Day30: Lunar Returns

img_5133
Courtesy of the-sun.com. No copyright infringement is intended.

Lunar Returns

 

full moon

after you were pregnant full

reflecting back silver from the gold

the star gave you, you start cutting away

and a waning and darkening

a warning of more shadow

more stark separation

curving still in a quarter

until balancing the sides

the black, the white

 

after the half

continue the waning path

till you are the dusky velvet

a sumi ink dot – the dusty seed

of new – new moon

ready to streak

and tingling in sparkling possibility

a waxing and illumination

of what is promise and splendour

more bright radiation

curving still in a quarter

until balancing astride

continue the waxing path

your seed swells

pulling empaths and crazies

the tides and the wolves

your seed howls

when ripe, when full

full moon

 

 

Saffron – April 2020

 


Prompt:

Write a poem about something that returns. For, just as the swallows come back to Capistrano each year, NaPoWriMo and GloPoWriMo will ride again!

 

Day29: Catbrosis

Catbrosis

 

oh yay! The day we picked these two

from their foster mama, and real mama cat

we went for two girls, and miss grey tabby

bright eyes and sassy was an obvious, one,

but the grey boy nearly chartreux or blue

tapped our hands with his paw

and our fur family went purring off

 

so different – really womb-mates?

 

the boy, Atlas loves to cuddle

enjoys luxury and lazing

keeps laps warm and watches Netflix

when I do – he crosses his front paws

and is vocal, he will meow for food

his coat is silky and shines metallic

and sometimes sleep is belly side up

as if warming in the golden sun

while a tuft of white on his chest

serves as a bow tie

 

but Rhea the grey tabby girl, almost pink

is pretty and dainty… -looking only

she will hunt and jump, higher

than you think she can go

happy to sleep on a bookcase

when she speaks it’s a little squeak

or a staccato chirp – fairly rare

you want to listen – you ought to

her fur is more modest and practical

more cottony to the touch

the only laps she does are around

the house – too busy

not the inclination nor the time to dally

if you’re lucky she’ll knead bread

on your tummy, but she gives

the most delightful kitty kisses

 

and the two together ensure

that you should never be alone

why, try take a shower

and Rhea will jump and open

the door – they both will wait –

anything bathroom is strictly public

for cats – ye shall not be alone!

and the scoop of the sink

is perfectly cat shaped says Atlas

 

 

Saffron – April 2020

 


Prompt:

Write a paean to the stalwart hero of your household: your pet. Sing high your praises and tell the tale of Kitty McFluffleface’s ascension of Mt. Couch. Let us hear how your intrepid doggo bravely answers the call to adventure whenever the leash jingles.

 

 

 

Day28: Flat in the Combe

Flat in the Combe

 

the studio duplex was new, so new

that my first visit was before

it was even finished – to see

the bedroom on the upper floor

the builder leaned up an old ladder

my shoes slightly slippery

from the cement dust. Unclean,

the bathroom cement was evident

and as yet, no door

but eeny meany, I could choose

some of the finishings

some of the styles

and the colour (salmon)

of the bathroom tiles

 

the bedroom space had metres high

to think – an attic flat under the roof

and one could see the lake, the sky

the mountains from the balcony-windows

cut in the angles of the white slope

 

and for my décor, my books

and finally, an aquarium

the calming swishes of angelfish

with their arrows following me

across the room “in vogue”

and the building’s heat rose

deliciously to me, the best –

the best flat yet for me

the tropical bachelorette!

 

Saffron – April 2020


Prompt:

By the Emily Dickinson Museum. First, read this brief reminiscence of Emily Dickinson, written by her niece. And now, here is the prompt that the museum suggests:

Martha Dickinson Bianchi’s description of her aunt’s cozy room, scented with hyacinths and a crackling stove, warmly recalls the setting decades later. Describe a bedroom from your past in a series of descriptive paragraphs or a poem. It could be your childhood room, your grandmother’s room, a college dormitory or another significant space from your life.

