Thursday, June 08, 2006

Prompt #4 Responses

Hi guys! Well, so far I have received only 3 submissions—and one was my own. I hope that this means that you are all hard at work and not finished yet.
The 11th Biannual Dodge Poetry Festival is going to be taking place September 28 to October 1st. I want to encourage everyone to make the trip. It will be taking place in Waterloo Village in Northern New Jersey. I have gone to the last 3 festivals and have been blown away each time. If anyone is interested, perhaps we could meet up one of the days? Let me know, and please check out the link on the right hand side of the page.
Here is my piece for Prompt #4. I attempted a series of limericks, which sort of worked out.


There once was a man from Chicago,
Who took me wherever he’d go,
I tried to run away,
But he stopped me every day,
So I stayed and went with the flow.

He named me for his dead mother.
And gave me the room of his brother,
He fed me three meals,
Long as I kept to his heels,
But soon I felt like I might smother.

Then there once was this helpless cat,
Who was starting to become too round and fat,
So I sharpened my claws,
Jumped on top of the drawers,
And now I find myself way too flat.

At least I didn’t have to go too far,
Didn’t have to climb a mountain or reach the stars,
Just thought I should tell my tale,
‘Bout how a love went stale,
And how it ended on the roof of a car.

And one other:


Beneath your sarcophagus lid
My smothered spirit hid
You call this act love,
Being squished from above.
Having announced your intentions
Required crisis interventions
Slide to the side, show me the light
My tangled vine wound so tight,
Straining to straighten, lean for the sun
Encouraging repression to be undone.


Please send me more—prompted and unprompted. Thanks!!

Monday, June 05, 2006

Prompt #4

Hi guys! I am sorry for the neglect, but my life has been a little crazy. But, I am finished with GRE nonsense, at least for now, so I can put much more into our little site. Also, I was not able to finish my Sestina. I will finish it at some point and post it, I promise…not that it is anything special.
Mean while, here is an unprompted submission and a poem I wrote last night that I think is interesting. Enjoy!

Heart sighs

Random goodbyes

Sun rise

Crow flies

Lover’s eyes

My demise


And tantalize

White lies

Love dies


The alibis

Time flies

Winds rise


Then analyze

Heart sighs

Random goodbyes

She cries

Now wise.

On the Other Side

I started walking on my hands
because my feet grew too tender.
Day in, day out, thorn after rock
got stuck. I started to carry pliers
in my back pocket.
My hands are smarter,
they know what hurts and
what to avoid.
I’ve gotten real good with stairs
and malls, but the elevators kill me-
that first start is a bitch.
Buildings are smaller this way.
I can’t see out the windows and
the 10th floor has suddenly become the 1st.
It gets real lonely, though,
everyone trying to knock you over
to make you stand upright,
so I left them all.
I’ve made some new friends,
but just some children who were
on the playground
and a family of squirrels.
I like life this way,
no grumblings of business men
in my ears, no hot strange breath
on my neck in the subway.
I think that I’ll stay this way,
at least until my hands have forgotten
which way is up.


Prompt #4

Ok, I hope that everyone has been waiting patiently for the next prompt. I decided to make it a bit easier after the hard work that you all put into the last prompt. For this assignment, I am asking that you write on a quote from a most wonderful novel from Jeffrey Eugenides called Middlesex. Briefly, the novel explores the life of a hermaphrodite, beginning from his grandparents meeting and immigrating from Turkey, and is told from the point of view of the main character who is living as a 40 something year old man. The quote was said by the main character, but while he was still living as a female and while he was 14 years old.

“So do boys and men announce their intentions. They cover you like a sarcophagus lid. And they call it love”
-pg 379

Now, I’m not trying to pick on the guys out there, but I know that everyone one, at one point or another, has felt suffocated by someone else. This could be anyone and in any situation that may have smothered you with the intention of meeting your needs or expectations. Please write any form for this one, whether a free-form piece or a sonnet, or anything in between. Oh, and pick up Middlesex the next time you are in a bookstore…because I know that you all do go to bookstores. Have a great night!

