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Tuesday, April 30, 2013

NaPoWriMo Day 30: Two exercises in 'Turning Poems Inside Out'

Today's challenge is to "find a shortish poem,...rewrite each line, replacing .. as many words as you can with words that mean the opposite. For example, ... turn “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?” to “I won’t contrast you with a winter’s night.” Your first draft of this kind of opposite poem will likely need a little polishing, (But is) a fun way to respond to a poem (and learn) how that poem’s rhetorical strategies really work. (... sort of like taking a radio apart and putting it back together, but for poetry). "  I'll try a couple very short ones, by Burns and Sandburg:  Oh-oh, the natural result of writing a sort of opposite for positive, or at least neutral, thoughts is going to be negative, right?  Unnhhh I hate to end NaPoWriMo month on such a somber note, but end I will.  Time to let these efforts rest for awhile, then take them down for future possible revisions...It has been a fun, challenging, sometimes frustrating, deadline-delaying, month.  Kept me on my toes, addressing my long-standing, short term goal of faithful writing practice.  And practice is has been.  Thank you, NaPoWriMo, and all my readers.  Your comments have been heartening -- as in, 'take heart.'  Oh, which day was my favorite, you ask?  Day 21,"It's not the cake," hands down, when the challenge was to write new fortune cookie messages.  Which was yours?

Fog                                                   Sun behind bars

BY CARL SANDBURG                                                                           BY SHIRLEY SMITH FRANKLIN
THE fog comes                                                            Broad daylight strides
on little cat feet.                                                          on giant, lion's paws,

It sits looking                                                              Paces, restless, 
over harbor and city                                                  stares at face and hands
on silent haunches                                                     with jaw-cracking roar,
and then moves on.                                                   never leaves its cage.

Pippa's Song                                                    Bubba's Bawling            
by Robert Browning                                       by Shirley Smith Franklin

The year's at the spring,                               The day is spent,   
And day's at the morn,                                  and a year's almost gone,
Morning's at seven,                                        evening's just begun,
The hill-side's dew pearl'd'                           the pavement's dirty gray.
The lark's on the wing'                                  the worm turns underground,
The snail's on the thorn;                               the shadow's on the flower;
God's in His heaven--                                   Satan stalks abroad--
All's right with the world!                            all hell will soon break loose!

Monday, April 29, 2013

NaPoWriMo Day 29: In My Language, That Means...

Today's NaPoWriMo challenge is to "try writing poems that contain at least five words in other languages...a poem that takes place in a foreign country or, a poem based on overheard conversation (inclusive of foreign words)...(possibly digging) deep into what you remember from high-school Spanish, or (using) a dictionary to translate a few interesting words into other languages, (even) drop a Mohrrübe or an asciugamano into your work today (even if it seems de trop. )"  A variation on the challenge:  I get to thinking of different meanings of the same or similar groups of phonemes in the Telugu language of south India, Finnish, and/or's a start on that idea: 

In My Language That Means

Kukka blooms in the arctic spring,
while my brother's fancifully named 'Kukka'
is bound-ifully unaware
that his name in Telugu
means no more than his species:

"Isn't that sweet," chortles my daughter,
"Uncle said the aunties and uncles
were concerned about my dating;
because they don't want anybody
to spoil my personality," but her smile
quickly becomes uber serious
when she learns: the p word
in Telugu land means 'body."
                    ------------- by S.S.Franklin
In the meantime, the original day 29 challenge, simply to incorporate a handful of foreign language words in a poem,  appears to be a way to enrich yesterday's musing on the color white, so let me go back to day 28th's poem, and explore that variation.  (tbcontinued later...)

Sunday, April 28, 2013

NaPoWriMo Day 28: A Poem of Colors

Today's challenge is to to pick a color, write down,synonyms for it (e.g., green, chartreuse, olive, veridian), specific mood associations for it (e.g., red = passion, rage, blue = hope, truth).  And then note everything in sight (on a walk or looking around your room) of the chosen color. Then start writing, using the color as a guide.  My rough draft here could use a lot of work crafting those suggestions into this 'start...' perhaps from the perspective of an older person, remembering, perhaps, or forgetting...Or perhaps it is the prelude to another ghazal??...


