Tag Archive for 'poetry'

detritus

Have you ever heard someone wonder what future archaeologists, whether human or from alien civilization, will make of us? Today, I’d like to challenge you to answer that question in poetic form, exploring a particular object or place from the point of view of some far-off, future scientist? The object or site of study could be anything from a “World’s Best Grandpa” coffee mug to a Pizza Hut, from a Pokemon poster to a cellphone.

today we uncovered a journal bound with twine
we think it belonged to a child of human origin
based on the shape of the scribbled images
and the curious spelling of words that seem to be in the primocommon language

you can view the reports at your leisure
but the object is too fragile to touch

what we noticed may be a clue
from this absent people
the child was frightened
in the place she went to learn
picture after picture shows her
running from tall figures
in blue uniforms
with weapons

it has been hard to find anything on this abundant planet, anything besides bones to account for sentient life
and if this is the where they ended up
perhaps that is for the best –
no species worth its miracles
terrorizes its young

making tomorrow

write a poem that explores a small, defined space – it could be your childhood bedroom, or the box where you keep old photos. It could be the inside of a coin purse or the recesses of an umbrella stand. Any space will do – so long as it is small, definite, and meaningful to you.

the small place
between yesterday and tomorrow
where people who can see futures
whisper to each other
the words to the songs they must sing
to lead the way

the narrow corridor
creaks with every step
people think they can run the path like bulls
but the only way forward is at the pace
of our collective heartbeat
altogether, imperfect, together

the past is turning to dust behind us
we must remember
the future is waiting beyond our anxiety
we must dream
the present is so small
we must fill it with our transformation

(dedicated to michelle, kali, ananda, sha and guppi)

scribble

write a poem of ekphrasis — that is, a poem inspired by a work of art. But I’d also like to challenge you to base your poem on a very particular kind of art – the marginalia of medieval manuscripts.

i looked for us
in your margins
we were not there
we could not fit
i scribbled all over the page
we’re here
we’re here
we’re here

black. liberation.

Our prompt for Day Twenty-Three comes to us from Gloria Gonsalves, who challenges us to write a double elevenie. What’s that? Well, an elevenie is an eleven-word poem of five lines, with each line performing a specific task in the poem. The first line is one word, a noun. The second line is two words that explain what the noun in the first line does, the third line explains where the noun is in three words, the fourth line provides further explanation in four words, and the fifth line concludes with one word that sums up the feeling or result of the first line’s noun being what it is and where it is.

black
covers us
every single inch
both within and beyond.
belonging.

liberation
awaits us
down deep inside
where tomorrow bursts forth.
trust.

blackeration

Today, I challenge you to write a poem that incorporates neologisms. What’s that? Well, it’s a made-up word!

blackeration:

to put black all over it

to imbue with black love
or dark magic

to uplift with hands to the heavens
sing the praises of
line dance in the direction of

in the face of pressure, to deny or hide,
to double down on blackness

to never apologize for being born

to slip south and east on a journey

to fill up with the vastness of the known universe

to move beyond construct and into
the familial realm
a territory marked by drum
and shared destiny

to move beyond bondage
deep within

to break the iron around the heart
and love children that may be taken
by violence that is later justified with half truths

and love neighbors who do not love themselves
because they were taught not to

and love strangers because you see in each other
survival rooted in patience and miracle

and love even the gnarled trail behind you
the whip and promise and theft and desire
that gave us blackness

nocturne for survivors

Today, I challenge you to write a nocturne.

it is the same
rivers moving through me at the speed of light
carrying the weight of oxygen
telling me live
even now i must be told
the pale whisper is old
but still present

what nearly took me waits for me
that great unending sadness
the well inside me that holds no water
echoes down and down
with memories of every time i said no
and was overcome
every time i claimed the miracle
and was discarded, mundane
every moment i gather a snapped noose,
tuck a hushed slight in my back pocket
accumulating my pain
our suffering
having to prove
all the time
the burden

and when night falls
sometimes we’re alone with the echoes
waiting for chariots
waiting, quiet,
with suitcases bulging all around us
all the detritus of now
all that we can’t leave behind
because no one believes us yet

bottom of the circle

Because we’re halfway through NaPoWriMo/GloPoWriMo today, I’d like to challenge you to write a poem that reflects on the nature of being in the middle of something.

the cycle moves top to bottom to top
east to west, back east again
now it feels we are lost in white space
invisible to modernity
it is impossible to imagine
a structure that could hold us all
that could be tender shelter for black life

maybe in the long gone
we rode the top of the cycle without awareness in small villages where the care was mutual, miracle
but we were at the bottom of the cycle
for generations

and then cycle turned also sideways
moving from left to right as we prayed
let there be
room to survive this
let there be
more life in this direction
even if I don’t know the way

nbecky dolezal

Because it’s Friday, let’s keep it light and silly today, with a clerihew. This is a four line poem biographical poem that satirizes a famous person.

an invitation to poetic shade?
mkay.

:

nbecky nbasic dolezal
makes of herself a new-rich fool
each day of her subtweeted life
longing for a sweet beyond buds, she falls

bonus:

45, who lost his name
and his dignity on the path to fame
was a fool with bloody hands
flowerless, more beast than man

there is no comfort

Today’s prompt is an oldie-but-a-goody: the ghazal. The form was originally developed in Arabic and Persian poetry, but has become increasingly used in English, after being popularized by poets including Agha Shahid Ali. A ghazal is formed of couplets, each of which is its own complete statement. Both lines of the first couplet end with the same phrase or end-word, and that end-word is also repeated at the end of each couplet.

There is no comfort inside a broken heart
no place to safely step in a shattered heart

There is no comfort where there is no power
stripped down to the bright red wounded heart

There were children walking that street, that field
now there’s only the bitter dust of mother’s heart

Every single day, all over this singular earth
we weaponize our minds against the heart

All the uniforms say ‘I will kill if I am told to’
Fingers taut, targeting anyone with freedom of the heart

Tell me, will you ever lose your acquired taste
for the raw flesh of a young and supple heart

And how long will we scream and beat our chests in anguish
Before we divest from all structures not rooted in the heart?

i found her face locked in a frame

I skipped the 7th prompt due to time travel. here it is.

In keeping with the fact that it’s the seventh day of NaPoWriMo/GloPoWriMo, Elizabeth and I challenge you to write a poem about luck and fortuitousness.

i found her face locked in a frame
upright on oak in one room that creaks
windows showed that cotton of the carolinas

she wore a white dress buttoned to her chin
and she looked to be my kin
proper, rigid, unafraid
of the life she’d made

she was a past and a future me
not sure if she was owned or free
not sure how she was lucky

i wanted to scoop all of her up
the photo and all the memories
her lovers and all her mysteries
to know how she survived it

moroccan rugs and journals full
of ego, heartache, rail and bull
i wonder where she journeyed

i want to lay her in the box
of all the other things i’ve lost
echoes of an intimate past
the detritus that lasts