We had another poetry slam on Twitter last night. Seven of us participated — the most yet. And I’ve got some editing to do — the result will mostly likely be several twoems, or Twitter poems.
In the meantime, here is the edited version of the slam on Sept. 30. All lines in quotation marks are the prompts, and all are taken from John Poch’s book Two Men Fighting with a Knife.
The Orchards of Desire
What can we learn from a 1913 toaster?”
“Through the sunflower field (the off-yellow
pollen fallen onto, staining my shirt)…”
The texture of toast is better now
Than years of 94.
I am drawn to the flavor of serene;
The smock of Van Gogh
In pollenish paint
Mimics the swaying sunflowers.
Roasted to bronze
Would feed my love
For painted days.
Serena was her name,
Her hair a flavor of plums.
Pixie dust staining swaying breeze,
Flavor the plums
With golden light.
Light filters through gold,
Pollen through wafts of scented air.
“…the violet glass that must have once adorned/the windows of their houses…”
She slipped into yellow dress,
And prayed her crimson lover
My breath hanging in mid air,
I catch myself unaware
Smash, paint earth.
“Hungry, you call me by your name. Under
Barbed wire and up arroyos I come crawling…”
“When the eggs hatch,
The nymphs drop and crawl through vetch.”
Must adieu ,
releasing the call, though hunger
Crawling beneath sheets for little love
I plum smashed them eggs
Go ahead, call me;
I am left hanging by the wings.
Adieu restless heart
Drifting like pollen
Over the face
It flows like yellow hot wax from a flame.
If plums had wings,
Would they fly
Purpled with hunger?
“…our fathers gone,
our mothers scrubbing through a collar stain…”
“…MADE IN JAPAN
with wood shipped from the USA and back
again, the lamp is worn with years of smoke…”
There is hunger at every turn; the sheets will burn and swim.
Life worn like wood/steals labels to explain:
Made in Japan,
Made in the USA,
A change of mind;
The room spins like a long, long tale.
“Her purblind eyes the pearls of memory”
“Made in Japan?”
I never heard ‘a
Such ‘a thing;
Plum, ain’t all sheets
Made in China?
Burn my eyes
“… the doubt
of history extinguished with a mirror…”
The luxury of clear thought of blue marbles in glass jars,
To be aware of sunflowers touching the sky
And not care why.
Smashed like glass;
Smoke and wood,
Haze and sun.
Touched us lightly
As pollen on a
Would we not
Care, again dream?
Lamps to light the night.
“An unscathed apple under the pines like a cone
Stopped me. Buoyant in my hand, it shone…”
What would it
Take to rouse
Your heart again?
Taken from the shrine,
It shone like pebbles on the beach
“The screens were torn–we woke to insect needles…”
Build the shrine,
I told him.
Build it with apples,
Light a flame
Torn from the
Flowers of my
Replace the falling star in the blue of night.
“I leapt at the walls like Mars in love with Venus.”
What is night?
The promise of torn stars,
“We need nectar: this orange tree, this jasmine-
hung patio. Look how an orange has veered…”
The bowl tips
And I stain my fingers
Collect the scent of the burning leaves,
Paint a picture of the stars looking through the trees
“Imagine me applauding
Your skirt and loving the suspense”
As if from
Your skirt burning
“crackling the whistle of a darker darling, /beak yellow as cucumber flowers”
Wrap around me your warm soft jacket with the scent of autumn.
Jasmine would not
Crackle; it is too soft for that.
Whistle it might,
A sweet song of
Bring to me the gift of time upon a sapphire pillow.
Life is a thief;
Its victims defy number.
Scotland Yard and FBI miss their mark.
You mustn’t slumber.
The wind whistles above the pine as the fire crackles and burns;
Toward the east, the poems are silent within a dream.
The words travel west and swirl around in the dusk and land at the foot of the pine.
The apple drops to the ground; the words no longer make a sound.
- Poets and Poems: Peter A and “Art of Insomnia” - September 21, 2021
- Poets and Poems: Andrew Benson Brown and “Legends of Liberty” - September 14, 2021
- ‘Spoon River America’: Jason Stacy on the Myth of the Small Town - September 7, 2021