Monday, February 28, 2011

Me Myself - March's first prompt

"I celebrate myself and sing myself." --W.Whitman

Starting with the assumptions that you are wonderful, fascinating, powerful, holy, magical, transcendent, beautiful, elemental, astonishing, famous, regal, central...

write a poem that sings yourself to the world.

You are telling the truth about the wonder of yourself, so there is no need to disclaim any boasts.
Sing yourself.

Everyone looks forward to meeting you

Contributors: Remember that commenting on a poem or poems fulfills your weekly agreement.

Labels: poem, myself, [your name]

Sunday, February 27, 2011

the long stroke

(excerpt, 2/26/11)

what would a different
anatomy be like that honored
the body's wholeness?

my dolphin-flipper, swimmer stroke
on the side that moves towards
needs reintegration

o healer,
help me reclaim
my flying swim,
my dance swing,
my shimmy shank shakeree,
my wholeness

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Lucky Monkey Living Large (or Hanuman’s Propitious Parade)

Lucky monkey feeling fine,

swinging on a lucky vine.

Monkey never had a fall.

No, not really. Not at all.

Lucky monkey. Lucky he.

Lucky monkey. Lucky she.

Lucky him and her are dating.

Lucky her and him are mating.

Lucky wedding. Lovely spouse.

Monkeys find a lucky house.
Baby monkey makes it three.

Lucky monkey family.

Monkey eat and monkey sleep.

Monkey mouth is full of teeth.

Eyes and ears and limbs intact.

Monkey lucky. Monkey fact.

Lucky monkey go to school.

Lucky monkey use a tool.

Look at what you have become
with your lucky monkey thumb.

Lucky birthday chimpanzee.

Monkey friends sing loud off key.

Hungry primates very nice:
let lucky monkey eat first slice.

Lucky monkey sing hosannas
o'er organic-grown bananas.

Lucky monkey pick and choose.

Privileged shopping. Privileged foods.

Monkey neighbor hard to love.

Monkey want to scuffle shove.

No no, monkey go inside.

Make crazy neighbor yummy pie.

Monkey don’t like where you are?

Plane, train, bus or bike or car.

Lucky monkey take a trip,
vacation on big monkey ship.

Monkey job make monkey cross.

Bossy ape is monkey boss.

Yet monkey live in luxury:
holidays and salary.

Lucky monkey student loan.

Lucky monkey mortgaged home.

Monkey credit score depressing?

Even what you owe’s a blessing.

Lucky monkey monthly fee.

Water, gas, utility.

Flush and O away it goes!

Where it stop no monkey knows.

Lucky monkey hear the storm
on the roof while you are warm.

Lucky monkey crank the heat.

Take a shower. Rinse. Repeat.

Monkey gripe and monkey groan.

Monkey grouse and carp and moan.

Lucky monkey picking nits.

Speech is free where monkey sits.

Lucky monkey talking stick,
singing bowl and magic trick.

Lucky monkey you are free
to choose thy own cosmology.

Lucky monkey watch TV.
Other monkeys howl and flee.
Flood and fire, bombs and tanks.

Monkey bend down low in thanks.

Lucky monkey ergo sum.

Wherefore art thou? Boom boom boom.

Hear the tuba. Hear the drums.

Something lucky this way comes.

First world monkey don't forget.

First world monkey fortunate.

Monkey birth is game of chance.

Monkey lucky circumstance.

Gorilla, gibbon, lemur, loris.

Different monkeys sing in chorus.

Lucky genus. Lucky us.

To live at all is glorious.

Lucky monkey. Lucky me.

Laughing in a lucky tree.

Lucky monkey. Lucky you.

Remember that you're lucky too.

