Tuesday, December 1, 2020

November Chapbook Challenge: Recap

 Well, I've done it again - 30 poems or more in a month of 30 days - 35 to be exact. I must admit it became a bit of a drudge to commit to writing so many poems in the same form all month, but I did get at least a few good ones out of the exercise, and the next step, per Robert Lee Brewer, is to assemble some of them into a chapbook manuscript. I hope that I may have advanced some recognition for the hay(na)ku form. (Thanks again to Eileen Tobias and Vince Gotera for introducing me to the form.) As I often do, I'll use this entry to highlight some of the poems I wrote last month that I consider among my best, or at least my favorites. The form allowed me to get away with writing only 30 words a day and having it count as a poem, but on the other hand, limiting your word count and producing something worthwhile, as in haiku, is harder than it sounds. So for what it's worth, here are ten "hay(na)ku sonnets" that I wrote in November, with the prompts that inspired them. (See my Day 1 entry for my explanation of this variation.)


[Day 2: A poem about the unexpected]

Hard Times in the Arts 

when
COVID closed
the Muppet Show
 
their
theater shuttered -
where'd they go?
 
Piggy
returned to
her chic ch√Ęteau
 
but
what about
her handsome beau?
 
alas, poor Kermit
became a hermit

[I may change the title to "It's Not Easy Being Quarantined".]




[Day 5: A "ruin" poem]

Ruins
 
derelict
old barn
behind the trees
 
door
hangs open
hinging on breeze
 
two
wild turkeys
have nested upstairs
 
jumble
down below
skeletons of chairs
 
an old toolbox
rusted shut locks



[Day 6: An "In media res" poem]

Smelling the Roses
 
making
my connection
near New Haven
 
heard
electric piano
play Ain't Misbehavin'
 
busker
in concourse
playing his heart
 
slowed
my bustling
pausing for art
 
love Fats Waller
left a dollar




[Day 8: A "Persona" poem]

Alex Trebek in Heaven
 
Saint
Peter issues
me a quiz
 
I
know what
the answer is
 
but
to get
myself in heaven
 
should
I wager
six or seven
 
to unfetter me
from final jeopardy?




[Day 14: A "memory" poem]

Memories
 
are
sliced bread
in the toaster
 
they
brown awhile
then pop up
 
we
savor them
with some seasoning
 
while
tiny pieces
are left in
 
the crumb tray
then thrown away



[Day 16: A "response" poem]

This is Just to Answer Your Note

I
was saving
those sweet plums
 
to
make you
a fruit tart
 
but
you ate
every last one
 
yet
somehow I
love you anyway
 
incidentally, no one
says "icebox" anymore



[Day 18: A "sea creature" poem]

Iota
 
Thirty
tropical storms
this malignant year.
 
Last
and strongest:
Iota, ironically named,
 
slams
the Yucatan,
already storm-raked.
 
O
Sea Monster
of climate change,
 
one-eyed November behemoth,
maelstrom, deluge, teeth.



Sharknado!
 
waterspouts
suck up
killer ocean fish
 
weather
that thinks
humans are delish
 
twisters
shouldn't have
teeth, dorsal fins
 
storms
make landfall
and nobody wins
 
your big umbrella
is worthless, fella



[Day 22: A "bird" poem]

House Wren
 
little
chestnut neighbor
tail at attention
 
nests
comfortably in
the hanging impatiens
 
on
my porch
until I approach
 
she
chatters rebuke
for my trespassing
 
we'll learn somehow
to get along




[Day 27: A "what's next" poem]

Backup Singers
 
Greek
chorus for
the present day
 
they
echo my
notes and words
 
whether
naive hope
or cynical dismay
 
they'll
repeat it
like warbling birds
 
shoo shoo bop
until I drop





























 

 





Monday, November 30, 2020

November Chapbook Challenge Dy 30: Don't Let the Door Hit Your...

 Today's prompt from Robert Lee Brewer: Write an "exit" poem. I didn't want to get as political as I did this month, but it's almost impossible not to, with all the heat generated from a historically unique presidential election. particularly a clear loser who refuses to concede. I won't say more, or I'll rant for another hour. I'll just let my poem do the talking.