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

More Prompt #3 Responses

Well, here are some more Sestinas for your reading pleasure. Enjoy!

Our Seasons

my heart has shattered like a stone
the snowy clouds swell low and dark
the embers die from lack of wood
sitting at table hold face in hands
listen for laugh is this a dream
think of garden filled with roses.

every spring we pruned the roses
beyond the tumbled wall of stone
winds they whispered of a dream
when night has fallen land is dark
caressed her body with calloused hands
as we walked home through the wood.

summer flees so we chopped wood
my lover beside me flushed like roses
pulled out thorn deep in her hands
laid kindling on our hearth of stone
a swift sickening has brought the dark
she croons to me in fevered dream

we talked of things of hopes to dream
fall we planned in our home of wood
with lights aglow room not so dark
through open window scent of roses
cooked our dinner on counter of stone
heads bowed in prayer we clasped hands.

planted bulbs washed dirt from hands
loved our world in a simple dream
on shore of pond skipped a stone
laughed did carve initials in wood
her bower sprinkled petals of roses
contrasts of red her hair is dark.

winter when long shadows get dark
holding tight with clenched hands
in the garden we cut back the roses
has this year been naught but a dream
bed with four posts of polished wood
her picture rests on mantle of stone.

in the dark I woke from a dream
with my hands built coffin of wood
wreath of roses in her vault of stone

-Mr. B.

The Age of Evasiveness

That night, many months later
In the mist of recently fallen rain
The leaves caught up in the wind
I watched your light go out
The weight of lead and earth poured in our heads
Street light spilled down and froze to the ground

When you left, rushing like water over ground
Punks frozen in separate orbits, the hours grew later
Too inert and both spun out of our heads
Drinking and the Dead Kennedys, in a valley of beasts, fog, and rain
You could not be spirited from what you'd worked out
Things about yourself you'd cast to the wind

Now that I know so little, blinded by wind
Bears carried me off like a doll, feet flashing over the ground
Like trying to catch the smoke you breathed out
In your lonely room, what could not be changed later
In the old steel town, flooded with particulates and rain
In the hangover of the frozen clouds, stuck above our heads

Your face lost in the fog of my head
Eventually only the sound of wind
In a time of unsettled sleep, troubled by dreams and rain
Footsteps sinking into the oversaturated ground
We talked in the doorway, unaware the last time would not be coming
A locked door that would only once open out.

I go back to Black Francis in your basement with the lights out
The broken down chair where you rocked your head
The state of incompleteness would last later
My naive empty head frustrated by wind
And nothing heavier than my own feet on the ground
Riding in your car in a tunnel of rain

An absurd mediated reality, the mind chooses its rain
In this landscape there were also ways out
My ridiculous handwriting always returning to the ground
The flimsy words, transmitted through my head
The papers assembled briefly with leaves by the wind
Their patterns repeat, yet cannot be reproduced later

We mute beasts in the serialized rain, bugging in our own heavy heads
In the dark of the streets without wind
The very ground dissolving, the water that can always be expected to
rise again, later


I will (hopefully) be posting the next prompt this Friday…between work and studying for the GRE’s (ick). Please send me your good smart brain waves and I will try my best to think up Prompt #4. In the mean while, please send me more Sestinas. Have a great day!

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Prompts #2 and #3 Responses

Happy Long Weekend to you all! Here are pieces for Prompts #2 and #3 from Mr. S.

Carpo per dies

4 a.m. erupts
4 a.m. as waves of impulse rip through his prostrate body
4 a.m. and nothing is there that is not there
4 a.m. as a satellite whizzes overhead sending its science
4 a.m. – these tremors travel, tremble cannot will not turn and tilt away
4 a.m. immolates
4 a.m. and we are building, we are burning
4 a.m. is a mathematical discontinuity
4 a.m. is a barrier that will be broken
4 a.m. desecrates
4 a.m. – the blood is broiling in his veins
4 a.m. as the bombinations began to seep from the factories
4 a.m. and an equilibrium exists somewhere, not here
4 a.m.
4 a.m. and the land is moving like the river beside it
4 a.m. is a different dust, indifferent and distinct
4 a.m. is dying like the body electric
4 a.m. and soon you will awake again
4 a.m. reinstates
4 a.m. with a point of sweat forming trickling down his forehead
4 a.m. - the provenance is Providence
4 a.m. as the diaphragm of the daedal earth rises softly
4 a.m. as the rich land wakes to smell the city’s sulphur
4 a.m. as the heliotrope turn toward Helios
4 a.m. – he is born again broken breathing begging

