Tuesday, April 30, 2013

How We Yearn - 30/30!

And so we have reached the end, once again, my friends. This year has been fantastic. I've both read and written some of the best poetry I've respectively encountered/turned out. A massive monitor-to-monitor high five to any of you who have been writing along with me. Is your hand on the monitor? Mine is. High Five!

For today's poem, the last of NaPoWriMo, I have a poem about yearning and nature. I hope you enjoy! And thank you all for following and reading! This is by no means the end of I, Mosaic. There will be plenty more to see and read, but as far as NaPoWriMo 2013 is concerned...Adieu until next year!

How We Yearn

Can we disappear?
Can these emerald canopies rapture us,
turn our bodies to mist
and find nourishment in our vapor?
Can we follow these breath-dressed will-o'-the-wisps
and vanish,
souls stretching from xylem to root,
slaking chthonian thirsts
in soil and sky?
Can we just disappear?
We, so tired of these trappings.
So weary of fleshly imprecations,
longing for the breathless naught
of bark and squirming bitumen,
of water and pebble and moss,
of zombic fog and its stillness.
These webs that strew their jewelry
from limb and back again.
This stone-throated simplicity
singing choruses from the creek bed.
Heaven's own tranquility,
and our desperate evanescence.

Monday, April 29, 2013

A Window - 29/30

Happy Monday, everyone!

Second to last day of NaPoWriMo. What to do to celebrate making it through? Hmmm. I'll have to plan something exceptional. Have any plans? What will you do to celebrate NaPoWriMo's end?

As for today, there is still poetry to write and read! This piece is unprompted, aside from the beach trip I am still processing (obviously).

A Window

A rolled-down window.
A sky more ballroom than ceiling,
clouds swaying their minuets through its dome.
The coastal brew of saltwater and fertilizer,
a piquancy shivering lungs and nostrils.
The chill of a breath blown through pine,
softening the sun's toasty burden.
Needle-furred tree limbs aquiver.
The countryside dappled with dappled hide,
jaws that while away the daylight.
A crow pecking Morse code in splintery wood.
An unknowable bulk slipping through the grass,
flitting between straw-gold overgrowth.
Glimpsed then gone.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

The Tides Roll On and On - 28/30

Back from the beach, and still with a couple more days of NaPoWriMo left.

Today's poem was unprompted, and is definitely on the rougher side of things. Kinks to be worked out eventually.

The Tides Roll On and On

This sea,
an infinitude of tongues
hungrily lapping at cornmeal,
casting its aqueous fingers
up terra firma's ankles, toes
contentedly swimming
in the kips of eels and hermits.
This sea,
an eternity of waves
endless in their repetition
but as distinct as the filigreed crystals
that filter down from out of the firmament...
Where did You sink the waterwheel
that sends these tides unendingly crashing
on the sand's particulate gel?
Oceans of incessant landward motion
powered solely by the motor of Your will,
for aeons uninterrupted
in the ebb and flow they throw
from depths unplumbed and lengths unreached,
bringing skeletal blessings
to patrons dragging their hearts through the beach.
an order Your order kicked into motion,
Your power reflected in an unchanging ocean.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Found Friday (NaPoWriMo Edition!) - 'Depression' by Lizzydragon

And so it comes to this. The last Found Friday of NaPoWriMo. It's been one heck of a month. I've had the pleasure to read some fantastic, truly box-sundering poetry, and I just know for every great poem I have read there are dozens if not hundreds of equal craft. So goes the world of literature. You can read all you can, and still not have read more than a thimble-full of what exists.

Anyway, for today's Found Friday, I have the dank and chthonian poem, "Depression" by the blogger Lizzydragon (my veritable blog-twin for her blog's name, Mosaic). It is short, but by no means is it brief. Rich and sensory, atmospherically asphyxiating. It is a great piece of writing. Here is an excerpt:
shards of a woman


stitched and laced and sewn
a jigsaw of hip and hand and lips
a monster

the trees dragged her down
Please do click the link and go read the rest, and leave some feedback! Not unlike the fruit bat vampirizing bruised mangoes, or a rechargeable battery snugly sucking electrons from a charger, we poets are sustained by feedback. Be sure to let Elizabeth know your thoughts on this and her other pieces!

And, have a great Friday!

PromethIsa - 26/30

It's Friday (again!)!

I'm on my way out the door, so today's poem is shorter than I intend it to be. This is a concept I will definitely be revisiting, because I am seriously digging what's going on here. For a later time. For now, you get the abridged version. Have a fun Friday!


