Archive for the ‘Writing Prompts’ Category

looking at poem

l o o k i n g   a t   p o e m
 
nose nose.  mirror close.
smell poem’s breath.  poem
breathes mine.  steam reveal,
 
fingers paint.  inhale, lay
motionless.  awake,
 
disguised under sheets.
poem inside, doesn’t sleep.
here, feel, dusty feet.
 
cat leaps onto bed.  unfed, leaves.
some poems too, closing their eyes.
 
mother father, child.  reflection bears
no fault.  if you had a thousand eyes
 
that’s exactly who I’d be for you.
language contains this bowl.  monarch
 
wings.  see how they heel counter
compass into lofted wind.  see
 
how poem measures itself.  knotted
twine that holds the sway.
 
some other sail, bent, bitten word.
what calls itself, newmoon face.
 
poem, mirror, me.
 
and when it stands alone, one breath,
the way wind breathes on leaves

 
 
neil reid © 2014 february
 

maybe possibly the first in a group, not so much “progressive” but looking to say what this poem really wants to really say. ie. if a poem could speak, what would it want to say? (without my help to stir up the mud)

go see the WWP prompt, if for nothing else save the video included.
about poems, about you

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eating this
 
here, describe this meal.  burning
bread and crying cheese.  just like poems
are not about rounding words, but rather
fingering spoons.  hand to mouth and it’s
the motion that counts.  your hand inside
mine at the eating tabletop.  tell me how
it is your little finger moves, pull that string
to the beginning end.  tell me where the
nurture is.  cooking, we begin.  hunger
don’t mean what goes in mouth.
 
please or no, another dawn.  whether
or no, you think your hands assemble
a prayer, you do.  one cat whose nose
made home in my scent, dirty shirts
waiting turns on the closet floor.  did
she recall that first open door not lost?
and fed me wanting for months and
days.  here, here’s a mouth.

 
 
neil reid © october 2013
 
 
written for We Write Poems prompt Food, Glorious Food by Pamela
 
with thanks and credit to Dylan and his mom Liz for that phrase, “crying cheese” (cheese crying). please do read her post about her autistic son and how his experience reveals something new about our regard for language.

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found in a museum attic somewhere I don’t know
 
there’s an old tender touch shirt, red dimly
in the shadowed sky-blued glass above wooden
floor. it creaks upon meeting your feet. oh yes,
soft patterned, it’s flannel, that’s what it is.
 
was it mine or hers? yet there upon her contours
that dark mountain grove where kissing discovered
itself, and fumbling at buttons beneath the fleece.
standing night trees said nothing but blind.
 
eagerness wanted to become something more.
 
it didn’t rain till morning then.

 
 
neil reid © october 2013

 
 
accidentally written for Margo Roby’s Poem Tryouts: If You Build It

you know, if you’re walking in a museum and this or that thing pleases or interests you and all that is nice enough. then unexpectedly something becomes personal, and you recognize yourself in what you discover, find, not for the first time. like this. and pardon my being roughshod with this prompt, but it was just that one word, museum, that kept coming back to me. here, one very brief touch.

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mule

mule
 
like an arrow only rarely, spent
 
bending bow or tense impending shaft
 
choose or not, you will, you do
 
soft soles no matter what
 
blister feet, turn aside, whistle midnight
and dawn, or a blanket drawn, out of sight,
just plain forget, trinkets in a closet box,
maybe wind on your face, doubting clouds,
thankful for shade, some say pray, some
meditate, you do, you don’t, another spoon
on the table, or resist, same meal in the
bowl either way
 
then there’s a mule on the road
 
here’s the choice, obstacle
 
or ride

 
 
neil reid © october 2013

 
 
for we write poems, the road, prompt by Pamela

me thinks, not so bad this poem if you only change the beginning and the end, oh yea, and rewrite that middle too. participation got the better of me. my excuse.

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adam’s apple
a prose poem in ten parts
  
8 AM, fan pretends the day won’t scorch. purgatory rolls off the tongue. adam awakes upside down in bed. the usual.
 
the snake was just a dream he thought, but the apple was good. she even had a name if he could remember it now. he couldn’t. like ripe fruit, he fell.
 
word was on the tip of his tongue. remember that taste? lightning scratched on bare thighs. desire? if only he knew! 9 AM. he had to think about work.
 
a warm sand beach. what am I doing here? unreasonable, but shy about the serpent story, and everywhere he turned another apple burst into flame.
 
adam’s gaze lingers outside the bus window. placards at the intersection proclaim “remember me”. remember what? but he takes it personally. smiles.
 
she says to him, here be dragons. my life will be like a single breath. he lunges. smoke through his fingers. again. nothing makes sense. desire remains.
 
falling remains. dark, he remembers, no, feels like a twisting rope. two limbs surrender words. bright nonsense. he fills a book. lets go that breath cupped in two hands.
 
a blue boat with yellow sails. another made of glass, swans for heads. anomies between salt wet rocks. it was there from the beginning. desire’s waves.
 
what if the sky loved me, and I never guessed? is wind a kiss? more than thought, sensibility. in his pocket, a compass, circled by finger’s touch.
 
childless he thought. but words pour out. what began as a seed becomes a fruit. and the snake was always meant as a kindly cheshire jest. just like dawn.

