Saturday, April 8, 2017

PAD Day 8: Some Light Verse for the Directionally Challenged, and a "Bonus" Poem

Today's dual prompts from Poetic Asides and NaPoWriMo: (1) write a "panic" poem,and (2) write a poem with a repeated word or phrase (this device is often called "anaphora").

I ended up writing some light verse, making fun of my pre-GPS self. I still get a little upset when I get lost sometimes, but the GPS app on my phone usually saves my butt.

Pre-GPS Panic

I think I missed the turn.
I've got no time to burn.
I'm off the interstate,
I'm gonna be SO late.
Should I take this right?
This might take me all night.
I don't know where I am!
I can't drive worth a damn.
I don't even have a map!
I'm such a clueless sap.
I don't like this neighborhood,
This just can't come out good.
Pull over, ask this man.
He says, "Relax and take a breath.
"Can I help you? Yes I can.
The highway's just a few blocks north,
and past the second light."
I thank him and I'm on my way,
the interstate's in sight.
I pull onto the entrance ramp
and let the fast cars pass -
I'm running out of gas!

In her examples of the repeated phrase poem, Maureen at NaPoWriMo cited Joy Harjo's "She Had Some Horses", which I'd never read but it's a really fine poem. It reminded me of this one, which I wrote in 2012 at Marge Piercy's workshop. I'm posting it here because I think it's better than the one I wrote today.

When the Ghosts Came

When the ghosts came, we left them oatmeal on the kitchen table.
When the ghosts came, we left them three pairs of galoshes on the stairs.
When the ghosts came, we hung empty picture frames over the mantle,
cleaned our golf clubs,
and left out baseball cards for them to trade.

When the ghosts came, we made tents out of our bed sheets.
When the ghosts came, we left mousetraps in the cupboard.
When the ghosts came, we left the front porch light on,
painted our windows blue,
and covered the mirrors with old horror movie posters.

When the ghosts came, we turned up the radio all the way.
When the ghosts came, we let the cat out and the dog in.
When the ghosts came, we read tarot cards,
got out the Ouija board,
and threw salt over our shoulders.

When the ghosts came, we banged on copper pots.
When the ghosts came, we hung papier maché owls from the chandelier.
When the ghosts came, we spread jam on the floor,
locked up the birdcages,
and put another log on the fire.

When the ghosts came, we painted our faces like tigers.
When the ghosts came, we sent red balloons out the nursery window.
When the ghosts came, we rolled up all the rugs,
waxed all our glass doorknobs,
and lit every candle in the house.

When the ghosts came, we were ready.
When the ghosts came, we were not ready.

(Previously published in Chantarelle's Notebook.)

1 comment:

Vince Gotera said...

I know that feeling. GPS is such a godsend, isn't it? Good poem, Bruce. Nice touch at the end, bringing back the repeated element. And also why.