falsehoods and bare

brand new and clean, here 

is the soul of a six-year-old

but now you know better

join the others ahead, and stir

the hot glowing cauldron

you have brought with you

the last ingredient, a needed spice

the recipe is pure perfection

it is for wild children

to once again dream

the rainbow bright stew steams

as it bubbles, it spills

just slightly over the lip

come here Dreamer – take a sip

Saffron – 30th April 2021

Napowrimo prompt day 30: 

And now for our final (still optional!) prompt. Today’s prompt is based on a prompt written by Jacqueline Saphra, and featured in this group of prompts published back in 2015 by The Poetry Society of the U.K. This prompt challenges you to write a poem in the form of a series of directions describing how a person should get to a particular place. It could be a real place, like your local park, or an imaginary or unreal place, like “the bottom of your heart,” or “where missing socks go.” Fill your poem with sensory details, and make them as wild or intimate as you like.

Day 29: Porthole to Home

Photo by NASA on Unsplash

just focus, just float

this is the ultimate, and history

we are making – although light

I feel bloated – we woke

to an estimate of an Earth day

to a checklist for science

a few things to say for posterity

a journal of routines amidst the most

unusual situation – to occupy

the oddest space

just float, just focus

this is science and I am scientist

in a goal conquered for our race

it’s a bull’s eye or porthole

my eyes inhale a dark view

the matte deep void in which

like a scratch mark on a glass slide

is my blue marble home

godlike, I forgive every evil 

every injustice and hurt of our poor

and wretched kind, the humankind

with our stupid ego driven greed…

my mind reflects, my image mirrored

back to me, a sob nearly absorbed

by the hunger of the whistling silence 

off the record, I do feel lonely

cut away and prematurely weaned 

from every human mother 

I am being now surrounded 

by necessary robots, and even 

Earth’s many corners unknown 

to me are more familiar 

in their absence than my present

kept precious, breathing tinned oxygen

loving home from afar, a reference-

microscopic lump of rock

our jewel is a beautiful blue dot 

Saffron – 29th April 2021

Napowrimo prompt day 29: 

And now, for our prompt (optional, as always). This one is called “in the window.” Imagine a window looking into a place or onto a particular scene. It could be your childhood neighbor’s workshop, or a window looking into an alien spaceship. Maybe a window looking into a witch’s gingerbread cottage, or Lord Nelson’s cabin aboard the H.M.S. Victory. What do you see? What’s going on?

Day 28: The Rise and Fall of the Pink Umbrella

Photo by Noah Näf on Unsplash

will it rain?

is my umbrella in my bag?

why did she get me a pink one?

excuse me, remember I hate pink?!

do you have a sister too?

why does it sag here?

what do you call the spines?

the spines? oh… 

why does it sag here?

oh, you told me?

can you repeat then?

why are you shouting?

can you stop?

may I see your ID?

so how old do you think I am?

do I look old to you?

why are you wearing those socks?

do you think it’s attractive?

would someone in their right mind

put green, orange and yellow

together in one sock?

can it go with ANYTHING?

are wellies hot?

do they make your feet sweat?

so, you’re expecting rain then?

you do know your cheeks sag, right?

are you blushing?

are you angry?

can you stop?

do you think

black will go with those socks?

why would she buy this in pink

when she knows I REALLY hate it?

can’t you see it’s bright like your face

which is now like my brolly’s twin?

when you take off those boots

and your sweating feet smell

does it hurt your head, or nose?

do you think I’m flattered

that a colourblind loud bully

who may sag everywhere 

dares think I need his attention?

do you think I’m angry enough

to use this pink thing 

to defend 

or as a weapon?

but first… will it rain?

Saffron – 28th April 2021

Bonus: do I have to apologise for this poem?

Napowrimo prompt day 28: 

Our prompt today (optional, as always), is to write a poem that poses a series of questions. The questions could be a mix of the serious (“What is the meaning of life?”) and humorous (“What’s the deal with cats knocking things off tables?”), the interruptive (“Could you repeat that?”) and the conversational (“Are those peanuts? Can I have some?”). You can choose to answer them – or just let the questions keep building up, creating a poem that asks the reader to come up with their own answer(s).