 
 
neil reid © june 2013
 

  
Written for the We Write Poems prompt series the protagonist
being a ten part series by Irene, beginning with prompt 154 who is your protagonist? and concluding with prompt 163 found treasure Please go read.

comments:
First, with thanks to Irene for doing this wonderful series of prompts. Second, I haven’t written much of anything for several months. Don’t believe in writer’s block, but still, no poems had room to find place with me. Third, didn’t want to let this series pass without some contribution in appreciation. So my response, all ten prompts written in one brief prose poem. Dusty me.

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morning poem
  

bright early morning sun taking turns with lumbering clouds overhead.
this morning wasn’t meant to be a poem but here’s what it is.

I slept in my bed again, rather than just where I happened to be.
there’s a difference between which floor you choose to sleep upon.

then again it matters
what you bring inside
into your dreaming self.

I listened to a native man on TV the night before.  His words well observed, sharp like a knife, bright like an arrow point found in the dirt.  But under the sharp was the dull ache of being hurt, a shaft broken that won’t come out.  He was a good heart, suffering.  He had no god.  Not ours, no matter that, nor of his people from whom he stood alone, but neither any plural he could feel of his own inside.  So he just had his beautiful words to live within, kind of lonely that way.

a scentless bloom.  truth don’t like sleeping alone.
 
 
neil reid © april 2013
 

  
Written for the We Write Poems prompt #151,  morning poem.
And maybe it’s my NaPoWriMo poem too (if one will count?)

comments:
But really, written for me. How long long since the last I wrote. Neither was I even trying and mostly this is from a conversation I was having, then thought, well it all counts, all the words, and shouldn’t it all be poems anyway. So here, a ball of mud tossed onto the wall.

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cowboy shoes
  
small_cowboyWell this isn’t a poem, not yet. But yea, it, meaning me, does wanna come out to play.

There’s this prompt, write a poem with your “shadow voice”. That’s your (or my) voice that got left behind once upon a time, some part that didn’t seem safe or acceptable inside my vision of the world. Simple huh? But simple can be more confused than something complex often enough.

I keep going back to this picture of so so younger me. I felt the connection, but it was light, maybe even a slight-of-hand. Not that I mean my shadow is a child. More playful. More happy, for no good reasons at all. I held those “thoughts”. But even as I wrote the prompt for WWP it became obvious that I was still holding those “dangerous” attitudes at arms length and had to rewrite the prompt totally from scratch. That precisely is the challenge of this prompt for me!

My shadow plays. My shadow is more spontaneous. My shadow is more willing to be visible, to take a chance. He’s good natured. He will tell you what he is doing, and will invite you into the play. He’s easy to understand. It’s not so much that the world is more trustable, but he is. And that is the root of his life.

Writing that prompt was sort of my poem for me.

So that will have to do for now. Lots of work here and there to do and poems are riding in the back seat right now. Yet wanna respond to this prompt. My shadow does. And I agree.

The tip of my hat, and we’ll be back again. Soon and more more often, we both wish.

  
Written for the We Write Poems prompt #149,  write a shadow voice poem.

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getting here from there
being a cento poem of small epiphanies
  

    so it was when love slipped inside us
    it looked out face to face in every direction

the question hinged in your knees, your ankles

lightning, like luck, lands somewhere

it is like the origami held inside a plain sheet of paper
some thoughts throw off a backward heat

a cat fills only a cat-sized hole
yet your whole body turns toward it

as a bell unstruck for years is still a bell

but how else learn the real, if not by inventing
what might lie outside it?

if truth is the lure, humans are fishes

longing even when running away

 
 
being a cento poem assembled by neil reid, march 2013
all lines by Jane Hirshfield, from her book “Come, Thief”
 
line breaks and associations at my whim, with thanks

 
 
comments:
I like, I enjoy, cento poems. They are good to eat. Reading counts, and it’s a lot like learning too! And they are especially good when I got less to say.

  
Written for the We Write Poems prompt #147,  Epiphanies bonfire!.
Read the poems of others here.

