Sunday, April 3, 2016

4.1.16

Today's prompt was to write a lune, a 3-line poem of either 5-3-5- syllables, or 5-3-5 words.  This one wound up not being costuming-related...it veered away.  We'll get to that.  :)

Floating

Red wine thickens the night
until we swim
like jellyfish among the stars.

Friday, March 11, 2016

21 days

Another costuming poem as we count down to April.  This one is by J. Allyn Rosser, available at poetryfoundation.org.

Impromptu

BY J. ALLYN ROSSER
First there was Jim, clamping to my long black hair
             that nine-pound Cleopatra wig
             with nylon bands and bobbie pins.

Meanwhile I was on fire for Chad, who coached me
             a bit impatiently Tuesday nights
             on my Joan-of-Arc inflection.

Then Terence said I’d be perfect for the lounge-singer-
             turned-whore, and as it turned out
             that was a fairly easy gig.

Max signed me on soon after, claiming I was a natural
             for Eternally Aggrieved Girl,
             which in hindsight hurts me deeply.

So by the time you followed me back to the green room
             to wait in the hallway—whistling!—
             for my scrubbed face to emerge,

naturally I was wary, waiting for the script
             you never bothered to come up with.
             It was damned awkward sitting there,

nothing but milkshakes between us. Maybe, I thought,
             you’d assumed I was the one with a script.  
             Finally I decided to give Terence a call.

I didn’t like the way you looked at me so steadily
             with your chin resting on one fist,
             as if the table were a table, the boards

A floor. Listening there as if you meant it,
             as if something I could say were true, and every
             moment from now on would be my cue.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

30 Poems in 30 Days 2016: Gearing up!

It's almost spring.  I've got an official countdown going on my Facebook page for that, but I'm also counting down to another "spring thing," which has become as much a sign of spring for me as tulips and Peeps:  NaPoWriMo, or National Poetry Writing Month.  Once again this year, I intend to crank out 30 poems in 30 days.  This will be my fourth year participating.

In the past, I have (generally speaking) used the "official" daily prompts on the NaPoWriMo site (www.napowrimo.net) for my poems.  One year I combined them with a secondary prompt from another site, where each day I focused on a color.  For a couple of my NaPoWriMo adventures, I have taken a photograph to go with each poem (or written each poem as a response to a photograph...gray area...)

This year, I'm again challenging myself.  I will be using the prompts again this year (for the most part), and also  I plan for this year's poems  to (mostly) follow a theme:

THE POETRY OF COSTUME.

(Doesn't that look nice in bolded caps?)


One of my jobs is in theatrical costuming, which I love, and which makes me think about all kinds of stuff:  identity (both real and imagined), the concept of the mask, of hiding who we are, of becoming who we were meant to be, of otherness, of the insanity of marketing, of the history and weirdness of Halloween, of the way a costume transforms you, of the magic of theatre, and especially of the wisdom of actually gluing gold sequins to your face.  It's a veritable freakin' gold mine of material.  So that's this year's challenge.

Of course, I'm a poet, and poets lie, so I may not do EXACTLY what I said...but that's the plan!

So the countdown is on!  21 days until NaPoWriMo begins.  To get you in the mood, I reserve the right to post random poems about costuming, theatre, Halloween, and other marginally related topics until them, beginning now, with this piece by Michael Collier, available at www.poetryfoundation.org.

See you soon!

All Souls

By Michael Collier
A few of us—Hillary Clinton, Vlad Dracula,   
Oprah Winfrey, and Trotsky—peer through   
the kitchen window at a raccoon perched   
outside on a picnic table where it picks

over chips, veggies, olives, and a chunk of p√Ęte.   
Behind us others crowd the hallway, many more
dance in the living room. Trotsky fusses with the bloody   
screwdriver puttied to her forehead.

Hillary Clinton, whose voice is the rumble
of a bowling ball, whose hands are hairy
to the third knuckle, lifts his rubber chin to announce,   
“What a perfect mask it has!” While the Count

whistling through his plastic fangs says, “Oh,   
and a nose like a chef.” Then one by one   
the other masks join in: “Tail of a gambler,”   
“a swashbuckler’s hips,” “feet of a cat burglar.”

Trotsky scratches herself beneath her skirt
and Hillary, whose lederhosen are so tight they form a codpiece,   
wraps his legs around Trotsky’s leg and humps like a dog.   
Dracula and Oprah, the married hosts, hold hands

and then let go. Meanwhile the raccoon squats on   
the gherkins, extracts pimentos from olives, and sniffs   
abandoned cups of beer. A ghoul in the living room   
turns the music up and the house becomes a drum.

The windows buzz. “Who do you love? Who do you love?”   
the singer sings. Our feathered arms, our stockinged legs.   
The intricate paws, the filleting tongue.
We love what we are; we love what we’ve become.


Thursday, April 30, 2015

4.30.15

30 of 30...and we're done!  Today's poem follows the "write a poem backwards" prompt, in that I unearthed a poem I wrote a few years ago, flipped it around, cut half of it out, and gave it a title.  Another great April of poetry!  Thanks for visiting! 



Adding Up

Life’s cosmic calculator,
the weight of seconds
multiplied exponentially by the seasons—
always a before,
an equation from birth,
We are each of us a sum,
total undetermined,  fifteen percent tip
not yet figured in.  Don’t you understand?
You can’t ring it up
until closing time.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

4.29.15

And we're caught up, with one day to go! 



Rooted

Years become predictable.
I walk through the garden, naming
each early sprout:  fleshy purple heads
of balloon, flower, hydrangea’s dead wood
sprung with delicate green, pruned
rosebush the color of old blood,
allium pale green-blue and spilling
out of the ground like a fountain, peony,
clematis that never blooms, dependable
mum. Last year’s eggshells
dot this spring’s black dirt, a cycle, a flow
I am still not accustomed to.
Things have places.  The scenery never changes,
just shifts through seasons.  I know where
in the yard the wind is strongest, where the leaves
collect all winter, what will need cutting
back this month.  Cut it back, and it regrows.
I am here to see it.  I have regrown several times,
different but the same, some years
more blooms than others.  I used to think
I was a sunflower, short-lived, on fire,
blazing through the riot of August and September.
Now I wonder if my roots have caught too deep,
If I’m something else after all—if I’m just
the clematis that never blooms, that doesn’t like
where it’s planted, waiting for just the right
conditions.  Will this damn thing ever
shoot purple stars like it’s supposed to,
will it ever rejoice in the black dirt, sun, rain,
the cycle of being permanently planted?

4.28.15

Bridge poem. True story.  Still don't like big bridges.



Vertigo

It was on the I-24 bridge
over the Ohio.  I shot out
of the trees on the Illinois side,
revved the engine into the sky,
bridge beckoning, white curved girders soaring,
and I looked down.  Then it hit—
all that empty space,
no safety cushion, only the spinning tires
and the bridge and 200 feet of nothing
between me and the Ohio, dirty and brown. 
My head went floating,
my palms sweaty, the car suddenly
too enclosed, the sky too close, no ropes
to grab, my shirt sticky on my back,
breath not enough.  I cracked a window
and the emptiness rushed in.  The guardrail
wouldn’t keep me from flying off—
gravity always wins, the car a red missile
poised to drop, the interstate narrowing.
 I kept my eyes
on the opposite bank, Kentucky
and mortality speeding toward me.