Wednesday, April 25, 2018

WARNING (NaPoWriMo 2018 - Day 25)

WARNING
Careful
Gets very hangry
Feed regularly; have snacks on hand.

Caution:
Indecisive
May be frustrating but
She can't always make up her mind.
Sometimes she can't tell you what she wants
But can tell you what she doesn't.
This may be frustrating.
Use patience.

Cuidado:
Doesn't like repeating herself
Listen carefully and closely.
Know what she said the first time.

Beware:
Introverted
Sometimes may seek solitude
It's nothing against you,
She just needs her alone time
Let her have it.

DO NOT LEAVE CHOCOLATE UNATTENDED
She will eat it.
Do not get between her and her chocolate
You will regret it.
She is a shameless chocoholic.




Today's prompt was to write a warning label for yourself. And in the spirit of getting to know each other a little better, I thought I'd answer the questions Maureen has asked poets in the NaPoWriMo Interview (I've even included a writerly author bio following the format of said interviews - not sure what I'm talking about? See one here.)

Sharon has many half-baked novels, but many more fully formed poems. She created her first (and only) chapbook, Tidbits, in her Creative Writing class her junior year of high school. Her work has been published in the local newspaper, a TPWD wildlife newsletter, and the 2017 Seaspray Literary Journal. She also freelance edits.

1. Why did you begin writing poetry? Why do you still?
I've been telling stories my whole life. I started writing as early as I could. I was introduced to poetry in the fourth grade (everyone else liked Shel Silverstein, I was and am a fan of Jack Prelutsky). I'm not sure when I started regularly writing poetry, but I do remember writing some poems in 7th or 8th grade that were embarrassingly lovey-dovey, mushy-gushy.

I've kept writing poetry because I've found it helps me to process things: events and emotions, both personally and at a larger scale. Not to mention, I just really enjoy writing.

2. What is the best piece of writing advice you've gotten? The worst?
I'm not sure I've really gotten much writing advice. I do remember in 7th grade, my English teacher encouraged me to be more descriptive in my writing by writing what I know.
But I think the key to writing is the same as what my mother once told me was the key to art: you have to know when to stop adding to a poem. You have to recognize when it's done. It can be difficult, but practice (and revision) helps.

3. How did your new book come into being?
New book? Are you a prophet or a soothsayer? I don't know, but I'll let you know if there ever is one.

4. Is there a generative prompt, practice or ritual that you find particularly helpful, or that you would recommend to students, friends, or other poets?
I find writing to prompts incredibly useful. Or writing about something I've had an emotional response to. I think the most important thing is to write. But if you insist. . . I love NaPoWriMo and I think one of the prompts I enjoyed the most was this one from 2015 that encouraged us to take a well-known poem and write a satire or parody of it. Here's the poem I wrote in response to that prompt. The way I approached it, I think could help you master unfamiliar poem forms (like that of the Poe's The Raven).



I can't believe the month is almost over!
-Sharon

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

NaPoWriMo 2018 - Day 24 (An Elegy for Ancient Egypt)

Today the challenge was to write an elegy with a sense of hopefulness. It should be noted that I'm not following the three phrases outlined at poets.org (see second link above).

An Elegy for Ancient Egypt

Land of the River Nile
Ebbing and Flowing
Flooding and Receding
Driving daily life.
Land of pharoahs and tombs,
Pyramids and Great Sphinxes
gods and temples.
Land of mummies; afterlife
Hieroglyphics, Rosetta Stone.
Land where a god daily traveled
across the sky.
These are some of the things I know.

Over centuries,
things have changed
Grave robbers came
Sphinx nose crumbled
Wars waged
Pharaohs fell.

But still knowledge remains.
And while those times are passed by
You still catch imagination's eye.

Dams built
River swelled
Temples encroached
Humans prevail
Temples moved - saved.

You followed Earth's patterns for your life
We change the Earth how we like.

What more can we learn?
What mysteries
Hide in your temples,
Tablets, tomes,
Pyramids, Valley of the Kings?
What more secrets can we know?

I hope to make it to Egypt one day,
Sharon

Monday, April 23, 2018

NaPoWriMo 2018 - Day 23

The prompt today was to write "a poem based in sound." There was the literal approach: a poem filled with onomatopoeia. Sizzle, sizzle, hissss, purrr. Well that didn't yield much (just breakfast foods and a cat). I wanted to write a poem that had the rhythm of a train but I couldn't even begin to think of how to do that. So I don't know what this will even be. But the day is almost over here and I owe a poem.