Exit Strategies
 
hot-air
balloon like
the Magnificent Oz
 
escape
tunnel to
your underground lair
 
donning
handcuffs, jumpsuit
for broken laws
 
granting
a self-pardon
(so very unfair)
 
whatever works, nemesis,
vacate the premises

Sunday, November 29, 2020

November Chapbook Challenge Day 29: Happy Holidays?

So many medical experts are saying that our behavior this Thanksgiving weekend - not staying home, traveling to visit loved ones in the middle of a worsening pandemic, and the occasional careless party - will drive up COVID cases just before Christmas, and put many hospitals in jeopardy of being overwhelmed, perhaps even worse than last spring. It's frankly depressing, and it's no wonder all this news has impacted my poetry this year. I thought I'd gotten it out of my system in April when I wrote at least twenty poems related to the pandemic (and I even published a chapbook of them - Aprilcalypse, from Four Feathers Press), but I'm still writing them now in the end of November. 

Anyway, today's prompt from Robert Lee Brewer: Write a poem with the title "Wanting _______".

Wanting a Merry Christmas
 
please
understand that
I love you
 
but
stay away
for the holiday
 
don't
be careless
because it would
 
break
my heart
on Facetime if
 
I see you
in the ICU


Saturday, November 28, 2020

November Chapbook Challenge Day 28: Remix!

 Today's prompt from Robert Lee Brewer: Write a "remix" poem. That is, take a poem (or poems) you have writtent this month and change it/them in some way. For instance, turn a sonnet into a haiku, jumble up the words of a poem and re-order them, or as i did, takes pieces of several poems and re-assemble them to form a new poem. I've done this exercise before by creating a new poem from the last lines of several poems I wrote earlier in the month. I tired it today too - it's a somewhat different challenge because due to the nature of the form I've been writing in, all the last lines of my poems have had exactly three words. Also, have to break up those three-word lines to get them to fit into the form of the new poem. I used the last lines from poems I wrote on Days 3, 4, 8, 11, 12, 17, 18, 20, 22, 23, and 27 (including the title). I'm not sure how much sense it makes, but here it is: 

Our Flawed Creation
 
your
echoed voice
is worthless, fella
 
we're
all dying
to get along
 
save
the planet
from final jeopardy
 
it's
gonna rain -
I'm sunlight refracted
 
I need cheer
until I drop

Friday, November 27, 2020

November Chapbook challenge Day 27: Another Two-fer Day

 Today's prompt from Robert Lee Brewer: Write a "what's next" poem. I wrote two today - the first one was not directly related to the prompt, while the second one was. 


Backup Singers
 
Greek
chorus for
the present day
 
they
echo my
notes and words
 
whether
naive hope
or cynical dismay
 
they'll
repeat it
like warbling birds
 
shoo shoo bop
until I drop




The Future
 
We
either pull
out of this
 
or
we don't -
odds are even
 
fiction
is truth
magic is science
 
change
our ways
right now or
 
we roll toward
a slow apocalypse
 
 

Thursday, November 26, 2020

November Chapbook Challenge Day 26: Happy (and Safe!) Thanksgiving

 Today's prompt from Robert Lee Brewer, is of course, to write a poem of thanks. I hope anyone reading this has a safe and healthy holiday. Don't forget to protect your loved ones as much as possible from this horrible disease, even if it meand skipping that visit for Thanksgiving dinner. As I've heard several people say, better to have Thanksgiving on Zoom than Christmas in the ICU. Here's my poem:


Grace 2020
 
thanks
for abundance
but without greed
 
giving
to others
sorely in need
 
thanks
for health
in dangerous days
 
giving
of yourself
so many ways
 
thanks for living
smart this Thanksgiving
 

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

November Chapbook Challenge Day 25: Blowing Up the Sky

 Today's prompt from Robert Lee Brewer: Write an "exaggeration" poem. I interpreted the prompt by exaggerating the images and metaphor a bit in this poem - not sure how well that works, but here it is. (It's also a nod to November sunsets, which in my opinion seem to be the most intense of the whole year.)


End of Day
 
sunset -
nuclear explosion
in the west
 
sky
ablaze in
red, purple, blue
 
blood-orange
ball slips
behind the mountain
 
firestorm
subsides, wavelengths
disappear in shadow
 
the world ends
till tomorrow morning