Day Ten Poem: I’ll Have the Body Sandwich, and Hold the “Me,” Please

 

I’ll Have the Body Sandwich, and Hold the “Me,” Please

The story of my life, as they say. Being that fleshy lump
held between cold steel and granite, blue flame and skillet,
or that subject of inexpert experimentation in a sterile
bedroom funded by military contractors or accounting miracles,
I am no longer startled by my irrelevance to the economy.
I can assemble IKEA furniture, manipulate words, slice
salami, calculate volume in terms of books, chain saw
trees, fabricate shelving, repair PVC, curse in three languages,
prepare quiche from scratch and compose poetry (sometimes
simultaneously), to mention just a few skills, and all with great
humility, and, alas, no pay. In a previous life, I administered,
tended budgets, said “no.” Now, I want to say “yes,” but no one
will listen. My in-box is littered with ads for portable
oxygen, leaf guards for gutters, herpes remedies and geriatric
dating services, with a few funeral home missives and phishing
expeditions thrown in. I’ve been sized and assigned to a particular
box targeting a certain demographic which I may or may not
belong to. The story of my life, as they say. Whoever they are.

 

* * *

 

Many thanks to Ron Throop for providing the title. If you’d like to join in on the fun, see my September 5 post for sponsorship details. Give me a title, provide some words. Or think of another challenge! It’s all for a good cause: Brick Street Poetry, Inc. 

Tomorrow’s poem is titled “His Hand in Her Hand,” and was sponsored by poet Ivor Steven, whose book Tullawalla is out in the world! 

 

Day Fifteen Poem: Upon my discovery that my cat moves through multiple worlds leaving a trail of tumbled objects in significant patterns

 

Cat in Space

Upon my discovery that my cat moves through multiple worlds leaving a trail of tumbled objects in significant patterns

I have retreated from the public eye and am engaged in measurement
and experimentation, in coaxing objects and cat, observing gravitational

forces and studying the effects of aqua therapy on the invasive Japanese
beetle, all in the quest for MORE. Is this not the American Way?

The cat, of course, cooperates only when it pleases her. When I provide
origami cranes, she turns her attention to salt shakers. If I line up paper

cups, she turns her back and randomly flicks coasters from the table onto the floor.
Last week she pushed selected poetry books to the backs of their respective

shelves. I am still determining the connection between Akhmatova, Auster,
Berryman, Hirshfield and Jess, but once I find it, the key will certainly follow.

In one of her stops, the debris trail resembled Stone Henge. In another,
elements of the periodic table were clearly in play. And this was preceded

by a message in Morse code. My pharmacy texted an hour ago, to inform me
that my prescription was ready for pick up. I have no time for such matters.

Reh eh,” the cat says. “Feed me.” My responsibilities are many. I must smooth
the secondary blanket, and put away the dishes. But first, I must prepare her fish.

 

 

 

 

* * *

 

Many thanks to the anonymous donor who provided this title. If you’d like to join in on the fun, see my September 5 post for sponsorship details. Give me a title, provide some words. Or think of another challenge! It’s all for a good cause: Brick Street Poetry, Inc. 

Tomorrow’s poem was sponsored by Nadia Butler, and is titled “Tango.” Shall we dance? Or…

 

Day Nine Poem: Whoops… by guest poet Stephanie L. Harper

Forklift

Whoops…

by Stephanie L. Harper

Dear Autocorrect: Thank you
for your patience & support
in my kite. I rely on your
spelling sand predictive text
features many things easy day.
If I couldn’t trust you to etch
my typing, I would be a little
more honest about the times
I’m in the bathroom. I beam,
really, the last thing I need is
for people to judge me because of
where I might be dotting if all I’m
frying to do is confirm the time
of our nesting. A few fats ago,
my husband texted me from
the hardest store to ask if I could
use any more bridges for fainting
in the bedroom. Nob makes almond
anything come acrylic as romantic,
so things started jesting up a bit.
Lettuce nut say, it was with all
your extra kelp, that I was doom
scrolling his puzzle, so he had to
duck behind a dorkloft parked by
the election law tools. It was the mist
excrement wither of us remembered
having since I went shipping last
Christmas for a new wonton hacker…
Anyway, I thought I’d pet you now
how much your rusty cervix beams
to me. Your fiend, Stephanie.

 

 

* * *

 

Many thanks to Stephanie L. Harper, poet extraordinaire, for writing this piece, and Jazz Jaeschke, who sponsored the poem and provided the title and these three words: trust, judge, puzzle. If you’d like to join in on the fun, see my September 5 post for sponsorship details. Give me a title, provide some words. Or think of another challenge! It’s all for a good cause: Brick Street Poetry, Inc. 

Tomorrow’s poem is titled “I’ll Have the Body Sandwich, and Hold the “Me,” Please,” thanks to my favorite artist, Ron Throop. Was it something I said, Ron, or do you just like to make me squirm? Ha!