Screeeeeee
squeak
    squeak
        squeak

Down the stairs
Take a peak.

Screeeeee
       squeak
    squeak
squeak

Creep to the door
Who is there?

EEEK!!!

An open door
And the most unsettling sound of all

Empty

            Unsettling




     Silence.


Slam!Bang!Click!

SqueakSqueakSqueak!
UpTheStairsLicketySplit!
Scrree.Click.

EEEEEeeeee
Climb in bed. Cover your head. Try to get some sleep.



ZZZZzzzzzz



Better late than never
-Sharon

Sunday, April 22, 2018

NaPoWriMo 2018 - Day 22

Today's prompt is to take one of several impossible phrases and write a poem in which the impossible occurs. Since I chose a funny topic; I thought I would use a limerick(ish). Here's a fun one to start of your Sunday:

 There once was a farmer who farmed all his life
 But never would he agree to help his wife
 When it came to raising their son
 He was quite the unhelpful one
 In their marriage it caused much strife

 He wouldn't give another thought to cleaning the chicken coop
 He didn't even mind cleaning the pig sty's goop
 But when it came to a diaper
 He wouldn't even be a wiper
 So his wife was forced to clean all diapers - both pee and poop

 One day their son was a little sick
 The farmer didn't care a lick
 His wife worked all night
 In the morning she started a fight
 Hoping that would do the trick

 "I've had it with you!" She yelled
"His diarrhea diapers quite smelled."
 But the farmer refused to aquiesce
 To his dear wife's request
 So her frustration went unquelled.

 She followed him out to the sty
 Whereupon she started to cry
 "Just help me out"
 "Just change one diaper!" She did shout.
 His reply: "I'll change a diaper when pigs fly!"

 Oh that really got her goat
 And the farmer went to town to gloat
 But his wife she did stew
 For she didn't know what to do
 So she went to talk to the women at the moat.

 To the other women she talked
  And around her even more  flocked
 Those other women began to stew
 Later told their husbands "I've got a beef with you!"
 At her tale those women gawked.

 With the anger of a hundred women, she headed home
 And grew angrier still upon seeing the dome
 On the silo's top
 Nothing could make her anger stop
 As she watched her husband work in the loam.

 When he finally came back inside
 Her anger was still quite unsatisfied
 "Since only flying pigs will win your help"
 "I'll see that they do!" She did yelp.
 The farmer rolled his eyes knowing his wife lied.

 Then out their window; right before their eyes
 A tornado appeared in the skies
 It dropped to the ground
 Where it spun round and round
 And lifted all the pigs out of their sties.

 The farmer's jaw dropped to the floor for he knew
 What his wife would soon make him do.
 She held out their baby, winking
 And his diaper was stinking
 That day, pigs flew! Yes it's true!

 Neighbors came from near and far
 As the farmer wished he were at a bar
 The women let out a cheer:
 "He got what he deserved, dear!"
As he cleaned that poopy diaper.

 And you know the rest
 The wife satisfied with her quest
 Sat down in a chair
 While the farmer searched out fresh air
 He always remained at her behest.

 Never again would a diaper she change
 Because for all his trying he couldn't rearrange
 So whether they be poop or pee
 Diapers were now the farmer's responsibility
 She even brought baby to him out on the range!

Now you've heard my tale
I hope you've listened quite well
Learn from the farmer's mistake
Do not wish for swine to uptake
Or else the clouds will form a powerful cell!



Hehe, I had fun with that one
-Sharon

Saturday, April 21, 2018

NaPoWriMo 2018 - Day 21

Today's prompt is to write "a poem that plays with the myth" of Narcissus.

I read versions of the myth online, but I recall a slightly different version:
Narcissus sees his reflection in a pond and falls in love with the beautiful reflection. Bending to kiss it, he falls in the pond and ends up drowning and his namesake flowers spring from the ground beside the pond.

I can't find a version of the myth of Narcissus that has this particular means of demise in it, so I may have mis-remembered the myth. Either way it reminds me of the end of T.S. Eliot's poem, "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" a poem that I often find this part of this poem inspirational.

We have lingered in the chambers of the sea
By sea-girls wreathed with seaweed red and
brown
Till human voices wake us, and we drown.



Inspired by Narcissus and Eliot and Poe, here is my poem

Narcissus loved himself; a sad downfall; floral eternity.
Mermaids sing to sailors; sailors sing back, leaning overboard and
Kissing wat'ry lips of death
Mermaids long to walk on land but breathing air would mean their demise.
Irony of ironies mermaids cannot live above
Anymore than we could dwell below.



