Category Archives: poems

National Poetry Month: Day #30 – “The Big Read”

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The Cuyahoga County Public Library system sent out email prompts this April in honor of National Poetry month! The idea was to inspire new poems each day based on that day’s prompt.

Today’s prompt involves sharing a short poem about a place I have visited by writing one down on postcard or small piece of paper. Since it’s also the last day, I decided to compose a short poem in honor of the local library and museum taking part in The Big Read.

My poem is a Sicilian tercet based on today’s prompt:

 

The Big Read brought you together, books and

art combined, a partnership uniting

museum and library – hand in hand.

 

Once more, I’d like to thank the Cuyahoga County Public Library for providing daily writing prompts, as well as the Massillon Public Library and Massillon Museum of Art for being incredible resources of both inspiration and creativity.

 

*image courtesy of BigFoto.com

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NATIONAL POETRY MONTH: Day #29 – “Ubi Sunt Redux”

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The Cuyahoga County Public Library system is sending out daily email prompts in honor of National Poetry month! The idea is to write a new poem each day based on that day’s prompt.

 

Library prompts and poems can be found here. Below is my poem based on today’s prompt.

 

#

“Ubi Sunt Redux”

 

Bigger is better

was the phrase we lived by.

Big feathered hair

fixed with a giant bottle of Aqua Net,

spiked high in the air

-a towering citadel of keratin,

Big shoulder pads

-a hazard to unsuspecting passersby,

Big massive television

with a huge dial and no remote

that I’d use to watch Big budget shows

like Knots Landing and Dallas,

Big typewriter to type my Masterpiece on

(though I never did),

and a Big computer for the Big thinker

(not me)

that took an enormous amount of time

to connect and download ANYTHING.

Best of all

the Biggest cord I could get for my land line,

the only way to reach into farther rooms

without having to hang up

-stretching and twisting the curled plastic line

around my fingers,

the next best thing to a cordless phone.

 

Also,

My father used to mow the lawn

with a moderately-sized mower.

 

BUT

Now smaller

more efficient

is the goal for most things.

My hair no longer

poses a threat to the ozone layer

-shorter and sleeker is the style.

Shoulder pads are out

-which means there’s less padding in the event of an accident

but its safer for innocent bystanders,

The television,

typewriter,

and telephone

have all given way to a single, compact device;

The clicking keys of a typewriter have been replaced
with the silent sweep of a finger across a digitized keyboard
on the same unit I use to make my calls,
watch my shows,
download a photo and take it to the discount haircut place
to torment the stylist with my impossible expectations.

-I’ll be the envy of Captain Kirk

once Star Trek becomes a reality

(oh come ON, you know it’s true).

My cell does everything except call the starship Enterprise.

 

Bigger is better

has given way to smaller and greater

-all except for the lawnmower.

The moderately-sized machine used to build muscle

as it was forced up and down the yard

has been replaced

with a hulking, cherry red Riding-mower,

a thing of beauty.

In its black vinyl seat,

someone can sit and mow down everything in their path,

mulching grass and sticks and weeds

as the engine roars.

 

Bigger is better

or smaller is greater,

And perhaps the more things change,

the more they stay the same…

Who knows?

But nostalgia is overrated,

and riding lawnmowers rock.

 

*image courtesy of BigFoto.com

* Today’s prompt involves rewriting a poem written from one of this month’s previous prompts. Since I wasn’t crazy about the list style prompted on day 18, I rewrote “Ubi Sunt” according to my own inclinations.

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NATIONAL POETRY MONTH: Day #28 – “Poetry Night”

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The Cuyahoga County Public Library system is sending out daily email prompts in honor of National Poetry month! The idea is to write a new poem each day based on that day’s prompt.

 

Library prompts and poems can be found here. Below is my poem based on today’s prompt.

 

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“Poetry Night”

 

Assembled for their yearly vigil

in the library’s hallowed reading room,

bibliophiles, poets, and players alike

pay homage to the written word.

Prose or poetry?

Sometimes the line is blurred.

 

 

 

*image courtesy of BigFoto.com

 

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NATIONAL POETRY MONTH: Day #27 – “In 1976”

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The Cuyahoga County Public Library system is sending out daily email prompts in honor of National Poetry month! The idea is to write a new poem each day based on that day’s prompt.

 

Library prompts and poems can be found here. Below is my poem based on today’s prompt.

 

#

“In 1976”

 

We took the bus,

Grandma and I,

to go on our day-long adventure.

The Florida sun beat down

as we waited for

the air-conditioned Paradise

known as the Broward County local.

