Friday, April 30, 2010

"For today's prompt, write a letting go poem. The poem could be about letting go of a relationship; it could be about letting go of anger; it could be about letting go of a tree branch; or it could even be about, yes, letting go of this April challenge. There are so many things we can let go."

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

"For today's prompt, write an end of the line poem. Maybe the narrator of your poem is at the end of his or her line. Other possible lines that have an end: assembly lines, phone lines, power lines, rail lines, graph lines, dotted lines, waiting lines, lines of poetry, etc."


Write a poem that uses an invented word that sounds just like what it represents. For inspiration, see the poem "Jabberwocky" by Lewis Carol.

Monday, April 26, 2010

"For today's prompt, write a "more than 5 times" poem. Of course, I'll let you decide what that means. Maybe you'll write a poem about something the narrator does more times than preferrable; maybe you'll write a deja vu poem; or maybe you'll just write the same line and/or stanza more than 5 times. I just know that multiple poets recently said the "More than 5 times" subject line would make a great prompt, so I'm listening to the group. Have at it!"

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

For today's prompt, take the phrase "According to (blank)," replace the blank with a word or phrase, make the new phrase the title of your poem, and then, write the poem. Example titles might be: "According to Bob," "According to these instructions," "According to the government," "According to the sun," etc.

Write a letter to someone who hasn't been "born" yet. It could be someone who literally hasn't been physically born like a future child, or it could be a different version of someone in the future, tomorrow, next year or decades from now.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

April 17, 2010
For today's prompt, write a science poem. Science encompasses a lot, so your poem doesn't have to be scientific to still be a science poem. For instance, you could have a poem titled something like "The Science of Love," and then examine a relationship. Voila! A science poem! Of course, it'll be interesting to see how many poets talk about volcanoes and single cell organisms, not to mention finding out how many "mad scientists" are out there.

if they say no two bodies
can occupy the same space
at the same time
then i know we defied
the laws of physics last night.

sir isaac newton is obsolete.
we need a new hypothesis
a new theory
ground breaking research
for how could i be so close to (in) you
last night?

if they say a body in motion
stays in motion
then there are stones
left unturned
because i know
gravity was rendered archaic
since i never came down
even after falling falling falling
in love with you again
and again.

Friday, April 16, 2010

From the Poetic Asides Blog:

Maybe it's a little too close to tax day, but today's prompt is to write a death poem. You can write about a specific death or consider death as an idea. In the tradition of Emily Dickinson (and other poets), you could even address Death as an entity. Or you can surprise us with a different spin on the subject.

I look forward to openly sharing my morbid side!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

From the "Poetic Asides Blog":

For today's prompt, write a deadline poem. You can interpret what a deadline poem is however you wish. Maybe it's a poem that laments the idea of deadlines. Maybe it's a poem about someone intentionally missing them or who never has problems with them (I wish I were that person). Regardless of how you take it, remember that you have until tomorrow before another prompt will be posted. Consider that your poetic deadline.

The Exes

she wanted me to meet her new boyfriend:
but he was running late
something about the dog and homework.
it was not very clear
and sounded pretty lame actually
but i went along
as good friends
often do.

i met the last guy:
wow, was that guy a dreamer!
always talking about tomorrow
and the future and what
he was planning for them
never did get to any of it
though they enjoyed
a fairly long courtship.

you really should have seen the guy before that:
i didn’t have a many occasions with him
he was mostly on again off again
and i was always there to help her
pick up the pieces
he’d leave
in the wake
but like a overdue library book
she returned like clockwork
until they pulled her
from circulation.

Here’s the prompt for April 14, 2010.

From the Poetic Asides Blog: Take the phrase "(blank) Island," replace the blank with a word or phrase, make the new phrase the title of your poem, and then, write the poem. You could do a well-known island, such as "Treasure Island," "Ellis Island," or "Total Drama Island." Or you could make up the name of an island. Or you could even have a long drawn out title, such as "You'll never get me on an island" or "If I were on a deserted island."

Here’s a trio of tankas dedicated to the theme.