 

Day Fourteen Poem: Because I Could Not Say Goodbye, I Asked a Friend to Write Her Eulogy

 

wall clock

Because I Could Not Say Goodbye, I Asked a Friend to Write Her Eulogy

What is the calculus of grief?

That blank parenthetical statement.
The strip of darkness wrapped around my throat
allowing no light to escape.

I look at the wall clock for clarification
and see only its white face.

You were the gift
of approaching rain,
an oven’s warmth
on a pale, withered afternoon.

Carol, I have said so many goodbyes.

They’re stacked around me
like cords of firewood
in an eternal summer.

I cannot say another.

But I will whisper thank you,
and my laughter will speak your name.

I will dance your craziest dance,
sing your happiest song.

When I smile at the mirror,
you’ll smile back
through me

and I will remember your grace
and wisdom, know
delight and forgiveness

and the eternal starshine
of friendship, even as tears
etch their trails
down my long,
sad,
smiling face.

 

* * *

 

Many thanks to Pleasant Street for entrusting me with this title. If you’d like to join in on the fun, see my September 5 post for sponsorship details. Give me a title, provide some words. Or think of another challenge! It’s all for a good cause: Brick Street Poetry, Inc. 

Tomorrow’s poem was sponsored by an anonymous donor, and is titled “Upon my discovery that my cat moves through multiple worlds leaving a trail of tumbled objects in significant patterns.” Hmm. What to do, what to do…

 

Day Eight Poem: Another Sunrise, Another Moon

whale tail

Another Sunrise, Another Moon

 1.
I have no more lies to tell. Everyone
laughs when I say this, but I saw
the whale breach that day
and though nothing changed,
in that instant the world
stopped spinning and I rose
above that battle gray deck
to join the low clouds,
molecules fluttering,
cells dispersing, but only
for a flash,
before I came to,
standing,
gape-jawed,
22-years old
and finally, aware.

2.
Texas lives in my rear-view mirror.
Could I have stayed on my land,
harvesting those sour persimmons
for jam, watching vultures soar,
napping in the heat of day
in hopes of observing cliff frogs
at night? Would that have been
a life? Would that have been enough?

3.
I didn’t come here to die
but the possibility remains.
Will my ashes soil the streets
of Indianapolis? Soon the grass
will turn brown. Trees will bare
their branches to the wind’s icy
fingers. Snow will blanket
the cornfields, and I
will bake bread and pies.
Make pizza and rich stews.
Touch. Talk. Dream.
Sing. Read.
Love.

4.
Another sunrise           another moon           which follows which?

 

 

* * *

 

Many thanks to Tara of Sacred Land Sage, who sponsored the poem and provided these three words: persimmon, nap, flutter. If you’d like to join in on the fun, see my September 5 post for sponsorship details. Give me a title, provide some words. Or think of another challenge! It’s all for a good cause: Brick Street Poetry, Inc. 

Tomorrow’s poem is written, with the sponsor’s approval, by special guest poet and budding superstar, Stephanie L. Harper, and is titled “Whoops!” Thank you, Jazz Jaeschke, for providing the title and these three words: trust, judge, puzzle.

 

Day Thirteen Poem: Scarecrow Visits Van Gogh’s Wheatfield in Auvers

 

Wheatfield with Crows

Scarecrow Visits Van Gogh’s Wheatfield in Auvers

The corvids claim he was a crow. A man,
but a crow, who knew the faith of grain
and light, the atomic distinction
between stillness and the wind’s first
flutter, the shape of loneliness
and dark skies parted by song and
wing. He was a vanishing point,
an all-seeing eye. Or perhaps, dare I say,
one of my kind, separated from his base,
destined to observe, to record in bold,
thick strokes the hues that words
can only negate. In each of his fields,
celebration blossoms. We see what lurks
beneath the surface — that boy
walking outside the frame, a cat
behind the church — conversation
beyond speech. And in the sky, our sky,
crows suspended in directionless glory,
flying to and from, in simplicity, black
on blue and gold, above the wheat, without end.

 

 

* * *

 

Many thanks to Kerfe Roig for providing the title. If you’d like to join in on the fun, see my September 5 post for sponsorship details. Give me a title, provide some words. Or think of another challenge! It’s all for a good cause: Brick Street Poetry, Inc. 

Tomorrow’s poem is titled “Because I Could Not Say Goodbye, I Asked a Friend to Write Her Eulogy,” and was sponsored by Pleasant Street , who honored me with this request.