                                  White: the color of me
                                                    the color of everything  
                                                           the color of nothing       
                                  God created the world
                                                    in a burst of light
                                                           and everything was white
                                  A meeting in the dark of the moon
                                                    when stars were the only light
                                                           reflected in the wine.
                                  No matter now, a milky way
                                                    blurs the night, truth blurs
                                                             and fades from white to gray.
                                 The jasmine, and the daisy  
                                                    fragrant, visual reminders
                                                             of light that has gone away.
                                  A  new blank page, another day
                                                    with less and less truth to say,
                                                             fading, blurring, white to gray,
                                 I am mother of all colors,
                                                   mother color of everything, 
                                                             signifying nothing, yet
                                 the color of
                                                                    ------Shirley Smith Franklin

NaPoWriMo Day 24: Anagrams and random lines

Today's challenge is to write a poem using only words that can be generated (on the web) from the letters of my name, using each letter no more often than in my name.  I try 'Shirley Smith Franklin' and come up with over 700 phrases using all the letters, with words, some of which I would rather not use to describe myself.  I try only 'Shirley' and come up with only ten, out of which I select  'His Lyre,' 'hers shy limit,' and  but with 'Shirley Smith' I've struck gold...and I select  "Relish thy Ism."  At first I'd assumed having to use whole phrases...but, after reading others' creations today,  I see--why not individual anagrammatic words as well. Still, the result is just something of a 'beater.'  I revised twice, and will let it pass, now, as 'practice.'...

Shirleyisms:  Her Shy Limit

Mis Shy lists rhymes
her rhymes relish mirth
this mirth stirs style
stylish rhymes hie rhythm
her rhythms stir hermits
the hermits trim limits
their limits list heirs
the heirs sit, stylish
trim, relish simile.
She smiles.

Relish thy isms.
(She is His Lyre.)
                                by Shirley Smith Franklin

Saturday, April 27, 2013

NaPoWRiMo Day 27: To Be You

Today's challenge was to take a famous saying (I chose "To thine own self be true, etc..."), google the first three words, and write a poem with words mined from the first couple pages of results.  Mine is:

To Be You

Get, through thine own group,
brevity of information,
truly understanding both day
and night's commands.
Be yourself in a primitive society.
Promotion deceives.
Genuine confidence,
vitality, trust, make your path straight.
Start out with brief, underlying tenets,
but be true to the understanding of a child.
Greatness weighs breathless upon honor,
being merely yourself,
wonderfully, thankfully,
just plain, you.

                       --Shirley Smith Franklin

Friday, April 26, 2013

NaPoWriMo Day 26: "Fast Food," Two Erasure Poems, A silly assignment

Today's NapoWriMo challenge starts: "Back in 1977, the poet Ronald Johnson first published RADIOS, an “erasure” of Milton’s Paradise Lost. Basically, Johnson took a copy of Milton’s long poem, and systematically erased whole words and even lines, while maintaining the relative position of the remaining words. . Today, (the challenge is) to perform an erasure of your own. You don’t need to start with a poem as long as Paradise Lost, of course, but a tolerably long poem is usually needed to furnish enough material so that the final product isn’t just a few words long (though erasure haiku might be a fun new subgenre). ...You can form a whole new poem just by taking words away! Once you’re done, you can leave the spaces as they are ..., or take the left-over words and keep playing with them, reforming new poems from them."   I choose to erase  and replace random words--nouns, adjectives, verbs-- in Rosetti's 'To a Caterpillar'.