The craggy tongue of the earth
slaking its thirst through blood-sodden soil.
Divine wrath wracking man's scapegoat
with pins to hold him down
and a beak in the bowels of his immortality.
A lammergeier preening organ meat from plumage,
the excruciating cost of transcendence,
the race of wicks drifting underfoot
at last alighted with flame.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Breakfast in Spring - 25/30

Happy Thursday, world!

As I am in the process of getting ready for a weekend-long vacation, today and tomorrow's poems will be on the shorter side of things. So today I have a haiku for you! Haiku, the fallback of every lazy poet!

Breakfast in Spring

Griddled-egg innards
dribble down an azure plate.
Nature is hungry.


Sorry for the brevity, you guys! Hope you enjoyed it all the same, and may you have a pleasant Thursday!

P.S. - I'm still taking recommendations. Is there anyone I should be reading? Let me know in the comments!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Triolet of the Worm - 23/30

Welcome back for another day of poetry!

With today's entry, we are officially in the last week of NaPoWriMo. Anyone else feeling like this month only just started and now we're almost done? I suppose that's not a new feeling though...

Anyway, today's poem came prompted by NaPoWriMo again.
And now our (as always, optional) prompt. Today, let’s try writing triolets. A triolet is an eight-line poem. All the lines are in iambic tetramenter (for a total of eight syllables per line), and the first, fourth, and seventh lines are identical, as are the second and final lines. This means that the poem begins and ends with the same couplet. Beyond this, there is a tight rhyme scheme (helped along by the repetition of lines) — ABaAabAB.
Here’s an example by Thomas Hardy:

Birds at Winter

Around the house the flakes fly faster,
And all the berries now are gone
From holly and cotoneaster
Around the house. The flakes fly! – faster
Shutting indoors the crumb-outcaster
We used to see upon the lawn
Around the house. The Flakes fly faster
And all the berries now are gone!

Triolets were in vogue among the Victorians — all those repetitions can add a sort of melancholy gravitas to a poem, but watch out! They can also make the poem sound oddly gong-like. A playful, satirical poem, on the other hand, can be easily written in the triolet form, especially if you can find a way to make the non-repeating lines slightly change the meaning of the repeated ones. Here’s an example of a modern, humorous triolet, by Wendy Cope:


My heart has made its mind up
And I’m afraid it’s you.
Whatever you’ve got lined up,
My heart has made its mind up
And if you can’t be signed up
This year, next year will do.
My heart has made its mind up
And I’m afraid it’s you.
Happy writing!
This was a fun exercise. I am pretty sure I had never tried my hand at a triolet before, so it was a fun style to undertake. For my first attempt, I'm pretty satisfied with the outcome (even if it is considerably darker than I intended today's poem to be). Oh well, truth is truth.

Triolet of the Worm

Muddy crawl the worms of man
with gullets full of soiled thought,
chewing plans from worms with hands
muddy, "Crawl thee, worms of man!
There is no God whose judgement can
desire more than thou were taught.
Muddy, crawl thee!, worms of man…"
…with gullets full of soiled thought.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Multnomah - 22/30

Good Monday, everyone.

Whether it be coffee-induced or natural, I hope you're having an energetic and lively Monday.

Today's poem came prompted by NaPoWriMo, where we were encouraged to write something for Earth Day.
And now, the prompt (it doesn’t have anything to do with masonry and, as always, is totally optional). Today is Earth Day. The first Earth Day was celebrated in 1970 and is now celebrated internationally. In honor of the occasion, I challenge you to write a poem in keeping with Earth Day — it could be a reflection on what’s growing in your garden, a modern pastoral, or a Marianne-Moore-style poem about an animal. Anything to do with the natural world is fair game. Happy writing!
To that end, I have today's poem. I was surprised, when I sat down to think of something nature-oriented to write, to realize that I had never written about Oregon's own Multnomah Falls. It being one of my favorite natural features, that was something in need of immediate rectification. And I quite like what came out of it. Hopefully you do too! (Oh, and if you can come up with a better title for this than 'Multnomah', please do let me know!)


Vapor-laurelled pine trees
lay these pathways with their branches,
Hosannas underneath the feet
of zenith-enthralled pilgrims.

Boughs overhead shade stones
reposing mossy and meditative,
while an ever-present chill prompts clouds
to crawl from patron throats.

