A minor family emergency (everyone is okay) and an impending college graduation have diverted my time and attention for more than a week, but today I was able to write. As the talented and wise Luanne Castle gently reminded me, my 30 days of poetry don’t necessarily have to be consecutive. (Thanks, Luanne!)
I will work with the remaining 30/30 Facebook Poetry prompts in coming days, but here is some found poetry from Jenessa Abrams’ review of Reema Zaman’s memoir I Am Yours for the Chicago Review of Books.
Site of Ruin
It’s difficult not to wonder
what seeing your arrival as a collapse
can do to the soul. Steadfast belief
in love pulses, bleeding
into every encounter,
every failure, that blurry line
between being bound to another
and being physically
restrained by them. Rape
is not a turning point, a plot device:
unsettlingly, life continues
unaltered. She is a woman,
a person of color, an immigrant.
There is no legal justice.
Finding her voice, discovering
the weapon that has always been
becomes a promise, a declaration
of inward affection and hard-fought
acceptance. Re-authoring her story
shatters her chains, frees her.
viridiflora tulip ‘Spring Green’
The 30/30 Poetry Facebook prompt was “street signs.”
Signs of spring
All along the street, signs pop up
brilliant as flowers, unexpected
as mushrooms: new-leaf green
Roofing by Sta-Dri, Vote for So-and-so
in variegated red-white-blue, apple red
We Support Teachers, Pesticide
Application Keep Off in crime-scene yellow.
another sign of spring: lilacs from the neighborhood
The 30/30 Poetry Facebook prompt was “empty storefronts.”
Once this was the place you wanted
to be, where gloved ladies met for lunch
and shopping, shoes and pocketbooks
tastefully matched to clean-cut
dresses. Shopkeepers waited
on all customers as a matter of course,
keen eyes tracking and shaping
national trends and their local
manifestations. Generations of youth
were fitted for first suits and first bras
and shoes for first communions
and bar mitzvahs, then proms and balls,
weddings and job interviews. Now
a soup kitchen and a pool hall anchor
three blocks of windows lined with faded
butcher paper and “For Lease” signs
while leaves and old newspaper gather
in the recessed doorways.
yellow magnolia from my yard
This poem has nothing to do with the 30/30 Poetry Facebook prompt (junk mail). It just came to me while I was doing dishes, and I have a lot of other work to do today so I’m going to run with it.
Things that keep me up at night
driven by an irrational fear
that it might suddenly disappear
from my watch list, last night
I binge-watched the third season
of Victoria on PBS Masterpiece
Tuesday’s 30/30 Poetry Facebook prompt was to write a poem that dances around a secret.
Shall we waltz? Shall we tango?
Do you prefer the minuet?
Choose merengue or fandango —
how familiar shall we get?
Samba, mambo, rhumba —
do you like a little heat?
Schottishe, cakewalk, polka —
just how nimble are your feet?
We could Charleston, we could foxtrot,
bossa nova until dawn.
Is it me, or does it seem hot?
— Need I go on?
Tuesday’s 30/30 Poetry Facebook prompt: a good day
How to Have a Good Day
dog sprawled on the floor,
in the sunshine; cat curled
on the chair, claws
extending and retracting
in time with her
engine; morning strong
black tea with milk
rolling over my tongue
to crumbly shortbread
with chocolate tahini
Almost caught up with posting…Saturday’s 30/30 Poetry Facebook prompt was “I admit”
At the Fiction Writers’ Meeting
Hello, my name is Bruce, and I write fiction.
(All: Hi, Bruce.)
I write really specific fiction, about mycologists.
(nods of encouragement)
Mycologists who go into outer space
to look for fungi on other planets.
And study it. And write papers. And present
those papers at intergalactic conferences.
And who belong to a secret society dedicated
to establishing an interstellar mycorrhizosphere
and thereby conquering the universe.
Um, that’s all.
(All: Thanks, Bruce.)
The 30/30 Poetry Facebook prompt for Friday was “roadside attraction,” and I was reminded of several posts from Luanne Castle’s Writer’s Site. Much of the language in this poem is borrowed from her.
In Search of Superbloom
Because it rained so much this winter, the wildflowers have gone
crazy. The roadside is abloom with a brilliant palette
of wildflowers, but we’re buzzing by on the freeway so I can’t take any
good pictures. The golden California poppies (the state flower)
and yellow flowers (don’t know their name as I couldn’t get
close) are stunning, and there are purples and whites mixed in
some places. These photos are crap due to being taken through
a car window, but they are all I have and at least I get to see
it with my eyes. We passed a line of cars at Lake Elsinore, stopped
to snap shots and just enjoy the beauty.
pear blossoms from Kentucky
I way overthought Thursday’s 30/30 Poetry Facebook group prompt: 10 things
Lists that Failed to Yield a Poem
board games found at a thrift store
plants blooming in the yard
products no longer available in stores
varieties of tea in the pantry
items from the bottom of a purse
Trivial Pursuit answers (and questions)
expired medications in the bathroom cabinet
unread books on the shelves
what I like about you
Ten is a larger number than it appears, and it is not
so easy to make a poem about ten things
as one would think.
It has been a very busy week. I’ve made certain I had time to write, but posting did not always make the schedule.
30/30 Poetry Facebook prompt for Wednesday: a poem that asks and answers a question.
Today was clear and welcome warm
for early spring but tonight
temperatures will drop. My heart clenches
over the star magnolia, white fingers splayed
wide to the treacherous sun. Tomorrow
they will dangle limp and brown. Why
do magnolias always bloom too early?
My grandmother’s voice is soft
in memory: It’s not their fault
we invited them to live here.