Day 27: All A Dream – Soulmate Flashover

Photo by Bruce Christianson on Unsplash

we met at the bus stop with him running late

he running to catch me, to catch a train

we museum-walked, and town-walked

nattering, chattering, then doing it again

and then all went dark I could no longer speak

my tongue was floored and arms were sided

many moments went by while my body was weak

my eyes fluttering fast from my caged mind’s alarm

then slowly I surfaced like how snowflakes fall

before I awoke, not understanding it all

I found refuge and a welcome embrace

but there was a click and a snap of discovery

with relief tearing down from panic’s leftovers

for us both, this a soulmate, and this a flashover

Saffron – 27th April 2021

flashover – DEFINITION from Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows

n. the moment a conversation becomes real and alive, which occurs when a spark of trust shorts out the delicate circuits you keep insulated under layers of irony, momentarily grounding the static emotional charge you’ve built up through decades of friction with the world.

Napowrimo prompt day 27: 

In today’s (optional) prompt, I’d like to challenge you to write a poem inspired by an entry from the Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows. The entries are very vivid – maybe too vivid! But perhaps one of the sorrows will strike a chord with you, or even get you thinking about defining an in-between, minor, haunting feeling that you have, and that does not yet have a name.

Day 26: Not Quite Loving Thee Sonnet

Photo by Andrey Konstantinov on Unsplash

How do I love thee? More than mayonnaise –

you know that but how I can be polite?

your whining neediness is out of sight

for me it is a turn off and disgrace

I love thee but I doubt it’s for always

forever is too long for me to stand

your company, and bear your roaming hands

I love, but can we only meet Tuesdays?

I love thee or at least I know I used to

in your old briefs and reluctance to shower

I love thee though so often you refused

to help around my house and make it ours

your smiles tear me up because your breath

(not only in the morning) reeks of death

-Nicebreth Butyet Browning

Saffron – 26th April 2021

* A parody of Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s well known sonnet:

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways. 

I love thee to the depth and breadth and height 

My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight 

For the ends of being and ideal grace. 

I love thee to the level of every day’s 

Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light. 

I love thee freely, as men strive for right; 

I love thee purely, as they turn from praise. 

I love thee with the passion put to use 

In my old griefs, and with my childhood’s faith. 

I love thee with a love I seemed to lose 

With my lost saints. I love thee with the breath, 

Smiles, tears, of all my life; and, if God choose, 

I shall but love thee better after death.

Napowrimo prompt day 26: 

And now for our (optional) prompt. Today, I’d like to challenge you to write a parody. Besides being fun, writing parodies can be a great way to hone your poetic skills – particularly your sense of rhyme and sound, as you try to mimic the form of an existing poem while changing the content. Just find a poem – or a song – that has always annoyed you, and write an altered, silly version of it. Or, alternatively, find a poem with a very particular rhyme scheme or form, and use that scheme/form as the basis for a poem that mocks something else.

If you’d like to get some inspiration, you might consider some of the poems that Lewis Carroll included in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, which parody the moralistic verse of Isaac Watts. For example, “The Crocodile” is a send-up of Watts’ “How Doth the Little Busy Bee,” while “Tis the Voice of the Lobster” is a parody of Watts’ poem “The Sluggard.” Or, for a briefer and more whimsical poem, consider “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Bat,” which is a parody of “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.”

Day 25: A Family Wedding

Photo by Jakob Owens on Unsplash

today, brothers and sisters

we celebrate a couple

caught mid-flight, mid-destiny

Avery and Eric

it is a love story sown

on foreign and neutral soil

London was their garden – 

where the two last children

(here we call them “wash bellies”)

of both families, sent them to study

not nurse, but secretary

not German but English

there was the so strategic mistletoe

that was dangling dangerously

over one of the doors

of the office Christmas party!