This, Multnomah's bowered cloister
roaring with Charybdian prayer,
pouring its watery incense
pon the breaths of passersby,

inhalations never so fresh
as when nearing that incessant spring,
whose falls inspirit with similitude
to the One who authored the thing.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Penguin Pride - 21/30

Happy Sunday!

I have a limerick for you!

Penguin Pride

I once heard a penguin opine,
There's no nesting finer than mine,
and wouldn't you know,
with the pride it did show,
it found itself facing a line!

For penguins are known to be greedy,
not caring at all for the needy,
so when it did boast,
the fault they all host
roused claimants a-waddle and deedy.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Found Friday (NaPoWriMo Edition!): Caleb Parkin - 'Apple 'Til Blackened Lager'

Back for another Found Friday! If you're keeping track, we this is the second to last of our NaPoWriMo edition of Found Friday. Ah...where does the time go?

This week, the poem that I just couldn't stand to not share with you came by way of Caleb Parkin, a self-described "writer and performer...writing...poetry, prose, fiction, storytelling, participation, installation and more."

The poem of note, "Apple 'Til Blackened Lager", was written under the influence (*nudgenudge*) of NaPoWriMo's prompt to "translate" a foreign poem, and Caleb just exploded with it. Here is an excerpt to whet your whistle.
Oh Satan’s liver debt – still, after lithesome,
after all of the angered daggers,
man guards its boiled ravens.
The language and tone of the piece are just outstandingly debauched. Influenced by the title, the entire reading of the piece begins to feel intoxicated and befouled. It is just a vividly fun poem to read, and a very well-written take on the translation-poem.

Well, as they were wont to say on Reading Rainbow, don't just take my word for it...

Friday, April 19, 2013

The Orangutan Garden - 19/30

Happy Friday, everybody! I just can't believe how quickly this month has flown by. Only one more Friday left in this year's NaPoWriMo.

Speaking of Friday, the Found Friday will be coming later today, but for now I have another poem for you. Sit back, slip on those Lewis Carrol-shaded glasses you have been holding onto for just such an occasion as this, and get your nature on.

The Orangutan Garden

Hirsute stones peek their faces
through primaveral wealth,
lichen-bearded and orange.
Gastropodous tear-streaks
lend melancholy to their gazes,
but these stones hold no sorrow.
Their stares cobble into smiles
that are only smiles to those eyes
that never fully open on waking,
dream-taught pupils plucking palimpsests
from behind the screen of nature's verdure,
pulling polycardiac madams from their burrows
and inviting them to teatime,
creating insect class systems of aphids and ladybugs
between petal-crenellated towers,
where angels are not uncommon
with their symmetrically painted wings,
where fiddle-shinned crickets and grasshoppers
cross their fragile instruments
and lend twilight those lullabies
born of insomnia.
It isn't that dreamers paint nature with farce;
they just peel back inanimate planes
to see the wonder already there.
In a willow's hecatonchirene hug
or a cobblestone's fuzzy-cheeked stare.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Polyamory (What the Heart Wants...) - 18/30

We're seriously eighteen days (and thus eighteen poems) in already?! This is nuts!

Today's poem came by way of a particularly terrifying dream, one on the more heartbreaking side of the spectrum.


Polyamory (What the Heart Wants...) 

When my heart started whispering hints
to the rest of me, I foresaw no fault
in its polyamorous desire. Go, love
whomever you must love. I
am secure in this, our relationship.

What I failed to consider
was the misericord-like pinch
I would feel between my shoulder blades
during those nights when the bed
of my chest was left empty,

the lightning striking down my arm
as it reached to turn bedroom doorknobs
without the selfishness needed
to complete the motion's
lifesaving twist.

I thought nothing
of my heart's want to wander,
but this…the sensation of my body
collapsing upon itself one
breath at a time

while this organ,
the most essential part of me,
pounds its exhalations
upon the body of another…
How could I have agreed to this?

My breath is shallow,
mere wisps of bygone laughter
and I can only sit beside the door
and hear my heart beat that song
I thought surely was only for me.

My heart,
I let you go
not knowing just how quickly
life would withdraw from my lips
without you there to redden them.

The fault is mine,
a bear trap of my own making
now gnawing away at my extensions,
for not telling you more plainly
how I cannot live without you.

The fault does not lie in your desire,
but in how mutely I regarded mine,
the uselessness of useful tongues.
Heart, please hear these whispers.
I will be here. I have nowhere else to go.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Creation's Ode - 17/30

Happy Wednesday, everyone!

What are you all up to this week? Doing some invigorating writing and reading? Hopefully so.

