Tessa, She Took Me For A Ride

Once I oogled her LV scarf.
She only ever wears crusty matt black
Ferragamo ballet shoes.
And a branded tote bag–I forgot the name.
And her false lash extensions
would leave you feeling–what?
Less than beautiful?

So she kept fending off
lecherous men on Facebook.
Her almond eyes and skin belied
that she’s nearing sixty.
I skittered around her in
my yellow and mauve drawstring blouse
and a puffy skirt.

If beguilement is a game,
she aced it. Lost in her little judgmental
taste in refinement. So you felt
pulled into the heft of her argument
as if she had always loved you.
Oh the deceit of it! Oh the lack!
Oh flattery with a cobra bite!

Prompt: You know how people hold you hostage. They do. Their discourse kind of shapes your viewpoint if you hung out with them often enough. That is why you should be ever discerning about who you let into your circle. Your circle is your world. If you have a person in your circle who talks plenty, in a persuasive, intimate-like way, a sort of osmosis takes place so their view starts to blend into your own. Then you wake up one day and realize that hey, I have my own point of view and it’s different. A friend who doesn’t admit and respect another viewpoint is not worth having in your circle. Why do I talk about this stuff? Well, perhaps I do have an axe to grind. But more than that, you need to know how to choose a friend. Or why you’re the chosen one. And your choice has to be based on something more solid than liking the same fashion style, for instance, or liking someone’s make-up. That’s just one level of friendship. We all need to know who our real soul mates are.

…I need a mark, a tattoo,
etched on the arch of my foot, telling me
what to hold, clutch only what is mine.
–Aimee Nezhukumatathil, “Bee Wolf”

Write about friendship.

Tessa, And So To Experience

She is a flower in a room.
She’d let you in. O her perfume!
Too intense so you’d exult,
in the intimacy. She’s feeding
off your fingers, stuck hers
in yours and started to wrench.
How did your head get this way,
you’re whimpering.
Such a carnivorous flower!

And so to experience, my love.
I imagine in a far-off plot
she’d be gardening in gloves
amongst throbs of ginger
and here we are, crying in a
retrospective, broken into,
praying with fungus fingers.

Prompt: And then it’s done. I didn’t think I did too badly. My poems have definitely improved over the years since I took part in the annual poetry month. You know what they say? Practice. My bellydance teacher told me that it’s when you think you’ve hit rock bottom then you suddenly, unexpectedly rise. So poet folks, this is for Writers Digest Day 5 Prompt. To write an experience poem. A retrospective for me since I missed this last one out. Thanks to Robert Lee Brewer for all the inspiration.

Tessa, It’s A Social Media World

Oh we’re nothing but long distance,
separated by earth and water,
as far away as Namibia or Dunedin
and if any further we’ll probably
drop off the map if not for
modernity, helped by gravity.

Still we’re nothing but poured
molasses on the page tasting like
minds. Of course, pictures spoke
powerfully. Mostly there’s the poetry.
Come to think of it what’s so radical
about transcending space. But it is.

The pull of distance drew near,
affirmed closeness when we got to
share the same verdant view.
What of raucuous closeness then
when there’s so much hypocrisy?
Distance is real closeness.

Prompt: Here I go writing again. It’s not finished till it’s finished. When I read Writers Digest Day 4 prompt, to write a distance poem, it made me think of how I like Instagram, to see the pictures posted by ordinary folks, celebrities and photographers of other places on this planet. And Facebook too. It’s brought the world closer in a powerful way. And if not for the Internet I wouldn’t be here writing to you, would I?

Tessa, Three Eggs

Any cell, etched with yearning,
makes boundless leaps in black,
silken innocence. My love, a fox
among the lilacs.

If only we moved with animal grace!

Yet in a rambling moment,
bare of skin, the light grand. Oh, why would
I lie? A knife of fire!
In tall grass there chanced
marble white eggs.

Prompt: Still playing catch up I am. Are you? Writers Digest Day 3 Prompt wanted a phrase that says “Three” followed by a noun or phrase. Trying to go beyond the obvious possibilities, I decided to look to Sunday Whirl, and do a wordle (cell, fire, yearning, grace, moment, silken, light, eggs, skin, any, boundless). So that’s how “eggs” came to be. And then this image of eggs came to be. I’m also in the middle of a story where a neighbor had helped to deliver some farm eggs and chanced upon a murder-suicide. In Chinese cuisine, “three eggs spinach” is a dish where you incorporate three types of eggs (fresh, salted, century egg). Sorry, I’m rambling!

Tessa, What They Said

There’s nothing flippant about romance.
It cajoled how she lives. Didn’t that
John Donne fellow said love prescribes
a circle, “makes me end where I begun.”
We are the compass; “leans and harkens”,
and by lilting imagination, you’re fixed,
the center, whereas I roam and somehow
“grows erect as that comes home”.

And when she’s home, she watched you
take out your comb, leaned your head to
one side, brushed your brown hair.
Utterly serious, and desirable.
What I liked most, she said, are
the trees out in the yard. They saw
a deer that morning. You had reddened–
she had said something then laughed.

Prompt: I knew I had missed four days of prompts as I was away in early April. So I’m gonna make up for lost time. This one’s for Writers Digest Day 2 prompt. It is to write a what she said/what he said poem. You can make something up, anything. Or be inspired by John Donne’s poem, like I did. It is a poem that everyone is familiar with, is it not? It works by conceit.

