Tessa, I’m Listening

I listened to too much chatter
and depending on who,
it’s either adorable, bearable,
or even likeable, it allows me to be
dead to myself,
this door to you, lightly patterned
impressions, allows me to reload,
heaved into your sun,
tracing your anatomy,
chancing upon your files, so don’t ever come
to a screeching stop, coz I know that you
love me back, you’re no hack,
coz I’d not suffer no fools gladly.


Day 7…the one I missed out on.

“Write an activity poem. Of course, the first activity that springs to my mind is writing poetry, but there are many other possible activities from which to choose: running, driving, folding clothes, tying knots, casting lines, dancing, sleeping, and so much more. Pick an activity and write it out.”

Word list from The Sunday Whirl, Wordle 276.

Hi guys, this world is made up of relationships so ask yourself, who do you hang out with? That probably defines your world. And yes, it’s plural, worlds, as it really refers to different circles of friends doesn’t it? And do you realize that the people you hang out with change, and that these changes would mean that you’re changed if for some reason, a person drops off from your circle, whatever precipitates that. If you believe in God then you’d believe that God brings new people into your life and removes others, so in that way the people you used to hang out with becomes a phase, know what I mean? Imagine saying, oh she’s just a passing phase. Sometimes this passing brings with it hard lessons in relationships. One of these lessons could be, for instance, that a person you thought of as a friend is actually an attention-seeker, that she was nice to you as long as you behaved as her squad, that she actually has no intention of appreciating you on your own terms, so your epiphany causes you to move away from her. That’s how it changes you. Get it?

I know that people go through these all the time, and that keeps things in check. So we’d all grow up, know what I mean?

So for the prompt, write a relationship poem.

Tessa, The Last Poem

We’re still lollopping in the dark
holding a gas lamp. Maybe we’d gone
too far? So is it cowardly to then
turn back?

Too late you said. But I had whiffed
something unworldly, in this world of
poetry. It all depends, you said,
not wanting to be offensive.

God never meant poetry to be this
loopy thing, I said. But you had
cozied up to this task so well,
so you might as well.

I gave a little whimper. Not like
Mary Oliver, not like praise for
all things wise and good, yet
following nature’s counsel.

Wild nature, you said. Primitive
as knives you’d use for cutting
grass or pruning a Japanese bonsai
in a made-made paradise.

When’ll our last poem be, I’d asked.
When there’re no birds left, you’d said,
walking the way of Wallace through
forest to see birds of paradise.


Day 30

“Write a last chance poem. The poem could be about having a final chance at something, whether it’s writing a poem, saying goodbye, or singing a song. Or it could be about a famous last chance that’s already occurred. Whatever strikes your fancy, this truly is our last chance for November 2016.”

It’s December, folks! I had just completed the PAD Chapbook Challenge. Just short of one poem, which I’ll get to soon enough I guess. When I do such daily poem challenges, the last poem always feels like a hurrah. I’ve done this kind of challenge often enough to feel almost like breezing through the experience. I’m just reporting how it feels like for me now. I’ve also thought often enough about when my last poem will be. When I’ve run out of things to say? But there’re always things enough to say, or to say the same thing in myriad ways. It’s like reinventing yourself almost. If you’ve done this kind of thing, you perhaps share the same feeling as me. If you don’t do this kind of thing then what I’m saying would probably mean not much.

You probably have another kind of schtick. Like dance, for instance. Dance isn’t my schtick since my hamstrings are too tight for doing it well, and my body’s too heavy. But I do it still anyway, for the fun of it. I get joy out of it. The line divides one who does an activity as an amateur and one who does it to practice a kind of professional competence. On this kind of scale then you may think you’re a failure. I don’t think of it as failure. I don’t think of anything as a failure if it’s something you do that makes you happy.

At the end of the day, we’re all in a quest for something. Like Alfred Wallace. He’s a British naturalist who founded the Wallace Line. It’s the line which separates the Indonesian archipelago into two distinct parts: a western portion in which the animals are largely of Asian origin, and an eastern portion where the fauna reflect Australasia. So hopefully your exploratory quest will lead you to create a thing of value, or even things of value. Wallace also came up with the idea of evolution but Darwin kind of robbed him of the glory of his epiphany. Shit happens. So if you’re a practicing poet with no financial reward for your work, think of Wallace who was poor and struggling with no regular income for much of his life.

Onward! 2017, here we come. The prompt? What’s your quest?



Tessa, About A Visitor

Bottled up: a genie.
My black soul.
O help me god.

She’d offered some dry kind words.
Wine-colored. I never knew what it was
hidden within. That puffy smile.
All I knew, it must be what
I’m feeling too. A tobacco-stained
heart. Moping and churlish.

I’d arranged the flowers
in a vase. The shape of which
mattered in the way a body does
all the aesthetic work but
the soul, ah–the bloom
in a room.

How it’d went, I asked,
benevolent now. And it all depended
on the way–whether perfunctory
making, or tremulous as if coming
to something resembling peace.
The voice stoic, shaking.


Day 26

“Write a visitor poem. The poem could be about being a visitor to somewhere new. Or the poem could be about hosting a visitor. Write about an expected visitor or someone who shows up by surprise.”

