Friday, April 06, 2007

I am not the knife-thrower

Do you ever google yourself? Aw, come on! Admit it.

This is just to say
I am not that Rachel Dacus, the knife-
throwing gal who lives at The Great Throwzini.
I am the poet Puako Beached, at the 1000 Cranes Auto Repair,
and otherwise under the Umbrella.
I can only say in my own defense I once traded
ballet lessons to a circus troupe in order to learn
to juggle and balance on a bongo board.
Well, at least I can juggle.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Prompt

As in quick, as in cue, as in inspire --

All these meanings come to mind as I peruse a wonderful list of writing prompts that was posted on my poetry listserv today. Among the many good prompts, the following are my favorites. Hope they help you, if you're writing a poem a day for the month of April. And if you have some prompts to add, please contribute!

1. Write a poem with an invented biography for yourself.
2. Take a piece of junk mail and black out most of the words so that what remains is a poem.
3. Write from the number six.
4. Write to your pain: "Dear Pad of My Thumb, Will you kindly stop hurting? It is very hard for me to stir a pot or write a poem when you hurt like this..." Let your pain write back to you: "Dear Lisa, if you would lay off the text messaging and playing minesweeper it would help me a lot, then you can write your poem or stir a pot...".
5. Write to your hurting country, city or community, as a variation on the theme. Take the dialogue as far as it goes, then distill the essence. See if you can arrive at a fresh insight about what ails you and yours.
6. Write a poem of at least 40 lines that is a single sentence.
7. Write about a family secret.
8. Write an apostrophe to some abstraction (e.g., "To the End of the World" or "To My Birth").
9. Take any object out of your bag or pocket or purse. Speaking in first person as the object, answer the following questions: What is your favorite thing? What are you scared of? What is your secret? What is your wish for the future?

> This one worked really well for me several times. "Ode to My Purse" and "A Pot of Humuhumunukunukuapua'a", which are in my book Femme au chapeau, resulted from this exercise. But it wasn't during NaPoWriMo.

More tomorrow.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

The Promise

I made the promise to myself, and here I am breaking it. What kind of ethical dilemma is it that compels me to do the one literary thing I told myself I'd never do -- compose poetry in public. But it's NaPoWriMo, the versifier's month of madness, and I have so much to do today that the only time I have this morning to myself has to shared with you.

It's what you do when you rise from the bed
that becomes really interesting -- the way you cover
up or don't, the first want
after the dissipated tidal wave.
Is it toast or car keys in your hand?
Or simply to stare
at a hummingbird's manic stasis, a green
bud dawn-tinged, dividing with unseen wings
the total past from the day ahead,
and its vast flock of decisions.
It's what you say with the water
running, the words that waterfall away
unheard that will determine the shape
of this morning as it fleshes
over the years into the body of memory.

I was looking for a site to include in this post, a site where two poets compose on the same theme in a 15-minute period, and we can see their progress as they develop their poems, the words adding themselves, the strike-outs and ongoing revisions. Does anyone know the name of this marvelous site, and has it disappeared? What a shame. A daring idea. Maybe not enough famous poets wanted the exposure.