Below are the first group of poems coming from our poetry jam on Twitter this past Tuesday.
The prompts, courtesy of @mdgoodyear, came from lines from the following: “The Quaker Graveyard in Nantucket” by Robert Lowell; “Ode to the West Wind” by Percy Bysshe Shelley; “Ode to the Confederate Dead” by Allen Tate; “Ode on Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood” by William Wordsworth; Ode I. 11 by Horace; and “Home Movies: A Sort of Ode” by Mary Jo Salter.
Poems of Complication
By @mdgoodyear, @llbarkat, @PoemsPrayers, @mxings, @togetherforgood, @cascheller, @mmerubies, @MonicaSharman, @DancinButterfly, @thegypsymama, @TchrEric and @KathleenOverby. Not to mention @shrinkingcamel. Edited by @glynn_poet.
Counting on Fingers
Sometimes when turning to
catch a glimpse, he would stop
and begin counting on his fingers,
past cloud and food, past fingers
counted and thumbs opposable,
stop to catch, stop him by clouds,
count his fingers, put them to your
ears or between us especially when
one switches from fingers to toes and
Really, really like this story
of him and her
of what happened
of clouds and how
thumbs entwined. We entwined
not just thumbs but lives and
hearts and forevers.
What happened between us is a
complicated story, complicated like
my dogs panting in the back yard,
accidentally biting me instead of rope.
And what is complicated weaves a
single thread through the spool of
Starts simple, with boy meets girl and
boy wants girl and girl really really really
wants boy. She sits in the corner alone.
They meet in a wine bar. She is a waitress;
he, cooling off from a tough day at the office.
He watches, turns over a phrase in his head.
And, then, discards it like a bad bottle of wine.
There is no bad bottle, only drink mature
enough to cook and simmer.
She is simmering,
shimmering in a
resplendent uniform of hot grays
and muted pinks. They come from
opposite sides of the tracks.
Oh, dark-haired dark-eyed boy. You did a
real number on me, didn’t you?
Locked me up in my stone tower and
tossed the key away. I don’t really
want to talk about it, but
speak to me in shades of merlot;
I will listen love swallow.
Sex is sex is sex, but love was sleep.
Just you, and me, and dreams; wanting
to love in spite of what others think.
It was how you looked when you
were asleep, my dark-eyed boy.
Your lashes touched your cheeks.
Your skin was soft.
You had some unknowable power in
your hands, in each one of your
fingers, as they would slide across
my skin. Some things are complicated
but dancing amid flowers in May
is simple. What is simple quickly
becomes complicated, don’t you see?
I would whimper as the fight melted
underneath your touch, and I forgot
why I wanted to leave again.
Browsing Poetry at the Bookstore
Dogs panting in the town bookstore,
drooling over Eliot, Williams.
Toss away the bookstore key,
hold me between Whitman and the
soft simmer of Teasdale and
Salter and Hayes and Eavan and Keats.
Take me back to simplicity. You would
read my poetry, and you would save it,
fold the paper up neat-like and tuck it
into your trunk of memories.
One sheet at a time, shift the book,
offer Chronicles to the canines.
In the corner, the second-hand winged
armchair beckons. Like all armchairs, it
beckons more than a bible, becoming
an opening, a line in the night, like
he is a waitress, no wait, she is a waitress
who held more Whitman in a coffee cup
than all the poetry teachers I ever knew .
He always drank too much coffee. The
dentist complained of untreatable stains.
What theme is this, of Mice and Men
and mouths that could eat a book as well
as tear it? Every day he was a strong
as an ox, power in those hands
like the rawhide strip the dog doesn’t
chew anymore; the dog would rather
chew the shoes and books and baby’s
toys for her own complicated reasons.
I am wondering, though, who tasted the
rawhide saddle to know that wine could
be the same?
Thunderstorms and Wine
Every day is like a thunderstorm,
part scary, part exciting, part energy, a
thread of lighting powering the tree to
splinters, and I a single thread,
a single thread that comes unstrung
so easily – one pull , all gone.
Caught between the cork and the screw,
he fumbles an opening line, lost between
escaping bubbles. I thought you were a
story I had to read all of the way to the
happy ending but who knows when that
epic will come to its close?
I am lost in wine metaphors, having never
been a drinker. I lay in the dark of your
blue room, alone on your blue bed, and
I played between my fingers one soft
blue thread. Can wine splinter? Can it get
under your skin, blush you red ’til you throb?
Ah, wine’s flavours simmer beneath the
surface, gathering tension, releasing more.
My husband is red wine, flowing through
my veins, turning me red with married
South Africa tells a story of broken
bottles and rich wines that all run
together like soft blue thread, red stories
and a blanket. Beneath the blue,
yellow paint peels and falls
as tears behind the smile.
You were not a glass of wine or even a
beer after a hard day. You were a straight
shot of hard liquor, chased down with
Good Stories Always Begin in the Kitchen
All good stories always begin in the kitchen.
At least ours did, and it is a good story
midst good food. Who knew a kitchen story
would lead us here now? Three kids,
three jobs and a dog who chews Tolkien.
Far from the madding crowd, I tip the
Countryside, folding days into days.
You Weren’t Magic
Silly sixteen-year-old me
thought that you were magic. You
were not. The wizard poster
in your room was as close as
you got, wizards and punk rock,
rock lobsters and 80s
break dancing mobsters.
- 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