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bowl

b o w l
  

so it was a high mountain stream that
sat beside my thirst.  and two palms that
cupped and drew an answer there.

is it interesting that of so many creatures
god gave us this bowl of our own to drink?

i.

sky is a bowl you wear like a hat.
consider all that is given you.

consider thoughts like light.
consider clouds that souls imply.

ii.

consider the word, inside.
consider the illusion, we say, edge.

iii.

here, a potters hands imagine a bowl.
clay reflects makingness.

breath is a bowl drinking sky
yet fills only when empty first.

iv.

some bowls have names,
some do not.

some bowls are full of words.

a bowl will hold the mosaic
of my doubts, and then

one day I looked and it was aches
and pains.  yet bowls heal simply
by turning rightside upside down.

v.

everything real is inside a bowl.

what’s outside is a mystery disguised
as stars.

all things are held in equal calm.

vi.

a bowl will teach, although that’s not
the meaning meant.

vii.

a bowl is one half of everything.

bowls don’t care when I’m confused.

viii.

your lips are a bowl.
so’s your love.

a bowl is a shape nature adores.

ix.

a bowl is known by another word.
the word is choice.

x.

bowls can count to ten.

things that look like a bowl to me.
the pockets in my pants.
my mouth.  yours.  ears.  eyes.
your hand in mine.

 
 

neil reid © february 2013

  
comments:
this poem is all over the place. I first imagined something else, but here’s all I got, and the choice is choosing this or nothing. so maybe that’s about right.

oh, and in terms of counts I did a search. the word bowl appears in about 40 of my poems thus far, and now, 41. guess that qualifies.

(Poems is hard.) writing ain’t easy of late.

  
Written for the We Write Poems prompt #144,  In your own words.
Identify words you use more frequently in your poems, then take a look what one of those words really means for you.

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Tell me what this poem is saying to you
  

What’s the message do you think?  When leaves
turn autumn bright, fall to an upturned bowl.

Is it fall or flight?

Memories of quenching rain and radiance,
brilliant sap twisting buds and

here, disembodied snow become earthly
fruit, another language feeding roots.

Not all bowls are right being right-side up.

Here’s this phrase, Grandmother made a mistake.
Now, how’d that glyph land inside of you?

Language is immediate.  Either side of that
synapse, swift limb to lace of root.

Stories move like water does.

How far can a voice imagine itself?
Tell me what this poem is saying to you.

Do your fingers trace the words?
Do your lips trace the sounds?

No sense of feeling goes idyl here.
When buddha hand touched the earth

compassion became a bell.

Here’s the rake.  Here’s the dust for your shoes.
Make affection of these leaves.

Tell me what this poem is saying to you.

 
 

neil reid © january 2013

  
comments:
This poem began before the prompt, but seemed mostly well enough to be companion to the prompt. Rather “drafty” as it doesn’t go really where the initial image wanted to go, but maybe another day. (busy head thinks too much) (listens less) But doesn’t that actually seem the hardest gradient writing… getting myself out of the way? Does to me. (OR, one might ask… Where’s Waldo?!!)

  
Written for the We Write Poems prompt #135,  Peas in a pod.  Write a poem from a gathering of “ideas”.

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how to make water
  

observations had long since revealed the clumpy clumsy nature of the
dusty envelope embracing stellar point IRC+10216.

carbon then silicon monocides gifting out their oxygen whirly bits into untraviolet songs. pudding proof, as the gathered crowd proclaimed.
and hydrogen,

hydrogen everywhere!   so there, the Herschel ledger reveals truth as it
already is,

water comes to the sky.

there is a bone that also started this way, alone.   a femur that stood then walked upright.

so if someone asks, is your life like a poem?   don’t snarl,

but answer thus, if near nothing can imagine and make a glass of water, what’s one poem more or less from a bone that talks?

thus informed water from light, poems from bones?

poems is easy, just like falling off a star.

 
 

neil reid © december 2012

  
comments:
I started going right, this poem was going left. Still didn’t quite get where either of us thought to go. Such are poems! (so much for what I think I want)

  
Written for the We Write Poems prompt #135,  My life as a poem.

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s e v e n s
  

it’s Monday and rabbit goes down the open hole.

Tuesday then, and gopher snake curls into a waiting mouth.

Wednesday it rains.  puddles amused, swallow the pouring skies.

Thursday makes witness, slender green shards arise, an alchemy of dirt.  earth itself a limb of some greater tree.

my narrow garden spade lurches into softened soil, although Friday whispers, no, we’re not chasing that mole, just finding shallow fruit.

Saturday’s palm aligns with Sunday’s moon, awakens sweet summer sage, landing in all the craddled bowls, earth plowed by our feet.

Sunday says, this trail, this high tide here, it comes for you.