Friday, February 25, 2011


standing on my head
in an impossible rain
of sinew lace

outside multitudes
dash in reluctant light across the gash of time
stretched like Michelangelo’s man
in the cross of the wheel

brown & yellow & dipped
in wax & lime
& gold seal & amber
scented caresses left to grasp
in bodies reposes
right in effortless clasps
behind necks of gold & diamond
rings of bones dense
wrapped in spiders silk

as I lay with the black barn cat
& tears newly wet
with the next breath’s desire
to shine in the moon’s corset
of grace.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

valentine sugar

stepping out under the sky
on the morning of loves noticing
(as if only this day is)
out of nowhere from winter's den
the sun is a warming stream
of valentine gold, slathered torrid
all over this banquet of snow.

last night
a team of only ten degrees cracked their wind whip
now my front door is a narnian wardrobe
i step through
immediately too hot in my jacket,
ratcheted to stillness two strides out the door -
the hunkered ice beasts
two months worth of stubborn
and tearing the snug off the roof,
are trinkling and lithe,
dripping songs into the gutter
which my ears barely believe
orpheus' xylophone ballad
sound balm of liquid water moving
through such long white expanse of ice
almost as heady
as the newly arrived mud patch,
two palms worth of wet earth
smelling like everything it is possible to miss.

the maple trees stretch and pulse
their sweet antifreeze jostling up
pushing last night's dream skinward
(i walked through all our woods touching trees
each of them with holes of fountaining sap)
so today is the obvious morning
to tip tap the old metal spouts
just like generations
of bright tired new england farmers
sliding on sled runners behind heaving horses
to bring that sugared blood home.

let's seize this february thaw moment
and boil the ice right out of it
until all that is left is a jar of simple riches.
we know
the fierce fight of february will return
but for a moment, agape thawed the world
and i have the candied proof.

Pigeon in three breaths

I don’t care if you call me
A rat with wings--
I’ve heard worse.
We gutter dwellers, so misunderstood
I wish I could claim crane,
or lion,
or, Shiva help me,
a Warrior,

but some mornings I have
to curl my bent wing to my heart
and bow down
to the fact of this,
taste the tar as if it’s nectar.

What if you find that your power
animal is an earthworm,
a crafty trilobite,
a small black ant carrying
its dead brother back home?

We imagine grandeur, but the god hands us
a broom and says, here, now this,
And this.
This time around
you are the soiled cousin
of the angels’ white dove,
flying donuts
around that holy spirit,

Monday, February 21, 2011

Poetry Yoga

Write a poem that flexes you, that stretches you in some way. Arch like a cat or curl like a swaddled baby. Lie down and be dead. Let the poetry restore you to center.

Write down the words, but the words are not important, they are only the footprints of your pathway or map of foot positions to becoming more limber. What does a diagram of creative flexibility look like?

If it helps, take a yoga position before, during, and/or after writing this poem. Feel welcome to take inspiration from one of these yoga asanas (poses) or create a new one:

Breathe deeply. Stretch. Welcome to your body temple. Be.

"Early yoga treatises state that there are 8.4 million asanas, of which 84 are the best and 32 the most useful for the health of [hu]mankind." [Source]

Prompt tags: poem, yoga, [poet's tagname]

PS - If you feel inspired, consider submitting a poem to the Poetry of Yoga call for submissions, which has an online submission form, March 1, 2011.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Land& Sky- Neuropathic toes

I cannot see down
I can barely feel neuropathic toes
I glance up & see
the moon in transit
& am left holding
the scissor to a pink rose

Between two bellies

Between two bellies—

sky and ground—

white scatters:

birds in space

in space-wrapped collection

like bits of memory

like bits of me

or the holes

punched from paper,

bouncing confetti circles

for the afterhours cleaning crew

to remove—

or the white scatters

of plum blossoms

dropping such relief

to the sidewalk

as the tree had been hit

by a backing truck, ouch,

and we weren’t sure

it would flock white

with the rest

of the plum trees on the block.

There are not so many birds,

but uncountable,

and the bellies of sky and ground

are as large as I can look

at them,

as large as I can see.

What might I say

when I go back inside?

The air is cold.

Gregarious birds

look like freedom to me.

I’m longing for something

to click into place,

for all the pieces

to flock into a semblance,

into the picture

of resolved sense.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

forecast: snow

the sky is a dilated
of the white

they come
a fresh



Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Remembering it’s February

I saw my mother last night.

The whole family was walking to a wedding
when I realized I’d left home without my shoes.
The yellow polish on my toenails had almost flaked off.

I hurriedly explained how I had to go back
and dashed off without kissing her goodbye,
even though she’s been dead for five years
and I only see her on special occasions like this.

Then I accidentally stole a car and woke up thirsty.