Shaking back and forth,

the entire bus carriage moved

to the rhythm of those giant engines.

Pulling the cord as we neared our destination,

the bus slowed with a stupendous groan,

the metal beast stopped

to disgorge its passengers

at the Taft street shopping center,

the closest strip mall

to the only home I could remember

in my short seven years of life.

 

Stumbling from the vehicle’s metal jaw,

my grandmother and I

crossed the parking lot

to the mass of stores baking in the afternoon sunlight.

We ate lunch at the Walgreens’ diner.

It reminded me of the Fifties restaurants on tv;

I spun on one of the raised metal barstools

with its red vinyl cushion,

they bordered the formica counter

like a line of brightly colored mushrooms.

I had a Steakum sandwich,

which seemed terribly fancy to me

with its big bun, thin meat, melted cheese, and sauteed onions,

My drink – a chocolate thickshake

served in a tall fancy glass.

For dessert, not food

but a treat

(a fancy one)-

a bright-yellow toy lion

that amazingly came with its own bottle of perfume.

I wondered about big cats and their odor problems on the velt

the entire bumpy ride home,

clutching my prize,

smiling the entire time.

My grandmother was tired by the time we got back,

a day spent walking,

alternately sweating in the sun

and freezing indoors,

but I was elated,

forever grateful,

and

on top of the world.

 

*image courtesy of BigFoto.com

 

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NATIONAL POETRY MONTH: Day #26 – “Elegy for a Bear”

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The Cuyahoga County Public Library system is sending out daily email prompts in honor of National Poetry month! The idea is to write a new poem each day based on that day’s prompt.

Library prompts and poems can be found here. Below is my poem based on today’s prompt.

 

#

“Elegy for a Bear”

 

How I would have loved

to give you to my infant son,

a giant teddy for him to snuggle against.

Soft and sweet,

I don’t even know when I lost you.

 

Big, brown, hairy beast

with black button eyes that gaze out of the darkness

guarding the room from the aliens

that might kidnap me

or the monsters under my bed

(if my feet stick out over its edge).

Your sheer size,

your enormity –

larger than my own prepubescent body,

made me feel safe.

 

At least safe once I realized your bulk

in the bedroom’s corner

was not an alien sent to probe me.

Now, I am allowed to miss you,

now that I’m no longer

terrified

by your dark shadow.

Plus, I still have my dolls

tucked away in my closet and…

under my bed.

 

Uh-oh.

 

*image courtesy of BigFoto.com

 

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NATIONAL POETRY MONTH: Day #25 – “Mom”

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The Cuyahoga County Public Library system is sending out daily email prompts in honor of National Poetry month! The idea is to write a new poem each day based on that day’s prompt.

Library prompts and poems can be found here. Below is my poem based on today’s prompt.

 

#

“Mom”

 

Years ago,

in the darkened atmosphere

of Sloppy Joes

-that famous hangout of Hemingway-

she danced the cha-cha with my father

to Eric Clapton’s “Cocaine.”

The boards vibrated beneath her feet

with each resounding beat

from the local band.

Most of the lyrics were mumbled,

indecipherable,

but when they sung the chorus?

THAT she understood.

 

As she spun,

her dress billowing around her

like the petals of some wild flower caught in a sudden breeze,

her face registered shock and disbelief-

her jaw dropped,

eyes widened,

mouth opened,

cheeks flushed…

 

But she kept dancing.

 

*image courtesy of BigFoto.com

 

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NATIONAL POETRY MONTH: Day #24 – “First Flight”

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The Cuyahoga County Public Library system is sending out daily email prompts in honor of National Poetry month! The idea is to write a new poem each day based on that day’s prompt.

Library prompts and poems can be found here. Below is my poem based on today’s prompt.

 

#

“First Flight”

 

Butterflies

in my stomach

as I walk the ramp,

board the plane,

the great iron bird whose weight defies gravity.

Taking my seat, I strap myself in,

pulling the cloth tighter and tighter

as though that thin strip

could keep me in the sky

if all else failed.

The pressure rises,

ears pop, blood races

as I struggle to not look out the window,

I vainly seek distraction

in the pages of a pulp fiction novel

as the world drops from beneath my feet.

 

Breathing rapidly,

I fix my gaze upon the pages,

my mind reaching out to the characters

who reach back to me.

I start

as a paper-thin hand

grasps my thumb.

A face pushes

against the book’s surface

as another hand lifts itself from the page,

pressing one inky finger against paper lips.

Taking the hint,

I glance at my fellow passengers

immersed in their own worlds,

oblivious to mine,

and I snap the book shut.