Paradise Island

walking between palms
on a faraway island
beneath a full moon
i feel alive by your side.
i know that i am in love.

render me helpless
hold me in your loving arms
kiss me tenderly
move me to another place
watch me burst with abject joy.

it has been too long
since i last held you tightly
since i last kissed you
this reality must change
my island dreams will not do.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

For today's prompt, "write a love poem or write an anti-love poem."

I chose love.

I'm afraid, however, that I don't have anything. I start and stop, start and stop. So, I'm going to rest on it and see if any inspiration results from a time out.
I think it's funny that I couldn't think of anything last night and this morning, I wrote this in about 30 minutes. This poem a day process is interesting at best.

breathless and dizzy
you’re coloring within my lines
blurring the boundaries of where i end
violating long standing treaties
of autonomy and independence
you just appeared
talking and listening
insatiable listening
like you had a tape worm
could not get enough
of me.

my first love high
and now addicted
fiending for any piece of you
a call text the sight of you my next hit
reminders everywhere of you
seeing myself for the first time
making me wonder
if my life before you
was even living.

breathless and dizzy
pulse racing calm
grounded centered yet
flying high enough to see god
and the infinite color
within my lines.

Monday, April 12, 2010

For today's prompt, pick a city, make that the title of your poem, and write a poem. Your poem can praise or belittle the city. Your poem could be about the city or about the people of the city. Your poem could even have seemingly nothing to do with the city. But the simple act of picking a city will set the mood (to a certain degree), so choose wisely.

Heart of St. Francis

Hilly and fog enshrouded streets
littered with hearts feckless and gay
discarded like cig butts
aren’t for weaker stomachs.
the close-minded, the apathetic
or shallow pockets.

Go north
where hearts are pickled
in wine bubbles
and mud baths
where not in my backyard
means mastectomies and chemo
and even asians can still
integrate a place.

Go south
where hearts are created
with code and silica
adorned with coms and nets
unveiled at press conferences
boiling with new 2.0 money
risks capital and
bursting balloons
for your phone.

Go east
where hearts are worn
on tie-dyed sleeves
just near the shoulder
a little below the chip
of renewal and gentrification
and, of course, bart executions
nationally televised
cop slayings.

Four ventricles
connected in syncopated rhythms
pumping the lifeblood for stereotypes
to all of middle america
of liberalism and the absurd
tree hugging tree dwelling
backpacking handholding
civil disobeying
awe inspiring sunset gazing
hella living

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Thanks for your patience in these posts. I enjoyed the weekend though I thought I would make more time for writing. Some of the highlights of the weekend were happy hour on Friday night, hanging out with my Lisas throughout the weekend, watching the Masters Tournament, and reconnecting with old acquaintances from college and high school. Enough about me.

For today's prompt, take the phrase "The Last (blank)," replace the blank with a word or phrase, make that the title of your poem, and then, write the poem. Some examples: "The Last Train," "The Last Kiss," "The Last Time I'll Give Directions to a Complete Stranger," "The Last Dance," etc.

The Last Call

A quarter past buzzed
but not high enough
to lower standards of booty
need a five star woman
a bright constellation of swirling gases
to lead ancient voyages
across dark uncharted oceans
but only seems (im)possible
if you’re adding
the sum of distant parts
maybe her lips on her hips
or her hair on her flair
either way it’s all new
dizzying math.

A half hour past faded
and just high enough
to ask for her name again
all cute, looking lusciously latina
mesmerizing mayan
you know with little flavor
compact and straight up
at first taste
salt on a parched tongue
punctuated by lemon
so bad you can feel her going down
and at once warm in the pit center
leaving you swooning at the bar
only wanting more

It’s last call
beyond the point of no return
and your friends
reason and good sense left hours ago
already in bed
ready for sunrise service
just you and your girl Tequlia locked
in a tight embrace at the bar
and she intimates ever so subtly
a slight churn the last call
she doesn’t appreciate your wandering eyes
your lack of attention devotion
your baseless pursuit of perfection
new math
and won’t share the stage top billing
with neither restraint
nor dinner nor appetizers
beer rum

It’s last call
and you know the hard way
Ms. Tequila doesn’t play well
with others hips lips
hair and flair
all over you
swirling gases and acid
leading you home alone
an ancient voyage
all over your shoes.

