Moon-ku

1

not quite a full moon
days away from perfection
she’s lumpy like me

2

I love your round beauty
Selene!! You are hot tonight!
shine on sister mine

3

every full moon
I collect the white orbs
to be my playthings

Photo credit: Moonrise over Plymouth Bay, Catherine Penafiel

Follow the Prompts

Writing prompts are a great tool to have in your writing repertoire. Many writers have an over abundance of ideas, and they claim they don’t need writing prompts. However, many of those writers aren’t actually putting anything down on paper. A idea that comes from outside of your own brain can be just the impetus you need to Make Creation Happen. I find that to be true, but I am a poet and a quick poem or just a few lines of verse that will be used in something, is probably easier than writing a story. IDK.

Mark Paxson from Writers Supporting Writers recently (ok, like a week or so ago) posted A Writing Exercise: one word every day for seven days to be incorporated into a story. I don’t have time at this point in my life for a story and I primarily write poetry. When I mentioned that in a comment, the response was something encouraging about writing. I don’t quite remember. Anyway, here’s a poem. And since I wouldn’t want anyone to miss the point, err, prompt – I bolded the words Mark posted.

My spelling is not unrepairable
but my reputation might be irreparable
if I use double negatives.
I am an editor and these redundant
syllables require elimination.

I do my best to serve delicious
and nutritious Word Salad
But please don’t peek into my kitchen.
My frontal lobe thoughts
might be quite the shocker.

The final verse of this poem
is a reflection on my final verse.
My swan song will be written
by someone other than me.
I hope my obit writer will facilitate
my place into history.

Go where the prompt takes you

The LP Monday Poetry Prompt has taken me down the rabbit hole. I wrote a version of a poem for it then decided to write a blog post. That was hours ago. You see, I needed to look up lyrics to “I Am the Walrus” by the Beatles, then I had to find out what the hell the song means, then I had to find a walrus image, check Facebook, check email, take a quiz, check Facebook where I found a page full of memes that are all about my life. Where was I? Oh yeah, following the prompt.

I need a title for this weird little thing.

The fattest bodies move ̶
clumsy on land 
streamlined in water
The whale and walrus
the sea lion and seals
Air and water are fluids
We are also aerodynamic

I am she 
as you are she 
as you are me
and we are all together
See how they fly
I am an egg woman
I sizzle!

Now to the quiz. I hate to say this but I missed two. I’m getting rusty. 😦

Merriam-Webster Test Your Punctuation Skills

It’s Bad Poetry Day!

Many thanks to my friend and fellow blogger, Pat, for alerting me that August 18 is Bad Poetry Day. So I got right on it and wrote some bad poetry:

My little eye does spy
a tasty slice of pizza pie
alas a subway rat has it
Thus, hungry, here I sit

Here’s an old one from my files. I wrote this in 2014 during the April Pome A Day challenge.

Things I Love

I love to eat.
I don’t love cooking.

I love TV.
I don’t love commercials.

I love playing games.
I don’t love losing.

I love long car rides.
I don’t love high gas prices.

I love my cat.
I don’t love her litter box.

I love poetry.
But I don’t love this poem.

I could keep going. I’ve got a whole file of bad poetry! But instead, I’ll leave you to write your own bad poem. Feel free to drop a few lines of bad verse in the comments. And if you need more inspiration, here are some pathetic yet pithy fun ones from the twitter verse.

Poetry and Community

Writing is a solitary occupation, except when it isn’t. Some types of writing lend itself to collaborative efforts, but poetry is not generally in that category, except when it is. On Saturday, Living Poetry of Raleigh held a Poetry Germination workshop. What is that? It’s when poets get together with a beverage of choice and a notebook and write to multiple prompts. Writing time is five minutes per prompt. When the bell rings, a few poets read their creations and then we go again.

What?! I can’t write a poem in five minutes. And I certainly wouldn’t read it to anyone!

Yes, you can because the goal is not perfection, or even completion. Poets who volunteer to read often end with, “That’s as far as I got.” The goal is words on a page. If you’re lucky you get a few good lines down that can be revised and/or expanded at a later time. Sitting with other like-minded poets is energizing and conducive to creativity.