after eight years of separate lives

thanks to the local consulate

Eric came to our shores to claim

the hand of our beautiful Avery

so that is their history

we are now mid-Fate, mid-destiny

they will together continue on

as proud husband and wife

and as parents – a family

a destiny already embarked upon

with their handsome Alexis

here present, a smart young man

their love child and son

now we all, a community

wish them a happy journey

joined now as family

it is a new family we now bring

together, by the exchange

of these two rings

and the testimony of their vows

Saffron – 25th April 2021

Napowrimo prompt day 25:

Our prompt for today (optional, as always) is to write an “occasional” poem. What’s that? Well, it’s a poem suited to, or written for, a particular occasion. This past January, lots of people who usually don’t encounter poetry got a dose when Amanda Gorman read a poem at President Biden’s inauguration. And then she followed it up with a poem at the Superbowl (not traditionally an event associated with verse!) The poem you write can be for an occasion in the past or the future, one important to you and your family (a wedding, a birth) or for an occasion in the public eye (the Olympics, perhaps?).

Day 24: A Change in Direction

Photo by Patrick Mueller on Unsplash

A change in destination eats mice

so whiskered rodents beware of the driving force

watch its hands play on the wheel

it can spot you 75 meters away

A change in destination eats squirrels

following your vertical rush to hide treasure kernels

obsessed until it stalks and circles your tree

your inevitable destiny

it is a solitary cat

A change in destination eats birds

in its beautiful thick fur, yes it keeps warm

and undoes your spells, guessing

and devouring your words before you utter

the slightest twitter of a hint

A change in destination prefers snowshoe hares

the quick scattering of who cares?

a thumping and bumping, a nervous chattering

when the crucial time appears

Changes in destination struggle

in the mountains of Spain, far 

from the cold Northern forests

and remain modest, away

from where they mostly thrive and live

A change in direction is a skilled hunter

and it has excellent sight and hearing

to you, this advice might be critical

do not be squirrel, mouse, bird nor hare

Saffron – 24th April 2021

* A lynx was chosen from the National Geographic site, and the phrase from the last song I listened to, which was Led Zeppelin’s Night Flight.

Napowrimo prompt day 24:

Today’s (optional) prompt is a fun one. Find a factual article about an animal. A Wikipedia article or something from National Geographic would do nicely – just make sure it repeats the name of the animal a lot. Now, go back through the text and replace the name of the animal with something else – it could be something very abstract, like “sadness” or “my heart,” or something more concrete, like “the streetlight outside my window that won’t stop blinking.” You should wind up with some very funny and even touching combinations, which you can then rearrange and edit into a poem.

Day 23: Mare of a Son

Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash

I want so much for you

if I could carry the weight

the burden of your frustration

while you lean on my withers

a rhythmic rocking in a trot

above my barrel, my back

is broad and strong, my hooves

are shoed to travel 

and I can share my joy

to breathe in tasty green meadows

and my crest blows in puffs

by the wind

and I am condemned to live

inadequately equipped

an inner, not outer strength

perhaps if I were mare 

I could carry more

instead of just a mother

Saffron – 23rd April 2021

*Inspired by Christine Craig (Quadrille for Tigers): 

Crow Poem

I want so much to put

my arms about you but

extended they are feathered

vanes, snapped, tatty things

no longer curving. 

My voice wants to say things

about blue skies, blond sand, 

yet a rasping, carrion croak

jets from my beak

sharp edged.

Condemned to live a life for which

I am ill suited, improperly 

dressed. Perhaps there is out there 

one crow, wheeling over the city dump, 

convinced she is a woman. 

Napowrimo prompt day 23: 

Today, I’d like to challenge you to write a poem that responds, in some way, to another. This could be as simple as using a line or image from another poem as a jumping-off point, or it could be a more formal poetic response to the argument or ideas raised in another poem. You might use a favorite (or least favorite poem) as the source for your response. And if you’re having trouble finding a poem to respond to, here are a few that might help you generate ideas: “This World is Not Conclusion,” by Peter Gizzi, “In That Other Fantasy Where We Live Forever,” by Wanda Coleman, “La Chalupa, the Boat,” by Jean Valentine, or “Aubade: Some Peaches, After Storm,” by Carl Phillips.