 

Day 27: The MIL* Restaurant

The MIL* Restaurant

 

the previous reviews on this place were negative

but I don’t like to follow the crowd

and an employee named Gary was so positive

that another review was allowed

 

at the outset, the entrance was so very fake

but tried to appear inviting

under the veneer and halting handshake

the menu was already biting

 

the attention was sharp – waiters circled

around, intent on finding a fault

placing an order was the first hurdle

or at least that’s what we thought

 

I pulled Gary aside, and insisted he’d lied

hoping for influence behind the scenes

but he was so rapt with the cook’s bitter act

and just would not intervene

 

when the dinner we ordered finally came

it was a sad excuse for a meal

everything was off or had too much salt

not to mention what had congealed

 

all that was served, right down to dessert

simple enough – a serving of cake

was intended to sicken, to poison and hurt

give at least a night’s run – bellyache

 

for a great new review – they just did not care

there was swearing and there was shouting

I tore up the check, gave them negative stars

declared the evening shot, and the outing

 

sometimes I hear rumours, new customers go there

even after my review was published

starry-eyed or cowed into trying the fare

not following the crowd will go punished

 

names have been changed to protect the innocent

who unfortunately, was I

and Gary still works there but we are not friends

to this day he continues to lie.

 

 

Saffron – April 2020

 

* MIL = mother-in-law

 


Prompt:

Write a poem in the form of a review. But not a review of a book or a movie of a restaurant. Instead, I challenge you to write a poetic review of something that isn’t normally reviewed. For example, your mother-in-law, the moon, or the year 2020 (I think many of us have some thoughts on that one!)

Day26: Another Princess Dream

Another Princess Dream

 

by the empty beer bottle and the stream rushing under

the road – another cyclist goes by

the renovated barn house. Last month I wanted

to paint goldfish – I completely dismissed

the possibility of playing the trumpet again

mostly cloudy – in Lausanne a wall is sprayed

with some sort of tripes in a bottle, and plants,

and it begs questions that will be ignored

as in my balloon, I am gone for now, with Don

he would have loved the yellow fluffy dress

that shows off my strong brown legs. And the fields

stretch below the little Rochefort Castle, to the lake

here, a centaur and tree nymphs would not be

out of place, perfect climate, mostly cloudy

but the lizards still writhe under the wisteria

stirring up old leaves, and I stir old memories

and despite no sleep here goes my morning chants

so sensitive these days, like the princess

and the pea – the last nightmare

reeked of cheese and poverty

and DNA altering vaccines – somethings

that Muta would protest – in sleep I once

more roam the lanes of Grants Pen with Alfred

like his little brown skin handbag

and on the eve of the return to business

know that I did not become a performer

but let me take my cat

and let me take my time

 

 

Saffron – April 2020

PS. As an afterthought I’m adding the graffiti – I just don’t know what’s in that bottle!

img_5071
Courtesy of my–Lausanne.com. No copyright infringement is intended

 

 


Prompt:

You will need to fill out, in five minutes or less, the following “Almanac Questionnaire.” Then, use your responses as to basis for a poem.

Happy writing!

Almanac Questionnaire

Weather: mostly cloudy
Flora: 
wisteria
Architecture: 
renovated barn house
Customs: 
morning chants
Mammals/reptiles/fish: 
cat/lizard/goldfish
Childhood dream: 
be a performer
Found on the Street: 
cyclist
Export: 
cheese
Graffiti: 
tripes (?) in a bottle & plants
Lover: 
Don
Conspiracy: 
DNA altering vaccines
Dress: 
yellow fluffy dress
Hometown memory: 
Grants Pen with Alfred
Notable person: 
Muta (Mutabaruka)
Outside your window, you find: 
fields
Today’s news headline: 
on the eve of the return to business
Scrap from a letter:
I completely dismissed the possibility of playing the trumpet again
Animal from a myth: 
centaur
Story read to children at night: 
The Princess and the Pea
You walk three minutes down an alley and you find: 
empty beer bottle
You walk to the border and hear: 
the stream rushing
What you fear: 
poverty
Picture on your city’s postcard
: Rochefort small castle (châtelet)

          

Day25: From the Balcony on Schuyler

img_5063-1
Wisteria 2020 – taking over the (little) world with its fingery stems.

From the Balcony on Schuyler

 

the balcony is like a big window, from here

one cannot see above or too much to each side to

see birds that fly high silently sweep their crawling

black shadow on the bush. So we can guess below just

how large they may be or are – could they be holding up

thumbs and fingers backlit with the sun, with the ground

as the white sheet? And of course you are the audience

perhaps they could be interested in a snack of the ants

in a line that found the chives survived from winter

who now face smaller jaws of death – so Spring

is not a guarantee of eternal summer life. It is more

than a greening in front, as the wisteria twists and knits

the yarn of its stem every year further, boasting its lilac

victory in spills and gushes. Nature reals more estate.

