Monday, September 26, 2011

Monday Poetry Stretch - We Are Connected

I spent a lot of time flying in the last four days and had plenty of time for my mind to wander. I found myself thinking about connections. Then, as I reflected back on my classes last week, I thought about trains, snap cubes, paperclip chains, popcorn strings, and other things that are connected. After returning home late last night, I thought more about connections as I held my son's hand on the way to the bus stop. So, it seems only fitting that we write about connections.

Leave me a note about your poem and I'll post the results here later this week.


  1. I've been thinking about connections with other people -- some lasting, some severed:

    How We Learn What We Know
    By Steven Withrow

    “A weed high mellows,
    man. A crack high crazes,”
    says Brian-Thirteen

    thwapping his cigs pack
    like a recalcitrant rat
    on a bigger open palm

    than Brian-Twelve had
    last year playing G.I. Joe.
    inside his dad’s toolshed.

    When he was Brian-Twelve,
    we built a rebel fortress
    out of wind-downed branches

    and caught in conquest mode
    biked a truck-rutted road
    that ran to a construction site

    to scavenge metal rods
    we fashioned into swords.
    “My brother’d buy us beers,”

    resumes beat-poet Brian
    as though he’s grown up
    on the street, not out here

    among scrubby subdivisions.
    “Fuckin’ August, fuckin’ school.”
    He swats away a horsefly

    from his white-blond crewcut,
    the perfect prepubescent punk.
    “It’s all junk.” He spits a wad

    of god-knows-what, raps
    his rat pack shuffle-time
    against his dirty Misfits shirt.

    “It’s all about to end, man,
    end.” I nod. I look up ahead:
    I see the sky. I do not see my friend.

    Copyright 2011 Steven Withrow, all rights reserved

  2. I always feel insecure about my poetry but I love this topic so am trying to be brave and post without anguish!

    A Family Tree
    The eyes looking back in the mirror at me are Grandpa Milt’s,
    Brown ringed with rainy day blue.
    I warm the breakfast plates, not in the oven as Grandma Lois always did
    But in the microwave. Still I cannot let hot pancakes sit on a cold dish.
    And some days my fingers type “I swan,” and “truth be told,” words I heard so often from my Missouri grandpa’s lips.
    When five bucks drops in the homeless man’s hat, it’s my dad’s hand tossing it there.
    And that handwritten note sent now and again is my mother’s,
    Though my penmanship will never be Palmer method perfect like hers.
    Outside my study window today,
    the katsura tree spins its leaves Rumplestiltskin gold,
    And smells of cotton candy and puts me in mind of roots,
    dug deep.

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. Kirby, your anguish was unwarranted. Good job!

  5. I approached this stretch from a slightly different angle:


    © Carol Weis 2011

  6. Steven ~ your poem sounds like the makings of a verse novel, and Kirby, yours rings so true, as I see my mom's reflection more and more as I walk through my days. A woman who always warmed her plates in the oven. ♥

  7. Connections

    My hairdresser and I talk about the weather.
    We have nothing in common until
    we begin critiquing the Twilight movie.
    Then how our voices rise and fall!

    A woman on a plane to Chicago
    tells me the difference between
    the roll of the waves in Lake Michigan
    and the movement of waves in the Pacific.

    I was born in yet another state,
    but my mother's father was a sheep rancher
    in Wyoming, and my birthfather's father
    was a sheep rancher in Montana.

    When I move to Bountiful, Utah,
    my best friend moves to Cleveland.
    She tells me how surreal it feels
    in a new place, like living a story.
    I shiver inside, knowing it, too—
    how the trees are all wrong.

    And so we touch and surprise,
    like God reaching out from his
    leisurely cloud to shock Adam's finger.

    How alike we all are! How alike
    the grass in Korea, in Nigeria,
    in California. And how utterly

    strange it all is. We rise and we fall,
    like voices, like waves, like a story,
    like sheep grazing on hills, eating
    the ordinary alien green-gold grass.

    --Kate Coombs, 2011, all rights reserved

  8. Kirby: "the katsura tree spins its leaves Rumplestiltskin gold" -- brilliant!

    Carol: Your fine poem is the shape of a quill pen; a subtle suggestion to start communicating on paper again?

    Kate: I'm dumbstruck by this -- what a tour de force...and your perfect, perfect last line (wish I'd written that)!

  9. Steve--Thank you! Your Brian-12/Brian-13 was heart-wrenching. Nice crewcut!

  10. Running late, as usual...

    Ship to Shore

    you came
    in a rush
    of baby blood
    delirium and pain,
    wrapped inside a glossy sheathe
    like fingers dipped in wax—
    a tiny boat, a wayward ship,
    en route to wayward shores.

    then nose to nose I touched you—
    your downy head, your pillow chest
    your tiny petal feet,
    your button fists and tulip mouth
    your breath the month of May,
    your baby lips like clipper ships
    on salty, snow-kissed seas,
    your butter-skin and blooming cheeks,
    your tiny wrists in lacy cuffs
    of silk and froth and foam—

    you’re moonlight in the harbor,
    you’re warm brown loaves of bread—
    and deep inside your doughy ship,
    that stowaway is me.

  11. Beautiful, Julie. I read this through three times just for the sound of it, but the meaning is wonderful too.


    From Slave ships
    to lashings
    to lynchings
    to bashings.

    From Hymnal singing,
    to god praising,
    to broom jumping,
    to roof raising.

    From Past to present
    to dignity within
    I'm proud to be related
    to my own kin.

    (c) Charles Waters 2011 all rights reserved.