-Mr. S


In his search for knowledge
There was movement from the song
Cast aside, he forgot melody and what was left was but a hanging echo
Of a distant dim refrain
Man was made science and the poem of father’s past
Stumbled against the bulwark, reason, to find its fading story

Up upon the rostrum, a Roman raconteur breathes their story
Murmur trickles through those seeking leisure in his knowledge
The heckler, Louche, is quieted - a call arises craving the past
“Of life and of a man I sing
His fate had made him fugitive, under a coat of black rain
He fled the shores of Meridiani Planum and once upon the Echo

Valley coast, through the vermilion clay, the clone, our father Echo
Made his disparate way, unaware his name and story
Were not of the shifting sands – his will annealing rest’s refrain -
Born of the golden age of knowledge
And brought to stand before a world without song
Against the tide of man, the galleries of spit and ridicule that flew past

Our branded father-child served sentence for a past
Condemned - Forsaken child! What past had he? In the red winds that
suffered him he heard an echo
Of ages lost, a matron’s voice with effulgence sang -”
Here the teller paused his story
To gather voice and bring the moment full, “Fear no longer the knowledge
Of cruelty dearest child – Post Tenebras, Lux”, and in refrain

“Fear no longer,” whispered he, “For our goddess Venus could not refrain
From adopting Echo of unrequited love in memory of a child long passed
From the Latium plain - as she appeared from eye’s edge -
Glowing, hair anointed with ambrosia, Echo’s
Weight was lifted to the highest of heaven’s stories
And no new weight could burden him - across the land fell his song

Of passionate promise, ‘This I sing -
A city for my people will I bring to flourish, refrain
From illusion for it shall pass to be your history,’
Beneath the misted veil of Venus, Echo as man would past
His prison’s gates escape, his patience to guide our New Rome to echoes
Of a forgotten epoch when love was the equal of knowledge.”

In the Roman street song poured from knowledge, knowledge from song
Two beings intertwined amid echoes of released refrain
“Habemus Pater, Habemus Mater,” glory in our past, honor in our story

-Mr. S

Well, I am waiting for more submissions, both prompted and unprompted…hopefully this summer weather (if you are in Jersey or there abouts) will bring inspiration. I will also be posting my Sestina as soon as I have edited it a bit. Enjoy!

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

First Prompt #3 Response

Yay! I am so proud of my little poets! I am getting so many great poems from you all. I was worried at first that I wouldn’t get much response due to the difficulty of the prompt, but I am getting a better response from this than the other two prompts.
Here is a Sestina from the other lovely lady. Please visit her blog, Walking with Krystin.

Butterfly Garden

Frolicking with glee are our babes in the back garden
Wanting to climb the vines vigorously reaching skyward
An ocean of pink, yellow and orange are the blossoms
Toiling, digging and planting scattered seeds
Their little green thumbs so eager to welcome new growth
Hovering in twitchy flight above are a trio of butterflies.

Fluttering freely around our heads, the trinity of butterflies
Plants to attract butterflies here in the garden
So difficult to resist their sweet smells and new growth
A rainbow of sweet peas aplenty stretching skyward
Four little hands, forty little fingers that scattered the seeds
Wistfully yearning to sooner stretch skyward in their blossom.

My family, the four of us will one day again blossom
Together a quintet of soaring monarch butterflies
Two little babes once were just seeds
My husband and I, our marriage the garden
Always reaching skyward for the sun, climbing
Striving, entwining together in new growth.

