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.

Microsoft is changing the default Office font and wants your help to pick a new one

I notice fonts. Do you? I’ve done my share of newsletter design and layout, and I stare at MS Word everyday so this is a big deal. Click the link above to see how you can give Microsoft your 2 cents.

April 12, 21





In a poem a word is not equal to its meaning as it is defined in a dictionary, because either the meaning in a poem is totally different, or it is the same but a thousand times more precise. ~ Heaven Is Not Verbose: A Notebook, by Vera Pavlova, translated by Steven Seymour.

Poetry month is almost half over. I said I would write a poem a day to the challenge, if I was inspired, or I had time, or I felt like it. I’m right on track. It’s Day 12 and I’ve written 6 poems, 2 haiku and some scraps, which may or may not work their way into a poem. I also said I was going to read some of the classic poets. I started off with Blake and then got distracted. But today I was introduced to Vera Pavlova, quoted above, .

Written in 2012, this lovely piece is a multi-pager series of notes and observations about poetry, life, and writing. It’s filled with quotable lines such as this: “Went to bed with an unfinished poem in my mouth and could not kiss.”

And this one, “I live my life moving forward on rails that I lay myself. Where do I get the rails? I dismantle the ones I have gone over.”

I encourage you to click the bold title above and read this wonderful poem and find a few lines that speak to you.

Can’t get enough poetry on zoom?

Two of my poems were selected for the Heart Beats Poetry Anthology published by Lisa Tomey of The Prolific Pulse, the busiest poet I know. The book has been launched and celebrated with two readings by contributing poets which are available here on her blog. All the poetry is great but if you just want to see what I look like and how I sound (hint: like Minnie Mouse) check out the evening session and drag on over to minute 29. Better yet, listen to all of the poetry. And buy a book! And definitely follow her blog and join her for poetry, open mic events for Mondays in April, Poet’s Coffee Table Talks and book reviews.

Need more?
Check out the poem I wrote to the astronomy prompt on Living Poetry’s Monday Prompt: Yuri’s Night.

The Cruelest Month

It’s April again. This is National Poetry Month. I read T.S. Eliot’s The Wasteland with a group of poets a couple of years ago. I enjoyed learning about the poem but I don’t remember what we decided he meant by April being the cruelest month. Except for the last decade (or more), April has become the month to inspire poets to write a new poem everyday. I’ve done it. It’s tough but does provide a nice stockpile of work to bring to critique workshops. But these days I’m just not into working that hard.

My motto for National Poetry Month: Enjoy poetry! There are lots of online poetry readings. I will be attending the book launch of the Heart Beats poetry anthology. published by Lisa Tomey, Prolific Pulse. (PS. I’m very proud to say that I have two poems in this book.). I will also be one of the poets featured at Poetry On Your Plate, hosted by the Carrboro Parks and Recreation department on April 26. (Living Poetry Meetup for the event.)

Of course I’ll write poetry. I’ll check the daily prompts on Robert Brewer’s “Write Better Poetry” daily April Challenge (formerly Poetic Asides). But not everyday! And I plan on reading poems from well-known poets. I read a lot of poetry from my contemporaries, but I think I could use some more grounding in the classics.

What do you plan to do for National Poetry Month?

Have You Met Me?

“Get out there and enjoy this beautiful day!”
Have you met me? I am indoorsy
I prefer Nature through a window.

“Have a fabulous day!”
How long have you know me?
Keep your uber enthusiasm to yourself.

“You should wear…
do … to your hair”
How dare you tell me
what I should care about.
Don’t give me diet advice.
Don’t talk to me before coffee.

“It’s April. Write a Poem every day!”
You can’t make me.
My inner child is strong.
Except I will write this one.

