Poem-a-day challenge: A running commentary

days til christmas.jpg

I’m writing a poem-a-day this month! (Read “The goldfish may or may not be drunk” for an explanation of the madness). Here, I’ll only be sharing teasers from each poem. However, you’ll be able to fully appreciate the noticeably clumsy gait of these first drafts  — and occasional stunning moment, I hope — by following along here.

Here a running commentary:

Working title: “U-Pick.” / Be afraid. Be very afraid. This one has chainsaws and knives and a very suspicious Christmas tree. Here’s an excerpt: You keep circling the house / with only one slipper on trying to solve for the design flaw. / The real problem, of course, is the face photoshopped / onto the back of your head isn’t the one you selected / at checkout. 

Read it in full here.

Working title: “A cubicle so much of the time.” / It’s the second lunch break poem of the week! This one’s inspired by a true story, as they say. Here’s an excerpt: Years of planes overhead and most do no harm, / not even in your imagination. And that’s a good day / when you imagine you’ll survive. Because you do / want to live. You do. Just maybe not in a cubicle / so much of the time.

Read it in full here.

Working title: “Leaving the continent behind.” / They can’t all thrill us, but exploring this particular vacation tradition in Cape Cod, working with the names of all the boats in the harbor, has been something I wanted to try for a while. It’s difficult to write about the ocean and vacation with the right mix of intrigue and clarity. Here’s an excerpt: I do not remember the name of the small vessel  / we charter from the fish market to the island  / though it was something clever like One Too Many,  / Assigned Reading or Appeal for Mercy.  / On the way to the pier, we drove past a sign  / in front of a church: Tantalizing fruits  / create many jams, a warning we scoff at / considering the jam this whole damn country  / (continent, planet, etc.) is in right now.  

Read it in full here.

Working title: “Its word is tentacles.” / I’m not sure why the poems the last few days look so bloated on the page, but there’s no time to psychoanalyze them. I jotted some notes for this one last night before bed and worked with that material on today’s lunch break. I have had a thing for octopuses for a couple years and have wondered if the imagery could carry a chapbook. Maybe this is a test run. Here’s an excerpt: To protect her eggs, the octopus risks everything, / including starvation. How does your mother remember / your birth? Difficult, mine was. Easy, my sister’s. We forged / ahead that way for years though ultimately became adults, / and that word is mileage. And that makes us exactly like / everyone else. 

Read it in full here.

Working title: “What kind of god.” / So I guess even after interrogating the poor moon yesterday, I have more questions. Now god is in the hot seat. Here’s an excerpt from this one, which is a prose poem, which upon revision (should it survive) needs serious attention paid to its rhythm/flow: [what kind of god] makes an entrance 10 minutes late smelling of cigar smoke and tequilaInvents both plumage and camouflage. Allows the perfect crime and dumb love to exist simultaneously. Bestows a dark magic on what’s repeated to the mirror. Gives mathematicians the audacity to say the line goes on forever and poets the mission to put an end to it. 

Read it in full here.

Working title: “Questions for the moon, which must be sick of listening.” / Super moon. Super moon. Super moon. I am not immune. That’s not the poem LOL. It’s a confession. I am seduced by the moon as much as the next person, though I try to resist. The poem about it is big and fat and gratuitous, just like it is. Here’s an excerpt: We gawk because / you are the next best thing to a deity. We know your face / as well as we know our own and except for believing / in when we’ll see you again, we do not know what happens next. / Can you say? We choose to add up our days instead / of subtracting them. And from what would we count backwards / anyway? The end? Land appears on the horizon.  

Read it in full here.

Working title: “Window.” / This one is inspired by a poem by Erika Sanchez that I just couldn’t get out of my head. I give a nod to that in the epigraph.  And we all owe apologies to the poor birds we keep killing with our literal and metaphorical windows. Here’s an excerpt: And you love / the poet for this violence, beg her, “Please  / come to my house and destroy  / the excuses we keep making.”  / I want something that has died  / to sparkle on my porch, too. 

Read it in full here.


Working title: “The Beginners Guide to Taking Things Into Account.” / Trying to have a little fun with the idea that actions speak louder than words by translating some activities into phrases… but hopefully with an interesting twist. Here’s an excerpt: Pull over to the side of the road and pop the hood. / This is the universal sign for “interrupted.”   And another: Translate “leaves sit in piles on the lawn” / as haven’t told you everything.  

Read it in full here.


Working title: “Egress.” / I’m interested in ruins, the kind we see every day where we live, work and play. This piece mentions an abandoned church, a row of warehouses and a family home and tries to create the sense that we’re all part of this coming and going. Here’s an excerpt: On the uneven / sidewalk out front, grass grows in every crack, / and nothing is surprising. Put yourself there / at ground level: how you want to believe the skittering / plastic shopping bags, Marlboro packs and / McDonald’s cups have come to life.

Read it in full here.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s