Rosetti’s Poem                                  “Fast Food” by SSF

Brown and furry                                 Yellow and mellow
Caterpillar in a hurry                         fast food in a hurry,
Take your walk                                  take your pick
To the shady leaf, or stalk                of a hamburger, or hot dog
Or what not,                                        on a stick,
Which may be the chosen spot.       If your fav’rite choice isn’t something hot.
No toad spy you,                               No server will ply you,
Hovering bird of prey pass by you  Nor ready waitress pass by you,
spin and die,                                      Eat, repeat,
To live again, a butterfly.                  You'll have another chance to eat.

Or, to be short, the haiku, erase-only version: 

                              And, take your chosen
                              you by you again.
Erasure poems based on Rosetti’s “To a Caterpillar”, by Shirley Smith Franklin

Thursday, April 25, 2013

NaPoWriMo Day 25: Ballad of Spring Beginning - Just Another Rough Draft -- if you please.

Today’s challenge is to "try another musical form — the ballad. Traditionally, ballads were rhymed poems that told a story of some kind, and were often set to music. They were sometimes set in four-line verses, with an ABAB rhyme pattern, employing alternating 8 and 6 syllable, iambic lines. This 8/6 iambic pattern is sometimes referred to as ballad meter. The use of this type of pattern was not universal, however, and old ballads often involve different syllable counts, as well as refrains that break up the verses.
The form has generated many sub-genres over the years, including the sentimental ballad (think “Danny Boy“), the gruesome murder ballad, and of course, the power ballad. The form’s come a long way from the folk songs with which it began, but the narrative aspect of the ballad remains intact.
Your ballad could be sad, or funny. It could tell a tale of love, or murder, or just something silly..."

Here's my rough draft of a ballad about how spring returns gradually among returning birds, northern-winter housebound neighbors, and growing things.  I'll have to go some to coax it into visuals and rhymes  to awaken the senses...The last verse could potentially be used as a refrain.

The first sounds of spring are
piercing, querrelous, scolding, sad,
busy conversations as new
bird families establish their homes.

The walkers come out first
accompanying their dogs who
eagerly discover
their usual places near trees.

New neighbors start to be
familiar faces, old neighbors
compare their garden plans
children get out their bikes, or run.

When tired grass becomes green,
flowers, and buds on trees are seen,
when cardinal calls out,
so boisterouly to his mate,

Robin cocks his soft head
at worms as they turn, and the
chickadee calls to all
who will listen, "It's spring, it's spring!"

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

NasPoWriMo Day 23: Dancing with Monte Horeb

Today's assignment: try 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.

A  "We dance," said the Pentecostals
B  who find refuge in a Lutheran church.
C  "You do?" cried Lutherans, "We do too!"
A  "We dance," said the Pentecostals,
D  and Lutherans laughed, and clapped their hands,
E  clasped hands, and swung. "But not like that,
A  we dance," said the Pentecostals.
B  "Who finds refuge in a Lutheran church?"
Well, that was a start...but I failed on the syllable count, and the third/fifth and sixth line end-rhymes.  I'll come again later and try again....
Or at least come back and add Day 22's Pastorale...a work still in progress.

Monday, April 22, 2013

NaPoWriMo Day 22: Pastorale in fragments

As I contemplate and delay writing today's assignment, a pastorale, I wander to the Poetry Daily website, where James Arthur, today's Poetry Pick writer, recalls being asked to memorize a particular poem.  Now I am currently trying to commit to the growing trend of committing poems to memory, but I quail at the thought of memorizing his example, "Ode on a Grecian Urn", or anything longer than a dozen simple lines. (Okay, to be honest, anything at all.)  But I read the poem, and it does seem to me that the OOAGU (don't you just love acroymns--this one sounds like the Telugu word for something similar to an arroyo ) is a sort of pastorale.  In praise of the country life, and/or contrasting it with the city life .  And now I must stop digressing and write one.  Let's see if I can 'channel' Keats' ode in the direction of a pastorale....I have spent more time than I can spend, right now, on this one, which looks as though it may do one of two things: either require tons of editing to focus on the single moment
captured in either of the photos.  I'm too close to the words I've put down here, too fond of all of them because of what they represent, to complete this task right now...but we knew at the outset, that this month's poems would sometimes be fragments, rough notes...This is one (or perhaps two) of the unfinished ones...
 I hope it may yet sing!

