Thursday, April 1, 2010

Welcome to April, National Poetry Month & 30/30

Art Amok invites you to place your 30 poems in 30 days here. With luck, each day a main post will be made here.Feel free to leave your poem as a comment for all to read. (For special formats, you can send the poem to me or Gus and we can post it on the main page). You can leave your poem for the day under the day's post or your can leave it under a specific writing prompt post if you've used one of those.Sometimes the daily post will be a poem, just a hello or a poem cross-posting.It's all poems for poetry month! (If you are doing haikus, to count as a full day's poem, there need to be a series of 5, like the first syllables of a haiku).

Here's the first poem of the month from Happy Poetry Month!

A Story
by Philip Levine

Everyone loves a story. Let's begin with a house.
We can fill it with careful rooms and fill the rooms
with things—tables, chairs, cupboards, drawers
closed to hide tiny beds where children once slept
or big drawers that yawn open to reveal
precisely folded garments washed half to death,
unsoiled, stale, and waiting to be worn out.
There must be a kitchen, and the kitchen
must have a stove, perhaps a big iron one
with a fat black pipe that vanishes into the ceiling
to reach the sky and exhale its smells and collusions.
This was the center of whatever family life
was here, this and the sink gone yellow
around the drain where the water, dirty or pure,
ran off with no explanation, somehow like the point
of this, the story we promised and may yet deliver.
Make no mistake, a family was here. You see
the path worn into the linoleum where the wood,
gray and certainly pine, shows through.
Father stood there in the middle of his life
to call to the heavens he imagined above the roof
must surely be listening. When no one answered
you can see where his heel came down again
and again, even though he'd been taught
never to demand. Not that life was especially cruel;
they had well water they pumped at first,
a stove that gave heat, a mother who stood
at the sink at all hours and gazed longingly
to where the woods once held the voices
of small bears—themselves a family—and the songs
of birds long fled once the deep woods surrendered
one tree at a time after the workmen arrived
with jugs of hot coffee. The worn spot on the sill
is where Mother rested her head when no one saw,
those two stained ridges were handholds
she relied on; they never let her down.
Where is she now? You think you have a right
to know everything? The children tiny enough
to inhabit cupboards, large enough to have rooms
of their own and to abandon them, the father
with his right hand raised against the sky?
If those questions are too personal, then tell us,
where are the woods? They had to have been
because the continent was clothed in trees.
We all read that in school and knew it to be true.
Yet all we see are houses, rows and rows
of houses as far as sight, and where sight vanishes
into nothing, into the new world no one has seen,
there has to be more than dust, wind-borne particles
of burning earth, the earth we lost, and nothing else.

Now it's your turn---GO!


  1. 1.30, Karen G.

    my eyes stick together
    and i smell the color green
    it's easier to work up a sweat
    the earth is returning

    forsythia, magnolia, cherry blossom
    they've turned to leaf
    nature likes pastels
    and colors that don't go together
    making a crazy sense in tree and lawn

    the ship of fools arrives
    with jokes between the rams
    and tauruses
    and some of us are charged
    with breaking out the quills
    dipping them
    to be seers and heard

    literal geese honk through a post midnight sky
    and i make a list of words i will try not to use
    and know i will fail for the next 30 days:
    gums will want their mouths, teeth, tongues
    veins their blood
    ribs would be but cold, cadaverous bones
    without the drum of heart
    lines in palms to tell the fortunes of hands and fingerprints

    i've already mentioned flight, geese,sky
    and though i will try to be successful with specificity
    as to kind of bird
    flamingos, kestrals,ibises and herons will all
    wand wings and feathers

    i will do my best
    to record dreams and make real events obscure
    with words and abstracts
    to make pretty placeholders
    for constant revision beyond
    april's foolishness.

  2. Karen... is this blog open to posting? How would I do that?

  3. YES!!! Poems can go as comments to the day's main post. I will also B/C you our log-in.Because you are awesome and I love you.

  4. 1.30, Louise Robertson
    Being a Guy

    I wish I were a guy.
    No, it's not that.
    I don't want to be
    a guy. I don't want
    to look at a woman
    and say, "Shorty"
    or "Hi, lil lady."
    I don't want to lean to a dude
    and say "huh, want to
    hit that, uhn." I don't want
    to do like that. I don't want
    to be walking with my buds
    in a hallway, lit yellow
    with flickering lights, in
    the bellies under night clubs and say,
    "I'd like a black chick, I'd like to
    slap her around." I don't want
    to do like that. I don't
    want to walk up behind
    a woman who is just filing
    and sorting, but who is
    bending over -- I don't
    want to walk up behind
    a woman and say, "Are
    you working or trying
    to stick your butt in my face?"
    I don't want to
    pay a woman less, because I can.
    I don't want to say
    boys get college, girls
    just get married.
    I don't want to do like that.