Friday, April 9, 2010

eff, boo, eff.

What a wonderful Friday it has been.

I spent the day at work, intrigued by the prompt for the day, but more than that, wishing i could spend the day writing, watching golf, and more writing. Fortunately, the evening was punctuated by time with some of the loveliest people I have had the good fortune to include in my life. We happy houred at MUA in Oakland and the shenanigans ensued.

This is an elaborate excuse on why I have not posted today's poem, or, in fact, yesterday's poem either. Nonetheless, I promise you both poems tomorrow and look forward to birthing them at this very table, looking out at the downtown Oakland skyline, and Tiger Woods in the background.

On a side note, please know that I have appreciated the feedback on my progress. It's a treat to share this with you. Stay tuned.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

I will post this poem later today, but I wanted to place the prompt here now.

For today's prompt, pick a tool, make that the title of your poem, and write your poem. There are the more obvious tools, of course: hammer, screwdriver, wrench, etc. But there also less obvious tools and/or specialized tools available as well.

Or just write a love poem to an inanimate object, your computer, shoes, bed, bicycle, etc.

I spent the evening with friends for dinner at Farmer Brown in SF ( and then checked out my girl's show, Ungrateful Daughter. (

I really enjoyed the show and look forward to more art, love, and connection in the upcoming days. I have a homework assignment since I did not write today's poem, but am posting the first poem that I ever wrote and kept.

you never knew it
but i was head over heels in fear of you.
everytime you called when you said you would.
everytime you brought me flowers
to brighten my day.
everytime you touched me
and i shook with fear
but feigned coolness.

bogey man in the dark.
the monster under my bed
the haunted house i would not walk by.

the fear that someday
i'd look up and expect everyone
to be who you were
to be like you
choked me.

and that i could not have.
so i found no place
for you in my life
and you never knew it.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

From the Poetic Asides blog: "For today's prompt, take the phrase "Until (blank)," replace the blank with a word or phrase, make the new phrase the title of your poem, and write the poem. Possibilities include: "Until we meet again," "Until tomorrow," "Until monkeys fly out my butt," or even "Until blank" (why not?). OR From fellow PAD poet: "Write a poem where food is central. It can be a food memory, a favorite meal, what happened at a meal or about the preparation of food, who is gathered to eat."

I decided to incorporate both themes since I’m an overachiever.
This is by far the most personal and autobiographical of all of the postings so far. I hope you enjoy it.

until i knew

on my mother’s 62
nd birthday
they promised to remove her feet
something about circulation
and infection and blood sugar
hell, she’d already had a toe removed
that’s why she was in the hospital in the first place
and i know them doctors could read
her chart
it was right there in plain sight
but i guess with all of them degrees
and what not
they couldn’t see what was obvious
to everyone else in the room.

losing your feet on your birthday
ain’t no birthday at all.

there wasn’t no cake
no ice cream
just cards flowers balloons
that were like, fake cheery
happy birthday! (old bitch)
(you in the hospital.)

the balloons and flowers
were supposed to take her mind
off that metal box with no bow
just beyond her feet
at the end of the bed
you know, the one that housed
her chart
like it was precious or fragile
or something that needed protection
but we already knew what it saidit didn’t take no fancy degree or nothing
to figure it all out.
like yo, you need yo feet, right?

so i read the chart because i can
and just because i dropped chem 1a before the deadline
didn’t mean that i couldn’t figure out what was obvious
to them doctors in the coats.

mama was dying of cake and ice cream
but see it wasn’t just cake and ice cream
she had also been diagnosed with pork chops and gravy
rare steaks with fingerling potatoes
years of coke, you know, cola,
like gallons of that shit,
intravenous and what not
and bacon and eggs and pancakes
baby, a denny’s grand slam
and butter.
mama was dying of butter.
she even asked the lady doctor
if there was something they could give her
to put her out of her misery.