Grandma Johnson in Her Element

The photographs I remember are two,
herself as a young mother with a boy,
my father, though my brother thinks it is himself,
fond sepia tones, eyes locked between serene
and the unknowable, facing a future unknown,
but hoped for, and this snapshot where she stands,
you couldn't really say alone,  among chickens
between their roosting shed
and the watering stations,
behind the fence next to her slender,
breeze-driven, undulating oleander
which winters on her sunporch but
has now returned to its rightful place,
sun shining on true plenty, and her  joy.

In the living room are a silken carpet,
lacquered table, and a mountain of amethyst,
souvenirs brought back from distant farms,
faraway places, when the boys returned
home from the Second World War.
Are there still other grandmothers over there,
peaceful and content to feed their own little broods
as they cluster around her feet,
around her table?

I Love the Woman in the Chickenyard

She goes there every day,  casts her glance around
as generously as the feed she scatters, giving
nourishment ataking stock of her little flock,
who haggle to strut closer beside her,
clucking their appreciation of luncheon largesse
bestowed by their apron-clad benefactress.
No matter that her flowered dress is faded or old,
her stockings rolled and gartered at the knee
above sturdy shoes that have seen a better day
blonde wisps escaping  her flour sack kerchief
triangle tied backward, away from her face
which beams with unbridled joy, or is it pride,

They cluster 'round her ankles and peck near her feet,
they trust she can take care of them, they love her     
and, watching her thus, so do I.

The sky was never bluer than that day  I recall,
nothing more pleasant than reading the hired girl's books
hidden in the golden dust laden loft of the granary

             Later today she will..milk, separator, cook milk room,cook.
             Left  to me , dishes and cleanup...

@ Shirley Smith Franklin

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Napowrimo Day 21: It's not the cake

Today's challenge is to re-write Frank O'hara's "Lines for the Fortune Cookies."  While considering those, a list of famous authors' poetry titles in the sidebar caught my attention, so I decided to incorporate them in some new fortune cookie one-liners.  Well, a few of them are lines heard elsewhere: I'll identify those with a ^ mark.  And you may see a few more lines that 'look familiar.'  See if you can identify where they come from. Enjoy!

It's not the cake, it's the frosting.

If you forget him, you'll be happier.

If you forget her, your loss.

Go back to the fork in the road and try your luck again.

Cast your nets on the other side. ^

You are about to meet a phenomenal woman.

The sun, like yeast, also rises. Be a little bit like both.

If you can read this, thank your teachers. Then teach someone else.

If you have a caged bird, set it free.

There are ways to walk, even in rain or snow.

Consider both the trees and the woods, but remember the way home.

You are about to meet a phenomenal man.

A little child has the answer you seek.

Dreams are just that.  Act now, before it's too late.

Buy hyacinths for your soul.^

Handsome is as handsome does. ^

Today the most wonderful thing will happen.

Listen, more than speak.  Act on what you seek.

It's what's for breakfast that counts.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

NaPoWriMo Day 20's challenge invites insult...

Today's prompt was to write a poem that uses at least five of the following words:
owl, generator, abscond, upwind, squander, clove, miraculous (which I translated 'wonder' to match an interior rhyme...), dunderhead, cyclops, willowy, mercurial, seaweed, gutter, non-pareil, artillery, salt, curl, ego, rotomontade, elusive, twice, ghost, cheese, cowbird, truffle, svelte, quahog, bilious. By my count, I used eighteen or nineteen of the words, depending on your accepting the variation (noted above)=more than a third of the poem.  Yay, me. I am not impressed.