    It's also true that I appreciate a man's
    body, I like the way the shoulders move.
    I like them like that.
    I appreciate the verve
    when he gets along with me,
    swimming with my tide. Swim with me, guy.

    I like the way their shirts
    hang, and their hands, calloused or knobby,
    or thick with fingers lay on
    a arm or fish around a coat
    pocket. Fish for me, guy. Fish.

    I wish I were
    a guy so I'd be the kind
    of guy who doesn't do that other
    stuff, that enough of them do. I
    wish what "enough of them do"
    didn't happen to any of us.

    So swim with me guy, fish with me,
    be with me, guy, and I
    will be with you
    even if I am the woman
    and you are the man
    making me like being
    the way I am.

  5. Darnell's 1.30

    i wrote this before i went to sleep...i really like Rudy Francisco's poem actually n he's one of my favorites...sometimes i just like being an asshole because i miss being a Battle MC :-/...this came from a convo Karen G and I had a week ago about the Numbers poems showing up a lot now...

    Peep Rudy Francisco's poem first on YouTube



    Say the first number righteously
    Like you're convincing zero
    It never existed

    Now the audience knows
    You're counting
    This provides more dramatic effect
    Than the words of your poem

    You have several really good lines
    That don't transition well
    From the previous stanza
    But one haiku
    Won't get you a few thousand views
    On Youtube

    Answer a rhetorical question
    With a metaphor

    Speed up the tempo...

    Because without counting to ten
    Your poem has no rhythm

    Slow the pace
    So they can feel the weight
    Of your hyperbole
    Your poem may lose it's urgency
    But that's your intention

    Re-ask the rhetorical question
    This time answer with a simile

    Like a secret
    You are still willing to keep, the
    Mic just happens to eavesdrop


    Yell louder

    Gesture the action in your poem
    Even if Patrica Smith
    Has done it before

    Don't count to 11
    That number is too arbitrary
    And there's something
    About the symmetry
    Of formula poems
    That the audience appreciates
    And you're here to please them
    Not take risks
    Because it's easier to
    Feed them lines
    If they're itemized
    Like a fast food menu
    Easier to read scars
    In grocery lists
    Than poetry

  6. This comment has been removed by the author.

  7. fragments after sappho and the numerous anons

    socks in his writing, synesthesia permeated----to her
    ---a stench---
    ---his juvenile words---
    ------------so many should have just written the word penis over and over and over again
    ----my dick, my girl, the world according to my---
    instead of trying to invent sentences ---------underwear hanging loose

    ---his stale reference bad----------and privilege-------

    hot chocolate----
    ----------------bread of comfort, steam

    ---shielding nothing----the shared amulets warm

    ----if anyone else ----whipped
    with forsythia & pussy willow branches---

    leaves, clothes----torn-----------and then the---------twin

    ---and the armless fortitude, a resist----fucking dirt of spring----

    breath of pursuer colorless bu------

    ---so she would shut up, turned-----the earth rising up, smelled the color moss----

    she owned this-----------------throb in the sinister creases of her own---------

    a thrumping night---ogling-----

    ----- form in white pants crossing a street, a barking, she---

    ---stamens dangled-----bobbing fronds-----laugh she can----

    finally, put jackals away, buried their male remains---

    -----in a three pattern note of bird song,whipperwhill-----

    -----crushing honeysuckle petals into her bra after drinking them-------

    a gaping unstiffled-----finally saved, found
    ---------- it was a friend, caught in new-----------

    Parted----------- no more sucking----curves to angles

    -----the hush of no more never again no more never again, no more, never again rip----

    students ne----------mentors---------row,
    --- lines of fortunes scried, divined--------------told their did
    --her glorious fracas---------- teachers----

    -----------window open, sheets to curtains---------
    -------the freedom, oh the freedom of oh----
    ------es of remembering------------slick, tempest, polished floors, grain---------not looking back

    A Versailles torso-----A venus-----a pair-----not looking back

  8. Okay. I'm really confused by this site. Perhaps it's just me; but I'm going to post all of my poems here. Here is 1 & 2 of 30.

    1.30 - Haiku

    My momma told me
    Not to 'say' the phrase, "F-- You!"
    So watch my finger.


    He loves me backwards.

    Not in a twisted and warped way
    that barbed-wire knuckles to busted lip contorted way... .
    It is more like:
    I mistakenly wore mismatched socks today,
    my shirt inside-out,
    skirt right-side-up,
    my hair in disarray,
    eye-shadow on my cheek bones,
    lipstick beneath my brow,
    toothpaste under my arm,
    deodorant in my smile,
    ...perfume for lock spray.

    He loves me backwards, that way.