I seem to have overcome my NaPoWriMo slump. I feel like I've found my second literary wind, which is great because I was running on E there for about a week. I'm rejuvenated and refreshed today, though, so huzzah for that!

Today's poem came semi-prompted by NaPoWriMo, where we were encouraged to write a poem of greeting.
And now our (totally optional) prompt! Early on in the month, I asked you to write a valediction — a poem of farewell. Today, let’s try the opposite, and write poems of greeting. There’s lots of things you could greet. The spring? Your new stapler? A favorite classmate? An addition to the menu at your local cafe? The subject’s up to you — now get out there and say “hello!”
Me being the neo-hippy that I am, of course I used this opportunity to write about...nature! Of course! Nature is not a new topic, but at the same time, that doesn't mean it can't make for something refreshing. I feel happy with today's poem, and hopefully you will too.

Creation's Ode

it has felt like so much longer than it's been
since I last saw your cold crescent of nacre
peel off the night's pajamas
with the arc of your roving gaze.
I am too far off to hear them,
but I imagine the stars are lauding you with songs
comprised of dust and reverberation,
like nebulous wrist bones clattering their applause.

only the corners of Earth poor enough
to know your power come alive on these nights.
Your luminous runoff rolls pitch off of hillsides
and defines the dryads who hide in sylvan alcoves
with more clarity than the sun could dream.
You are the sun's dream, a fantasy
of grace and less-abusive light.
Stop moving for a moment and let us love you.

already you flirt with marigold mountains,
kissing peaks that reach to hold your pallor more closely.
Why leave so soon, as if you don't love the way
Earth traces your gait with longing? You are shyer
than one more analogous to beauty than Helen of Troy
ought to be.
Don't go yet. The rivers still ripple your image,
a liquescent portrait in hands too wet to hold on…

It's day again, and once again you are gone.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Tuskless Months - 16/30

Good morning and good Tuesday!

Been doing any good reading this month? Are there any poets I should be following? Toss me your suggestions in the comments.

As for today's poem, I took NaPoWriMo's prompt to "translate" a foreign poem.
And now our (optional, as always) prompt. This is an oldie-but-a-goodie and it ties in nicely with our featured link! Today, I’d like you to write a “translation” of a poem in a language you don’t actually know. Go to the Poetry International Language List, pick a language, and then follow it to a poet and a poem. Generally the Poetry International website will present a poem in its original language on the left, and any translation on the right. Cut and paste the original into the text-editing program of your choice (and try not to peek too much at the translation). Now, use the sound and shape of the words and lines to guide you, without worrying too much about whether your translation makes sense.

For example, here are the first few lines of “Staden Glitrade,” by the Finnish poet Tua Forsström

Staden glittrade på avstånd, och
jag stannade. Det var så vackert med
anläggningar och terrasserade trädgårdar

I might translate this as:

Stadium trading glitter in the stands, our
jagged standard! There was so much made
of longing and of the tri-guarded tesseracts.

That might not make much sense, but it gives me some lovely ideas and images. Glittering stadiums, flags, shapes and desire. Those are some great ingredients for a poem!

Once you have your rough “translation,” you could leave it at that, or continue to shape the poem. It’s up to you. Happy writing!
For today's...weird piece of something (I don't go so far as to call it a poem), I used "EMPTY" by the Lithuanian poet Sigitas Parulskis, which can be read in its original state at the link.

Here is my super bizarre transmutation of that original poem....enjoy?

Tuskless Months

Morn basted toasty, he, toasty basted morn
matted bulk of rustic drywall and intravenous odors

of kelvins, many kelvins' viscous tusking
for Vishnu-mass, for seemly tracks, verifying
klepto prized motors
cleansed suckers necropolitan carp
posting smelly colonies

if sharks, if sharks' visitors
tussle, ranking nihilistic velvet
placards for inverted skeins, nickel
in tan jean sycamore necks

cackle-sighted haddock are
9, no, 10 volumes, or less, nakedly
nevertheless craquelure, also Uzbek
is suave mink, curious smugly

this delta, then, for better months -
Tuscany, visual Tuscany
drab as usual, named, pinging
knights, dragons, - new visa
bemused nutrias mourn mistakes

dear mother, dear Pakistani Sikh and elitist:
Kafka's past ka-boom came so serious I crashed us
in tuskless months before, and noses
for sermons never so sublime

since I crashed us
your many toasts are memory

Monday, April 15, 2013

Moss Makes a Better Lover - 15/30

Halfway to the finish line. Note to those reading: if you want to make a month fly by, do some activity every day for the entire month, or week, or however long you want to fast-forward. Writing a poem every day is like traveling through time at warp speed.

