“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?”
I can’t touch it to scratch it, but today’s different, isn’t it?
It’s like, I know the sun rose higher like it’s supposed to,
but today felt slightly brighter than even that, didn’t it?
You felt it too, didn’t you?
Or am I so accustomed to running from abject darkness straight towards light-imprisoning void
that when I encounter a single day without tragedy,
the daily struggle feels more like a comedy?
Don’t that make your mind nervous?
On rare days like this, do you find yourself checking on loved ones; counting, recounting family and dear friends in hopes that no one is missing, or are you normal?
I dunno, man; instead of notice of another one of my heroes passing on, I am getting teasers of new music from a favorite artist, and don’t that seem strange to you?
Instead of another black guy sketched in chalk and demonized, a powerful, privileged white man is on the cusp of being held accountable for treasonous, inhumane acts, and if you are like me, aren’t you just waiting on the other shoe to drop?
Is my heart skipping beats a sign of hope displacing despair for the first time in forever, or should I see a doctor?
“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).”
“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.”
I didn’t pick a single entry, as reading through most of them put me in a melancholic zone, and I was already pretty bummed-out from my day job to begin with. Let’s just say that the Obscure Sorrows’ body of work inspired me to write this.
a spring storm sputters from the blue, dancing on bathroom tiles, and I know as foggy dream yields to hazy reality you have already answered daybreak for your Sunday morning shower.
you sigh and coo in blissful oblivion and doves take flight up my spine.
your hairdryer yawns into action as you hum a backing tune while I sing the lead in my head, lying in our bed, one knee crocked, staring out the window to horizon as cotton candy slowly trades back and forth with blue.
I act as if asleep as you reenter our bedroom, shadow falling upon me like the world’s warmest blanket, failing in your efforts to move silently.
“Stop faking,” you admonish gently, and despite myself, I lose a snicker.
on occasion of an ordinary spring Sunday, well before noon, sneaking a peak, there you were, uncovered, and upon widening my eyes to drink you in, every depth, contour, and Venus dimple of treasures previously beyond conception came into focus from eastern daybreak.
“What?” you ask through wry grin, as if you could not possibly know.
“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?).”
My creative spirit is a large cat-like creature native to Africa and central Iran.
In her natural spirit form, her soul is the fastest land, air, and multi- dimensional animal, and as such, she has several adaptations for speed, including a light build, long thin legs, a long tail, and occasionally,
when at resonance with her partner and confidant, she sprouts the most beautiful wings the color of every sunset ever seen by man.
Her head is small, rounded, with an occasional mane of soul energy which resembles evaporating obsidian.
She has a short snout and black tear-like facial streaks, which change colors in relation to her emotional state and level of artistic fulfilment.
Her coat is typically tawny peach to creamy pink or pale magenta and is mostly covered with multivariately- spaced, multicolored spots, which also change pigment and texture, often containing galaxies of their own,
each birthing and dying on the whim of an examined or ignored idea.
Her name is Nihirizumu-no-Kage, though she has never spoken it, nor will she respond to it, but if I fail to invoke her whole name every time, she vanishes in a huff.
While an informal partner of mine, she is never subservient or tame.
If anything, she recognizes me as a subspecies of her and is often bemused by my efforts to hunt down new concepts alone.
While she leads a nomadic life searching for her own prey, occasionally our efforts achieve a resonance where I impress her enough to lend me her power.
As she hunts by sight and I by inner-light, she is diurnal to my nocturnal nature, therefore we tend to peak together during dawn and dusk.
My creative spirit is threatened by several factors such as time-space habitat loss, conflict with capitalistic concepts like conventional wisdom and day-jobs, poaching and other types of plagiarism, and high susceptibility to diseases and eroded confidence.
Nihirizumu-no-Kage is ailing, considered as Vulnerable on the Global Creative Sprit List, but I have faith in her.
“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.”
While I struggled a bit with the editing, this one was fun. I’ve written about this topic before here and here, but this is the first time I tried describing her in a zoological nature. Hope I didn’t piss her off with this! (Oh, and I used the Wikipedia entry for Cheetah as my base article.)
with all Midnight Plains a playground we crammed into each other’s airspace as if we’d implode from any separation licking our past from our lips compressing present between thighs hearing the future grunt from our core
soaked in milky-way sky and malbec unlocking French on flannel sheets Great Divide traversed before dawn and dew drops kissed our skin
we writhed, undeterred by chill of fog
we wore our own tropical high melting Olympic glaciers upon release
us furious lovers; us selfish givers
when I awoke, tangled in your absence wisdom made for poor company.
“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.”
“Our (optional) prompt for the day is to write a sijo. This is a traditional Korean poetic form. Like the haiku, it has three lines, but the lines are much longer. Typically, they are 14-16 syllables, and optimally each line will consist of two parts – like two sentences, or a sentence of two clauses divided by a comma. In terms of overall structure, a sijo functions like an abbreviated sonnet, in that the first line sets up an inquiry or discussion, the second line continues the discussion, and the third line resolves it with a “twist” or surprise. For more on the sijo, check out the primer here and a long list of examples in English, here.”