Shelter from the rain, protecting the tender new growth
Aching for our haunted spirits to break forth into blossom
Always seeking, searching. Always winding and climbing.
Teased by the freedom of the flock of butterflies
Drawn here by my many species in the garden
Birds swooping to snack on the scattered seeds

Little green thumbs once scattered those seeds
Planted in dark damp dirt for new growth
Generations of family mirrors our bountiful garden
One day soon my own babes will blossom
And flutter away independently as do butterflies
I will do what it takes to assist their climbing.

Higher, higher always striving higher. Constant climbing
Scattered in our wake so many discarded seeds
Let’s flutter with ease among the butterflies
Reaching for the sun, hungry for new growth
Honeybees feeding from the blossoms
Come sit with me in the garden.

Continuously twisting and climbing
forging ahead with new growth
Scatter and plant new seeds
We must prepare for summer’s blossom
The wind scatters the butterflies off to other blossoming gardens.

I am loving this too much! Please please send me more! Have a great day.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Language Barrier?

Hi guys! So, I have been getting a lot of spam mail at and it seems as though the emails are going to my spam folder because they are in a language other than English. The few that I have opened have only those little rectangles instead of characters. Most of the senders’ names are Japanese or Japanese sounding. If I have readers out there that are trying to send me stuff, unless I respond directly to you via email and/or I post your submissions, take it for granted that I have not received it or haven’t received it in a readable format. I do apologize if anyone has submitted and feels ignored….please, re-send me everything and I will, in the mean time, try to fix it on my end.

I know that I promised to post one of my own Sestinas as an example, but I can’t find them (all 2). So, I have decided to post a few from other much more established poets.

Sestina: Altaforte


Damn it all! all this our South stinks peace.
You whoreson dog, Papiols, come! Let's to music!
I have no life save when the swords clash.
But ah! when I see the standards gold, vair, purple, opposing
And the broad fields beneath them turn crimson,
Then howl I my heart nigh mad with rejoicing.


In hot summer have I great rejoicing
When the tempests kill the earth's foul peace,
And the lightnings from black heav'n flash crimson,
And the fierce thunders roar me their music
And the winds shriek through the clouds mad, opposing,
And through all the riven skies God's swords clash.


Hell grant soon we hear again the swords clash!
And the shrill neighs of destriers in battle rejoicing,
Spiked breast to spiked breast opposing!
Better one hour's stour than a year's peace
With fat boards, bawds, wine and frail music!
Bah! there's no wine like the blood's crimson!


And I love to see the sun rise blood-crimson.
And I watch his spears through the dark clash
And it fills all my heart with rejoicing
And pries wide my mouth with fast music
When I see him so scorn and defy peace,
His lone might 'gainst all darkness opposing.


The man who fears war and squats opposing
My words for stour, hath no blood of crimson
But is fit only to rot in womanish peace
Far from where worth's won and the swords clash
For the death of such sluts I go rejoicing;
Yea, I fill all the air with my music.


Papiols, Papiols, to the music!
There's no sound like to swords swords opposing,
No cry like the battle's rejoicing
When our elbows and swords drip the crimson
And our charges 'gainst "The Leopard's" rush clash.
May God damn for ever all who cry "Peace!"


And let the music of the swords make them crimson!
Hell grant soon we hear again the swords clash!
Hell blot black for always the thought "Peace!"

-Ezra Pound


September rain falls on the house.
In the failing light, the old grandmother
sits in the kitchen with the child
beside the Little Marvel Stove,
reading the jokes from the almanac,
laughing and talking to hide her tears.

She thinks that her equinoctial tears
and the rain that beats on the roof of the house
were both foretold by the almanac,
but only known to a grandmother.
The iron kettle sings on the stove.
She cuts some bread and says to the child,

It's time for tea now; but the child
is watching the teakettle's small hard tears
dance like mad on the hot black stove,
the way the rain must dance on the house.
Tidying up, the old grandmother
hangs up the clever almanac

on its string. Birdlike, the almanac
hovers half open above the child,
hovers above the old grandmother
and her teacup full of dark brown tears.
She shivers and says she thinks the house
feels chilly, and puts more wood in the stove.