Anyway, today's poem comes by way of NaPoWriMo again.
And now our (again — totally optional) prompt! Today, I challenge you to write a pantun. Not a pantoum — though they are related. The pantun is a traditional Malay form, a style of which was later adapted into French and then English as the pantoum. A pantun consists of rhymed quatrains (abab), with 8-12 syllables per line. The first two lines of each quatrain aren’t meant to have a formal, logical link to the second two lines, although the two halves of each quatrain are supposed to have an imaginative or imagistic connection. Here’s an example:

I planted sweet-basil in mid-field.
Grown, it swarmed with ants,
I loved but am not loved,
I am all confused and helpless.

The associative leap from the first couplet to the second allows for a great deal of surprise and also helps give the poems are very mysterious and lyrical quality. Try your hand at just one quatrain, or a bunch of them, and see how you do!
Moss Makes a Better Lover 

Moss holds to dewy homelands with hair-thin fingers,
the commitment and gorillian strength thereof!
Only in déjà-vu and dream there linger
those vestiges of places I held with less love.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Myth of the Gods - 14/30

It's Sunday! By now you are all probably doing things you'll regret doing tomorrow morning when it feels like you're giving birth to a Grecian deity (I mean you'll have a headache...read your mythology...). Shame. On. You.

But while you're here, how about some poetry? Did I mention Greece up there? And deities? Well that segues into today's poem perrrrrrfectly.

The prompt at NaPoWriMo today was to write a persona poem.
And now, our prompt. Today’s should be fun — I hope. I challenge you to write a persona poem — that is, a poem in the voice of a particular person who isn’t you. But I’d like you to choose a very particular kind of person. How about a poem in the voice of a superhero (or a supervillain)? Comic book characters are very much like mythological characters — they tend to embody big-picture values or personality traits. Good or bad. Loyal or disloyal! (Heck — some comic book characters are mythologial characters — think of Thor). And like mythological characters, superheroes and supervillains let us tap into deep-seated cultural tropes. So go for it. Whether you identify with Batman, Robin or – gulp – the Joker, let’s hear your poems in another voice. Happy writing!
Persona poems are always a lot of fun, but they have to be written in the right way. In my experience, the persona poem will fall flat unless the poem transcends the persona and says something more. So, to that end, today's poem. I'm not going to tell you who the character is, but the game-savvy among you should be able to recognize it. Who do you think it is speaking here? Tell me in the comments!

Myth of the Gods

The things we shape and
christen 'gods' can be killed like
the men who made them.

This Olympic myth,
temple-extolled deities...
bleeding at my hands.

What god can be robbed
of its godhood? Who made Zeus
if not zealous man?-

hands too readily
capable of purging that
mountain of its host.

I am the axehead
at the root of Olympus,
striking for revenge,

lopping its branches
stroke by stroke, ichor-whetted
wedge shaking their thrones.

These gods die like men.
There is nothing divine in
the way they perish,

in the way their will
shatters without enforcement,
in their impotence.

My flame-fanged fury
wrings unwilling vermilion
from Olympus' gods...

Gods? Show me someone
who cannot succumb to death,
who rends death in twain

when it endeavors
to swallow their spirit whole...
who man cannot kill.

Show me the warrior
on whom Hades holds no claim,
and I'll show you God.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Raccoons - 13/30

Happy Saturday, everybody. Got some plans for this bright and springy weekend? Nature is coming alive for you! Go partake!

Today, I've got a haiku to give you a laugh and get you moving on your day. Enjoy, and get outside! Go live up your weekend for those of us who can't.


Raccoons and walnuts.
Do raccoons collect walnuts?
My dream lied to me.

Found Friday (NaPoWriMo Edition): RhondaK - 'Noir Murder Death with Whiskey'

Did anyone notice I forgot to do a Found Friday yesterday? No? Well good. Then I'll just slip this little blog right under your noses...

It's Saturday (but let's pretend it's Friday...)! Another Found Friday for you. This week's Found Friday comes by way of RhondaK, a self-described "9th Gen Floridian who paints funny bar signs and mermaids... [and is] also a Librarian and Pug-A-Holic."