Tessa, We’ll Get There Haphazardly

I laid with the secret monster.
So sorrowful it was. Offhand, I tried
saying something, but it was woolly.
It looked back with hazel eyes.
Oh if a look could be tyrannical,
speak indescribable loss, violent and
sweet. Then it sagged on the ground
and so I laid hands on it like
a priest–an incantation took place.

And slowly, the creature spewed out
the poison. Drop by drop. So purged.
In the early morning light, we rose
with the cauldron, didn’t think
it had mattered that much.

Prompt: Yippee. Funnily enough, I did get here haphazardly, ending poetry month with Writers Digest Day 29 Prompt (to write a haphazard poem), thanks to a technical glitch which meant I only got the prompt today. I suppose the poem itself isn’t that haphazard. The process sure is. I had no effing idea what I will write and then the poem just wrote itself. So is the poetic process haphazard or what? You just got to write and find out for yourself. Then when you’re done, and only when you’re done, you’re allowed to pat yourself and go have a cup of tea with cake.

Tessa, Important News

I shall be reticent, about dead corpses
–tautologous, outrageous–but isn’t it true,
that you’ll be dead as a doornail
or a dodo and and I shall put on
sunglasses none the wiser, watching
the closing credits at the end saying
The End–the end of taxes, whooppee…
and bills but we’d be none the wiser
about such an important event.

What, you hardly call a death
a catastrophe? Why, because people drop
dead like flies everyday? They fly to
heaven, invisible, that’s all. We,
the living, left to make copies of
death certificates, staple them to
a lost folder, stare at the pictures
hoard, lift damn heavy suitcases,
all ceremonious as ants.

Prompt: What’s important, peeps? Peeps are important. Peeps make you happy. Peeps have their unique history. Peeps make the world go round. Well, the Writers Digest Day 28 prompt is to use the word “Important” followed by another word, in the title. So there you go, peeps. Answer the question. What’s important, peeps? I’ve been trying but cannot reach the site. Perhaps it’s too bombarded by poets. But that’s the least important of our concerns, at least for now. The issue will resolve itself tomorrow and then it’ll be of no importance at all.

Coda: Just managed to get onto the site. Writers Digest Day 30 Prompt is to write a dead end poem. Oh am I the prescient one–felt like I had already written the poem answering Day 28’s prompt. Oh well. And I just found out what the Day 29 Prompt is so I’ll get cracking on it.

Tessa, Am I Mellowing?

I tried to sound a rhapsodic note.
It fell like a star, like a flare,
like a cross upon a cathedral,
like a bell. And I felt sprightly.
Even swaggering, a bit aloof.

I’m not here to disparage anyone.
After all it’s all fiction,
apparitions. And me, I’m just
a secretary following the boss,
producing prodigious poems.

The day you took off, I’ll be
bewildered, too lost.

Prompt: Are you guys all too aware that April is coming to a close? Is it like two days away, the end of poeming, the end of poetry love, the end of the road? For those of you who are comatose, or would rather be doing something else productive, or unproductive, you don’t know what you’re missing till it’s missing. Don’t say I didn’t say. Get your secretary to make a note. Writers Digest Day 27 prompt is to write a take off poem. Read “take off” in any way you want. Take off your clothes. Take off your masks. Take off to another place. You know, just bloody take off. And if you’re the secretary, do not take off.

Tessa, This Is A Love Poem

You listened–orbiting toward the dark,
capering, light on shadow,
as the music played on, abstract,
souls doing a medley, coz
that’s what we do best,
glassy-eyed ones.

The hooded man stayed in the background.
In our waltz, I looked behind, saw him out
of the corner of my eye.
Then saw you drinking to excess.
All our masks came off
in the glimmer of dreams.

Prompt: Recently I had a fall-out with a friend. There’s such a sense of betrayal when that happens. In a way it’s like the mask came off. Plopped out of its own accord like a glass eye. What I saw was not to be spoken of. It came to me that this person is trying to be perfect, and seeing flaws in every damn person. All the while pretending to be a friend. Anyway there’s absolutely nothing I can do, except to move away. Or be sucked into a horrible web. There’s such anti-love in all of this I know. I wish she’d learn to love herself and others as they are. As antidote I’m writing a love poem. It’s Writers Digest Day 26 Prompt, to either do a love or anti-love poem.

Tessa, Which War?

This about the time we’re going downhill.
Trying to be politic, civil,
to cover up what rebuke resides,
to discuss rumors, to basically go
to the boondocks, running up and down,
marching even, like soldiers, or
orators having a kind of field day
twisting anecdotes, singing elegies.

We’re old enough for erasure.
Soliloquys are for the Hamlets
and so, when everyone dies, let’s hear it
for Fortinbras, man of battle, rattling armor,
undithering, victorious, ascending throne.
But poor poets, who make nothing happen
(to quote Auden), charge up that hill,
hoist the flag, to change minds.

Change–it’s what’s needed–war of
words–to get us to the next place.

Prompt: Poetry is an exercise. War is an exercise. I’m trying to compare the two, as to which role each is assigned. It’s really a difference between speech and action isn’t it? Unless of course, you’re trying to blend, in which case you get to the “war of words”. I’m not sure if it’s a very successful thread. It’s all in accordance with Writers Digest Day 25 Prompt, which is to write an exercise poem. Read ‘exercise’ in whichever way you want. Well, at least I tried.