 

Day Seven Poem: The Kohlrabi Polka

eggplant

The Kohlrabi Polka

But turnips tango, and carrots two-step
across the lawn, their leafy headdresses
waggling in time. Habaneros, of course,
salsa, the hotter the better, while white
asparagus gavotte, and everyone knows
that yams jam and break, and zucchini
synchronize in lines. Always in lines, but
never straight ones. Parsley twists, and okra
shimmies. And eggplants, well! Just imagine
a sultry lambada, purple bellies touching,
parting only to twirl. Contrarian cabbages
dance in squares. Broad beans boogaloo
under the moon’s discerning gaze, and
Brussels sprouts waltz, no matter the tune,
while apples and other fruit glare from their
branches, bobbing helplessly, captivated,
jealous, plotting their escapes, their revenge.

* * *

Many thanks to Pleasant Street for sponsoring this poem and providing the title. If you’d like to join in on the fun, see my September 5 post for sponsorship details. Give me a title, provide some words. Or think of another challenge! It’s all for a good cause: Brick Street Poetry, Inc. 

Tomorrow’s poem is titled “Another Sunrise, Another Moon,” and is sponsored by Tara of Sacred Land Sage, who provided these three words: persimmon, nap, flutter.

Poem a Day Mini-marathon is Not Quite Over

Reflections

If you submitted a sponsorship directly through Brick Street’s donation link, and you have not been in communication with me about it, I may not know of it. Please contact me via comment or email if you’ve done this, so that I may write your poem! In the meantime, the poem a day mini-marathon (to raise funds for Brick Street Poetry) is winding down. I’m so pleased that we’ve surpassed the original goal of ten sponsored poems (we’ve received sponsorships through the 22nd)! The mini-marathon will end with Wednesday’s poem if I do not receive any more sponsorships by Tuesday evening. Thank you, everyone, for reading along and providing inspired titles and words. This has been great fun, and we’ve earned a few bucks for Brick Street, which was the idea, after all!

Day Twelve Poem: If You Were Going to Make a Mask, to Represent Me, What Color Would It Be?

 

MaskFaces

If You Were Going to Make a Mask, to Represent Me, What Color Would It Be?

Would it bear the shape of a whale’s tail at dusk,
or a flashing beacon at the end of a dim corridor?
Would it sigh in repose? Absorb light? Shift
features with mood? Who knows what people truly
think of us? I remember being lonely, wanting
nothing more than to be alone with the phosphorescent
wake and a few ideas sketched on scraps filched
from the trash. Such a cliche. But true.
And accurate. That year I learned the art of deception,
how a raised hand or oddly stressed phrase
could mask intent and redirect interest. I never
intended to reenlist, and once released, looked back
only to determine my exact starting point, stepping
instead into the swirl of apprehension and misplaced
affection. What color should the mask be? A blend
of cold sky and water below, with running lights
and the stretched-out night glow flowing
behind. The color of goodbye, of sanctimony —
heels on cobblestone — the odor of freshly turned
earth and wild oregano. Of midnight and open books,
beer in a frozen mug in August, and that fork
not taken, an ongoing turmoil, the perpetual regret.

 

 

* * *

 

Many thanks to Atomic Geography for providing the title. If you’d like to join in on the fun, see my September 5 post for sponsorship details. Give me a title, provide some words. Or think of another challenge! It’s all for a good cause: Brick Street Poetry, Inc. 

Tomorrow’s poem is titled “Scarecrow Visits Van Gogh’s Wheatfield in Auvers,” and was sponsored by Kerfe Roig.

 

Day Six Poem: Scarecrow’s Wealth

 

scarecrow and crow

Scarecrow’s Wealth

Who needs words when you own the wind?
When your wingtips flash and you know the subtleties
of reflection and shrugs and the next moment’s
glee. My friends bring me bits of each day.
Today, the bright cap lifted from a cava bottle’s
cork. Three days ago, an aluminum heart
stamped with “best.” The rodent-nibbled straw hat
perched jauntily atop my head bears a pearl
earring, and yesterday a skeleton
key materialized in my left coat pocket,
in which a mouse skull and foil wrappers
also rest. My wealth abounds, and despite
protests, I am rewarded daily. Look, they say,
accept this offering for what it is: a participation
in joy. So I point to choice grains, contribute advice
and song, screech warnings and recite poetry,
though my straw tongue often wavers.
What else may I tender to those who travel
so freely? Last week a polished hinge
came to me, and before that, a chipped glass
eye, which might someday replace my missing
ocular button, should needle and thread appear.
Each day is a gift to be shared. Every gift,
a celebration of days, a commitment to living.
I am grateful, and in my gratitude, give.

 

 

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Many thanks to Charles of Words and Feathers for sponsoring this poem. If you’d like to join in on the fun, see my September 5 post for sponsorship details. Give me a title, provide some words. Or think of another challenge! It’s all for a good cause: Brick Street Poetry, Inc. 

Tomorrow’s poem is titled “The Kohlrabi Polka,” and is sponsored by Pleasant Street, who provided the, uh, interesting title.