This was supposed to be our triumphant return to real-life, where we would meet in the outdoor seating area of a cafe (stupid delta). However, the weather forecast forced us to go to zoom. It was a good thing too as the city was hit with an impressive thunderstorm during our meet-up.

I haven’t done much writing in weeks. It felt good to be creative again. Here’s one of the poems I wrote. The prompt was three random words chosen from the thesaurus by a roll of the dice shown above. The words are: animal, limit, chief.

I learned to draw on my big chief pad.
Limited only by imagination
I never moved past stick figures
and lumpy misshapen dogs.
Then I learned to write poetry.
Now people expose their beating hearts
on the page and animals
leap, pounce, growl,
stalk, screech and slither
alongside them.

We had several random prompts, an ekphrastic prompt and a few prompts that were actually themed submission calls found online. Disclaimer: I have no connection to these journals in any way and do not profit in any way by referring you to them. Now read through these prompts, then,

Kick Your Muse in the Butt and Start Writing!

Brink: https://www.brinkliterary.com/submit: They are looking for “work that focuses on the edge, the brink, of currency. What surrounds currency? What are the images, sounds, ideas, people, movements, and opportunities?” This is a print journal and a paying market. Submission close on August 31, and the guidelines ask for 3 to 5 poems.

3 Elements Review http://3elementsreview.com/: Issues come out 4 times a year and each one has a theme of 3 elements that must be included in the poem or story. There are new elements every quarter. Currently they are looking for these three elements are: pocket, hinge, abandon. Submissions close August 31, 2021, for the fall issue, no. 33.

Guernica: A Magazine of Art and Politics: https://guernicamagazine.submittable.com/submit: They are looking for work for a special themed issue: Dirt. This is a paying market and submission are open through September first. I encourage you to read the complete guidelines. It’s a great introduction to the magazine. and description of their aesthetic..

Climate Crisis

My poem, Reparations, has found a home on the  Extinction Rebellion Creative Hub! They publish fiction and poetry exclusively about climate change. B. Barker’s poem Lost Worlds also went live today (a good read) which is why “write a climate crisis poem” was this week’s LP Monday poetry prompt..

Technically I’ve already done mine, but, what the heck. I wrote another one.

There’s a temperature war
going on at home.
She’s hot. He’s cold.
He’s cold. She’s hot.
The spinning dial makes us dizzy
The planet is in a climate tizzy.

There’s a temperature war
going on at home.
Overconsumption
leads to deprivation.
The Haves are spoiling
The Have-Nots are broiling.

There’s a temperature war
going on at home.
Garbage and gases, islands of plastic
poison the planet’s global conveyor belt.
This is a war no one can win.
Close the lid on Gaia’s coffin.

OPA!

If you are a fan of the movie, “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” (and really, who isn’t?) then you are thinking of the common exclamatory expression in Greece and other Mediterranean countries.

But no Dear Reader. Today I am talking about OPA, Our Poetry Archive. OPA is an international online journal. In addition to posts on their website, https://opainternational.wordpress.com/, they publish an annual themed anthology.

This year the theme was Midnight. If you know me, you know I’m a night owl. Actually, a doctor once told me that I probably have circadian rhythm disorder. Sounds fancy. Might be true. Of course I do have to be awake and available during the day to interact with the world, but I am basically permanently on the wrong side of the clock. But I digress. This theme was made for me. I even wrote a poem titled “Midnight” years ago. To my delight, they published all three of the poems I submitted.

The full anthology is published here. https://opaanthologymidnightmoments.blogspot.com/. Yes, I shamelessly stole their banner image. To find mine, you can click my name in the list. Poets are in alpha order by first name. I’ll make it easy for you. Here’s the direct link to my poems. Note: If I had known that the picture they asked me to submit would have been so big on the page… Oy! https://opaanthologymidnightmoments.blogspot.com/search/label/JeanMarie%20Olivieri. At the bottom of each poet’s page is the full list of poets so you can easily browse the pages without the back button.

