I’ve never eaten a blueberry. I confess I didn’t follow my grandma’s golden rule; don’t knock it till you’ve tried it. They look vile and undignified; like grapes that didn’t quite grape correctly. But my grandbaby is housing those things like they’re nature’s candy, leaving blue and violet streaks everywhere; a little Rembrandt. Every so often, she offers me one with compelling questions of “Uhn? Uhn?” hanging beneath our sun-streaked skylit afternoon. I politely sing, “No thank you!” which always gets a giggle from her before she crams nature’s mess artlessly into her tiny face. She’s more blueberry than toddler now. Maybe I should try one next time she offers.
sea of blue and green bird chatter and child’s laughter we breathe together ***
And now for our prompt (optional, as always). This is one that we’ve used before, but one test of a good prompt is that you can come back to it! For this 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.
I tinkered with this prompt for about thirty minutes after answering the questionnaire (My answers listed below) before completely abandoning the prompt. The prompt itself is fine, but I began to experience Deja-vu, as if I were just retreading old thoughts, writing the same themes, and feeling rather stagnant and unoriginal.
At that point, I stopped, and gave myself permission to start again, independent of the prompt. The result still feels like themes I’ve covered before, but it also gave me an unbound sense of expression, so I went with it.
Maybe I’ll return another day to tinker with my answers to the Almanac Questionnaire.
Weather: overcast, calm Flora: evergreen, fir, new green, apple blossoms Architecture: twenty-first century modern residence Customs: America first, hoard the most nuts Mammals/reptiles/fish: deer, bunnies, coyotes Childhood dream: play halfback for the Bears Found on the Street: nothing substantial Export: thoughts, prayers, comedy Graffiti: none Lover: strong, confident, vulnerable Conspiracy: only a genius could fake such stupidity Dress: aggressively casual Hometown memory: Bulls winning the 91 NBA Championship Notable person: Kendrick Lamar Outside your window, you find: air and water Today’s news headline: tedious and depressing, as usual Scrap from a letter: “You will not have this day…” (Seriously, Who has written a letter recently? I went with Chancellor Gowron’s last words after Worf, son of Mogh killed him in one-on-one armed combat during the penultimate episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Yes, I’m a nerd.) Animal from a myth: Pegasus Story read to children at night: Go the Fuck to Sleep You walk three minutes down an alley and you find: the scene of my mugging You walk to the border and hear: slander, hearsay, and tribalism What you fear: spiders, exotic insects, tribalism Picture on your city’s postcard: A curtain being drawn beyond the Magnificent Mile, revealing the quiet suffering of its forgotten citizens.
Like petals falling from our view Your loss now added to our snow Compassion bright as any blue Like petals falling from our view Our spring, a timeless deja-vu We wait our turns to fall below Like petals falling from our view Your loss now added to our snow ***
Years ago, I was addicted to writing triolets, so this was a welcome blast from the past.
It was also a good way to honor the passing of a shipmate I served with on the USS Ingraham from 95 until 98. Ronnell “Brooklyn” Warren passed away on March 30. Dude had a photographic memory and knew my full name, date-of-birth, birthplace, and social security number even twenty years later, which should’ve been somewhat alarming, but he was just so damned kind-hearted, and it reflected well upon his character that it never even occurred to him to use his superpowers for nefarious means.
Quite frankly, Ronnie was the kindest, sweetest man I have even known. He was also a poet with an optimistic voice.
He always had a kind word for everyone. He was one of the few people in my life whose positive attitude made me want to step-up and just be better to get on his level. Hell, I think he loved the 90’s Chicago Bulls more than I did! I heard that he went quickly and unexpectedly, from a heart attack, but I don’t know the details.
It made me think about how we will all soon be parting from one another.
I’ve never dealt with this type of loss well; I tend to stuff it down where the feelings can’t hurt me anymore. And though we hadn’t spoken or kept in touch since our ship’s decommissioning ceremony, this is a most unkind cut that will take some time to stuff down.
Ron, your passing over was most unwelcome news. I’ll drink one for you. We have the watch, shipmate.
Today’s prompt (optional, as always) is another one from the archives, first suggested to us by long-time Na/GloPoWriMo participant Vince Gotera. It’s the hay(na)ku). Created by the poet Eileen Tabios and named by Vince, the hay(na)ku is a variant on the haiku. A hay(na)ku consists of a three-line stanza, where the first line has one word, the second line has two words, and the third line has three words. You can write just one, or chain several together into a longer poem. For example, you could write a hay(na)ku sonnet, like the one that Vince himself wrote back during NaPoWriMo 2012!
This one was fun to tinker with.I could use a good breather micropoem prompt emphasizing brevity, but still, for some reason, I tend to overthink things. We could all use a breather from overthinking and licking our wounds that come from the isolation, fear, and unfathomable loss stemming from this COVID-19 pandemic. I’ve tried creating mostly escapist poetry, as many of my talented colleagues have already delved deep into the realism of our current state.
I know we’re all suffering in some way, and I also know that spring always returns. Hang in there, everyone.
OK… this is my final final poem of the year. I forgot I wrote it. It is in the Diamante style. I encountered this form a few years ago, tried it once, but then promptly forgot it. I became reacquainted with it when I read a fellow writer over at Tao Talk, so I tried it again.
Happy New Year, everyone. Here’s hoping for more empathy and understanding in 2020.