Assisted Living by J. Allyn Rosser published in The Atlantic They sit at tables close enough around To nudge, reach for salt, and chat about the day, But none of them has all that much to say. Their voices dissipate and ravel. They sound As though they’re calling out from far away. As though there were a shy ventriloquist Between them, unskilled in how to steady Gestures, turn the torso, turn the head, So wholly focused on not moving his lips, He half forgets to follow his ow
Jill McDonough's poem, Dictionary Poem, is rich with inspiration, as well as being an amazing poem. So this week's prompt will use her poem as its base; in fact, you have a choice of prompts based on this poem. Use the words that McDonough italicized in her poem in your own poem. Those words are: ambivalent, incarceration, indigo, heft, cobbles, ostensibly, allure, billow, gypsum, joist, resentment, regret Take the first line (I love teaching people how to use a dictionary),
Dictionary Poem by Jill McDonough published in The Threepenny Review I love teaching people how to use a dictionary, watch them get faster than out-of-practice me, watch them learn ambivalent or incarceration, use them in their own new sentences. I teach men and women in jail how to annotate a text, underline the words that they don’t know yet, look them up in dictionaries I bring in for them to keep. Indigo, heft, cobbles, ostensibly: words they learn while we go through sto
Pluto by Grace Li published in Crazyhorse Online I’m sorry. It was a minor matter.
All the ways that I was here and the ways
I wasn’t. A sticky black key in your
polyphonic arrangement. The silence
above the soprano. Ambivalent stopwatch.
The silt that accretes under the fingernails,
at once aging and new. What was I to you?
My rural blood has slowed, a great distance from
the city spinning its turgid centrifuge
collapsing into an ever smaller mass.
When my sad pendulum comes
Claude McKay writes of Easter flowers in his poem posted on my blog today. The photo I chose to accompany his poem is a Madonna lily. Although flower "meanings" have been around in all cultures since time began, English Victorians took that symbolism to a new level. Flower code books were very popular, even if they were not all consistent. The term for assigning a language to flowers is floriography, and deciphering a bouquet was a fun way to spend the afternoon with friends.
The Easter Flower by Claude McKay Far from this foreign Easter damp and chilly My soul steals to a pear-shaped plot of ground, Where gleamed the lilac-tinted Easter lily Soft-scented in the air for yards around; Alone, without a hint of guardian leaf! Just like a fragile bell of silver rime, It burst the tomb for freedom sweet and brief In the young pregnant year at Eastertime; And many thought it was a sacred sign, And some called it the resurrection flower; ;And I, a pagan,
For Calling the Spirit Back From Wandering the Earth In Its Human Feet by Joy Harjo from Conflict Resolution From Holy Beings (W. W. Norton, 2015) Put down that bag of potato chips, that white bread, that
bottle of pop.
Turn off that cellphone, computer, and remote control.
Open the door, then close it behind you.
Take a breath offered by friendly winds. They travel
the earth gathering essences of plants to clean.
Give back with gratitude.
If you sing it will give your s
What is something you hate? Broccoli? Sitting in traffic? Superhero movies? Purple? The bangs you gave yourself? Cigarette smoke? Spiders? Certainly you have a number of things you can do without, but for this writing prompt, you need to choose just one. After you've chosen, write about the thing as if you love it. Really praise the thing--find goodness, even greatness, and make your reader see it, too. Do some research if you need to, but get to that silver lining. Be sure t
April by Linda Pastan A whole new freshman class of leaves has arrived on the dark twisted branches we call our woods, turning green now--color of anticipation. In my 76th year, I know what time and weather will do to every leaf. But the camellia swells to ivory at the window, and the bleeding heart bleeds only beauty.
published in her book, Code (Black Lawrence Press, 2020) Caves are not caves; they are thresholds into other worlds. We enter, blink into being, inhale as our ancestors would have for ripeness of bear or carnage from cougar's feeding. Safe scents of cold clay, mud puddles, and prayer pull us in past stalactites, past crystal-calcium horns, past claw marks that rib walls in white. The map-less dark reminds of centuries when people knew they did not possess dominion over nature
Let's use today's poem, Gnats by Ladan Osman, as part of our inspiration today. I also suggest reading Ode to the Maggot by Yusef Komunyakaa (here for the print version or here to hear/watch Komunyakaa read it). Another great insect poem to read is Lucille Clifton's At Last We Killed the Roaches. We humans have such weird relationships with insects. Many of us have a fear of spiders, but we romanticize dragonflies. I despise ants, but I cannot help but admire their feats of e
Gnats published in The Normal School, 2015 I can't tell why I think the dried corncobs in the gravel and the mattress under the tree were not put here by children who bite so fast they leave rows of kernels. What does this mattress make me imagine? What stalks this strange field? Who is eating my head? Years ago, I would have imagined children jumping off the branches, landing hard on the mattress, shouting out when the odd spring caught a rib, an elbow. There would be a youn