 

Fear of flying

is no longer my biggest problem.

 

*image courtesy of BigFoto.com

 

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NATIONAL POETRY MONTH: Day #23 – “Shakespeare” and “Moby Dick”

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The Cuyahoga County Public Library system is sending out daily email prompts in honor of National Poetry month! The idea is to write a new poem each day based on that day’s prompt.

Library prompts and poems can be found here. Below is my poem based on today’s prompt.

 

#

“Shakespeare”

Bard of Avon, by any other name

playwright, poet, writer sweet as a rose

Prose and poetry bring you lasting fame

 

“Moby Dick”

You are Ahab’s nemesis, his White Whale

Your enormity defies measurement

His obsession for vengeance beyond scale

 

*image courtesy of BigFoto.com

*Once more I am tweaking the prompt, this time to include largeness of character, fame, and impact – not simply physical dimensions.

*For a change of pace, I chose to write Sicilian Tercets instead of Haikus for the three-line poetry prompt. My first impulse was to write about one of my favorite books, Moby Dick, but then I realized today was also Shakespeare’s birthday. Happy Birthday to the Bard!

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NATIONAL POETRY MONTH: Day #22 – “New Year’s Eve”

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The Cuyahoga County Public Library system is sending out daily email prompts in honor of National Poetry month! The idea is to write a new poem each day based on that day’s prompt.

Library prompts and poems can be found here. Below is my poem based on today’s prompt.

 

#

“New Year’s Eve”

 

About as far from Earth Day

as you can get,

a time many choose to hydrate

with alcohol instead of h20

-if that is even possible-

and try to see the road ahead

more clearly

-apparently while driving drunk

(This is a metaphor of course I would never advocate drinking and driving, always use a designated driver, please don’t sue me).

Couples kiss when the ball drops

(speaking of metaphors)

at Midnight,

beneath a brilliant, hearty neon ad

for the sponsor of

Dick Clark’s Rockin’ New Year’s Eve.

 

Mimes, those urban pariahs, skulk along the sidelines

hoping to catch the cameras

even as they mock the celebrations

with their silence.

Arty? Perhaps,

but head over heels couples

-once stirred from their warm embraces-

apply the phrase literally

to the nearby mimes,

-the mockers of their mirth,

pretenders of their passion,

kissy-faced buffoons-

and throw them in the nearest waste receptacle

(a fitting resting place for those white-painted imitators)

where

the next day

in the bright light of dawn

they are extracted by local garbagemen

-and women

and removed with the rest of the refuse.

 

A lone reveler,

awakened, bleary-eyed,

by the sun’s brilliant beams,

yawns and quips,

“He had a little too much to drink, Ossifer!”

Then, seeming to shrug off the previous night’s intoxication,

looks at the yard

-the ripped streamers,

broken discarded bottles,

and dropped foodstuffs now feeding the local pigeons-

and bends to pick up his first bit of trash.

 

 

*image courtesy of BigFoto.com

*Today’s prompt was used as inspiration and was in no way an excuse to write a silly poem powered by both sleep deprivation and a deranged mind. How dare you.

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NATIONAL POETRY MONTH: Day #21 – “Hemingway’s”

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The Cuyahoga County Public Library system is sending out daily email prompts in honor of National Poetry month! The idea is to write a new poem each day based on that day’s prompt.

Library prompts and poems can be found here. Below is my poem based on today’s prompt.

 

#

“Hemingway’s”

 

Six- and seven-toed cats

roamed the grounds

during my visit

to the tropically overgrown

home

of Key West’s favorite celebrity,

Among the lush gardens

surrounding a flat-roofed

sun-filled

two-story,

Descendants of his kitten

prey upon those that come to this shrine-

the tourists that pay homage to an author who lived there less than ten years. But what literary legends were created there?

 

To Have and Have Not?

The Snows of Kilimanjaro?

 

Or was the real home of this prolific writer

and drinker

the local watering hole,

a place to bring his typewriter,

drink in the atmosphere and inspiration of

spirits and other patrons,

people-watching to refill his well

with  well-chosen words?

What would he think of the annual Hemingway look-alike contest,

the commercialism of this once sleepy retreat town now marketing his name?

Would he be glad that his work and memory live on or shake his head in shame?

 

Meanwhile, the descendants of his feline happily stalk the tourists traipsing through his former haunts.

 

*image courtesy of BigFoto.com

*I confess that other than my few favorite places, I don’t know Cleveland very well. So I took liberty with the prompt to write about one of my favorite authors and his former home.

 











 

 

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