Spring came early this year,
although I’m beginning to suspect that’s her favorite trick.

She comes early every year and then ducks back down to the bar for a while.

She stays just long enough for you to believe her caresses again,
waits until you’ve stepped out to meet her in a short-sleeved shirt
and then – bang – you’re on your own again, baby.

Yesterday the sky was grinning and the plum trees were full of blossoms.

Finches – I think they were finches – were hopping through the branches,
dipping their beaks with disbelief in white flower after flower.

Then the wind remembered it’s February and sang in the treetops all night.

This morning, waking again into mourning, the yard was so confused:
bare limbs shook and shivered in icy gusts
and the walk was covered with drifts that would’ve been snow
if I was a kid and two thousand miles away.

Snow? No, just the punch line to a cruel joke
where two early bloomers end up naked,
a pile of white petals around their ankles.

After a shower and two glasses of water,
I was alive enough to start making sense of it all.

The wind. The car. The wet flowers and my mother.

You’re on your own again, baby.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Land and Sky - Prompt for week of 2/14/2011

Glance down. Then glance up. Write a poem about what you see and how these views relate.

If you're feeling adventurous, imagine both the land (or sea) and the sky are parts of you. What is your inner landscape like right now? What does it tell us?

Here is how Basho, Japanese poet from the 11th century did it:

A Wild Sea

A wild sea-
In the distance over Sado
The Milky Way

This week's keyword tags: poem, landscape

by Jos Law:

Slapdash by Lauren Ari

by Lauren Ari

Friday, February 11, 2011

Jay Today

Freedom feeder.
Brusque, beautiful,
ambitious Jay Woman.

Pushing myself
out of nite wrappings
into jeans.
Out to Sweetmilk's
feeder &
Nature's dark art.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

this new burrow is surprise laden -
discoveries by the hour.
the floor creaks here especially
and look at this very small key
left in the back corner of a closet.

we are unfurling each other,
this old house and i.

today i noticed
the sun reaches the bony winter lilac by mid afternoon
before ducking behind the neighbors barn,
glowing it's strong ridgeline an even hotter red.

we are humbly unpacking our hearts into this place,
invigorated and undone.
i find my grandmother's script in front pages of my books
and turn to a dangling tremble -
we pull gut memories from cardboard boxes
hoping we are enough,
unpacking casually as if everything were new or normal
but we know it's not, we know everything is old
and goes backward as much as forth.

i wish i had portraits to hang
of every person who has called this home
since some wide hands in 1850 visioned and made it,
or a long lilt of voices recorded
each of them stating their name and something that
they ever so love.

checking in one last time on the night,
standing with the dogs on our 3 foot pack of snow
in -5 degree crisp and under such startling whirl of starfire
serenaded by a yip howl chorus of coyotes,
i imagine what plants will find us
bursting from every nook around the house
when the snow pack finally melts,
floods the basement and moves on,
bright coded messages sent
from decades hence.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

haste without hesitation

for D., who unwittingly donated the title

my friend says they like haste without hesitation
but how can i know my tongue knows where to go
which flies to grab and which flower (word)s to birth
if I don't stop and ponder the meander in the river
the giver gives us daily. what would it be like to
be (like a disco ball or worms in the ground)
multiply present, continuously in motion,
representing by embodiment the sinuous continuous
life verve of the multiply intelligent world?
not needing to conjure or configure but rather
consistently composed and having it all together,
illuminating or making more conditions for life?

or rather,
perhaps we already are.

slapdash - Magnoon Moon

plum blossom pink Egyptian airspace/daffodil yellow slapdashes from Berkeley to Portland/Gulliver travels the hieroglyphic internet/Abdul barks back from the magnoon moon/ hail the people beneath the stones


Wide hum thrum
sternum purrs, om old cat
My legs, torso, heart,
Feel the pulse
of blood stream stone silence
the way in the way
through the way forgotten,
re-membered through bone, not brain
through skin and tones
breath calling you home
calling you
where ya been girl? Kept a pot
on for ya just in case
this family of tones, vibration of this
simple thing yes
you can have this yes you can
be no need to everwhelm them
from the place they’re calling from

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

One Fast Sonnet Later

"One Fast Sonnet Later"

Eisenglass tips. pantyhose rips. You count
to ten, and ten, and ten again. Babies
born, fourteen deaths. Empty bassinets bounce
between yesses, nos (nose) and all the maybes.
Well (Stone) people mimic the throes of rabies,
and the Sum's Sum never loses and ounce.
This is how (why) we love and fear the zanies—
always prepared (ready) to caress or pounce.

