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Saturday, April 11, 2009

Okay, let's face it . . .

I'm pitiful, pathetic, a wash-up. It's god-damned national poetry month and I haven't posted a single ANYTHING to my blog since March. It's April 11, the whole world is a beautiful shade of purple and pink, and I am crossing things off my freaking to-do list, trying to make sure that what I post to one of my sections of English 201 "The Research Paper" I also make sure to post to the other two sections. But, but, but . . . honestly I have been writing poetry! Really! Quite a bit, though most of it in my journal, disjointed, and unfinished. So, honestly, I have nothing to share of any worth, but I do want to tell you about a great prompt I came across. (I should be crediting someone for this, but I don't have the exercise book I stole it from down here by the couch (and my desk is far, far away, as in upstairs)).

The writing prompt says to keep a list of surreal or notable images you come across, such as:

1. a Sealy mattress leaning against a freeway barrier;

2. a guy dressed up in a hot dog suit;

3. a pair of carnival ticket booths being hauled on a flat-bed behind a truck.

After you've collected a bunch of these, pick one and use the weird image as the central metaphor of a poem.

Oooh, but you're probably already getting plenty of prompts from the Writer's Digest Poetic Asides blog, where Robert Lee Brewer is pumping them out with a passion. I was thinking I would have time to respond to his prompts DAILY, but as it's turned out I couldn't so I thought I'd combine prompts, so my first poem of the month mooshed together prompts 1 and 2: an origin poem told by an outsider. Okay, sneaky, but it seemed a good solution until . . . well, we all have our excuses, right? But that doesn't mean you shouldn't keep at it, or make up for lost time; that doesn't mean you should accidentally on purpose loosen the hold on your helium balloon, stand there helpless as it drifts just out of reach.

But I do want to share, despite my utter lameness, my infinite bad-role-model-ness and don't ask me please to be your mentee, a poetry moment that took place in my own home despite my having to focus more on my job and kids these past several weeks:

We had some workmen in the house, non-native speaker workmen (except for the son, whose English was better than the rest of the crew's), and as two of the men--the son and his father--were finishing up their puttying job at the top of the basement stairs, I heard some Spanish, and then, very clearly, very slowly: DO I DARE DISTURB THE UNIVERSE? And then a whole bunch more loud and boisterous Spanish. It took me a second to figure out what was going on: why were these guys quoting TS Eliot? Then I remembered: I'd scotch-taped my National Poetry Month poster at the top of the basement stairs. And the poster had done, hopefully for the millionth time this month, its intended magic.

I sincerely hope your NaPoMoWrPoGoToPoReBeaPoGoGoGo is going much better for you than mine is. In poetry, m


seanag said...

Well, this is a lovely post anyway, Martha. I am sure you get some National Poetry Month extra credit points for all the gentle promptings you've posted here.

I wasn't planning to write poetry this month, but I did think I would be more observant of the month in other ways, but for many reasons, the first part of April has gotten away from me too. Glad you've got some rough drafts going, in any case.

Martha Silano said...

Hi Seana,

Did I mention I love your blog Confessions of Ignorance?

One could do worse than spend a month observing.

seanag said...

Thank you, Martha.

I keep thinking that after I get my taxes done that I will find a little more time for what I want to do, but I expect that's a delusion.

Joannie said...

What a wonderful story.

Pah to writing a poem a day. I've been doing it, and most of them will moulder (sp?) forever on my computer, not being worth the energy to follow up and finish.

Now I must go try to write a poem about love.

Thanks for the post!

Martha Silano said...

Which reminds me, I wrote terrible poems the month I tried to write a postcard poem a day. Ugh, they sucked. I hang my hat, but not in shame.