“I’ll be your gypsy” – how did people get along with two

out of seven days of their short lives to be? The empty

lot has what remains of a chicken or rabbit coop

and the same wisteria is determined to shroud and erase

the evidence of human enterprise until the full greening

of summer, the winter barren browns are losing

their empire to buds and blossoms in a boom

economy – everyone is trying to save their breath

in a stretch of imagination and yoga, and painting

and singing, and they cook too

much eating too

much ado about nothing – to do everything we want

these days the neighbours and their two small dogs

walk on the vineyard road – so many pebbles

and rubble, white and beige. And the sun

reflects wide on the sparse leafless

yards – low open panels – “and it all comes

down to you” in spills and gushes or strikes

more than once so maybe twice – so many

insects buzz around in brand new wings

new lives and darts – in and out of the sun

yet another bird speakers in its happy contention

to all of the above.

 

 

Saffron – April 2020

 


Prompt:

The prompt, which you can find in its entirety here, was  developed by the poet and teacher Hoa Nguyen, asks you to use a long poem by James Schuyler as a guidepost for your poem. This is a prompt that allows you to sink deeply into another poet’s work, as well as your own. See below:

Next, for writing: please see the following suggestions and have them ready for a free write, selecting and using those that further your present tense engagement. Write for at least twenty minutes. You can return to this prompt and write through it numerous more times, to infinity.

  • Bring your perspective and verbs back to the present tense, even when addressing memory
  • Seek the “unforced flow of words”
  • Introduce all of the things that you might ordinarily deem incidental or too small for consideration
  • Include quoted speech (overheard, announced, in dialogue, as song lyrics)
  • Build your lines with associative accumulation (parataxis), move with your attentions
  • Introduce a swerve or observation that serves as interjection, non-sequitur
  • Include at least four colours
  • Animate the landscape or nearby object, imbue it with expressiveness of action or address
  • Include perceptions of the weather without, perceptions of weather within
  • Use a noun as verb that is typically not used that way (anthimeria): “white freaked with red”
  • Introduce the occasional 3- and 4-word sentence.
  • “Let’s make a list”: include a list of things you love
  • Did you remember to ask questions?
  • Include a hemistich line: a line made-up of two halves, of equivalent beats, hinged on a silent beat (caesura): “The world is all cut-outs then—and slip or step steadily down”

Keep writing: if you get stuck, begin again by penning a sentence that begins with the word “And…”

Keep writing: if you get stuck, repeat a word or phrase you wrote earlier and build

Keep writing: if you get stuck, perform an instant acrostic—look up and find a short word and use the letters from seeds to generate language

Day24: Ways of Looking at a Mango

img_5047
Courtesy of the Mango Board – mango.org. No copyright infringement is intended

Ways of Looking at a Mango

 

the mango tree in the backyard

was easy to climb – I became

the captain of endless ocean gardens

 

still tart or “turned,” the thought

of the green mango puckers –

it will be eaten with pepper and salt

 

the ripe blackie mango should be bitten

at the end, splitting the gaping skin

an omnivore gets sticky with yellow blood

 

our poodles were fond of mango season

leaving white seed bones in the grass,

for months their furry flews stained golden

 

in Hope Pastures, a wandering herd

of cows makes a quotidian visit to feast

on the manna of today’s fallen mango

 

“turn the pot cover down” – cooking is superflous

every visitor gifts their surplus mangoes

in round green – yellowish, reddish – all delicious

 

when the cows don’t pass, we clear the driveway

the pungent sugary rot of fermenting mangoes

flies, worms and all – go to compost

 

no need to buy a crocus bag full, Auntie Polly sends

up from Sav her famous mango curried crab

mango season is crab season

 

there are favourites like East Indian, Black Mango

Number Eleven, Robin or Julie. I roll the Stringy

underfoot, then squeeze out the juice hungrily

 

at the new Indian restaurant flourished, a rich orange

mango lassi with a dash of perfumed cardamom

to my right hand. Before my birthday treat

 

uptown style – Bombay mango cut in half

twisted easily into two small bowls to cup

ice-cream, and scoop up by spoon

 

uptown again – in the sliced off cheeks

of the Julie mango, cut a tic tac toe

and then invert like a porcupine back

 

hunting down items for a mango chutney

hunting down names for the vintage – is its rose

peach and melon, or papaya and bergamot?

 

 

Saffron – April 202O

PS. With a small nod to Wallace Steven’s blackbirds.