 
 

neil reid © december 2012

  
comments:
Ha! Five minutes of initial writing, followed by times five or ten, trying not to make it worse! (Oh, and bad. Did a couple more edits since posting this. No shame.)

  
Written for the We Write Poems prompt #134,  Time counts, really it does…. In your own manner and specific topic, please write a poem that gives witness to the changes of time and season. Read the prompt for more detail if you wish.

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paintingher
  

one cheek yellow oxidized, burnished down from her right handing eye.  the other, red, a late falling dusk afternoon wildflower remembering, a trace of legs striding through long limbered stalks.  a scent of water bent, a river moved, more pervasive than.  here’s what drew the bees into step danced story regard for her.  one last taste of flame, then sleep.

one eye, a reasoned logic fair, sympathetic, a sail’s salt thirst eager to be spent.  you’d give your breath for a glance.  even just one.  the other, beneath an arching sliver of greenish cheese fragrant moon, then just here, right aside where your fingers blush a yearning touch, begins from afar laying across a field of snow.  one star at the apex of unvarnished sight.

a nose that is the scent of earth and skin just after rain’s first fall.

lips, two rubies embedded over blacknight beneath wind sheared sheets.  hear how they render meaning into whispered words like a kiss.  please, once more!, takes flight more swift than thought.  no fence will sway depart, in other words.  we follow as a canyon does your voice.

hair as windswept nest to crowning thorns that all summits are.  then stir the sky, holding blind day and stalking night into a single radiance.

at root a jill-in-the-box, a song’s refrain is how she breathes and how we know her name.  our voices a circle of tone.  here’s the painted proof, pudding done right, the sails gone tight, a tillered hand.  a brush that fingers hold, no ordinary face, her gaze that answers snowy doubt.

vision gathers experience.

she, a perfect wife.

 
 

neil reid © november 2012

  
comments:
An abstract view of an abstract portrait. Answer to the question, what is it? A draft. (because I’m sick, and focus don’t wanna come out and play) Also and unexpectedly, a response to the prompt, write a love poem without using the word “love”. Didn’t think this poem was “that”, but realized in writing it, that it was. My attraction to the abstract I realized is more than simply a matter of taste, but expresses how I feel in relationship with the experience of being here.

  
Written for the We Write Poems prompt #131,  Unexpectedly, love. Read the prompt for more detail if you wish.

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Pre-analytic observations taken from a hard stone perch
  
(not a poem, but observational notes)

There’s the rhythmic low splashing chorus of reflected sea bay waves some fifty feet to my right.

Sitting on stone cobbled aggregate uncomfortably below knee-high, then swing one then two legs over the land bound side, feet anchoring to one point of the breakwater boulders below.

Facing away from the shoreline to a cleft in a rising bluff, a large long grown shrub now centered in middle view.

Sounds begin to change my ear. Voices easy to ignore. Voices with wings.

Dense green foliage as a crown gives shuttered view to the spider-web of sheltered branches within its skirt. As a dress blown aside, limbs are more exposed lower and to the right, three-some feet below the summit rock wall.

Air drops away beneath.

Sporadic gull squawks clamor for attention, but there’s a lower ground of voice and wings scattered about and many within that green.

Small of voice yet swiftly crisp, focus gathers close. Swift and brief as is their flight from out the hidden core of limbs, then too seeing leaves shimmer in response to their returning roost.

First one then another, another, then add one more. Maybe a tribe of ten, maybe twenty inside that unkempt resting nest.

Each in turn makes a three-quarter elliptic flight out then back, unhesitant. Maybe one-second’s thought of flight. Small brown mostly body, yet a wide fore to tail bar of white held in private on the earth-side of each wing. A stoke or two of wings and the task of flight is untied, back on a hidden limb.

 
 

neil reid © october 2012

  
comments:
Not a poem. Obvious? Just some ribbon of observations. While the prompt suggested multiple visits to some specific place, work and the season drew more limits than I’d expected. So this is just “something”, or “whatever”, which so ever you choose. While the suggested observation wasn’t suggested to be “about” any one thing in specific, because of what I’ve been reading of late, yes, for me the real focal place was about birds. And yes, there were more birds all about than I would normally notice, most of them being less raucous then what more easily draws attention away.

  
Written for the We Write Poems prompt #127,  take some time to simply observe a natural setting. Read the prompt for more detail if you wish.

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Letter to the Commander at dusk
  
Commander, the mounts you requested have been reaped from the plains, and riders, they’ve taken their names from the dowsing hat you gave to us.  Bonded, they are now like wind, ready for the message you seeded in them.

Our thanks abound for the draftsman planner given to lay our map upon the encampment, saying where the rivers run and the hills swell above first sight.  The sky you imagined is a perfect azure blue, making easy contemplation of the book.

