About The Hippie

He’s a really cool guy.
I’d say the hippie eco type,
wore his hair long, messy
held by a bandana, his pants slouchy,
real comfy, and he padded around
in brown crocs.

His apartment reeked a musky
smell that clung to hair,
the air and the furniture.
Everything moved so slow
being there with him,
I felt like screaming.

It’s just sad, the way things
moved bit by bit, or the way
they started up then stopped,
we’d backed away then would
start up again so each time
the odds would go lower.

Prompt:

Day 28. Where did yesterday go? Well, it went for a walk in the forest and I lost its trail. So you’d have to wait till I find him. Or is it an ‘it’? I checked out Robert Brewer’s smell prompt and decided to jump right to it. One has to follow gut instinct right? Right. So technically there’re two more days to go. Let’s go. Wait. What’s the scent?

The Buddha

There was a laughing Buddha
carved in reddish brown,
about three feet tall.
Right on the staircase
landing, he so reminded me
of his amiable dad.

Like the rosewood furniture,
the Oriental carpet,
the cuckoo clock which chimed
on the hour, all those
floating shadows,
the searing loss.

He’d wore the sarong,
and raised his eyebrows,
so out of range, rapturous
once, not unimportant but
a legend of long ago
and still as a pond.

Prompt:

Day 21. I’m officially weary. Nine more days to the gate, and yay, I’ll be done with this kind of poeming pretty much! So Robert decided to have mercy on us and asked for an object poem. Too easy peasy? Only, why stop at one object when you could have a list? A small list or even a rapturously long one. Why? Because desire doesn’t cure itself. Just when you think you don’t need one more thing, you see and you need. It feels like a seizure, if you know what I mean. This wanting. It’s human nature is it not? Damn you, human nature!

Dull As Crows

She’s into fossils, evidence on
grayness, brushwork, needles,
shell remains, inscriptions,
a fringe of history,
atoms of prophecy.

Dull as crows, Adrienne said.

She walked into the crisp air,
drew her cardigan close,
sniffed the magnolias,
heard the sound of spring.
Ah nothing changes,
and everything does.

Prompt:

Day 6 now. And I’m almost losing count.
Robert Brewer wants us to write about sound. What sounds do you hear? I can hear children. Birdsong. Water in a small fountain. Life is filled with sound isn’t it? Then those familiar sounds when people you know speak. It’s all too familiar. What a poem does…is to defamiliarize by framing it, giving it a kind of structure. Life isn’t like that. It is fluid. Freeze frame life? Yup. Do it.

In case you didn’t realize, my prompt is just so you can submit your poem to Red Wolf Poems, and submission there is the same as submission to Red Wolf Journal. Not confused? Good.

Harold’s War-Time Childhood

The bombs rained on us like sirens
calling out to a nether world.
Insubstantial ones! They called out
and Harold shivered, pallid
and peed in his pants.

When he hid in a dark cellar,
he thought, in murky exuberance, of
his aunt’s seaside bungalow.
Edmund his cousin and he would go
on holidays to swim in the afternoon.

Nights with no electricity.
The boys would lit a carbide lamp
at six o’clock. First calcium carbide
then add water. Bring the candle closer,
Edmund, so I can see how much water.

Into the can the candle fell in
a burst. The boys’ faces burned.
An Indian sweeper passing by cut
a banana leaf, squeezed its sap
to leaven stinging rosy cheeks.

They roamed the streets, played in
crates. Too much melodrama in the
large landscape–when the second bomb
dropped, the Japs surrendered sword.
There was a big victory parade.

The Union Jack was raised,
the national anthem played–God Save
the King! Harold then walked from
the Padang to Telok Kurau. Up on
the foothills peace reigned.

 

Prompt:

Write a poem about nationalism. However that expresses it for you. How is that precious to you? How much of nationalism goes into making you? You could do it in a memoir form, which would mean how it was for you growing up in the country in which you were born. Describe the landscape, the people, the habits and how all of that become part of you. You get the idea. I’d like a peek into the country that made you.

 

I dreamed of a rocky wilderness

Aren’t we all solicitous of America?
What surge of pride?
I dreamed of a rocky wilderness.

A Republican America,
and we all grew querulous,
yet purified in office, may you be,

with a briefcase full to
match that swagger, and stand tall,
America, diverse and all.

