Posted tagged ‘writing exercise poem’

Angora, or a Female Baby Boomer Looks Back

November 14, 2015

Angora, or a Female Baby Boomer Looks Back

I do not remember this grey
ghosting our days,
gaunting the grass below
childhood windows,

though the air was thick
as boughs then too,
air that could be cut into blocks, stacked
like igloos, only warm.

Still, we slipped
through its chinks, able, so young, to think
a back slide sideways,
to glide from the yawn of bed
(barefoot, or flexing Keds)
to the blood red wood of

next door’s back yard table
where we sparred the way girls do–
in slouching talk and prancing walk–
thighs planking the picnicked planks,
too big, we assumed,
to slip through those cracks–

not understanding that it was not the dark
beneath the wood we should
have feared, but something much more fuzzy

that seems to me after years
like the shawl of this fall morning,
whose sharpness pricks
as sure but fine as that rabbit fur sometimes woven
into wool,
or the itch of the sheep itself–

Why could we not
stand up for ourselves?
(Or, maybe, I only write
of me.)



My rather convoluted attempt at my own prompt on With Real Toads to make a poem from a writing exercise.  Please visit and try for yourself. 

I’m not sure the pic goes with the poem–but I like it–it is my photo taken of leaves falling from the sky.

Blocking Writer’s Block – Sample “Block” Poem

August 6, 2009

In connection with my series about writer’s block, I thought it might be nice to post a poem that was the product of writing exercises.  I chose this poem, in part, because the topic actually was “block”.

It’s not a completely fair example.  As you may know from prior posts, two of the rules of the exercises are that you don’t stop moving your pen through your set time limit, and you don’t cross out.    Usually, these rules tend to produce prose.  (It’s hard to keep your pen moving for ten minutes and come out with a poem.)

In the case of this poem, however, my writing buddy and I first did a prose ten or fifteen minute exercise on “block”, dutifully keeping out pens moving and not crossing out.   Then we took the exercises we had each separately produced,  and, in another short set time frame, re-wrote them, this time allowing ourselves to cross out, amplify, to actually take a moment to think.

So this poem is like a biscotti, if you will–twice baked.    (And since it’s  been edited since that exercise evening, you could consider it a biscotti with squiggly frosting.)


Right-angled in the newer areas,
our curb was smooth, sloping into
a chenille of pebbled tar
that bubbled below our skate wheels,
grinding up to spine,
a gravelly shiatsu.
Bare knees as gravelly, the memory of
scrapes in our skin,  we sat with them up
till the white truck jingling
fairy dust turned in, spreading both
joy and panic.  We ran for

I had a working mom and so
had funds enough for a drumstick, real
ice cream, but
hid the extra change deep in a pocket
where only straight fingers could
touch bottom, joining
Patty and Susie and Celeste, the
Catholic kids, with houses of siblings,
chores, and, hovering in their stories, nuns
(rulers at the ready)—
Patty the pretty, Susie the plain,
Celeste Celeste
Celeste, who, arms outstretched, could walk across
practically anything,
Celeste with the six brothers
who constantly toot-toot-toot-
played war—panting for the
popsicle of the day.  Sometimes it would
be root beer, that sweet-strange amber we hardly
dared lick; pink lemonade a purer thrill
in our specific honor.
The new houses started at the next
corner but no one sat in front of their
flatter spindly treed lawns.
Did those houses even
have kids?

Later our side changed too.
Patty only came out to dry
her nails; Susie didn’t feel
like playing; and Celeste, Celeste,
Celeste’s father came back from
Vietnam, a different man.
Her brothers who’d crawled under bush,
up tree, their finger guns poised,
were not to be seen.
It was dark behind
their screens, words heard only as
sounds, vibration, things shaken.

The street was still,
except on the rare
blue evening as fall fell,
when a boy we’d fought in
war, lorded over on skates,
stepped out from the curb, tossing
a football hand to hand.  Slowly we’d
all appear, hurriedly learning signals,
copping moves scribbled on his cupped palm; our feet
slapped hard against the
pavement, our voices insisting that yes, we had
touched with two hands.  We played
until car lights glared and our
bodies smelled of cold blown leaves.
But that would be it.
We would not come out again
for some time.



P.S. – I am linking this poem to Victoria Ceretto-Slotto’s liv2write2day blog prompt about writing with an attention to detail.