I confide in you, certain doubts about the buttons, learning to uncover quiet voices like you always said would be our companion in this time of peaches turning their faces ripe and sweet.  Honestly, you’ve become better song in my listening ear.

Like you said, the words are light.  Like you said, we are the words.

More to be drawn upon the dawn.  We ride!

 
 

neil reid © october 2012

  
comments:
I used to have a clever answer to the riddle, what’ya write when you have nothing to say? This ain’t so clever, but more immediately honest anyway. And right now, if I didn’t write this, I wouldn’t write anything at all.

It kind of responds to two different prompts: write a letter poem and write from another identity. It’s both symbolic, yet more specifically real than might first be imagined. Although the writer’s identity is unspoken here. You can fill that in if you wish, at least to a few faces I think.

Are symbols real? Within the reality here, yes.

And everything I write these days, they’re all drafts, not yet home.

Enough.

  
Written for the We Write Poems prompt #126,  write a persona poem and prompt #124, write an epistle, or letter, poem.
Read the prompts for more detail if you wish.

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what’s the nature inside the nature of one wolf?
  
 
a wolf drinks what rain has risen from earth, drinks melting snow that has answered first thirsts of others and falling for the valley crease river down below, drinks those last lasting moments of fear then pain then longer night, drinks sadness doubts regrets and with equal pleasure joy and the sweet taste of new grass, drinks what you never said to mother but thought about repeatedly, drinks a father ghost, drinks those buttons you gave away for a kiss that took years to arrive, drinks the baby’s smile like dew, and the baby falling to the dirt, drinks waving wheat farther than an eye can imagine yet.

so there’s the matter, the measure the manner of a life, all justified by sharp willing teeth.  how much harm or laughter matters the meaning of spirit in flesh?  here belly, here mouth, take this wedded bliss.

 
 

neil reid © october 2012

  
comments:
Write a stream of consciousness poem, was the prompt for writing this.

No great shakes as a poem, just a poem-in-play, but true to the process as I sense the quality of this prompt. Most all simply as it arrived over a few minutes time; not edited much at all. Did have to resist the desire to edit/add in more material afterward. Time does play a role in writing like this, sort of how broad the river goes. Would be good to do again.

Amusingly, the title, done long after the (prose) poem went through far more “thoughtful editing”, changing many times until!
  
Written for the We Write Poems prompt #125,  Streams of consciousness
Read the prompt for more detail.

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sixteen thoughts going on six
 
 
here’s a dream about me being awake

and in that dream someone suggested I am wiser now

than once upon some other time

like when I was sixteen as they suggested to me

so I wondered in this dream what is it now

what more do I know now more than then

if in fact I do? and I thought a list just like this in my pocket place

    learn to distill honey from bitter salt words

    forgive broken dreamers no matter how many

    trust your heart even if it’s tempting to forget

    embrace the awkwardness of learning – that’s the choice

    you are here for more than you

    learn to dance

so what would I tell that young boy if I could

and then I thought sixteen? well that’s not right because it’s much too late

because by then I was already long long far lost and dark

so it was obvious six or seven or eight and then at least there’d be a chance

making some difference then

I thought just who am I writing to and how would I understand

because me as the world was all different then

because if I’m doing this shouldn’t I make it really real? for that boy

so what are the words that would make sense of all this experience in sum

that now is me? and realized that only experience can honestly teach

and not words like a parent who’s already dead or

in this case not even yet born and can only express by intent of care

and besides who am I not to love to allow to let that child fall

through those many pains and become

the child like a weed inside me right now right here

and wondering what’s the better truth

and then I thought maybe he is already reading all of this

or someone is and maybe understanding happens outside me outside time

just like becoming born from nothing is and

then I found this wrinkled scrap of thought and it said

    welcome home

 
 

neil reid © september 2012

  
comments:
This poem becomes the “process” itself of the prompt idea, here laid out as a draft of string. A draft because I can’t do it better for now, because what it is was the result of over a week’s considering, evolving, yet when came was near in all one breath, just a few minutes in time (and more fuss would only make it less honest). Oft enough I’ve said, when you’re looking to resolve an image but see nothing other than your tangle of thoughts, that small dilemma, then take that process itself as the result – so my own medicine delivered here.

Neither is this my usual with words, any care for cleverness cast aside. Make it real came standing in front. What can we say to a child, the language, the understanding being all different then – but maybe so, even right now. Thus in the end, the process was circular and genuine.

  
Written for the We Write Poems prompt #122,  Words of Wisdom
In this case, meaning this – If you could go back in time and impart a bit of wisdom to your sixteen year old self, what would you say? An almost deceptively complex and powerful prompt I think.

