Following are eight poems from last Tuesday’s poetry jam on twitter, ranging from plainness and fresh strawberries to a celebration of punctuation.
Poems of Complication 2
By @mdgoodyear, @llbarkat, @PoemsPrayers, @mxings, @togetherforgood, @cascheller, @mmerubies, @MonicaSharman, @DancinButterfly, @thegypsymama, @TchrEric and @KathleenOverby. Not to mention @shrinkingcamel. Edited by @glynn_poet.
I saw two plain women today.
One of them chatted on her
cell, a bulky older phone, while
having lunch with her family.
Say no apologies for plainness,
for soft blanket country days and
the reminiscing of what happened
between him and her.
Ah, but the magic in the hands
offering sleights; shyness, plainness,
misdirection of reality.
Even glazed is too glazed to be plain.
From the garden of the countryside
you brought fresh-picked strawberries,
looking small in your large brown hands.
Bring them to the kitchen and rinse them
in the large white sink.
Strawberries sound good, rinsed cold,
dusted with sugar fed to me on a blanket
under a tree. I like them plain with just a
hint of sugar. But I don’t like to be fed.
It sounds romantic, but I just feel silly in
the moment of the feeding.
Being fed is not romantic till twelve years
later, remembering him throwing fruit
loops into your mouth. Babies don’t mind
the colored spoons, but I mind. I do.
Straight shots, have not met one of those,
at least not after a hard day followed
Make it a double,
true love, on the rocks, double shot, top me off
and then give me yet another shot.
You loved wizards and heavy metal
music that felt like the very blood in
my body was suddenly pumping into
I’ll take another one, on the rocks.
I am dreaming of a Cinderella life, where
I wake up to a fairy godmother with a magic
wand and she touches my feet with crystal.
Douse me in Tolkien, take me by your magic
Wand to lands of hobbits, commas, quotes.
Cinderella was lost in her own head;
broken day dreams are a drag to sweep up
and another and another and sweep and sweep.
Princes are unpredictable, except the
Rumplestiltskin father, asleep in the arm chair,
I wait for a King.
He has come searching for me.
He knows my foot size.
Food from the Table
Food from the table falling to the
cursed dirt where hard soil hosts
scant grass. I am falling off your table.
You made a meal of me. I am crumbs
now. I am barely even crumbs, yet
wide as the cheese loaf, brown as a
beach bum. I don’t want to be doused
in cheese, I must say, although I have
nothing against cheese. Cheese?
perhaps that rings true; is old, a bit
gangly, with a beard and mold.
If fed, I bite; it is an impulse. My habits
are not easily broken.
If you insist on frying me up and eating
me hot, at least use the extra virgin
olive oil, evaporated, condensated, at least.
To eat me, you must start with my words as
appetizer. No, that would have me slipping
off to warm thoughts of soft blankets.
First she simmered and then he fried.
Add plenty of butter to the heat before
you throw me in. And sprinkle the water so
it bubbles and pops.
And as for being fried,
well, no thanks.
The Punctuation is a Clue
Drifting like this, I sometimes miss
my lines, and yours, every cue.
Keep trying. The punctuation is a clue.
ee cummings didn’t like punctuation;
I like a little stop and go now
But I tire of quotes, of snow
and tyrant prompts that keep secrets
in semi-colons. Commas keep me from
poetry, hold me in limbo, keep me from
going where I want to go.
Not semi-colons, but quotation marks,
flanking the moon like wings. I like the
swirly dashes that I do not know the name
for. They pause you prettily. Butter me with
commas, little spoons that flip pale sweet
fat over my elbows, kiss my nose.
And yet commas offer that
ever needed pregnancy; allowing the soul
time to contemplate.
Words feed into the machine, and tildes
and dunes of ampersands that burn the
soles of bare feet.
Sand: can you scoop it with a comma, can
you wear it like a sweet tattoo in semi-colon seas?
Dip a comma down into my body and
dig out the breath of the moment. I am well oiled
and the wind is blowing the sand into my hair.
Ahab didn’t understand the comma;
only the harpoon and the taste of blood salt.
And so we write a love song to punctuation.
My English teachers would be so proud over
me in colons like the chicken pox epidemic
of ’99. Punctuation is overrated, a stop-gap in
conversation. Better to dive right into the verse.
But I like the hard angry sound of a
I always add the punctuation afterward,
once the words are poured out: how do I love
thee? I love thee with the breath of commas
and little dashes traced upon your chin
Heavy sigh. I am lost, dashed against rocks — oh,
I am found again at high tide.
For Emily Dickinson
After reading Dickinson in middle school, I
was overcome by the desire to dash every
line to pieces. Dickinson must have walked
along the sea, dipped her toes in high tide,
I was Dickinson once, in drama class. She
and I were nobody—together.
Oh, you? You are nobody too?
That makes three of us, I know.
We shall have our own TV show. You, me
Which Sun? Or the Moon?
The South Texas sun, tyrant, keeps
every flake at bay.
Some days, I dream my worries have
evaporated with the scalding sun on
the hot hard sidewalk.
The Iowa sun refuses to shine, allowing
snow even in May.
I want to be the moon that the sun reflects.
The moon—Diana, or was it some other
woman who glowed by quotation nights?
Oh I love that, your Diana trapped between
the stars, the moon and her own quotation
That is when the magic begins.
- Poets and Poems: Laura Mullen and “After I Was Dead” - January 24, 2023
- “Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard” – An Old Poem, a New Artwork - January 17, 2023
- Poets and Poems: Nancy Murphy and “The Space Carved by the Sharpness of Your Absence” - January 13, 2023