the doctor just looked at her
then she looked at me, you know, a little perplexed
i figured she knew i had opened
the metal box with no bow
and she leaned in ever so gently
as if all of her training had prepared her for this very moment
and softly said
baby, you’re not dying.

well, admittedly this is a little bit of news to me
since i took off two months from work to be at home
and the second day i’m there, like on cue
roll the music
old mama can’t breathe
is doubled over
you know
gasping for air and
if i hadn’t seen abject terror before
well, there it is.
the ambulance comes and whisks her off to the hospital

hours later
when everyone is out of the room
you know it’s just the two of us
mama tells me
i just wanna die.

i get on board because
i think
old heifer is doing exactly that.
you know
yet you can imagine my surprise
when dr. malpractice
shares, “baby, you’re not dying.”
she even said, you could live for another 15 years.

well, like i said,
i did drop chemistry in college
but i made it through physics in high school
and i know there ain’t no equation or formula for this
but it’s common sense to everybody i know
you can’t be fabulous with no feet.
it can’t be done.

so dr. malpractice leaves the room and
i look at my mom and she looks at me
and i know in an instance
the same way that i can decipher
pages and pages of doctor scribble
in a metal box with no bow
on her birthday
that this is it.
these final days are
on her own terms
her choices
her life.

on my mother’s 62
nd birthday
there wasn’t no cake
no ice cream
just cards flowers love
understanding knowing sadness
and that metal box with no bow
just beyond her feet
at the end of the bed.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

This was today’s prompt: “Write an ekphrastic poem. According to John Drury's, The Poetry Dictionary, ekphrastic poetry is "Poetry that imitates, describes, critiques, dramatizes, reflects upon, or otherwise responds to a work of nonliterary art, especially the visual." So, I've provided links to two pieces of art, and I want you to pick one (or both) to write an ekphrastic poem.

I really didn’t like either image but chose to go with Pocahontas, Ms. Annie Leibovitz’s photograph of actress Jessica Beil. The following tanka resulted:

run Pocahontas,
miraculous shape shifter.
the headlines will read:
Doe Mauls Shoeless Girl.
Savages Cheer Sinking Ship.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Today's poetic theme was TMI: too much information. As a huge golf fan, I watched Tiger Woods' press conference today and decided to play on the poetic theme just a bit. I hope you like it.

TMI: Tiger's Marriage and Infidelity

a head of curls in shorts and stripes
center stage and home amid the hot lights
wielding a double edged putter
he charmed a 3 footer into the cup
a sneak peek of an evolving fist pump
we would come to love
mostly on sunday and in red
and best of all at places
where his face
only served arnold palmers
masters laced with whites only clauses.

when they tied him to the tree that first day of school
hurling rocks and niggers at his cabalasian skin
when they turned him and tida away at the club gate
suddenly unable to find his name
eldrick tont woods
on the roster
she pulled him close in mid retreat
one hand on the u-turning wheel
the other
on his cabalasian skin
and recited his vows:

beat them.
step on their necks.

i do, mama.
i do.

hello world!
17 majors 95 first places
bask in the shade of
an ill placed fire hydrant and tree
sunday red oozing from a busted lip
a swedish five iron
(that window didn’t stand a chance)
prone and still private on a gated street
mysteries unfold like score cards at the end of a round
twenty four hour news cycles too much information
sex messages canceled press conferences payouts
amply funded waitress protection plan
countless tales of fetish affairs and infidelities
yet really only one:

his first love.

one hand on his driver
the other on his putter
finally alone and together again
she pulls him close
pardoning his transgressions
and whispers
beat them
step on their necks

he cannot miss the splendor of the chapel
spring azaleas billowing dogwoods
gracious patrons seated on either side of the aisle
and best of all a place
where his face
chanting i do i do
served arnold palmers
masters laced with whites only clauses.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

The prompt for this poem was actually posted on April 3, 2010, but I didn't want to post unfinished work. I plodded along until this was finally birthed. The prompt was "partly _____ (fill in the blank.) I posted it on my FB status and got a few suggestions, but the main one that I specifically used in the work was "yet fully," so I thank you, Regina F. Here's what resulted.

