Archive for the ‘Poetry Jam’ Category

This week’s Poetry Jam prompt has to do with spices and cooking, but it was presented in a broad manner and open to many interpretations; I really liked this flexibility. So far, from the submissions and poems I’ve read in response to the prompt, it seems many of us love writing about exotic spices, cooking, our senses of smell, and the concomitant associations of all of those with sex.

Not sure if this is finished, but I really wanted to link to it before too long. In any case, on with the show.

Apres Le Diner

Fingerbowls of powdered red dust
black sesame seeds

Oil sizzles in a cast iron pan
cardomom pops

I smell like curry,
and honey,
in the late heat of the day,

I taste sharp garlic and hot ginger
on our mingled fingertips

Your puzzle of spices and fruit pods
makes sense

There is a mushroom
that mimics the smell of decay
to attract flies to spread its spores

Using scent to get what we need


This week’s Poetry Jam got me thinking about a few other things, not directly as a response to the prompt, but I’ve decided to include them here as a sort of Part Two of this post. Incomplete, perhaps, like my little poem; read on if you like.

Last year, I visited Salem, Massachusetts for the first time. So many little port towns in New England in the 1600s and beyond were made wealthy by the shipping industry. The Triangle Trade was the trade and transport of rum, sugar cane or molasses, and Africans who had been sold into slavery across the Atlantic Ocean and between the Caribbean, Africa, Europe, and New England. Much wealth also rested on the spice trade. Pepper, cinnamon, chilis, nutmeg, (Connecticut was known as The Nutmeg State), The Spice Islands. It’s a fascinating and complex history which I’ve given short shrift along with ill-supported flicks of information.

It is Black History Month and it behooves us to keep learning more, to dredge up information, to keep asking questions, and to keep seeking the bones that sank to the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean in the Middle Passage. At least that’s what I think, but maybe that doesn’t jive with the current [Facebook] trend of trying to focus only on the positive. Hmm. I’m torn between seeking a state of peace and higher consciousness and admitting to the consistent, historical truth of being human in other circumstances; but not really. I know where I fall on the continuum.

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Poetry Jam–I, 2012

Holy holy.

I’ve taken a break from writing to the Poetry Jam prompts. Maybe it’s been 2 months or so. This has been conscious but also feels somewhat out of my control. I’ve been sick and noticed that all of my poetry-writing vim and vigor had dried up during the period in which I’ve needed to focus my energies on simply getting well. I also wasn’t sure how to participate without becoming overwhelmed. Everyone is so encouraging and I couldn’t keep up with commenting on other poems. I found I was pressuring myself to be more like other poets who comment so consistently and beautifully. I would read everyone’s work, but when it came to saying something on each blog, I found myself faltering.

I am struggling with my own writing, but I think the Poetry Jam can be a way to force myself to put out a poem-in-progress or even a bad poem. I need that. I get too precious and fussy instead of letting the process be process. I was really pleased with some of what came from the prompts, so it has been fruitful in that way, too.

Without much further ado, I’ll give it another go. For my own organization, I’m also starting to count the Poetry Jam posts over for 2012….

This week’s prompt, which is so great, is hot and cold. It should have been a rich one for me, but I’m just going to bite the bullet and print what I came up with. It’s a snippet, not finished, and maybe doesn’t need to go anywhere else. I’m trying so hard to let these things be and to stop fussing. Holy holy.

How Do I Move Away From the Body of Middle Age?

Hot, cold,
or warm, Luke?

At night, my feet stay cold
my toes, frozen

so I bundle myself in layers of mohair and wool,
down and cotton

I wake in another hour
to an unbearable heat from the feet
I can’t move away from it quickly enough

I slough the covers
peel socks, pj bottoms and nightshirt off

and pant for cooler waters
in the dry winter air

Where is my temperate zone?

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Protected: Poetry Jam XXV

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Protected: Poetry Jam XXIV

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Here is my attempt for this week’s Poetry Jam. What’s cooking this week? Write a poem which uses the following words:

laugh  laundry  ghost  edges  beer

I’ve tried to fulfill the assignment and the result may be the worst poem I’ve written since I started this blog (believe me, not my worst poem ever, because some of those I wrote in my younger days are real stinkers).

I’m terrible with humorous poems and I tried to go that route with this one; then I decided, what the heck, I’ll let it be what it is. Not too happy with the result, but as I’ve said before, the shit can get pretty deep around here so it’s good practice not to take myself and work too seriously.*

If you are new to my blog (maybe came via Silent H, Deadly H?), welcome and please look at some of my other poems via the Category column to your right. I swear I usually do better…..

Ghosts of My Grandmothers Hanging Laundry

I love the laundry,
it is true,
I always have,
I always do

The sheets hang like ghosts
in autumn’s fading light
sins of my fathers
labors of my mothers
precede the
rhythm of my days

My grandmothers make sharp edges
with hot irons

Sometimes an uttered curse
up to God or down to Hell
rarely a laugh
the labor long
with diapers
and stained undershirts

Oma didn’t drink
because alcohol
was a demon
walking side-by-side
with the soldiers and the bombs,
Meine Opa’s
fists livelier with every slug
from the bottle

For my Jewish Grandma Elsa,
ceremonial wine

And me?
Do not I love the laundry?

Jeans on the line,
and genes from my fathers,
slugging my beer
‘til I can’t drink any more

I love the laundry,
it is true,
I always have,
I always do

October 16, 2011

*Dear Readers–the trick of setting you up for disappointment is not new to me. I understand this robs you (and me) of a fresh ear to my work and a genuine, untainted discourse in regards to it. It’s an old behavior of mine and I pull it out here consciously. Perhaps a woman of greater character and strength would have let the chips fall where they may. My only defense is I don’t do it often and I’m pretty strong most rest of the time (you know I’ve got a pair of brass ovaries, peeps!). I love you, my dear readers; don’t forget it!

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Blue Skies Above, Low Tide Below

Gulls squabble in the shallows
where the fishing is best

I lie down in the low-tide waves,
stroke the sand

my arms sweep
like I am rowing in a shell
but I am not going anywhere today

the soft sand begins to feel dry
in my underwater hands

piping plovers
move one-mindedly
like ants or flocking blackbirds

I stand and look at the horizon
upside-down between my legs
the waves almost touching my face

can I orient to this strange world
where the sky flattens
and color disappears?

I lie back down on dry sand
cold on my bare back
and whisper your name to the blue above

I called and you came
my love

I called and you came

October 9, 2011

This week’s Poetry Jam directed us to write a love poem (I “missed” last week’s Poetry Jam, ie, couldn’t write an apt poem to save my life even though the prompt was a juicy one). Just something light and airy today, gott sei dank!

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I know I’m posting these really late for the Poetry Jam, and that’s probably because I’m not very funny. Limericks are supposed to be funny, so here are my attempts. A really good limerick is harder than it looks (I’ve got the rhythm screwed up, for instance). A bad pun, on the other hand, not so hard.

Laugh Lines

An old mother lying in bed,
Thought “this laughing has gone to my head”
She looked in the mirror,
And saw something queerer:
Many crow’s feet on her face instead

A mom dreamed off into space
‘Til she saw all the lines on her face
“These crow’s feet can’t stay,
For plastic surgery I’ll pay
Or perhaps I’ll stop smiling apace”

September 7, 2011

For Poetry Jam: “something funny”

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