As we are in the last week of National Poetry month I have a couple to share from last week’s exercises before we get into some fun little distractions from your current pandemic confusion.
But first…some Verse…
The children must be taught
So they can “grow up”?
So they can feed this horrible and unequal shipwreck of a country?
This continuous machine that steals their joy
and forces them into tiny boxes of pre-approved paths?
Paths that continue to feed the privileged?
who ride, like great white kings, on the backs of former dreamers?
Dreamers forced to live on the crumbs of cake that fall
from their slovenly white jowls?
The children MUST be taught
A new lesson.
A new way…the way of their heart.
The way their soul already knows.
The way that shouts out,
“You don’t get to tell me what my potential is–
You don’t get to standardize my worth by tests and deficient wages.”
The lesson of straightening spines
To topple the oligarchy from their shoulders
and down into the mud, to take their turn in wallowing.
Lessons must be learned.
The children must be taught.
–J. McLaughlin (Fort Collins, CO)
And from Miss Elliana (past contributor) :
And so it is,
Not one damn word in my head,
While the world rolls and sways,
Constantly tipping the balance point
Now to humanity
Now to the hungry gnash of teeth.
And I can’t remember the last words I said to you.
I can’t remember if
I was human that night
I must have felt the full and oceanic spectrum
all the love
and the hate
Heart and mind, a mirror of the worldly indecision.
I like to imagine I was kind.
Even though I’m well aware,
of the splendid mess I am
for that boy.
A stammering, uncontrolled fool.
But these are stammering, uncontrolled and
–Elliana Byrne (Boulder, CO)
Finally, because I cannot ask you to do something that I wouldn’t do myself I decided to experiment with storytelling/dialogue in poetry:
“The truth–“she breathed. “The truth is that love changes.
In ways we don’t expect when we first fall.
It grows and festers, or it cools and softens.
It recedes and fades.
Sometimes it aches,
like a bone that healed wrong.”
His thought crashed out loud.
Thick skinned rhino parting reeds.
“How did you love me?”
Heavy stillness settled
Hot, lazy, savanna swelter
hanging over, waterhole dried.
Air so thick, she could cut it
With the truth.
“The festering, aching way.”
And, since it’s still Poetry Month…here’s some ideas to squeeze in a few more exercises in the art for this last day of April!
- Write about something that will always be out of reach (everything from the cookie jar to the corner office)
- Write a poem where each line/sentence is about each day of a week (maybe last week, maybe an alternate universe week)
- What does your favorite color taste like?
- What it feels like when you don’t belong in a group of others. (do you want to belong or are you trying to stay an outcast? Play with the difference in those emotions.)
- Start the first line of your poem with a word or phrase from a recent passing conversation between you and someone you don’t know. (it can be a simple, “how’s your day going?” from the clerk at the grocery check out line, or more intrusive like a “Have you found Jesus?” concern from a person on your front door step. Maybe it’s the “It’s called a blinker, jackass!” you hear from behind you in traffic (back in the day when we sat in traffic).