april 10: Paul sails to Tahiti in search of a world unspoiled
The prompt for the 10th was to write an advertisement poem. I had some notes I’d taken while at the “Gaugin: Metamorphoses” exhibit at MoMA earlier this month, and decided to write an advertisement for Tahiti commenting on the colonialism and imperialism that Gaugin was enacting during his stay in Tahiti and through his artwork (especially art depicting Tahitian women). I thought the exhibit did a very good job of highlighting the colonialism and exotification inherent in the artwork: the ways in which Gaugin projected his own conceptions of Tahiti (and the “exotic” in general) onto the island and its people to use in his own art, and the ways in which he appropriated indigenous Tahitian art to repackage it for European audiences. Information about the exhibit here.
april 9: Escaping a southern people-storm on a two lane country road
april 5: you and me is a meteor
still a few days behind. the prompt for april 5 is a “golden shovel,” where the last word of every line is a word from another poem, so you can read the other poem by reading the last word of each line in order. the poem that i “shoveled” (?? i guess) is this piece by my roomie-friend who is a fantastic poet. (it seems quite short until you give every word its own line. then you want to cry about undertaking a poem like this.) i think the tricky part about this form, besides the obvious one of having to end each line with a certain word, is figuring out how to do justice to your source material in terms of subject; i tried to riff off of A’s “we are made of galaxies” theme, while still working with my own ideas. this form also seems like a good jumping-off point for writing and inspiration: even if you don’t stay true to the form, it could be a good place to start if you’re in need of some words to use or structure to work from.
april 4: so long new york
it appears i’ve fallen a day behind… but this group of lunes (three line stanzas: 3 words, 5 words, 3 words) was written upon returning from a very very short trip to new york city, while i was in the middle of reading henry roth’s call it sleep. so i was thinking a lot about the big beautiful places we stay near and visit in manhattan, and then the poorer places i only pass on my way out of new york by bus. i think i have a very complicated relationship with the city (and cities in general), and i wanted to delve a little bit into that ambivalence.
april 3: Traveling Spell
(Prompt: write a charm: a simple, rhyming poem in the style of a recipe-slash-nursery rhyme. as thursday was a traveling day, this is a charm to get you where you want to go.)
april 2: Tiamat
(prompt: write a poem based on a myth that is not from greek or roman mythology. i was looking at the story of tiamat, the primordial dragon-goddess of creative chaos from the sumerian pantheon.)
april 1: (ad)vice
[a poem about wonder woman. disclaimer: this is meant to be performed, not read. hopefully i’ll be able to record and post a video tonight.]
Artist, I wish you’d let me be
a bit more practical.
My hair is just too damn long
and I don’t have time to run to CVS
to pick up hair ties:
this Amazon has better things to do than
Artist, you gave me bracelets,
but they may as well be chains,
don’t they look damn good with the
golden eagle plastered across my breasts,
which, proportionally speaking, are illogical-
I’m not your Barbie doll.
I could more easily kick villainy in the ass
if I wasn’t constantly trying to cover my own:
this star-spangled leotard was made in the U.S.A.
for your viewing pleasure,
while I’m fighting the spandex for the right to even move.
You think a girl with bare legs and boots
fulfills your scrawny fantasies of what female strength must be,
but I’m no girl.
This huntress fights for freedom,
but the kind she can never find is on her own body:
denied solid shoes, a scrunchie, and something a bit more practical
than a spandex leotard plated in gold.
You tell me justice is blind, so
I don’t need to be attractive,
but you don’t think readers would be reactive
to an ugly girl fighting uglier crime:
From you drawing pros to Comic Con
it seems perfection is only aesthetic;
It doesn’t matter if I’m athletic,
No matter how well I fight it’s whatever, unless
you can almost see my ass, unless
my body is an hourglass,
and it seems
I spend more time in combat against
the injustices of your drawing board
than any enemy that oozes from your pen.
Artist, I know I serve others-
justice is no selfish cause,
and I look for no prize-
but I don’t serve you or your eyes, I’m not your lay.
I am not your pin-up princess,
Would you draw Superman this way?
And I’m not your whore,
But it seems it’s no matter
what I’m fighting for;
as long as the one dropping bombshells
is a bombshell herself.
I am only ever where I need to be.
staying in one place
for a very long time.
The echoes of me from five minutes,
an hour ago,
are still there and I know
where I’ve been:
I need to be back
at home plate
or my swing swings out of balance
and when I’m nervous
I can’t run:
my feet stop working and my legs
spin out of reach
and the ground comes closer.
Let me stay here and watch the world
until my eyes hurt
until I fall asleep.
I’ll join you in the morning, once
I find all I need
my witty remarks
or I’ll run out of things to say:
I didn’t leave just to stay quiet;
I leave to live loudly
and stay to not speak
(I say it in my head,
if there is anything to say).
I might just stay inside today.
The world will still be there in the morning,
and so will I.
[these were things I had in my head
some of them I didn’t know I had
and some I did
and pushed them aside]
I want to do all that again
I want to sit next to you in every class
at every movie
at every thing
but I don’t know if it’s just
convenience that you sit with me but
I want to fall asleep with your hand in mine
but no no no never again it won’t happen
I don’t want to call you mine
I just want to sit next to you forever
please pay attention to me
Call me when it’s warm.
Here it’s not what I’d call spring,
not yet, anyway.
I would like to hibernate
‘til the dogwoods are in bloom.
to the hand
squeezing my lungs
All I want to do is stay on the line
when I place a call.
dear Hand, I am an adult;
a phone call will not kill me.
(now i am worried a phone call will kill me;
[or possibly “woman” “young woman”]
killed in tragic phone call accident,
her anxiety let up just enough to allow her
to make the call that caused her
you squeeze because you care
squeeze more gently:
I can’t quite breathe.