By the way, I knew opa was Greek but wanted to know more. In tonight’s linguist landslide of multiple websites (for verification and cross checking) I learned…

Opa is a common Mediterranean emotional expression. It is frequently used during celebrations such as weddings or traditional dancing. The word is flexible and has taken on many new meanings. It can also be used to express enthusiasm, shock or surprise. The actual meaning of “opa!” is more like “Oops” or “Whoops!” It’s used as an expression of shock and surprise, or just a way of getting someone’s attention, similar to “Hey” in English. Opa also appears in Brazil and Portugal, Albania, and other Slavic nations. Even modern Arabic speakers have borrowed it as an exclamation. They may pronounce it as “obah” because there is no letter ‘p’ in Arabic.

Who knew that one word could mean so much? Um… Duh…

Aloha
How can one word do double duty
for hello and goodbye and
and anything in between?
Perhaps it’s because the word
makes us feel the warmth of connection.
Perhaps it’s the same reason why LOVE
is the biggest word in the universe.

Monku: Sparkle

Today’s poem is my Haiku response to Living Poetry’s July Visual Prompt.

I feel dull today
Fireworks were yesterday
No sparkle for me.

When B started posting blogs titled “Fraiku: title” it took me two beats too long to figure out what that was. It’s not a new form of poetry. It’s a portmanteau. Fraiku = Friday + Haiku. Today I wrote a Haiku to the LP Monday prompt and decided to call it a Monku. Actually I put a lot of thought into this. Possibly too much!

What about the rest of the week? What are the grammar rules for this? For example: When a word ends in y, to make it plural, change the y to i and add es. A singular pest is a fly. More than one of these pests are flies. There should be a system for this. Pardon me if this has been done before. Here’s what I did.

If the first syllable of the first word ends in a vowel, cut that word just before that vowel. If the first syllable has a vowel and ends in a consonant, cut the first word at the consonant and drop the first syllable of Haiku. Pronunciation is a bit subjective here, so I took at swing at that too. What follows is your guide:

Monday + Haiku = Monku – pronounced ‘muhn-ku’ of ‘monk-oo’
Tuesday + Haiku = Tueku pronounced ‘ ‘too-koo’ or Taiku pronounced ‘tie-koo’
Wednesday + Haiku = Waiku – pronounced ‘way-koo’ The ‘d’ is silent!
Thursday = Haiku = Thaiku – pronounced ‘thigh-koo’
Friday + Haiku = Fraiku – pronounced ‘fray-koo’ or ‘fry-koo’
Saturday + Haiku = Satku – pronounced ‘sat-koo’
Sunday + Haiku = Sunku – pronounced ‘sun-koo’

You’re welcome. Readers are encouraged to weigh in, below in comments.

The Backyard

I always check the Living Poetry Monday Poetry Prompt to see if it inspires something. The prompts are always accompanied by a picture. I really liked the picture this week, even more so than the actual prompt (write a backyard poem.). The odd thing, however, is that the backyard in the poem is not the backyard in the picture. Weird right? Welcome to ekphrastic poetry. where a poem can be a description or about the deeper meanings of a piece of art. After all, a picture is worth a thousand words, or stories or poems.

Backyard

Sometimes
when the light was right
she could see the future.
There was a world beyond
the fence,
the dirt,
the beer cans
and rusted parts
from a dozen iron horses.
Her small hands
clenched into fists,
holding a promise.
when she left
someday
she would never look back.

.


The Award Winner

In my March 8th post, Poetry News and Notes, I mentioned that I took second place in the NCPS annual competition, Bruce Lader Poetry of Witness category (current events). Now that the annual anthology of winning poems, Pinesong, has been published, I am free to share the poem here on my blog.

Assume the Position

First position: stand in line
Learn this in kindergarten. Do it to death.
Try not to do it in a police station.

Second position: hands in the air
Use one hand if you’re a student.
Use two if you’re in front of a gun.

Third position: head between your knees
Essential for turbulent flights and hangovers.
It may also be necessary in hostage crises.

Fourth position: kneel
Do this to propose, or protest police brutality.
Do not do this on someone’s neck.

Fifth position: bend over
Touch your toes for a light stretch.
Take a deep breath for the strip search.

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