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hand me downs
(perhaps a love poem you didn’t expect)
 
 
they lay quietly in pockets away from curious eyes.
they harbor patience impatiently.  here, hold on.
they worry motionless when my stomach aches.
they whittle worldly uneveness, unmindfully.
they cover the lips of doubt.  sometimes lies.
they scatter dirt over mis-spent dimes.
they hold a pen, writing.  obedient shelves.
they stir the pot no matter the logic pro or con.
they count edges, yet only appreciate surfaces.
they covet ambergris when not amused.
they welcome an urchin kiss.  bend me down.
they brace betwixt stones, yet hold nothing in place.
they tithe to your waiting brown summer slopes.
they sniff like dogs.  remember this.
 
an eve’s wood burnished shadow eye, aroma like rising dough and red fruit given fair consent.  here, a table laying down distance, being polite.  horse soldier hands the only players on that divisible plain.  I would’ve hid.  I did.  some excuse, a trickle of darting moth-like slight of touch.  there was a splash.
 
you traced where maps don’t go over rough raw edges of fingertips where touch fell shattered, broken threads silent before.  you didn’t hesitate.  fingers, hands, they received what a mind would not.  and even while a stone was still a stone, you weathered me.  turning into rain.  unseasoned.  disheveled.  fluid.
nearly did you make a shadow swim.
  
what meaning when flawed hands surrender fault?

 
 

neil reid © september 2012

  
comments:
Drafty seems become a way of life. Perhaps that’s only natural. And here an odd gathering – basically a list poem to begin, then it had something more a say and suggest (an old memory cloaked, we’ll say here, for poem’s sake). I’m considerably less sure about the second prose-poem part (not the form, but the content) (some things just don’t feel right to say aloud) (not yet?). So be it.

I rather find repeatable intent by the prompt idea, hands as verbs. Lots of territory there to wander within. More later? While obvious, yet I was surprised how much hands do.

  
Written for the We Write Poems prompt #120,  What do hands do?
Describe your hands as verbs!

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(a very drafty poem) About feet

 
 
Untie, unbuckle, unloose your shoes.
Quit your socks from their embrace.

Bare feet illuminate.

Now then, what’s between your toes
depends whole heartedly upon the direction
you face.

Which less commonly thought, includes
the ups the downs, the later being the usual
circumference.

So what and where do you trek if
there’s only blue between your toes?

And that reminds me.

Oh yea, sometimes it’s glowing thoughtful
white bleach, sometimes new fawn shadow
grey, sometimes even stars bare and naked
peeking shy from beneath my feet.

A full dipper to ladle our plate.
Bare feet walking the sky.

Maybe we’ll leave you a slice
of moon.

 
 

neil reid © august 2012

  
comments:
An odd scrap of a thing, this poem is. Wrote another first, but more than less, it felt so “usual” for me, and I wanted something more. But what. Then this arrived. It don’t really feel all grow’d up to me, and the ending feels weak, but there is a quality shift in style and voice that I like (so it’s here, better and worse such as it is). Not a rule that poems need be “all done”, so a draft this is. This poem (sort of purposely) walks up to the edge of the pool, but doesn’t yet jump on in. And it might get swallowed up into something else I’ve been playing with now for weeks and weeks (we’ll see).

Besides I want to demonstrate (“X” marks the spot) that sharing a draft is both valid personally and as something to share with the community (hint, hint). Why does everything we write need to be perfectly polished? My favorite line from “Tales of the City”, as the landlady speaks to the new “midwest girl” in the big SF town, in query about “the rules” she responds, “dear, I don’t object to much of anything!”

Wouldn’t that be a good attitude to nurture in ourselves??

  
Written for the We Write Poems prompt #119,  This reminds me….
Inspiration from the story “Big Fish”, shoes off, socks off, feet in water, then the thought, this reminds me… Write from that position. Common enough but bare feet, yea, that changes things. Experience and imagination both get more intimate, more connected (so’s the thought anyway).

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where landscape does

 
 
there is a shadow inside each pebble here.  no sun
will dare fade our place.

there is water making shape around each pebble sleeping here.
we accept sweet water haze like a river is.

there is a note a tone a harmony performing each pebble here.
lay your ear upon our shallow breath.

there are marching shoeless feet dancing each pebble here.
evenings we drink the sharp edges smooth.
 
 
there are hearts where each pebble slumbers here.  feel our
pulse the way stone seeds bide their time.

learn your face in the mirror sand.  we feast you here.
we are lost water where your shadows land.

there is a bending back, a reaching arm, a pinch of fingertips,
a heft in the palm, your keen eye beside each pebble here.

here, where we gather breath.
 
 
do you notice what shadows do?  have far strangers
at thirst, become this curving sky?

