Posted tagged ‘April Poetry Month’


April 3, 2019


Somewhen a car roams,
the shape of my torso already
ghosting its hood;
stairs I will have fallen down
a stream slips around the sometime rocks
in my pockets;
the sea breathes me.

They all speak late at night, sotto voce–
They think that I don’t hear them.
(They know that I hear them.)
(They count upon my hearing them.)

In the cone that is a too-bright light lit late,
the car hood blinks, the stairs shrug,
the stream blushes – the sea too feels sheepish–embarrassed all
by how they need me
to make them into fates–
embarrassed all of them, but not so embarrassed
as to simply let me be.

Another would-be poem for Sanaa’s prompt on Real Toads about late nights.  It is difficult for me to return comments till this weekend, but will. 


Figuring Out the Downhill

April 16, 2014


Figuring Out the Downhill

She was stranded
at the side of the slope, blonde hair straining
from her cap, dark roots no anchor
in this white; a novice slope, but steep here
for a novice.

I thought I understood, being a novice too,
what it was to not bear
to aim your skis downhill one more time, not even
for the space of the turn,
but her children had gone ahead, she said–

Eyes like snow glistening only
circled grey,
face made up
to keep up,
and how’d she’d arranged this trip,
she said, wanting them to have
a good time–

My husband saying, you want some help?
and they’ll be okay, seeing how stranded
the woman’s face was
beneath her cap.

(He knew how I was too
skiing, you know, about speed
and letting go–)

They were from New Jersey, she said,
and that her husband
had been a trader, Cantor Fitzgerald–

And this being New York and late December 2001,
we did not breathe
for a while after she said that,
not even the fir trees breathed,
not even the leafless deciduous–she was almost
in the woods–
only the other skiers whooshed
for they had not heard her, and she shuddered
as they swang past, and
all they found, she said, was his hand,
so lucky, truly, something, DNA,
to bury–

And he said–my own husband–here,
reaching out his glove, and all you need
right now
is just to get to the other side,
and he gestured
towards the white blank space beside us–hardly even going down
at all, or just a little–

and can you do that?
While I just wanted
to sit and weep, only I’d
fallen once already, and knew how hard it was
to get up again
on skis–

And anyway this story
is not about me–

He skied backwards slowly–
arms outstretched, you’re doing

While I made myself take the slope on my own,
knowing it was only for a few minutes,
which made it possible.

At the bottom, the incline tapered,
broadened, so that even a novice
could feel in control, so that even a novice
would feel like they might try it
again, the sun shining in that blinding expanse
like glass—

I know I say everything is a draft poem, but this really is. But it’s April, so if you are trying to do a poem a day, you have to settle for what you do that day. I am so sorry not to return comments for a couple of days, but I expect to be considerably freer tomorrow. Thanks for your kindness.

Process notes: for non-New Yorkers–Cantor Fitzgerald was a trading/brokerage firm whose offices were in the World Trade Center. Many many of the employees at work on 9/11 died due to the location of the offices towards the top of the WTC.

Ps I am sorry for sentimentality of pic and possibly piece.

PPS– Agh–just edited this piece –I had started saying it was January 2002 then switched to December and left the 2002.  Of course, it was meant to be 2001.

Leaf Sail

April 10, 2014


Leaf Sail

They tried to sail a sea of fallen leaves
as if they could assail leave-taking
by keeping to dry ground.

For if their keel were only raking
earth, they thought,
at least they could be safe
from any drown.

But the leaves they sailed–they waved
as if still limbed,
their wrinkles crescents
of a misguiding moon–

and soon the winding tides
took the voyagers to a dark salt place
where all they craved
was the swoon

of willows, anything but
the slap of crumble at
their prow, the chap
of spoil.

For a sea of fallen leaves
is a sea of the fallen–
how they now longed to leave
that buried soil.

Agh. This is very much a draft poem for the tenth day of National Poetry Month, posted for Hedge Witch’s prompt on Odilon Redon for With Real Toads —  The above is a painting by Redon called Boat in Moonlight.