Horoscopes and Scars

Let’s me be clear. I don’t believe in horoscopes. I just think they’re fun to read, particularly the ones written by Rob Brezsny in “Free Will Astrology,” a syndicated weekly column that appears in free weekly independent newspapers and on the web at https://freewillastrology.com/. Poet, prophet, literate dabbler. He’s not really an astrologer as much as a suggester of things that could be useful. He quotes writers, artists and others. He writes about archetypes and references Freud and Jung. I never feel like his ‘scops are something to believe. Mostly they are just entertaining.

Take this week for example, my Scorpio horoscope for the week of March 25th, 2021:
“Blobs, spots, specks, smudges, cracks, defects, mistakes, accidents, exceptions, and irregularities are the windows to other worlds,” writes author Bob Miller. I would add that all those things, along with related phenomena like fissures, blemishes, stains, scars, blotches, muck, smears, dents, and imperfections, are often windows to very interesting parts of this seemingly regular old ordinary world—parts that might remain closed off from us without the help of those blobs and defects. I suggest you take full advantage of the opportunities they bring your way in the coming weeks.

This makes me think of Wabi-Sabi and Kintsugi.
Wabi Sabi is a Japanese aesthetic that finds beauty in imperfect things. It is a beauty of things modest and humble, unconventional. Wabi is the kind of perfect beauty that is seemingly-paradoxically caused by just the right kind of imperfection. Sabi is the kind of beauty that can come only with age, such as the patina on a very old bronze statue. Kintsugi is the Japanese art of putting broken pottery pieces back together with gold — a metaphor for embracing your flaws and imperfections. The gold makes the pottery stronger and more beautiful. It reveals how to heal and shows you that you are better with your golden cracks,”

Looking for Wabi Sabi

Beauty in age and wear.
My old car runs despite scary noises,
dents and scrapes and petrified fries,
worse for wear inside and out.
I’m looking for Wabi Sabi.

Beauty in imperfection.
Scars and stripes on my skin,
grey hair, a pimple, an age spot.
I’m looking for Wabi Sabi.

As I tend to a surgeon’s cut
I check healing progress,
watch a new scar form.
How can I be more beautiful
with these red lines?
I must let my gold shine thru.

Poetry News and Notes

I haven’t been writing. I stare at a blank computer screen for a bit, then switch over to Facebook to read memes, watch animal videos and read articles about odd and weird things. Because I’ve spent two months migrating myself and my mother into a new house! Because I’m adjusting to being her caregiver! Because I’ve had surgery! Because blah blah blah. The world keeps turning.

It’s time to get back to Poetry. I have news!

Last year I was honored to receive Honorable Mention in the Light Verse category of the North Carolina Poetry Society’s annual poetry competition. This year I submitted to six of the 10 categories. And …

I received Second Place for my poem “Assume the Position” Bruce Lader Poetry of Witness category!

The full list of winners

Bruce Lader was a wonderful and prolific poet with four books of published poetry. He was very active in the North Carolina poetry community and a great believer in social justice. He was also a long-time friend of the editor and great supporter of the Heron Clan poetry anthology series. Sadly, Mr. Lader passed away from a very unexpected and sudden illness in 2020 just as we were assembling book seven of the series. So, I am especially thrilled and honored to have my poem win in this category..

A couple of days after the January 6 Insurrection attempt at the State Capital, I posted a poem about it (Epiphany Demonstrations), with a note about it being a rushed draft. As expected, the submission group I monitor on Facebook had a rush of calls for poems about the event. It gave me a reason to work on the poem a bit and I submitted it to Gnashing Teeth Publications for an anthology on the subject. The poem was accepted! I haven’t bought the book yet cause, busy, but I will. The anthology is available on Amazon.

So that’s it on the self-promotion front. I certainly need to get back to poetry as I’ve got a “ghost” of a poem floating around my head. (Thanks to Audrey Driscoll and her latest blog post, A Page a Day, for that term, and for the nudge to write.)

Mars

Give me a spacesuit
and take me to Mars
so I can scream my rage to the rocks
throw sand, and break the air around me.
But no!
Don’t leave me there with the robots
The loneliness would crush me
despite the low gravity.
Must I silence this grief
in order to live in your orbit?