RhondaK's poem "Noir Murder Death with Whiskey" was a noir-prompted poem that quite thoroughly blew my socks off (or rather, wooed them off with a combination of whiskey, monochromatic lighting and slow jazz). Here is an excerpt from the best poem I read this week.
There comes a time, your gin leg empty and your whiskey full
Your mind on a beautiful woman with a terrible story
You rush in to save her without feeling her knife at your throat
That is just a sampling of the poem's potent homage to the noir/murder mystery genre. RhondaK writes with a steamy atmosphere that reads as if coming from the mouth of Bogart. Brilliant noir. Go have a read and drop her some feedback!

Have a great weekend, too!

Friday, April 12, 2013

Macy's Rant - 12/30

It's Friday! That means the weekend is nigh! Well, for you all. I have to go to work tomorrow...wanna know where I work? Really wanna know? Okay, but don't say I didn't warn you.

Macy's Rant 

You must think your customers are stupid.
You must think your employees are slaves.

These are the only reasons that can justify
the idiotic way you treat both of them.

Macy's, you're a piece of work,
and by work, I mean the work

of a dog squatting over someone's
freshly mown lawn.

Only you, with your rectum-incensed proboscis,
would have the audacity

to host a 1-Day Sale for 2 days,
and think your manipulation isn't showing.

Macy's, you've got a smile like a bus stop toilet seat.
There's so much crap seething between your teeth

I wonder if your toothpicks don't come
with plunger-heads.

Sure! Stuff your employees into unpaid shifts,
propped up behind registers like Botox-lipped

Sonmis (and no, you won't get that reference, Macy's,
because you don't have time

between your incessant pandering
to do anything that doesn't bleed someone).

I've worked routes through your labyrinth for years.
Nobody knows the master's business

more than the one charged with cleaning it up,
my cart and bucket in hand.

"You know, if you buy $100 worth of stuff you don't need,
you can get some more stuff you don't need for FREE!"

"Golly gee willikers! That's a deal
worth depriving my children of nourishment for!"

Macy's, I want to stab you in the face.
If you had a face to stab, I would stab it.

Just know this.
Every time you flush your unethical packing-peanut-crap

thinking no one will know how vile you are…
I'll be there to clean it up.

I know all your secrets,
you stupid, stupid company.

* * *

I'm not normally one for rants, but today's prompt (coupled with the absence of a paycheck that should have been in my bank account...) brought this furious little monster to fruition.
And now, the prompt. (Again, the prompt is totally optional). Today’s offering comes to us from Charles Bernstein’s list of poetry experiments. In particular, today I challenge you to “write a poem consisting entirely of things you’d like to say, but never would, to a parent, lover, sibling, child, teacher, roommate, best friend, mayor, president, corporate CEO, etc.” Honesty is the best policy, after all, so get it off your chest! And if you’re interested in the complete list of experiments, you can find them all here.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

A Proposal - 11/30

Eleven days in and we're not stopping yet. How's everyone's week? Making it through the workdays? Hopefully today's poem will give you a life-sustaining chuckle or at least a smirk.

The prompt for today's came from NaPoWriMo.
And now, our prompt! Today I challenge you to write a tanka. This, like the “American” cinquain, is a poem based on syllables, with the pattern being 5-7-5-7-7. They work best when those final two 7-syllable lines contain a sort of turn or surprise that the first three lines might not wholly anticipate. You can string a bunch of them together to make a multi-stanza poem, or just write one!
To get you going, here’s an anonymous example from the Japanese, translated by Kenneth Rexroth:
On Komochi Mountain,
from the time the young leaves sprout,
until they turn red,
I think I would like to sleep with you.
What do you think of that?
That one makes me laugh!
I'm in a humorous mood, so I wanted to write something following that unexpected line of thought. So I give you, "A Proposal".

A Proposal (Tanka of Obliviousness and Impending Perpetual Solitude)

Now that we're alone
and I have some space to kneel,
I have a question:
Can't you tie your shoelaces?
No, why would I have a ring?

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Stowaway Angels - 10/30

Ten days in. We're a third of the way through! Hope you're still enjoying all these words I'm putting in your face, because there are still twenty days to go. Are any of you writing your own poems?

Oh, also, before we go any further, there are a couple new followers to thank. Debra Rymer and Jacqueline Czel, thanks for following I, Mosaic! Welcome to the wordiest place on the 'net.

As for today's poem, there was no prompt for it, just a simple little concoction of humor, observation, nature, and Heaven, subtitled 'A Rumination on Cherub Tails and Other Heavenly Matters'. Hope you enjoy!