 


Prompt:

Write about a particular fruit – your choice. But I’d like you to describe this fruit as closely as possible. Perhaps your poem could attempt to tell the reader some (or all!) of the following about your chosen fruit: What does it look like, how does it feel, how does it smell, what does it taste like, where did you find it, do you need to thump it to know if it’s ripe, how do you get into it (peeling, a knife, your teeth), do you need to spit out the seeds, should you bake it, can you make jam with it, do you have to fight the birds for it, when is it available, do you need a ladder to pick it, what is your favorite memory of eating it, if you threw it at someone’s head would it splatter them or knock them out, is it expensive . . . As you may have realized from this list, there’s honestly an awful lot you can write about a fruit!

 

Day23: Curvaceous

Curvaceous C

 

see a circle not closed

 

see a bay for your boat

and a hook to catch fish

under the silver edge

of a quarter moon, make wishes

and bring out your bowl

curved to catch them all

 

yet it is the sly mouth

on a reaping scythe

but like you – the children keep

their jumping over its sag

in the rope

 

it is the arch of your arm

and its comfort calling

and if you are to come to me

you will need to bring

that “C” in your eyes

 

 

Saffron – April 2020

 


Prompt:

Write a poem about a particular letter of the alphabet, or perhaps, the letters that form a short word. Doesn’t “S” look sneaky and snakelike? And “W” clearly doesn’t know where it’s going! Think about the shape of the letter(s), and use that as the take-off point for your poem.

Day22: To Fight A Tiger

To Fight a Tiger

Thai proverb: You must be calm to fight a tiger

 

I’m fakin’ it, fakin’ it…

four suitcases between us both

and an open road

and I’m doing the duck, that is

just gliding on the surface while paddling

furiously below the water

below your vision

yes, with all my might

my webby feet fan out

and push down left, then right

trying to be, and you see me bob

quite successfully – while from that shore

to this

my feathery will fluttered more

than once

and I held fear by the neck and pushed

its face underwater

and was it Caspian, Bengali or Siberian?

no matter – my pummelling claws slapped

its furry cheeks and I realise

that I’m made for water

yes, with all my breath slowed

growing to be so calm and fake it

till I’m makin’ it, makin’ it

with our four suitcases of hope

ducking between those claws

earning my stripes and my respite

yes, with all my will

be calm and ready for the next tiger

 

 

Saffron – April 2020

 


Prompt:

Engage with different languages and cultures through the lens of proverbs and idiomatic phrases. Many different cultures have proverbs or phrases that have largely the same meaning, but are expressed in different ways. For example, in English we say “his bark is worse than his bite,” but the same idea in Spanish would be stated as “the lion isn’t as fierce as his painting.” Today, I’d like to challenge you to find an idiomatic phrase from a different language or culture, and use it as the jumping-off point for your poem. Here’s are a few lists to help get you started: Onetwothree.

 

Day21: Serving of Noodles

Serving of Noodles

 

Cold noodles, cold noodles take my attitude

hopes that taste so good, like sex. Cake, salad? I like tea.

my cooling tea, so altruist, irks my wrong reputation as you

laugh in peals, seeing my mood. Cake, noodles

 

my mate tunes in? I am a visitor in mitts. Teen

acne lately, land soul jabs to sissies. Sea on

mute, June classes in apple cinnamon

grapefruit, I seem not extravagant

 

yah, lay next to lapis lazuli for sex, burn one’s self, I am golden sex

can you see only mute? Us waiting to pee, glistening

to a toe pool, need only taste tight, nay, good

time is in mine. My taste has selling online all over

 

take my attitude. Cold cold noodles, noodles cold

my tune, hope tastes so good, like sex. To ask, jab fucker.

or tea or to it, I smolder. Can my mate

tune in? I like tea. My visitors in mitts they inherited.

  

Saffron – April 2020

Based on Estonian poem by Hasso Krull: https://www.poetryinternational.org/pi/poem/17330/auto/0/0/Hasso-Krull/Right-now-right-now-I-would-like-to-change/en/tile


Prompt:

Find a poem in a language that you don’t know, and perform a “homophonic translation” on it. What does that mean? Well, it means to try to translate the poem simply based on how it sounds. You may not wind up with a credible poem at the end, but this can be a fun way to step outside of your own mind for a bit, and develop a poem that speaks in a distinctive voice.

img_4965
Right now, right now I would like to change – Hasso Krull (Estonia)