Subtext to Political Debate

Oh, you owl-elusive, upwind absconder,
you imagine yourself willowy, truffle svelte,
while, in truth, your artillery you squander.
Thrice-mercurial nonpareil,
twice-born cowbird, are you for real?
Rotomontade, your presence is felt,
you multi-egoed dunderhead,
bilious quahog, it's a wonder
you haven't begun to realize
how badly you have always smelt.

---Attributed to S. Franklin, 
who does not want to admit she wrote it.

Friday, April 19, 2013

NaPoWRrMo Day 19, Time for a little levity

Today's challenge is to write a personal ad...something fun and/or fictional.  Hmm, now why would I ever even want to write a personal ad.  Looking for household help, more than anything else...naww, that's not very personal, more like help wanted.  OK, then, in search of the ever-elusive ideal...

Something I'd Never Thought I'd Publish, But There It Is

In search of man I married:
Fond of movies, shopping,
long bike rides singalongs,
dinners with friends.
Pert mustache,
diffident if not cocky air.
Likely to call attention to small instances
of beauty, humor and innocence.
Generous, encouraging, solicitous to a fault,
spontaneous but strict about timing.
May be masquerading as lawn mower,
stock broker or occasional escort.
Last seen in front of TV.
If found, approach with caution:
May be lost in thought;
first establish eye contact.
Subject may need communication repeated.
Text leads to <123Lookatme>.

                             --Shirley Smith Franklin

Thursday, April 18, 2013

NaPoWriMo Day 15: A form new to me...It smacks of ghazal, in my mind.

Copying from the NaPoWriMo site, "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 8-121 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: [still quoting from the NaPoWriMo site] 

     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 a very mysterious and lyrical quality.  Try your hand at just one quatrain, or a bunch of them, and see how you do!"

My response:  Hm, I think I'll sleep on it.  As it turns out, there are several days of media attention to the
tragic bombing at the Boston Marathon, which should have been a happy event, that week, and it's hard
to think of anything else.  Hence the references contrasting the news and my heightened awareness of my own everyday life.  My poem is called:

Don't Even Think of Calling Me

I wrote my to-list late last night,
but by today's ending, have done none of it.
Writing poems on any scrap of paper in sight.
Stunned by mis-fortune of some who've run for it.

I run a few errands, with my purse
at my side, noticing spring and fresh air smells.
Police dogs sniff as the crowd disperses,
clouds of smoke billow while crowd panic swells.

I make cheese brownies for all and sundry,
inhale the aroma and thank my lucky stars,
make some salad, and do the laundry,
thankful for family, table, food, bed, cars.

You fear somebody will think you're no good,
you hide out at home for reasons of your own.
I don't think you're the problem (knock on wood).
Henceforth we're together, so let it be known.

Al El Uiya, Alleluia, Have mercy upon us,
Peace, Om, Shanti, Shalom, mercy accord us,
make us to sing in one key, one accord,
accord us your mercy, Dear God, Oh, my Lord.

Al El Uiya!
                                     ---Shirley Smith Franklin

NaPoWriMo Day 18: The End-all and Begin-all Hijab

Today, simply write a poem that begins and ends with the same word.  Once again, I have anticipated it by doing that very thing in Day 17's poem.  (What's the temporal opposite of 'deja vu'?!)  But, ever resourceful, I shall endeavor to do it again, intentionally.  Sounds easy, right?  so let's add a juicy, underutilized word, for good measure. All right then, intentionally and with panache.  That word will forever remind me of an incident that took place at a vibrant, usually pro-active senior citizen community in Penney Farms, Florida.. Here goes:

The End-all and Begin-all Hijab
(prose poem musing, with playful interlude)

Panache:  a stylish, original, and very confident way of doing things that makes people admire you: Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary, or
 1: an ornamental tuft (as of feathers) especially on a helmet 2: dash or flamboyance in style and actionverveMerriam Webster