Prompt:

I woke up to watch the live streaming of Trump’s inauguration. I wish you well, America. What sort of values will you espouse? Write about it maybe. Oh the dignity of that office, and how Trump will carry it, the world watching in bated breath. Holding it holding it holding it.

Tessa, My Sweet Georgia

Perhaps in a past life I’d been
fresh-smelling, favored
by the universe. Georgia sure was.
She was and she was.
Expensively dressed, wild hair,
swollen lips.

But thinking gives us all
a familiar dread. Like Wordsworth
who’d dreamt up his immortality ode,
we’d aroused within a kind of shine,
and said with rebuke to all bad things
like hard labor and squalor, and even its
converse, idleness, lack of purpose–

I’m Georgia, and why do I even have to
put up with it: I’ll be prodigious
and I’d be getting ahead.

Prompt: “Magic is everywhere if only we’d knew where to look.” I read this quote/thought this morning. It’s one of those gentle reminders. It’s also the reason why we’re poets. We look and we look, don’t we? So here’s a relevant quote from Wordsworth’s “Ode: Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood”, which I’d first came across in my lit geek uni days:

“Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting:
The Soul that rises with us, our life’s Star,
Hath had elsewhere its setting,
And cometh from afar:
Not in entire forgetfulness,
And not in utter nakedness,
But trailing clouds of glory do we come
From God, who is our home:
Heaven lies about us in our infancy!
Shades of the prison-house begin to close
Upon the growing Boy,
But he beholds the light, and whence it flows,
He sees it in his joy;
The Youth, who daily farther from the east
Must travel, still is Nature’s Priest,
And by the vision splendid
Is on his way attended;
At length the Man perceives it die away,
And fade into the light of common day.”

Ponder upon it and come up with some magic, will ya?

Tessa, Truth Is Cumbersome Sometimes

Tricia was no dimwit,
she of the persuasive voice–
well we had a dalliance, didn’t we,
and along the way something
stirred up, envy maybe,
when the sea just seemed
bright as glass, and
the needlepoint we’ve sewn
grew shabbier.

What’s bright? Nothing any more,
just wool pulled over eyes,
so what she said was
not completely true,
and I couldn’t think of anything
more to say.

Prompt:

Here we are, in the last week of 2016, and frankly it couldn’t be sooner. I hope you’re feeling all uplifted by the season, or if not something within the season will stir the quiet waters within. George Michael died, adding to the list of luminaries who’s left this world this year. For me his two most memorable songs were “Last Christmas” and “Careless Whisper”. Well, whaddayu know, it’s Christmas time so I guess we’ll be hearing a lot of “Last Christmas”. For the rest of us who continue on in this world, let’s hope 2017 won’t be such a bitch. For your prompt, write about the bitches you knew in 2016 or that was 2016, or something like that. Then yea, move on. Here’s another from George Michael.

This one I like:

Tessa, All In Good Time

He asked, how many days did God take
to make the world? Seven days, my son said.
So the ENT specialist said, everything takes
time, takes sacred rituals, or even
daily partakings in these things,
like putting on or taking off
your camo pants, so hold on
to those ripples of attention,
even those inexpressibly flattering
smiles, with cynicism.

I cannot exchange my breezy space now
with yours; am I changeable? Placing my trust
on what it’s meant to turn out to become;
meanwhile I’m clamoring to dance again,
even if I did feel standoffish, not
wanting to turn into some idiotic effect,
but once the moves became automatic
I’d wanted it all over again, and I’d memorized
all gray and insubstantial things in much
the same way, till time passes.

Prompt: This year’s Christmas feels different for me, maybe because of the change in rituals. I’ve not even put up a Christmas tree. But I love the season still. 2016 turned out to be kinda crappy. It’s disappointing on so many levels. Anyway it’s taught me to discern. No, did not have that gift and so had to learn the hard way. I’ve always mistaken rust for gold, is what I’m saying. But I’ve always measured things by a gold standard, and guess I always will. And one of the things I’ve learned is it’s ok to be on your own, to not look to others for validation. You are writing your own story. No one else’s opinion should matter. It’s between you and your God. So the prompt is to write a review in your poem, but it doesn’t have to be a long, hard review, just some wisdom you’ve gotten at the end of the year.