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I started a daily poetry prompt Twitter feed: @PoemADayPrompt, and here's the first draft of my first poem for it. (The prompt was to write a poem using the words yellow, clover, and engine.)

She loved that truck,
small, yellow, with a sunroof, of all things.
It was her second car, and the first 
she'd bought for herself. A thousand dollars.
A year of saving her tips, her minimum wage, 
her sharp tongue, grace.

That truck taught her how to feel a car,
because of no power steering,
     (her arms got strong)
because of a loose clutch,
     (she can take hills like a pro)
and now she can tell when the transmission
is getting loose,
can feel when an engine
just isn't right.

She's a city girl, from a small city,
in the Southern California Land of Cars,
where walking just isn't a thing,
and fields of clover only exist on the median,,
and she's older now,
can afford decent cars
can afford to pay people to get up under her car,
tinker with things,
make them run smoothly,

but she still thinks back 
on the days when she lay on her back in the driveway,
oil and sparkplugs close to hand,
the gapper like a large coin,
the currency of independence
in a car culture, her way of saying,
"Look, I'm good enough,"
of making boys surprised,
and girls impressed,
of taking care of the things she loves,
because she can,
and because it costs more
for someone else
to do it.
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I've decided to take Thursday nights off from the Resistance Manual work, partly because Friday is my early day and I am wiped by the end of the week, and partly because I just think it's good practice to take breaks from things to keep from burning out.

So I spent the evening submitting poetry instead. Partly because of the following conversation I had in email yesterday, but I mean, I've been submitting stuff a lot anyway. Still.

P = Professor at the college where I work who was also my English professor twenty-odd years ago
M = Me!

P: P.S., are you related to the Sandra Vannoy I taught twenty-some years ago, who was a really good poet?

M: I'm Sandra! And thanks so much. I loved your class, but I was too timid to bring it up before now.

P: Oh, wow! I still remember your poem about puddle-jumping. [goes on to be chatty for the rest of the exchange.]

My writing professor knew the name of one of my poems. Twenty years later. I was blown away. (I don't actually care that much for that poem now, of course, but still.)


Nov. 16th, 2016 06:54 am
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I see talk all the time of how
being resilient
being able to take a punch
and go on

how finding your way
back to joy
from a dark, cold place

is the key to long life
and happiness

I have blessed my resilience
been smug and vocal
about how hard it is to make me
give up
become withered and cold and hard

but resilience is not always a blessing

sometimes, it means
that real sorrow

sometimes, it means
not knowing how to feel, or what to do
when a jackboot fills the viewing screen
and danger beads the air
like condensation from liquid evil

being geared to joy
makes sorrow harder to process

being used to being happy
means that when you are in a situation
you can't change
and can't abide
you may just struggle to have the will

to take a shower
to leave the house
to go to work
to be civil
to be
to be
to be
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Poem-a-day challenge for April 4, 2015
(Prompt: "write a departure poem." I used an old poem that fits the theme; I don't think I've ever posted it before.)

Read more... )
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Yesterday's poem.

Poem-a-day challenge for April 3, 2015
(Prompt: "write a machine poem")

Read more... )
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My favorite of my [community profile] pod_together projects is up! Thanks so much to [personal profile] leish/[ profile] quintenttsy for the beta-reading, podcast, art, music -- basically every single thing besides the writing itself. It was fun to do, and it's lovely to hear the finished product.

Something to Hold, on AO3, my first work of fanfic.
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It's been a heck of a week, so I didn't get a chance to tell y'all that [community profile] pod_together is up! It was my first stab at fanfic (and probably my last; more about that under the cut). My pieces will be up tomorrow (Saturday) and Tuesday, but there's lots to choose from, with a variety of fandoms represented. (Both my stories are Harry Potter things: a love story told in letters, and another told in sonnets.)

Anywho, if you like reading and/or listening to fanfic, go check 'em out! I'm going to go listen to some, myself, just now, and I'll come back and point you to some of my favorites.

My navel, let me gaze at it. )
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I am going to use poetry month to get caught up on my poetry-gift challenges. First, one I wrote for [personal profile] gramina for the swap. Her five words were rest, sorrow, love, terror, and grass.

Behind a cut, as always, because I know not everyone grooves on reading other people's emo poetry. And just so no one worries, this is fiction. )
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In response to the talented [ profile] snippy, I hereby offer:

The first five people to comment in this post* get to request that I write them a five-words poem**. The deadline is one week for each request -- so if you're the first person, I'll email it next Monday (March 15), second person, March 22, etc.

In return, you have to post this in your journal (offering graphics, vids, writing, crafts, whatever), regardless of your ability level.