Stowaway Angels

On days like these,
when the clouds drip down

to get a closer look at
our gravity-trapped habitats,

they settle their wet shawls
around the boughs of alpine

shoulders, where nested tenements
of down and other leavings

twitter and lilt that Hosanna
sung in airier abodes, none

on hearing, gazing up
to find tree limbs a-shudder,

expecting Heaven's
cherubs to boast such bushy tails.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

The Labyrinth - 9/30

A Tuesday to you, and to you, and to you, dear reader. I'll have you know that Tuesday is actually descended from "Tiw's Day", Tiw being a roman god of war. So, if you aren't warring today, you're not celebrating your Tuesday properly. Whether you war against your boss by leaving a paper clip in the copy machine or you declare war on a sandwich from Subway (and devour it most ferociously), hopefully you're having a great Tuesday.

Today's poem came semi-prompted by NaPoWriMo.
And now our (totally optional) prompt. I’m a sucker for a good mystery novel, especially the hard-boiled noir novels of the thirties and forties. There’s always a two-timing blonde, a city that keeps its secrets, and stuck in the middle, a man who just can’t help but rabbit after truth. Today I challenge you write a poem inspired by noir — it could be in the voice of a detective, or unravel a mystery, or just describe the long shadows of the skyscrapers in the ever-swirling smog.
Taking that cue, I couldn't get the image of a foggy, benighted city out of my head. So, today's poem.

The Labyrinth 

This city, this fog-raftered catacomb
of steel and towering glass, windows
illumed like eyes lining the whole
tentacular length.
These sentinels.
Has anyone grown in their shadow
and learned to crave the sunlight?
Pallid-irised people sating pupils
on ash and ticking fluorescence.
All have a characteristic shuffle,
the slow, downcast gait of one
hunting for something
These citizens,
their troglodytic gazes
untroubled by the heavens,
only looking up long enough
to leer at the bleary timepiece
shining commandments into the dark.
What necropolitan society could have
bred such dreamlessness?
By which empire's pride
did Heaven finally withdraw, taking
all its unrecognized beneficence with it?
That rapture, only recalled
in the scrawling of dead scribes.
Could any have known the rapture
to be more ellipses than comma,
more abandon than check?
How long had we strove with our God?
This consolation prize, this city
dim with the lack of its God,
grim in the tack of its gods'
chronometric enthrallment,
fluorescently buzzing tyranny
lighting our garden of earthly despair.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Fingerprints - 7/30

Happy Sunday (or Stun-day, for those of you who spend your days killing Templars in Assassin's Creed multiplayer...sorry, still got yesterday's gamer-lingo on the brain...).

Anyway, you want to read poetry and I want to let you, so without further ado, today's unprompted poem.


Are these not your fingerprints,
these xenochromatic nebulae
spattering space
with the whorls of their evidence?

Are these not your fingerprints,
these elliptically dancing planets
whose circuits swerve perfect waltzes
through universal ballrooms?

Are these not your fingerprints,
these wandering mountain ranges
veining Earth
with their parabolic vigils?

Are these not your fingerprints,
these skeletal rings
whose canopies
cast comfort from their boughs?

Are these not your fingerprints,
these Heaven-scented essences
born dreaming of their homeland
and speaking its native tongue?

And these, these subatomic masterpieces
dictating life by their helixes,
mirrored contours craving
Each oV your name's fOur Letters-

Are these not your fingerprints?

Friday, April 5, 2013

Found Friday (NaPoWriMo Edition!): Jessica McHugh - 'Paper Boats'

 We're back for another Found Friday. Maybe it's all the poetic commotion of NaPoWriMo, but I've decided that for the next three Fridays, we'll be having NaPoWriMo editions of Found Friday. What does that mean for you, the reader? Am I demanding any life-altering changes? Do you have to mail me $5 as a subscription fee? No... not yet anyway.

Nah, what will be happening is every week I will be featuring my favorite poem from that week's worth of NaPoWriMo contributions. Obviously I'm not reading everything that's being written, so keep in mind there is plenty more brilliant poetry to be read (and to write! *nudgenudgenudge*). From what I will have read though, I'll post the poem that reached out and slapped me with the most verve and savvy.

