Why am I Writing a Poem a Day?

Lyra and Baraka

Dear Friends,

Brick Street Poetry, Inc., a literary nonprofit based in Indiana, could use our help. Like many nonprofits, Brick Street depends upon donations to augment their projects, which vary from a monthly poetry reading series, to placing Borrow a Book boxes in state parks, publishing a literary journal and various anthologies, and establishing a neighborhood literary art park (to offer free workshops), just to mention a few.

This month they’re raising funds by asking people to vote, via PayPal donations, for favorite haiku in a just-published online anthology.

I’ve decided to help out by — what else — writing poems. See my post of September 5th for details.

Why am I doing this? I love poetry. If I, poet, reader and book buyer, don’t support Brick Street’s mission, who will?

I invite you to join me in this project and help out by reading, commenting, heckling, encouraging, insulting, cajoling, praising and yes, if circumstances allow, sponsoring me and donating funds (to Brick Street, not me). This might not be of much interest if the poems were simply going to languish in a file somewhere, but such is not the case. They will be posted online daily, beginning September 8, warts and all, for the world to peruse. That’s right – you’ll see my daily work, unpolished and raw, finished or not, and if you listen closely you may hear whimpers issuing from a certain garret in northwest Indianapolis.

Thanks for listening.

Bob

Why am I Writing a Poem a Day?

Lyra and Baraka

Dear Friends,

Brick Street Poetry, Inc., a literary nonprofit based in Indiana, could use our help. Like many nonprofits, Brick Street depends upon donations to augment their projects, which vary from a monthly poetry reading series, to placing Borrow a Book boxes in state parks, publishing a literary journal and various anthologies, and establishing a neighborhood literary art park (to offer free workshops), just to mention a few.

This month they’re raising funds by asking people to vote, via PayPal donations, for favorite haiku in a just-published online anthology.

I’ve decided to help out by — what else — writing poems. See my post of September 5th for details.

Why am I doing this? I love poetry. If I, poet, reader and book buyer, don’t support Brick Street’s mission, who will?

I invite you to join me in this project and help out by reading, commenting, heckling, encouraging, insulting, cajoling, praising and yes, if circumstances allow, sponsoring me and donating funds (to Brick Street, not me). This might not be of much interest if the poems were simply going to languish in a file somewhere, but such is not the case. They will be posted online daily, beginning September 8, warts and all, for the world to peruse. That’s right – you’ll see my daily work, unpolished and raw, finished or not, and if you listen closely you may hear whimpers issuing from a certain garret in northwest Indianapolis.

Thanks for listening.

Bob

Love, Scattered (Cento)

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Love, Scattered (Cento)

I cull and offer this and this,
and these last definite whorls

or later star or flower, such
rare dark in another world,

outdistancing us, madness
upon madness, the crest

and hollow, the lift and fall,
ah drift, so soft, so light,

where rollers shot with blue
cut under deeper blue as the

tide slackens when the roar of
a dropped wave breaks into it,

and under and under, this
is clear—soft kisses like bright

flowers— why do you dart and
pulse till all the dark is home?

I am scattered in its whirl.

 

* * *

This cento is composed exclusively of lines taken from fifteen pages in the Collected Poems of H.D., 6th printing, 1945. Hilda Doolittle is a fascinating figure in 20th century American poetry. You might look at the Poetry Foundation’s biography for further information:

http://www.poetryfoundation.org/bio/h-d

image

 

Poem Up at Northwest Indiana Literary Journal

My poem, “Mr. Dobie’s Desk,” is live at Northwest Indiana Literary Journal. I am grateful to editor Joseph S. Pete for taking this piece. The photo below is of J. Frank Dobie’s desk. In another life, I was fortunate to have been able to spend time writing at it.

Dobie's Desk

 

Laocoön

GREEK COLUMN LINDOS

 

Laocoön

This figure of complexity
persuades a lingering

glance, the two-fold
inclination entwined,

horror expressed
in tandem, the sons’

limbs compressed
as the father struggles,

realizing true
sacrifice, the inward

grasp of storm and
wrath and serpent,

his face
echoing those yet

to come, breached
walls, a city in

flames, the cries
of warnings unheeded.

 

the_kelpies

Laocoön, through Virgil’s Aeneid, is the source of the phrase “Beware of Greeks bearing gifts.” The poem, which first appeared in The Blue Hour Magazine, was inspired by the sculpture “Laocoön and His Sons,” which resides at the Vatican. You might find Wikipedia’s entry of interest. Originally posted on the blog in February 2016.

The Garden

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The Garden

But what of this notion
of the romantic?

It rained last night.
I could smell it

before it fell,
each drop a perfect

sphere until the final
moment. This

is fact, impractical but
lovely for its truth.

 

* * *

Initially posted here in January of 2014, the poem was published many years ago (30?) as a poetry postcard offered by the literary journal Amelia. I admit to being wrong about the shape of raindrops. But hey, they start out spherical…

If You Drop Leaves

 

If You Drop Leaves

If you drop leaves when she walks by,
does that signify grief for those
cut down early,

or merely drought?
How easily we abandon and forget.

Yet a whiff of lemon verbena or the light
bouncing from a passing Ford
can call them back,

tiny sorrows ratcheted in sequence
above the cracked well casing

but below the shingles
and near the dwindling shade
tracing its outline on the lawn.

And what do you whisper
alone at night within sight
of sawn and stacked siblings?

Do you suffer anger by way
of deadfall or absorption,

bark grown around and concealing
a penetrating nail, never shedding
tears, never sharing one moment

with another. Offered condolences,
what might you say? Pain earns no
entrance. Remit yourselves.

 

* * *

“If You Drop Leaves” was published at Bad Pony in November 2017. Many thanks to editor Emily Corwin for taking this piece.

Some Answers You Never Considered

 

Some Answers You Never Considered

At the cusp of night, before the sun steams out in the ocean,
and blues abandon the reds.

Nothing rests at the core of zero.

Cerulean blue was first marketed as coerulium.

What we consider sky includes only its lowest reaches.

Even considering a dense history with kites, I humbly concede,
and admit sacrifice as atonement, with grace.

No. I say it again. No.

Your visual system constructs the colors you see.

Only when the wind unbuttons its greatcoat, or at the tip
of an icicle, just before the drop catches itself.

Release the line and know the freedom of loss.

Transparent yet wide, unfolded like a fist freeing
a swarm of bees into honeyed air, it contains us.

Your inability to see it does not refute the horizon’s base.

If I knew I’d tell you.

 

* * *

“Some Answers You Never Considered” first appeared in Underfoot in October 2017.