Friday, May 25, 2012

Sea Bliss

"When I fully enter time's swift current, enter into the current moment with the weight of all my attention, I slow the torrent with the weight of me all here"
~Ann Voskamp, author of 1000 Gifts

Ann Voskamp's 1000 Gifts set me on a journey (along with a few hundred thousand other people) to be thankful for the gift of every moment. I began my list of 1000 gifts on a trip to Cabo San Lucas in February. These are a few of the moments.

Pearl-skin sentries 
quell the crush 
of tidal cliffs

their red tile hats
hide shaded eyes 
in silence they stand watch

as fixed-wing gulls 
ride invisible swells 
of breezes that blow

white-lipped lapis 
onto a popsicle stick of sand 
that vanishes slow.

An elegant script
of morse code clouds 
scrolls across the sun

whose final work
a crescent curve,
settles in the sea.

Inside, a milky veil
breathes through the open door
and a daisy fan on the
ceiling above whispers
he loves me
    he loves me
       he loves me 

in a rhythmic hum.

I felt fair(ly) happy with this poem until I read writer/poet LL Barkat's "Rumors of Water: Thoughts on Creativity and Writing." She notes how frequent(ly) writers try to channel Ann Voskamp (I could hear her laughing as I read the words). Though achieving Voskamp's voice is an exercise in futility, I fell prey to the trap nonetheless.  I revised the poem and only LL can decide if I succeeded. Mea culpa: I couldn't resist dropping an -ly or two. Who can blame me - adverbs are evil. 

Friday, May 18, 2012

The Value of Writing Prompts: Every Day Poems

By writing much, one learns to write well
- Robert Southey

Though I’m not new to writing, I’ve recently put a timid toe into the foreign water of poetry. Because poems are generally limited to a page, the topics and themes of a “poet” (I use the term loosely when describing myself) vary more frequently than those of a novelist/essayist. Inspiration can be difficult and thought ruts are a daily hazard.

In January I discovered a poetry site called Every Day Poems. The site encourages readers to read and write a poem every day. If you connect to EDPoems on Facebook or Twitter they offer poetry prompts - photos or phrases - to get your creative juices flowing.

Since my discovery of Every Day Poems, I’ve written poems on topics I never would have considered otherwise. A recent prompt was a photo connoting a modern day “Little Red Riding Hood.” As a result, I penned this re-telling of the familiar fable. 

What if the story you've always heard about Little Red Riding Hood wasn't the story at all? What if Little Red went to the woods, not to visit her Grandmother, but to visit a love? What if she went to the woods or vengeance sake, to settle a score with the one who stole the heart of her lover? What if there were two girls in the woods that day, and only one survived. What if there was no wolf at all?

Little Red Retold

No one knows,
but we, the trees
the truth behind the tale

of the fabled one,
with alabaster skin
and a crimson riding cloak

who went to a house,
so deep in a wood
no one should hear a scream

and there saw the girl,
not old, but a girl
who rivaled for the heart

of a woodsman who
heard the screams of the girl
and rushed to see his love

in a blood-red haze,
of life and death
and competing vacant stares.

It was a Grimm tableau,
of horror and hate
that turned into a tale

of a devious wolf
and an innocent girl
who trusted far too much.

For who could know,
but we, the trees
that only a Tell Tale Heart

wears a Scarlet cape,
with a cumbrous hood
into a dangerous wood?

Though no wolf prowled,
we heard the screams
that came from the daggered girl,

not the one with the cape
but the one who was true,
who lived in a treacherous wood

I have no illusions the poem is a masterwork, but the prompt forced me to tackle an unusual subject, which is great practice and essential to good writing.

For a scant $2.99/yr, Every Day Poems delivers sunshine to your inbox each morning and writing prompts that inspire. This small investment pays back in spades. Buy a year of Every Day Poems here:

Full Disclosure™: There may or may not be a coveted chocolate prize for those who participate in their May Theme – Spontaneity.

Monday, May 14, 2012


we lay
across warm wooden planks
your raw-honeyed voice
a basket that bears
endless days

now we are snow angels
in a field of tall grass
now we conspire with
the owl we bear
witness to

but you ride
leaving a tiny counter
piled with speckled notebooks
creamy sugar whispers call
from pages worn

*Inspired by  Kimberlee Conway Ireton's "On Inspiration"