Sunday, April 12, 2015

PAD Day 12: On Stormy Concerts and Handy Grandpas

Today's judge at Poetic Asides is Kim Addonizio, a very well-known and respected poet who also co-wrote one of my favorite books on the craft, The Poet's Companion, with Dorianne Laux (another daily judge this month).  My son the poet has worked with her in a workshop series in New York and really enjoyed the experience.

Today's dual prompts from Poetic Asides and NaPoWriMo:
(1) Write a "damage" poem, and 
(2) Again, I'll let Maureen explain this one:
"Describe in great detail your favorite room, place, meal, day, or person. You can do this in paragraph form.Now cut unnecessary words like articles and determiners (a, the, that) and anything that isn’t really necessary for content; leave mainly nouns, verbs, a few adjectives.Cut the lines where you see fit and, VOILA! A poem! "   

Well, there wasn't a "voila" moment for me because I couldn't quite seem to get it to work.  The good news is that I did produce two poems in my effort to fit both prompts.  The first was about a favorite place (the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia), and the second about a favorite person (my grandaughter). I think with the first poem, at least, I was able to pare down my language a bit. I wasn't able to part completely with all the "articles and determiners" though - without them all my poem sounded like it was written in a bad Russian accent. I inserted them again, but only where I thought they were necessary, as well as cutting out some adjectives and such.  So at least I got a tighter poem out of it.  The second one was just written "as is".

Storm in a Violin

We dart across Broad Street,
shake and collapse our umbrellas,
and enter the music center.
Lightning flashes through walls of glass.
We ascend stairs to third tier seats
where the venue is  inside a violin -
wood curved inward, then outward
the length of the concert hall.
Above and behind the stage,
organ pipes gleam silver.
On stage, Beethoven's Ninth begins,
with full chorus lined up waiting
to burst into German song.
From this  level, we can see the top
of every head - both French horns are balding. 
As Yannick jumps and thrusts his baton,  
I think about the storm outside.
What if it burst through this space?
The roof caves in, scattering  orchestra,
chorus and audience.  A deluge of rain
fills tuba bells, pummels tympani skins.
Wind blows away sheet music,  knocks over
bass violins, and after a lightning bolt,
all that is left of the first violin
is an overturned chair
and a scorched circle on the  floor. 
But at the moment, the "Ode to Joy" crescendo
is the only storm in here,  and nothing else
is going on in the world.


In this toddler's  eyes, everything that comes apart
is broken, and she brings it to me -
"Fix it, Pop-pop."  It could be the torn page
from a picture book, or simply two building blocks
pulled apart. Once, a plastic Easter egg.
As far as she is concerned,
I am the world's greatest handyman.
Once on a walk, we saw a sidewalk slab
broken up and roped off for repair.
"Fix it, Pop-pop," she said. I didn't have the heart
to tell her I don't do concrete work.
But I want to tell her this:
anything I can fix for you,  I will.
If I could keep you from all the damages
of this world, I would.                                                                                                       


1 comment:

Vince Gotera said...

Bruce ... I love the bald heads in the first one. The crescendo and the storm is great, but I like the easy, offhand flavor of mentioning the bald heads.

And the granddaughter poem is lovely. I think you better start working with concrete.