Speaking of verve and savvy, I bring you Jessica McHugh. Her first NaPoWriMo poem of the season, titled "Paper Boats", can be found at her blog No Vacation for Speculation. Here is a sample:
On a night river, the travelers release their paper boats.
Floating from dock-town desks, they seek to thicken souls over feet
And touch worlds beyond atlas edges.
Read the rest of this lovely gem at her blog (seriously, clickity-click and go read it). It has a captivating, otherworldly whimsy that threads all of McHugh's work (that I've read so far anyway), but not at the cost of sentiment or emotional integrity. The poem has a lot to say about the art of writing and its place in society. But hey, don't let me tell you what the poem means. Go read it yourself, and explore her blog while you're there.

It's a nice place to get lost.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Antediluvian - 4/30

Hey, all. How's your writing going? How's your reading going? Hopefully your days entail plenty of each.

Today's poem had no prompt. Just a look-out-your-window-and-write kind of day. A fresh rainy Spring day like this? This is exactly why every NaPoWriMo I turn out at least one completely useless nature poem. But maybe it won't be useless to you. Maybe you'll enjoy it.


As Spring preens itself with chlorophyll,
tends new plumage with inhalations
known only to Pelizzari and Pipin,
life crawls from tombic burrows
thirsting for the heavens.

The oak tree's seven-pointed stars,
veined in grey and liquescent xylem,
drink deep the sky's outpouring, while
soil instinctively churns itself into
something for cave-scrawled narration.

Amphibian diaphony bubbles invisibly,
and creatures more bristle than bone
frolic and paint new lines on creation
with watercolor-tails that know nothing
but thankfulness for this drip,

this blessed wetness, this restrained deluge
whose rainbow-forbade potential
still brings shivers to the giants
old enough to know
its chill.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

The Lusca - 3/30

Day three already? Time does seem to fly when you're surrounding yourself with great poetry. This year is going swimmingly so far. and if you're wondering why that was in italics, read on.

The NaPoWriMo prompt for today suggested writing a sea shanty. While I didn't do that, it did get me thinking about seafaring tales and myths and the like. So what I have for you today is a perplexing little ditty called "The Lusca". It started out as a simple typical British-English poem, but quickly became a different creature entirely.

So, enjoy...and just a hint as to how to read this: the lusca is the name for a Caribbean sea creature. Caribbean. Okay, have fun.

The Lusca 

A foitnaht deep in maym Julay,
da Lusca seeled tads rollin' haigh,
bellied wit' doze crew shanghaied
lak barrls off da poit.
Da sea it coofed its sahlty bran
lak dyamonds glown' by Liza's shan,
an' no man needed tirst fo' wan
on 'at cyask-swolln boit.

But clouds lak staavin' 'ounds arraved
an' palled da sun god's watchful eye
while watas 'ungrilay complad
wit' roas to sink de ship.
An' 'fo any seela o' sleeve could cra
to mohda o' god, da sea split wad,
jaws lockin' da feeted Lusca insad
Pie's unforgivin' grip.

An' so de ocean's lack of ships
each tam Julay's meridian hits,
when seelas stee wit' warma hips
dan doze de oceans tease, 
when watas seem to seede wit' lips,
when weeling vaices nun can miss,
meanin' to drag men to de abyss,
out on da moonlit sea.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Hellow Tide - 2/30

Back for day two! You still with me? I hope so, 'cause I'm having a blast. As a reader and writer of poetry, NaPoWriMo is like some nirvanic concoction of Comic-Con and those fantastic Scholastic Book Faires we all used to patron in elementary school (Goosebumps books represent...).

Today, I employed the prompt provided at the NaPoWriMo hub, encouraging us to write a poem that is a lie.
And now, the prompt! Today’s prompt is drawn from an idea that Kelsey Howard gave me — that of a poem that tells a lie. I think you could have a poem that’s all lies (that could be very funny — full of things like “the sun is the size of a nickel”) or a poem that steadily builds to telling one big whopper. I can imagine these being very poignant, or very much like goofy shaggy-dog stories. I suppose it all comes down to what you want to lie about!
Following that suggestion, I wrote today's poem. It isn't something that really required a lie to be told, but the subject lent itself so well to hyperbole and falsification, I just went with it, and after yesterday's poem, I wanted to write something more humorous. Can't have it getting too dour around here, right?

Hellow Tide

A tiger's cat-o'-nine-tails-kisses
roused me from the realm of sleep,
cheeks abraded while nostrils caught
the perfume of the shore-spat deep,
freed of ebbing water's mask,
now pulling tears with fishy reek:
an ooze of ageless decay and salt
each time this tiger would speak.

So, what do you think the poem was about? What do you suspect was the truth behind the lie? Let me know in the comments! And happy writing/reading!