I tried my hand at Trochaic Octometer but was not completely successful, but anyway there's today's poem!


NaPoWriMo Will Not Last Forevermore!
-Sharon

NaPoWriMo 2018 - Day 20

As they say "a day late and a dollar short." I actually wrote this poem on time yesterday but I wasn't sure about it and didn't publish it and well now it's late and I'm a poem behind . . . for now.

Today's prompt was to write a poem that in some way incorporates rebellion. My mind sprang forth with many ideas at once. But which to write? I sort of liked the idea of writing about Ella Enchanted but that seems to easy. It was also suggested that we might right a poem in which we rebel against ourselves.

A noose tattooed around his neck
Though in jail
He was the last of the four men convicted
"It's to remind me that I'm still here."
He had plead guilty to a crime for which he was innocent
Told that was the only way he would live.
He died later
In jail.
Never exonerated of a crime
He didn't commit.
The most rebellious thing he could do
Was live.

Another of the men convicted beside him
Sat on death row for a decade plus
Eventually he was put to death
For a crime he insisted he didn't commit.
Lawyers tried hard to exonerate him
Or at the very least
Get his sentence changed
And though they worked hard
Even their last ditch efforts
Failed.
The most rebellious thing he could do
Was maintain his innocence.

What had happened you see
was that the justice system had failed.
A sheriff deputy and a DA
Were far too concerned
With closing the case
They found some guys with a background
And pinned it on them
With little material evidence
And a whole lot of testimony
That left something to be desired.
The most rebellious thing they could do
Was not do their jobs by the book.

There were many others
Lawyers, detectives, journalists
Who came to town
Looking for answers
Wherever they could be found.
They paid out of pocket for DNA testing
To find the answers they were questing.
The most rebellious thing they could do
Was leave no stone unturned.

Can people really be laid to rest -
Can their families really have peace -
If the people convicted
Seem, at least in this case to have their hands clean?

Those three teens lie underground
Will the truth ever be found?
Do their spirits haunt
Some guilty soul?
Perhaps we will never know.
Do their spirits roam
That sad lake
And question if this was a big mistake?
The most rebellious thing those spirits could do
Is whisper the truth to me or you.

Friday, April 20, 2018

NaPoWriMo 2018 - Day 19

Another late poem, I'm afraid. Today's prompt was a bit tricky and maybe that's why its late (it seems as though the prompts have been getting trickier and trickier).

April 19th
Today's prompt was to write a paragraph (perhaps directions from your house to the grocery store) and then either erase words from the paragraph to create a poem or use the words as a word bank to create a poem.

I sort of did that. I wrote directions to the grocery store in list form - because they're directions. And then I crammed it into a paragraph and got rid of some of the "less important" words (and, or, the, in etc). Then I sort of just used the words for inspiration and wrote.

The Lone Oak

Over the little narrow bridge
Out on the curvy roads
Where people take their lane out of the center
Past the last house
Eventually you will find
The Lone Oak
He is a friend of mine
Walnut, Juniper, Oak, Ash, Elm
All these trees grow in my realm
But the gnarled old Lone Oak
Is my friend.
I’ve sat under him
When I felt alone
When life seemed as though
It would weather away
My old friend the Lone Oak
Always stays.
Bugs, squirrels, and birds
Call him home.
He plays with the coyotes
He shelters the ‘coons
For any creature
That scurries, climbs, hops, flies
There is always room.
I like to sit down
With my back to his trunk
And sometimes
Look up
Into that mess of
Branches, twigs, and leaves
How many fledglings have known these?
The land around him
May be devoid of trees
But he is a friend to all things.






And because I think they were kind of poetic, I'm including my original directions to the grocery store:

Turn right onto Twin Oak St.
Pass two (or is it three?) houses, I can never remember.
Turn left onto Martindale.
Cross the little narrow bridge – be careful, people like to drive right down the middle
Follow the curves in the road
Stay on your side and don’t go too fast
People like to barrel down the road and often cross into the other lane
Stop at the stop sign that really ought to be a stoplight but isn’t yet.
Wait til your sure its safe
Turn left.
Stop at the stoplight
Go under the overpass.
Slow down on the overpass – cops like to sit up here and wait.
Turn right on the street that goes by the movie theater – I always forget the name.
Walnut maybe?
Take a left turn into the parking lot.
You have arrived at your destination.