Guided by the words of our trusty prompter, our recent Twitter poetry party swirled around the lines from Harvesting Fog: Poems by Luci Shaw. And they swirled around oceans and ashes, a drive down side roads, the telephone and how something as mundane as burning the toast becomes something else again.
Here are five additional poems from the jam.
The Cinnamon Beetle 5
By @memoriaarts, @mdgoodyear, @llbarkat, @EricSwalberg, @luci_shaw, @gyoung9751, @RuminateMag, @mrsmetaphor, @doallas, @LoveLifeLitGod, @nmdr_, @KathleenOverby, @Sand_RAD, @mxings, @mmerubies, @charsingleton, @CherylSmith999, @lauraboggess, and @VinaMist. Cameo appearances by @LuvStomp, @poemblaze and @annkroeker. Edited by @gyoung9751.
Oceans and Ashes
I wait for you as I wait for the ocean
to part where I might fling a glitter of ash
you left, the ash of your tattered soul
glittering on the surface of my inner ocean.
And ash fell from your words, smeared
on the forehead, littering the fireplace,
a blessing either way. Ash to ash and
dust to dust fling wide an ocean of life;
sing now, no clause perhaps but claws
sunk in. The ashes of your words tattoo
my skin like claws sunk in; ashes glitter
on my tongue. Smoke and clouds of spice
stain the hot water. Fling spice instead of ash,
burn it first as incense, in memory.
I tasted you. I tasted you, as I said goodbye.
Driving on side roads
I’m not asking for any of that. But I can drive.
Or you drive; I’ll read poetry on side roads
As the fires stain the sky.
I’ll take your twists and turns of verse;
you keep your eye on the road.
I wait for the ocean to drive its poetry
on side roads; it is on side roads that
I find the poetry lost and forgotten.
How can I keep my eye on the road
with you beside me?
And what if you kissed me? What then?
if you can kiss with one eye on the road
what possibly could be the problem?
I pull over to the rest stop.
And am arrested for slow driving.
I give the cop my latest poem. The Ticket:
Driving too slowly, distracted
by view or thought.
Why aren’t you rushing?
Beach at low tide kisses the sunset.
And when those side roads swell
we watched ash spin, clawed against
the onslaught. It’s beautifully dangerous
to read poems while driving in the summer heat,
windows down, the words curving on my tongue.
The tide is out
Try scaling the sandstone rocks
now that the tide is out;
the stain of salt is in the air.
The tide is out, the wash will wait.
Who will take away the old appliances?
There would be the dryer;
we could kiss there, and the TV
we’d try every channel.
Slam down the receiver.
Cell phones are much less
satisfying. There is only
the “end call” flashing.
No crash, no tangle.
I hate the telephone.
I hate to send my needs,
shrill ringing, into someone
else’s day. He never called.
Not once in all these years.
I am to be satisfied with
an email, a note, here and
there, that says he loves me.
The phone rings in the silent room,
pixels flashing notes across the miles.
I long for the smell of ink, the touch
of paper, the phone still ringing.
The words are burning me up inside;
I have to get them out.
The paper folds again and again,
the ink wears thin on the creases,
thin like the curtain that holds
your shadows .
A voice without a face, so little to see,
so little to say; pixels hurled from black
to white, charring in the heat of my anger,
tormenting me with their lack of poetry,
Phones do not ring anymore. Now,
they sing snippets of someone’s song.
They tinkle like the ivories. They buzz
and shake and no one can hear the voice,
a voice I will always hear even when
it’s not speaking.
Incinerating the Toast
Incineration is only one way
to avoid the law. I’m not averse
to incineration, of words spent
for unfulfilled nights. Words are
the curse of language. Words are
walls between us.
Every night the incineration happens
again. The smoke detector is broken.
I am not averse to glass either, but
smoke detectors lie, crying wolf over
burnt toast. I am not averse to burnt
toast or lies if told gently; scrape
the black away, the toast is fine.
Lie detectors lie, crying wolf over
truths unseen by the naked eye.
The boys asked why a dark setting
on the toaster? I tried to explain
this odd preference for burning.
Always with the burning.
- Poets and Poems: Benjamin Myers at “The Family Book of Martyrs” - January 31, 2023
- 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