 
 

neil reid © august 2012

  
comments:
Easy, historic, to think of our moon this way.  However is there such, as being a love poem to (or with) our kin, farther reached red Mars?  Maybe that’s what this poem is.

And remembering the final closing scene from Bradbury’s “Martian Chronicles”, a moment of recognition renewed.

  
Written for the We Write Poems prompt #118,  Far far landings….
Write a poem, howsoever inspired, by one of the initial photo images of the far planet Mars as given us by our new, just landed rover Curiosity. (see prompt for photo image) (or click here for the full size image)

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gravity

g r a v i t y

 
 
gravity

insists, faultless stone, some circled route,
parchment round-about, close fever thread,
less my own than another’s call.

attraction brutish bright with sightless mass.

I fall to you.

I don’t resist.  even when I do.  I don’t resist.
io non resisto.  anche quando faccio.  io non resisto.

your eyes your cheeks your lips, rivering,
describe my touch.  in wilderness.

even when they don’t.  they do.
anche quando non lo fanno.  fanno.

neither time’s measure mapped,
given charter of tempest thirst
to describe to adore, to drink.

farther breath stands like a shard.

because yes dear, this bowl is real.
dare shed torrent’s consequence?

none fallen less.

no less acquaintance, a simple manner of matter,
surely meanings narrative, timeless yet not for any
single breath, counting kisses, counting

relentless eloquence, then comes laid down
upon a brow

gravity.

 
 

neil reid © august 2012

  
comments:
Write a poem that begins and ends with a one word line, that word being the same at both beginning and ending.  Yet allow the body of the poem to create that shift in meaning for that one word.  Such was the prompt for this week from WWP.

Do you like me sometimes consider writing a poem, or more, a specific prompt, and think – I don’t wanna!  (Well, granted, it’s not a rule.)  However I begin to wonder, “when”?  So it was this week.

Then again, also thought, do it, do it now, or scribble at least.  Simple surprise that, while drafty, not studied enough, a poem came by shear impact of pen.  True, true, like they say – are those words really mine?  At least because I found something really of interest in the way words can not only change a meaning, but literally “lure” it one way or another even as a flag might flutter in a breeze.  I remain impressed with what language can do (much as it lies most of the time, one step or more away from real experience).  Much to be said for simply getting “out of the way”.

  
Written for the We Write Poems prompt #117,  What words mean….

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being a twelve part study on the propagation of waves in near vacuum realities, or, why is willingness important to rain.


    heaven’s open.
     
    touch.   real thirst.
     
    resist.   learning loud.
     
    illuminate.
     
    open mouth.   drink.

 
 

neil reid © july 2012

 
comments:
Prompt says, Simply, write a poem that uses twelve (12) words, no more, no less.
Mind, the prompt says, “a poem” of twelve words, but nothing about the title length! (My odd sense of humor perhaps. No pretense of a rule too small to be ignored.) And yes of course, it sets the stage for the poem that follows (which is fair I think!).

Actually, more interesting than I’d expected it to be. Neither so easy nor unrewarding, this brevity thing. (And I bypassed the few questionably clever tricks I’d thought to employ, because there is something in allowing words to have their own “space” to fill. Certainly could have made connections more obvious, tighter threads, but I delighted in the wavering connections in this most Spartan mode.) Worth doing more.

  
Written for the We Write Poems prompt #115,  Counting fingers plus two.

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far and white

far and white

  

I paint your face in
 
the mountains I see so far
 
distant and west, bright
 
white, ragged stone silhouette
 
like you are now, from my side.

 

neil reid © june 2012

 
comments:
Write a “tanka poem” (here in the 5-7-5-7-7 form) says the prompt. Rules, rules, and what am I doing counting syllables? About the last thing I’d expected to write, but oh, for the desire to participate! But surely, feel safe, that you’ll never see me do an attempt at deliberate rhyme. Counting fingers and toes is as far and fallow as I go. And a “tanka” this is or is not – so many variations of the rules I found, what’s the bench?

But thank you Hannah Gosselin for leading me this far astray!

  
Written for the We Write Poems prompt #112,  Tanka you!.

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note to Readers:  This is a Cento poem, an assembly of another writers words: actually two other writers in this specific instance.
While reading, imagine two different voices, each speaking their lines to you (italics vs not), with perhaps even a third, saying the chorus parts (prolog, interlude, etc.). Your ear will add more dimension that way.

  
  
  

the universe begins with
an empty face because

    (being a chorus in two voices)

  

    prolog:

    The woman and the man dreamed that God was dreaming about them.

  
  
We were laying on her bed with a mohair blanket covering us.
In places where there was nothing, the seventh day put soil; the eighth plunged its hands and feet in the soil.