* The first five on each of my main journals -- Livejournal and Dreamwidth

** In a five-words poem, you give me five words, and I will include them in the poem. The five words can be names, made-up words, profanity, whatever.
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I was gone for a week, so I'm catching up.


It doesn't take much to call it back
the twinge of pain, the total lack
of grace, the beating of my heart
when fourth grade was about to start

I thought I'd come to the wrong class
it said "Miss Friedman" on my pass
but this was Mrs. Something Else
a substitute, the hired help

I'd come three thousand miles or more
to stand all awkward at her door
she had a chance to woo me then
to make it easy to come in

Instead, she sneered and rolled her eyes
she almost hid her heavy sighs
I made it through; fifth grade was better
but she wounded me, and yes, I let her.
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Today's prompt is "Routine".

Before enlightenment, chop wood, carry water.
After enlightenment, chop wood, carry water, make
bookshelves, wash the dishes, do the laundry,
light the fire, burn the wood, take the train
to the city, protest the war, buy organic
groceries, visit your congressperson, get
home before dinner.

No, wait.

Before enlightenment, chop wood, carry water
After enlightenment, chop wood, carry water

Do you understand how simple this is,
and how hard?

Before enlightenment, chop wood, carry water
After enlightenment, chop wood, carry water

Before enlightenment, be here now
After enlightenment, be here now
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I'm not especially fond of today's challenge poem, but here it is:

she says she likes it that way
clutter everywhere, piles akimbo
and everything, she says,
is where she knows how to find it

we've noplace to sit
so she thinks we're unsociable
and her bathroom scares us
so we don't stay as long as we might

but I've seen her in other people's houses
when she thinks I'm not watching
looking around with joy and wonder
at the clean and tidy landscape
and I know
that she tells herself this fiction
because we love our prisons
to keep from hating ourselves
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This is yesterday's poem, which is supposed to be about something missing:

It was there when I left this morning
the smell of you
clinging to the drapes
and especially my pillowcase

the first thing I noticed when I came home
was its absence
and before I knew that you
had made good on your promise
to leave if it ever got too hard

I knew something was missing,
was wrong,
and I slumped against the door to the hallway
afraid to go any further
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(Today's poem-a-day challenge prompt was to write about a landmark.)

We will meet at your house,
drive together to the airport,
hop a plane for France

We will go to the hotel,
sleep together in a strange bed,
make lazy love,
talk about Paris and our next stop,

We will stroll along the streets
eat together in a small cafe
wonder if we've ever had coffee this good,
or bread

We will walk to the Arc de Triomphe
and I will leave you
to roll down the Avenue
des Champs-Élysées
the way you've always seen it
and then, at the eastern end, at the
Place de la Concorde
we will meet again
to continue our journey
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you are beautiful

you glow from the inside
and my insides tremble with the beauty
of you and your siblings,
fluttering on a hot, philadelphia evening
back when i was small
and things seemed uncomplicated

after i catch you, hold you in a jar
you are the embodiment
of all that is selfish in me
of all that is small and miserly
and willing to take what i want
without regard

and you are beautiful
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The Problem with Beans and Rice

The problem with beans and rice
is not that it's boring
or cheap
or that it's not meat

The problem with beans and rice
is that it spoils me
for warmth
and comfort
and the feeling that you and I,
alone together,
could survive a disaster
like nuclear winter
or a terrorist attack
or a cliche california earthquake
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My poem for the poem-a-day challenge today.

Warning: potential (okay, likely) child-abuse triggers if you tend to be triggered in that direction.

It's a bit long )
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You knew this already, but my friends are geniuses.

Happy National Poetry Month. Here's another poem, the one I did for the poem-a-day challenge today. I will, of course, be sending a copy to my mother:

I haven't got anything
that didn't come from you
my cells, earthen knitting
minerals and sunlight
the spit on a thousand tissues
the voice in my head that wonders

you wanted me,
and danced at the news of me
I don't have to stretch to find
the source of my joy
that I am in the world

I haven't got anything
that didn't come from you
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So much happens and I don't write it down
and then it disappears

And then nothing happens and I have this urge to write it down
but it bores me silly

So I'm reading
and sometimes writing
but nothing important
and not the stuff about how I'm scared silly of being exhausted
or how my loved ones can't stay well
and how I'm terrified they will die

or how I feel guilty for feeling
so much day-to-day

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It's shameless of me to say it, but I'm really liking (so far) the poems I'm putting up in this thread. Writing these has proved to be a really joyful exercise for me, and I think that's in part because I am not pressuring myself to do them in a timely fashion.

There'll be new ones from time to time; bookmark 'em if you care. Oh, and it's never too late to add your comment and get a poem, even if you've already done so. I plan to keep that thread alive as long as I can.


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