prompt #9 ~ spider

in the window sill

threadlike remains of eight legs

colour leached by light

eight eyes will not see again

a tiny web hangs, tattered

 

poem #8 ~ shovel poem

I am a cowboy in the boat of Ra” ~

with apologies to Ishmael Reed[1]

 

My literary lovers aren’t like me. It is not my choice that I

Follow the tracks of black men, gay men, dead veterans. But who I am

Is all of these men I never was and never will be. Somehow, a

Bridge connects each of them to me, each of us to one another. Cowboys

To angry Indians, men betrayed by women to this woman, who in

Her journey out of darkness watches for the light thrown by the

Men who live there, on the margins, floating down the river in a boat

With words for a rudder. Made homeless by other men always white men of

My own kind, my father told me. But the ancient god speaks, and Ra

Who created everything & everyone, even the white sidewinders,

Reminds me: all pools reflect light. Looking at light is looking in

Into the darkness within us. Each of my lovers has mapped the

Alleys, hairpin curves, and switchbacks of roads like old saloons

Set up to carry us away from bridges, away from all of

Light’s illumination. Not to follow is to submit to fools.

Not to follow is to submit.

 

 

[1] https://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poem/i-am-cowboy-boat-ra

Prompt #7 ~ inside out

Inside out

From the gut – the bones, the marrow, the soft & hidden
Places. Where who I really am hides, protected. Safe…
Sequestered behind organs that pulse    inflate    record
Move the seas of blood through the tiniest of tunnels.
Over microscopic bridges without names

Neural pathways crisscross the hidden me, who conceals
Her presence in the ocean thrum of inner music, plucked
Tendons    ligaments    the threads of artery & vein
Each with its own red voice, magnified in community
Camouflage for the uncertain

Without – the smile, the warm confidence. The careful
Lacquer of manners & skills. All the masks we wear
Over our inner lives. Silk and leather and the fey glitter
Of carefully polished words. None of it matching
An interior landscape of apocalypse

 

Prompt #6 ~ changes

Changes

Some things never change
Rain falls to the thirsty ground
In silver torrents
Until you move. And rain
Glitters down, silver threads
That shimmer in the grey mountain air

Light that in another latitude
Scorches dreams
Here gentles the air
Offers up its softest sheen
A kind of curtain against darkness
So that I draw back the real curtains
And drown myself in light like rain
Silver healing.

Poem #5 ~ that was then

That was then

Between the banyan’s ropy limbs
The monk offered incense to the faithful
And to the round-eyed child who only then
Realised where god lived: within this smoky cave

Where saffron robes flickered like leaflight
Like the dreams where she bargained with god
To make for her a home. Here, where sandalwood
Was in each breath. Here, where she would never

Belong. Her very skin argued with the monsoon
Shining through its silver curtain, her pale legs
Crossed in front Buddha style. She is not
Invisible, despite the magic she is certain

Infuses the air. She is người Tây, foreigner
Suspended between then – that longlost then –
And now, some essential part of her
Missing

 

Prompt 4 ~ googling old lovers

googling old lovers

I looked for you yesterday
Knowing that your name
That song of syllables
Bequeathed you by a man
As tall as you perhaps as wild
Would ride the tidal wave
Of names of losses left uncounted
Dark hot sorrow

It was a nuclear separation
The explosive white fire
of my father’s anger
The warm brown sorrow
of your mother’s foreseeing
The incandescence of desire
fell from my fingers like notes
of music from plucked strings
Or water heard, unseen
I did not find you

Only your death
the abrupt end of that road trip
we once thought we’d take together
three years after the black hot sorrow
Of my leaving
you were dust unto dust
Bones broken by familiar hate

and now decades past that fire
the hazy smoke of your name
curls above the embers
Dark
Hot
Sorrow that I would not feel
Could not submit to
Even now

 

The house where the wind lives

The house where the wind lives

Has no doors. The windows whisper
To the sagebrush nestled beneath them:
Hold fast, my loves. Hold fast.
Behind the weathered wooden walls
High plains stretch langurously
Their flat bodies supine beneath
The wide pale sky
Mornings, the wind has breakfast
With her lover, cloud.
Cloud’s tendril fingers reach
For sage blossoms
Which wind blows across
The sagging table. She smiles.
Cloud shakes his head, and droplets
Of rain fall from his white hair.
This is the house where the wind lives
He reminds himself. And smiles back.

Poem #2: She is writing her self portrait

She is writing her self-portrait

Rolling words within her mouth
Like the finely pointed tip of a brush
Its camel bristles viridian green
While the broader brush beside it
Glistens with a simpler blue
Simple as mountain air is simple
Blue with the evening damp
A thin mist of blue and grey
And the promise of evening rain
Not simple at all, really

The lines she hopes will sing
Quiver like the strings
Of the untuned harp in the corner
That still holds the memory
Of music within tensile wires
Hum in sympathy to colours and textures
Palette knife and finger
Stone and rag and bone
She knows she must include

How will she draw the rivers
She wonders
The earthy Mekong brown
The silverine of the Chao Phraya
The red clay of the Arkansas
The chatoyance of this newest friend
For now, she is an island
in a confluence of waters
How their currents fed her from wide beds
How she moved over and through
Their slick finned stories

It is more than hesitating brush and ink
Are able in her faltering hand
To render
The cacaphony that masquerades
As her name, her face
How it changes colours
As the rivers widen shorten deepen
Each a note on a staff in a lyric
That needs more music to move
As the wind does As the birds do
As she did each year of her fragmented childhood
In arcs of bright morning light
In swooping loops of flight
In the scalloped surfaces of rivers
That might as well be her own blood
Circling in pulsing rhythm
Her faceless homeless heart

 

 

 

After the apocalypse

Poem #1
Earth, Wind, Fire, & Water prompt

After the apocalypse ~

He said he preferred fire.
I’m going with ice
water’s sturdier cousin
A diamante shroud
Glittering & proud
Of its crystalline structure
Buried in the frozen earth
I will survive like mammoths
Surfacing to light and air
Only æons after
When the pale green sky
Is streaked with fire
And rain weeps
From the scarlet clouds
And nothing else remains

 

 

another introduction ~

Hi all ~

This will be my fourth marathon, although last year’s was a bust due to a serious family illness. I had to drop out before I really started. I was sooo disappointed.

This year, I’m settled in a new state, in a new chapter of my life. I’ve been a writer of one sort or another all my life — primarily poetry, but I also write non-fiction. I’ve published both, as well as journalism & academic writing. My work background is as eclectic as my writing: journalism, academia, the arts & humanities. Writing has been a doorway for me into all kinds of places & jobs.

My plan for this marathon (actually half-marathon; I do not function well on no sleep) is to just do the prompts. What I found in years 1 & 2 was that I just had to trust the process. Oh — and have a LOT of good coffee and/or Thai iced tea to help keep me going!

Here’s to poets, and their brilliantly coloured voices!