partly a man

yet fully a child
he puts his keys condoms dreams
in his front pockets
where they jostle in jeans
held mid thigh by a perfected
perp walk locked steps
perhaps only a dress rehearsal for the real thing
where there are no belts or shoe laces
only square bars where no drinks are served
only numbers that don’t involve math
only sentences that are handed out instead of spoken written.

partly a man
yet fully a child
he puts his keys condoms dreams
in notebooks full of rhymes and beats
his blueprints for a escape in tubes
that also tie
large enough to include a ball
but much too small for books
he will never read since he
ain’t white ain’t gay.

partly a man
yet fully a child
he puts his keys condoms dreams
in the palms of his hands
held tight by clenched fists
hidden just between the life and heart lines
a wishbone to be pulled apart only
on holidays
after the leftovers are properly foiled
and the scraps
thrown to chained dogs.

April 4, 2010

From PAD (Poem a Day): "For today's prompt, write a history poem. This could mean a poem about your country's history, the history of an event or a tool, or even your own personal history. Hey, you could even write about the history of a relationship. The history of everything is fair game."

light and breezy
you thought it so easy
to think of me as sleazy
just cause you, that one time, pleased me
but baby you didn't really
leave me caught up
like i let on

light and breezy
so hard sometimes to be me
overwhelmed by the reality
you're just here to tease me
child, you're just a minor hiccup
oh, excuse me

light and breezy
wondering what happened to me
why you just can't see me
and you being so heavy
when you know things were just chilly

light and breezy
you thought you'd play me
taking your eight unreturned calls to maybe
realize i was gone as quickly
as i appeared, baby



Friday, April 2, 2010

Today's theme was either a poem on water or use the line from a Boys II Men lyric: "Baby, I knew about it. I just didn't care."

I thought I would have used the lyric, but I actually struggled with it since I was not able to focus my thoughts. I could have written a short story on that lyric.

So about an hour later, I moved to water. And I don't know why, but I was thinking about the rivers that are currently "overflowing," particularly in the Midwest. I remember seeing the devastation from a few years ago and each time returned to the same thought: why do people live so close to the river and the river is simply doing what rivers do. flow.

I stayed with the Red Cedar river for the poem. Another two hour elapsed resulting in the following.


when the day is as long as the night
mud covered floor mats made in china
read like giant tarot cards
revealing secrets with seemingly indecipherable meanings as old as god
and certain futures as predictable as earthquakes.

when the day was as long as the night
the people from before knew that
water would rise to its own level
so they traveled with no more
than what they could carry need use
no more than what mother would provide.

when the day is as long as the night
distinguishable flakes meld into a rising flowing one
with no regard to stock prices on disaster
or millions of sandbags or supplications to another god
said to be worlds away.

when the day was as long as the night
the people from before celebrated
the god that flowed before them
and lost nothing to the river
bathing in its glory delight
and winding prayers of mud and snowflakes.

The prompt for today's poem, April 1, 2010, was "you burn me." I chose to end the poem with this line instead of embedding it within the text or entitling the poem in this way.

Incidentally, if you're ever in Palo Alto, CA, check out NOLA at 535 Ramona for the "soft and sexy grits." Shameless plug, I know, but the grits will change your life.

you are soft and sexy grits
percolating with cream and a hint of sugar salt honey
smooth like fresh asphalt on a desert road
steamed flat by radials and centrifugal force
blazing hot and ready for breakfast tossing retribution
while i bathe.

you are distilled fermented
potatoes herbs sugar cane
151 proof on the back of my throat
some wild dare, another round on my 21st birthday
when i know i have already had
two too many
the gasp and tightly closed lids
as i finally swallow you
whole slowly in parts yet all at once.

you are a bright constellation on my red
baby oiled freckled skin in july in a place
where even the mosquitos know you’re too hot
there is no protection factor imaginable
a number too high to count
like pi spelled out across the moon.

you burn me.