Panache, she said,
I'm glad you wore it with panache.
            (Now, what's in a word like panache?
            On the surface, just another ache.
            Like so many others, mister,
            just one more thing to thing-k about.
            What'd you expect, Mr. Sir Face?
            That I'd recognize it, written down?
            Words could rhyme by look, you know.
                                                look here:
            bread, head, bead, mead, thread, dead,
                                                rugged words,
            dogged words, vying to be heard.
            But, panache, now that's the question,
            what's it mean, what's your suggestion?)
I had worn a colorful scarf,
when she informed me, as we ate:
No head coverings at dinner.
All pride, all prim, hair proper-like,
hairspray, barrettes, and rubber bands,
ribbons, perhaps, a perky bow,
but no, no show of modesty.
That would be too much, she said, as
I tied my headwrap askew. She glanced
around for powers-that-be, then leaned in,
all conspiratorially,
I'm glad you wear it with such panache.
                            --Shirley Smith Franklin

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

NaPoWriMo Day 17: A Greeting in MInnesotan

A greeting:  the opposite of a valediction, is today's NaPoWriMo challenge.  Sounds easy enough.  Whom or what shall I greet today?  Once again it's gray and overcast, although finally we can see buds appearing on trees and the bird chorus is crescendoing.  A wild turkey in all his folded finery goes stepping through the neighborhood yards, and water trickles down the gutters toward the lowest drain.  Let's greet the buds, in 'Minnesotan'...

Hey, Bud!

Where ya been?
Missed ya!
Branches so bare,
I kinda' thought'cha were never comin'.
T'skinda lonesome,
ya know?
No-one to talk ta,
'feel kinda funny, talkin' ta ma-self.

Nice jacket,
'looks warm--
ya never know
when there's gonna be another snow storm.
Yuh, well,
gotta go...
'nice talkin' to ya.
We odda get t'gether one-a these days,
              Yeahhh (spoken on intaken breath)...
H'yuh' (on the exhale), see'ya, then.
Good 'talkin' to ya.
Be sure da greet the missus!
                        --Shirley Smith Franklin

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

NaPoWriMo Day 16: A Weird Assignment

Today's prompt is to take a foreign language poem from a site of poems in other languages, and try taking the shapes and sounds of the words in that language, to write something with similar shapes and sounds in English, regardless of whether it matches the meaning of the original, or even makes sense.  I chose, at random, a verse from a longer poem  in French, which I do not know, by Tunisian poet Amina Saïd:

excerpt from A. Said's "We live in a country 'previous"

nous vivons dans un pays
ivre de violence et de guerre
Medellin sombrera dans la tristesse
dès votre départ nous resterons là
à attendre la lumière simplement
vous remercier d’être venus

(My New Title:)  "After All That"

Noose vivid as dance and pays
every day violence and day gorilla...Ah,
Maid Ellen, some beer and dance la-te-stress.
These voters depart noose restaurant's lay:
ah attention lay luminously simply meant,
voice re-mercy-er, day tray, vain noose.

(Huh.  As poetry, it's more like heinous. S.F.)

Day 13, NaPoWriMo, Walking Observation Poem

 Day 13 we are challenged to go for a walk and write everything little thing we notice.  Now that sounds like fun  I often do, and will do, just that.  But today I've been travelling all day, and I'm just going to try out a bit of prose poetry, a rant, perhaps, about 'everything I noticed' a week ago, when I was