The first sun, the watery sun, was carried off by the flood.

That night, there was a full moon encircled by ice crystals.

She was dying in the same way she was living, consciously.  All that lived in the world became fish.  I kept expecting Mother to appear.

When women were birds, we knew otherwise.  
The thunder birds left the little girl in the fork of a tree.  “You’ll live here,” they told her.

I will say it is so: My mother’s voice is a lullaby in my cells.

“We’ll come every time you sing.”

Her absence became her presence.

No one will be able to sleep, nor to keep secrets, and every body will know who is people, who is bird, and who is beast of the forest.
  

    interlude:

    They will be born and die again and be born again.

    Two parrots appeared out of the sky.
    No sooner had they alit on the ground than they turned into women.

  
  
Between the silences, we played together.

When she saw the fleshy fruit at her feet, she picked it up and bit into it.

Water is essential.  She felt a strange pleasure and became pregnant.

A mother is essential.  And God thought, “The rabbit is so small.  Yet he did all this.  If the rabbit were big, maybe I wouldn’t be God.”

My mother’s transgression was hunger.

Before the sun arrived, the woodpecker pecked at the wooden girl below the belly.

Thus she, who was incomplete, was open for the sun to enter.
  

    admonition:

    I like the idea of erasure.

    synonyms:  abolish blot cross out cut dispatch efface eliminate excise expurge gut kill launder negate nullify obliterate scratch out stamp out strike take out trim wipe out withdraw

  
  
When a Guarani child dies, he rescues it soul, which lies in the calyx of a flower, and takes it in his long needle beak to the Land Without Evil.

The jaguar gave him a bow and arrows and taught him to defend himself.

Turn the pencil upside down, erase.  He learned that fire illuminates and warms.  Pencil upright.   Begin again.

In a family that hunted, I learned the names of the ducks my father would shot.

God came up softly, stroked his back, and suddenly caught him by the ears, whirled him about, and threw him to the ground.

Solitude is a memory of water.

And every day I am thirsty.
  

    epilog:

    They will never stop being born, because death is a lie.

 
 

cento poem assembled by neil reid © june 2012

 
 

  
Written for the We Write Poems prompt #110,  
Stringing pearls!
.
That’s a graceful way to say the more mundane – take two different “cento” (prose) source materials, from two different writers, and interweave them together in a “conversation” of sorts. Simple but challenging, huh? (Read the prompt.)

commentary:
So, define “conversation”? Not so easy now! Not in this respect of two tangential voices laid together, side by side (whether willing or not!). So, think this way – two actors, performers, standing upon the stage, side by side, saying their respective lines. Each one does by content, by physical proximity, by intent – then each inform the other by what they say. Moreover, there is a “third” involved in this conversation – that third is you! Meaning too, you, reading this. So that’s where the conversation exists, and “is” in a very real and present sense.

Now the “topic” here, that’s simply chance (if you so care to believe). These are two of the books I am reading right now. And both writers very powerful of word and masters of imagery. I simply followed.

cento with cento sources:

(voice one) Terry Tempest Williams, When Women Were Birds.

(voice two) Eduardo Galeano, Genesis, Memory of Fire.

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a practical poem

  

crumple this poem.  we’ll call it kindling then
in case you’re cold and wet.  got a match?

did you wash your face?  brush your teeth?

are you wearing clean underwear?  mother said!

are your shoelaces undone?  it’s important to check.

did you bring a towel?  might be a beach close at hand.

got gas?  got cash?  got spare change?

remember to feed the cat?  lock the door?

did you remember your keys?  hand in pocket now.

leftover cassarole is on the refrigerator, second shelf.
about two minutes in the microwave will do.

it’s exactly ten thirty-two a.m. now.  a practical truth
at least once each day.  truth is kind of like that.

loving you like my own life.  maybe that takes meaning
at least one moment each day too.  maybe more.

test for being a writer.  pen in hand?  paper?  words
on the page?

test for being a good writer.  you’ll never know.
can you live with that?

in case of fire, stop reading this!

 

neil reid © may 2012

 
comments:
A big time DRAFT this poem is! Wrote this much, but then a whole other format and approach came to mind, however no time to work on something near new by comparison. However so be it for today. Not “wrong”, just unpolished – and – not what I later thought to write.

Says the prompt this week, write a “practical” poem. I like the idea because it is so odd, so unexpected for what a poem might be. Thus then comes whimsy to pen, and whimsy I like. Although, true to the prompt, this poem does render (mostly) sincere and practical admonitions. That’s a twofer! Not all poems need be “serious” (and poets included too!) would you also think?

  
Written for the We Write Poems prompt #107,  Let’s get real.

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