One fast sonnet later, turned one-forty
trying to grasp, lost in definition
assignment speed, patterns of woven yarn.
My prayer is this: so fast (predicted:) the tsunami
no time to lose count in the solution
and every crystal thread torn (breaks) into shards (shreds).

Monday, February 7, 2011

imagine that

you're flying above the clouds in the agonizing light
of a halo on the brow of a bullet-proof dove
bearing an olive branch straight for Noah's Ark
you're a blue lozenge cooling the sore throat of the sky

and i'm sitting here in the hail storm lonely as uranium
a piece of cast-off fiction yellowing on the street
one of the drowned ones spinning in turbulence
a swollen appendix about to rupture

I like to imagine us combusting all reason
praying in unison, prying the future apart

This Week's Prompt - SlAp DaSh

What if someone were holding a timer and you only had 75 seconds to write a poem, a kind of 50 yard dash with poetry, a kind of slap-dash. This is your week for shimmy-shimmy improv with word locutions. Brave the waters, race out under the disco ball, go all out. Hurry, right now, type it and hit the button "post"!

From Orlando Gonzalez Esteva, In Praise of Scribble (translated by Peter Bush, 2005):
Scribbles are the lianas of the forest of our selves. 
Clinging  to them, the primate still in us frolics free.

Keywords: poem, slapdash, [poet's tagging nickname]

Saturday, February 5, 2011

60 life rafts

i tried to write a poem
that rhymes and spans
the monkey bars of complex
construction, times itself
by perils of scansion, but i failed.

as not so long ago, i flew off
the pull up bars
and found myself awake,
270 degrees away, facing
up from the ground to
the bold shout of bluesky,
body longly splatted
in rough sand. i'd fallen off
the structure that was meant for play
-- how it nearly killed me.

i know words can kill
me by how they've saved me.
even in this brief time together,
by the warming flames of
comradely diction,
storm-tousled metaphor,
and by how the hummingbirds
that hold our words
keep flying:
your poems are preservers.
you are weaving, pens as needles,
a durable raft
of creation
with every stanza committed
to the possible.

it might seem that since the poems
are online, that they waft in a virtual wind
that dematerializes the heft of them,
but don't be confused.
i have grabbed onto them at 3am
as have you. we have floated
safely on these words.
i have exercised my emotions
of surprise, gratitude,
revulsion, appreciation, anger
as these have brightly colored the durable
fabric of these poems.
i have been reminded how to be alive,
how to breathe, how to stand
at portalways of possibility
and walk courageously, traveling
into new senses with now-old
friends. whether lit by
light brights, baking sun,
or hidden in trees, whether walking
as faery folk, via birth canals, or by eating lemons,
we arrive.

birthing these 60 life rafts,
we craft a flotilla of peace,
a haven for all the people
whom poetry has saved.
praise be.

Friday, February 4, 2011


You were clear. I had never met someone,
adult or peer, who meshed with her living
so purely. I called myself Banana-
Man, and you accepted. That’s why playing
with you was so fun. You dressed as a crone—
and became one. All our make-believing
was simply making. No hesitation.
We blurted without fear of mistaking.

Once we even tried to play serious.
It was a blast before we went brittle,
left the highway and broke just a little.
One of us raged, the other outrageous.
We passed one stormy night. But we are us,
so it’s no surprise we came full circle.

Mermaid's Lament

Not so very long ago
our songs would intoxicate
even the most resistant sailors,
lure them to the deck rails
where we would seduce them with
our kelp-filled gazes,
our luscious metaphorical breasts,
persuade them to abandon all,
to leap into our outstretched arms
and endure forever the icy waters
for the thrill of our embrace.
But now the great ships pass us by
and hardly one sailor in a thousand
will stand at the rail to gaze,
and those who do take photographs
seeing only seal skin, whiskers and blubber,
and call our songs 'barks'.