Applying to Renew My Driver's License

My mood sinks, my afternoon shrinks, when I observe a long line just inside the door.  "This line is only for tabs," a voice calls, "all others over there."  I'm in luck.  My line is "over there."  A yellow sign, "Applications for drivers' license and renewals" presides over three clipboards, neatly overlapped on a high counter like cookies in a bakery. No cookies, or even coffee, on offer here. I take clipboard and pen, head for a seat among black, formed-plastic chairs deployed along a wall.  "Grab one for me too," a young man says to his girl. l don't know she's his girl friend, but they both seem young, so, maybe...Curls ranging from yellow to strawberry blonde cascade gently down her back.  Observing this, I allow four other applicants to step up and draw numbered tabs, which I now notice for the first time .  I pull number thirty four, take my clipboard to the farthest chair, next to the young couple, who are talking about the  licensing process--the test, who has passed, who failed-- in gentle, genial tones.  A plain looking, white woman, a mother, apparently, brings in a teen aged girl in, moves two chairs to the wall at an angle a few feet away from me, directs the girl  to sit, goes to pick up a clipboard and pen, gives them to the daughter, and evidently instructs the girl how to fill in the form.  They must have pulled number thirty three, because they are soon called to the desk, which they approach together. I wonder whether someone who needs so much direction is ready for driving yet.  But that is not my business.  I finish filling in my form and have only time to write a few sentences of this observation before I am called by an impassive, middle aged clerk, to hand over my current license,  verify my answers, 'Step around the corner of the counter, please,' to prove I can read a few ABC's, and pose for a photograph.  Feeling rather impassive myself, by this time, I assume what I hope will be a pleasant smile, my picture-i.d.-to-be for the next ten years.  "No, not yet," the woman says, "sign here first."  I do.  "Now step back there." I do, and I smile again.  "That's it," she says, and hands me a yellow copy of my application form, which will serve as a temporary license, together with my old card, the corner snipped off, until my new card arrives in the mail.  Not very poetic.  Maybe I could eke some verse out of this.  Mostly likely not, I decide, as  I pass chairs of license applicants and the line of tabs applicants on my way out of the drab and perfunctory office, back into the fast lane of life.

Monday, April 15, 2013

NaPoWriMo Day 14: Write in the voice of a superhero or villain

Well, I tried, but it only started out like the witch of Hansel and Gretel fame, then went somewhere else...What do you think of it simply as a poem, villain or not?

The Blessing

Ah ha haaa, now I've got you, my juicy little one.
You are so sweet that,
Like Woody Guthrie, I could eat you up.
You are so fragrant that,
like Jack's Giant, I can smell you from far.
You are so precious that,
like Aladdin's Uncle, I could hoard you to myself.
You are so delightful that,
like Cinderella, I can dance.
You are so pretty that,
like Woody again, I could eat your toes.
You wiggle, I giggle.
You smile, I stay awhile.
You babble, I scrabble
and put to use
any excuse
to relish you, sweet, fragrant, precious, delightful,
pretty, wiggly, giggly, babbling grandchild of mine.
Ah ha haaa, now I've got you!

                                       _ Shirley Smith Franklin

And it figures, that my grandmothers, especially the Finnish one, were superheroes to me, as was my mother, the grandmother of my children.  I aspire to be a superhero in some way to my grandchildren.

NaPoWriMo Day 12 Malaise Hits

Day 12 we are challenged to write a list of things we would never say, to a person or non-person of our choice.  I play with words to no avail.  In an echo of a childhood memory, my mother's voice still counsels: never put down on paper something you don't want someone else to read.  I know she meant well, and she spoke from experience.  But for an intercepted note in her high school days, I may not have made it to this page.  But I have made her dictum my own, along with the inhibition implicit in it, though it would serve me better in everyday conversation than in 'the writing life.'  Two days later, I hear a great 'first liner' as I come
out of church, and now, three days later I think I can use that for this assignment:

Dear God,
Don't you think winter is getting a little old?
Like, it's spring, April fifteenth
                                  and I still feed cold!
You promised showers, rainbows, and even some
flowers, melting snow, sunshine, winsome hours.
Why are you doing this to us, day after day?
What have we done wrong, that you treat us this way?
You tease us with little thaws, water in gutters
running down to the corner drain, where it mutters,
or suddenly freezing, curbside, in layers
that laugh at my innocence when I would break them
with my prayers.  How much more of this, Lord, how long?
                                               ---Shirley Smith Franklin