This poem has been edited a couple of times since posting, once in Grand Central Station! The line I am having trouble with is the crescents line– whether it should just read “crinkled crescents.” Something like that.

Sunday Diner

April 6, 2014


Sunday Diner

Somewhere, waffles beam
from a plate that gleams
white as the Milky Way.
A pat of butter sits fat
as the noonday sun.
A waitress says “Hon,”
as if it were
a benediction.

Here’s a poem, 6 for six in April (ha!), for Kenia’s “Sunday” prompt on With Real Toads.

Real Toads is very thoughtfully providing daily nourishment for all those poets trying to celebrate National Poetry Month through self-flagellation. Check it out.

Once again, pic is not quite right, but I haven’t had time to do new ones this month, so in place of seated elephant, you’ll have to imagine waffle, waitress, butter, maybe sun.

National Poetry Month – Day 6 – “If I could be”

April 6, 2011

Another day of National Poetry Month, another draft poem!  I have to say that when I wrote this one I was not (for a change) thinking of any kind of digital device.

If I could be

If I could be myself,
I would stand up straight as a stalk,
my arms flowing
from my breastbone like
the wings of a heron
sweeping the sky.

I would dance across
sanded planks, mornings, eating
blackberry jam,
flavoring the lips you’d kiss
with blackberries.

Afternoons, I’d write
novels, which would be
great the very first draft.
When their movies were made, I’d
play cameos; the directors
would get everything else
right too.

None of my loved ones, nor
their loved ones,
would ever grow ill, and when time
presented its bill,
I (who was myself) would still
stand straight as a stalk, my arms
flowing from my breastbone,
my lips tasting
of you
and blackberries.

All rights reserved.

P.S. if you are interested in blackberries (not digital) and poetry, check out my book of poetry “Going on Somewhere” on Amazon.

National Poetry Month- National Poetry Exercise Month (Blocking Writer’s Block)

March 31, 2010

April Poetry Clock

April is National Poetry Month.  This “tradition” was started in 1996 by the Academy of American Poets.

I guess the idea was to hook people’s love of targeted celebrations to poetry.  April seems to have been chosen because it followed Black History Month (February), and Women’s History Month (March), and because it did not include Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, or New Year’s, was during the school term (schools are natural candidates for the celebration of poetry), but not at the busy beginning of the school term, or at its tousled end.  (Of course, Easter and Passover sometimes fall in April, but as religious holidays, these are not big competitors for concentrated school celebration time.)

April may have also been chosen because it already reverberates with specific poetic associations.  Yes, it’s the cruelest month, but it also (and perhaps more popularly) hosts “shoures soote.”  It’s (presumably) when lilacs last in the dooryard bloomed, and at least one of the times when it pleured in Verlaine’s coeur.

April also seems to be a popular month for relatively new, made-up, sorts of holidays like April Fool’s Day, Professional Administrative Assistant’s Day (the fourth Wednesday) followed by Take Our Daughters and Sons To Work Day (the fourth Thursday, perhaps intended as payback to Administrative Assistants), Earth Day (April 22nd), Tax Day (April 15th).  While “Tax Day” is not exactly a holiday (unless standing in a long line at the post office is your idea of a good time), it is a day of national observance.

Then there are other newish April holidays that seem too obscure to warrant mention, but are just too goofy to leave out: Zipper Day, National Honesty Day (date of George Washington’s inauguration), Girl Scout Leader Appreciation Day, National Pineapple-Upside-Down-Cake Day, National Read a Road Map Day, and, my personal favorite No Housework Day (April 5th), which also falls on World Health Day.   (In keeping with these holidays, April is also Stress Awareness Month.)

In celebration of National Poetry Month (and perhaps also Stress Awareness Month), I am proposing to replace the daily ruminations I post on this blog with a new poem, or truly, the draft of a new poem, each day of the month.

This will be an interesting exercise for me; and I hope you’ll find it one as well.  It is intended to follow up on the various posts about blocking writer’s block, the theme being how to write poetry with no clear inspiration other than a (relatively short) deadline.

This may also be a way of celebrating April Fool’s Day (all month long.)

If any one has topics, suggestions, poems of their own, please note them in a comment!