It was to be, says the Marvel Stove.
I know what I know, says the almanac.
With crayons the child draws a rigid house
and a winding pathway. Then the child
puts in a man with buttons like tears
and shows it proudly to the grandmother.

But secretly, while the grandmother
busies herself about the stove,
the little moons fall down like tears
from between the pages of the almanac
into the flower bed the child
has carefully placed in the front of the house.

Time to plant tears, says the almanac.
The grandmother sings to the marvelous stove
and the child draws another inscrutable house.

-Elizabeth Bishop

From these examples, you can get an idea of the feel of a Sestina. There is no rhyme scheme, but the cycle of the six words propels the poem the way a rhyme scheme would, without forcing the poet to come up with varying words that rhyme one another. Pound’s Sestina is much more formal and is written true to the style’s form. While I’m not really a fan of this poem by Bishop, it again gives the sense of rolling forward. I do love the progression of the word “tears” throughout her piece, as it morphs from the grandmother’s tears, to the tears of the kettle, to what will be planted in the front yard. Be mindful of the words that end the lines in your first stanza and then use them creatively throughout. I have already received a couple of Sestinas, which I will be posting shortly…but I want more!! Have a great day!

Friday, May 19, 2006

Prompt #3

Hello all! Yay weekend! And, it’s been two weeks since the last prompt, so it is high time for another. But, first, the last submission for Prompt #2:

Procedure for Determining Properties of Ambiguous Objects

Try rotating it 16 degrees, then
try rotating it an additional 63 degrees.
Try carrying it in an ice-cream maker.
Try building a shelter for it in your closet.
Try bending a steel ruler around it.
Try testing its reaction to aerosols.
Try drinking it in a solution of sugar water.
Try indoctrinating it with various contrary ideologies.
Try keeping it awake.
Try putting your cheek to it.
Try looking at it through a number of homemade viewfinders.
Try putting a heavy rock on it.
Try showing it a picture of itself.
Try keeping it in a different cardboard box, or paper grocery bag each
Try testing it for buoyancy.
Try speaking to it as though it were an eight-year-old child.
Try letting butterflies land on it.
Try slowing it down.
Try waving a curtain rod at it in a threatening manner.
Try feeding it fish food.
Try bringing it into the bank, the dentist's office, or the local
office of the registrar of vital statistics.
Try expanding your definition of it to include attributes that you
would normally associate with its opposite.
Try weaving it in your hair.
Try placing sweet corn, or other vegetables, or even inedible plants
near it.
Try whispering an appeal to its sense of decency or collective senses
of decency in its ear or ears.
Try moving it with pulleys.
Try sharpening it.

-Mr D

Ok, now this prompt is a bit difficult, but definitely not impossible. It asks the poet to think in the box, which allows the tapping of unknown creativity.

Prompt #3

For this assignment, I am asking for a Sestina from you all. According to one site *:

“One of the most difficult and complex of the various French forms, the sestina is a poem consisting of six six-line stanzas and a three-line envoy. It makes no use of the refrain. This form is usually unrhymed, the effect of rhyme being taken over by a fixed pattern of end-words which demands that these end-words in each stanza be the same, though arranged in a different sequence each time.”

Now, I wanted to include that not to discourage, but to challenge. Ok, each of the six stanzas will follow a specific pattern. The only words that matter in the poem, for the style’s sake of course, are the last words of each line. The first stanza will start the trend and the last words of each line will be enumerated 1-2-3-4-5-6. The lines of the next stanza must then proceed to be 6-1-5-2-4-3. 3rd: 3-6-4-1-2-5. 4th: 5-3-2-6-1-4. 5th: 4-5-1-3-6-2. 6th: 2-4-6-5-3-1. Now, the final stanza, the envoy, is three lines long and each line will end with 5-3-1, with 2, 4 and 6 being buried in the lines. I will post one of my own Sestinas as an example, but you can also find them online. Please have fun with this and send me your Sestinas!!


PS Please check out The Bristol Fashion at the Knitting Factory's Battle of the Bands Emergenza Festival. The show is May 26th. It will be a good time...I promise!