Tessa, About That Tape

Not all doom and gloom
staring at the configuration
of the stars, maybe even
smoldering flames,
a fated labyrinth.

What? A bouquet you’d clutched
of orange lilies? Bestowed
so you’d felt satisfied,
as if prayer could move
shimmering stars.

The tape’s still running–
said matter-of-factly.


Day 25

“Write a tape poem. The poem could be about transparent tape, duct tape, video tape, or even tape worm. Anything that you can bend into a tape poem is fair game.”

Ewww, tapeworm?!!


You guys, it’s post Thanksgiving, Black Friday. I’ve not been prompting but still writing. Sometimes I wonder if prompting helped, seeing it as a black hole. You know what happens when you get sucked into a black hole? You get stretched like a strand of spaghetti. Don’t believe me? Watch this.




If you watch till the end, you’ll get a fascinating scientific statement as to why you are the center of the universe.


Hmmm, from Black Friday to Black Holes…so what about the prompt? Precisely that..Black Friday, black holes, black anything! Or even anything holey! Holy moly!





Tessa, So Were We Original At All?

For too long I’ve been a historian,
documenting, archiving photographs
–oh look how geeky we used to look,
with the bangs and other unbecoming
hairstyles–the eighties, oh god!
And then another time you’d lived
in a trailer, smoking marijuana.
Hadn’t we always been complicit
with the times? Time it was when
we’d turned up slavish, predatory,
banal, inhaling the same air.

Those were turbulent times, alive
in the living, all that growing up
being sacred and tangled in blue.
You’d asked. I’d said, we wouldn’t
have done it any differently honey,
steadying ourselves on foal legs.
We’d believed in those values, co-opted
as our own, so why ask again if there’s
a way of holding back. And what of bad
decisions? Doesn’t time heal every damn
thing so there’s nothing to forgive?


Day 24

“Write an imitation poem. Some folks say imitation is the best form of flattery. So with it being Thanksgiving in these parts, I thought it appropriate to pick a poem you enjoy and write an imitation of it. You can include poet and poem of the original if you’d like; or see if others can guess.

If you don’t have time to write an imitation poem, then try writing a poem about the act of imitation–whether people, animals, or even robots.”

Tessa, When The Morning Bus Came

In the soft darkness
we’re rehearsing. Instinctive,
dealing with this ragged
thing, foreign, and intimate
as cave paintings.

We’d twitched, and swished,
and in the greenish yellow light
walked around dazed,
jammed into rock,

The frogs’ swampy song
conspiratorial and lewd.
When the morning bus came,
all that seemed superfluous
succumbed to sun.


Day 23

“Take the phrase “When (blank),” replace the blank with a word or phrase, make the new phrase the title of your poem, and then write the poem. Possible titles include: “When in Rome,” “When Doves Cry,” “When You Can’t Say When,” “Whenever You Want,” etc.”

Tessa, Just Thinking Out Loud

Truth is, my thoughts are mush,
black, gray, dingy–
oh let me try another tack,
rowdy, hankering after love,
conspiratorial–wink wink,
good vibrations, hopeful, serious,
cross my heart

all of which should cancel out
the mildly depressing,
the sallow looking, the wintering,
the hollowed out,
the pious people who’d turned and
given a flat look secreting


Day 21

“Write a thinking out loud poem. If you’ve ever been caught thinking out loud, this poem does that. If you haven’t done it yourself, chances are you know someone who thinks out loud; channel that today.”

Tessa, My Heart Will Go On

O my sovereign heart,
are you commonplace, given to
intense fits of prudence,
standoffish, hidden like
a turtle, sunk into
boggy places?

O life is hard enough already,
all the molestations that go
on from out of the blue,
so we’re tethered to
urban detachment, sing of
harmonies not present.

You turned and smiled,
and I’d yearned it was genuine
even now I’d known it’s
bright as a sari,
and dark, decrepit
when the tide turned.


Day 20

‘Pick a popular saying, make it the title of your poem, and then, write your poem. Possible titles might include: “May the Force Be With You,” “It’s a Bird; It’s a Plane; It’s Superman,” “Just Do It,” or “Break a Leg.” I hope you break many legs with this prompt–in a poetic sense.”

Tessa, My Soldier Son Books In

The signals fired,
a sea of camouflage where
we congregated, waiting for
a green pick-up bus.

We ate lamb pie at a cafe
sucking at the air with
light whistling noises,
black boots in sight.

And so the ritual began, shall
be reprised on Sundays–
soldier son soldiering on,
mother so conciliatory.


Day 19

“Write a poem about a commonplace location. The poem could be about the local grocery store, library, or something even more intimate–like your kitchen or bathroom. Or it could be standing in line at the DMV or post office.”

Tessa, It’s A Web of Lies

They banded together, behaved as
a pack. That’s what people do
all the time, give up something of
themselves to belong, not wanting
to stand all alone.

Then some truth lurched,
militant as logic. It could come
from some lake, some boat,
some house burning down so
change comes–clean as froth.


Day 18

“Write a poem that uses the following six words:

You can write a sestina, villanelle, free verse, or haiku. Just be sure to use the six words in any possible combination that you can manage.”