Journal 6: Form and Play

Have You Seen My Daughter?

Her hair was in pigtails

and she was carrying a little pink pig with

velvety ears that she worried constantly with her fingers.

Everyone remembers the way she used to do that.

I’ve taken to starting the day in her room and spending the day

doing mending, nervous work with my hands, and ending the day broken down on the patio

looking out over the empty back yards and worrying my hands like she used to Peppa’s ears and the police

tell me the same things they told you

“She probably hasn’t gone far” but

every day the odds get a little slimmer and

even you are losing hope, replaced by dread to pick up the

next phone call.

Hoping, hoping, hoping to hear a little voice on the line saying “Mom,”

and not a grown up voice that will say “Ma’am,” and give me condolences in a somber, practiced way.

Do you remember what she was wearing?

A blue shirt and she had on pink leggings and

under a hat were the pigtails that I remember tying in the morning, before she went

out and I never would have let her

go if I had known she would not come back.

How easy it is to say that now. And they’re afraid someone might have

taken her. I don’t want to imagine it but I can’t help it. Have you heard what those sickos

do to little girls? The

entire street is helping us look but as the days go by, I’m more and more afraid of what we might find.

Remember how her eyes looked when she asked if she and Peppa could play outside? They had

stars in them.

Have you seen my daughter?

Prompt 2 Rules: The first letter of odd numbered stanzas forms a word (left aligned). The last letter of even numbered stanzas forms a word (right aligned). Some lines are long so overflow lines are indented (as well as the blog formatting would allow). The words spelled by the stanzas put in order make a sentence. The formatting was a little hard on the blog but hopefully it will be a little more clear in my final portfolio.


Journal 5: Cento

The Things Done in the Midnight Sun

Watch for me by the moonlight
drinking white wine in the blushing light.

Do I dare disturb the universe?
I start on at the streak of dawn

watching, with eternal lids apart,
trying to read the destinations.

Squelching through the beautiful red
till my thighs are steeped in burning flowers.

Living flesh, red viscera
pulsed like a ruby in my hand

when children have begun to carry knives in their pockets.

She was a child and I was a child,
essential children of the olive

leaves us dead and burned and dying, saying
“No one wants to hear you speak, girl,”

How can a giant whale live in the small pool of your chest,
singing the tune without words?

Robert Service, Alfred Noyes, Brenden Urie, T.S. Eliot, Robert Service, John Keats, Wendy Cope, Sylvia Plath, e.e. cummings, Pablo Neruda, Neil Gaiman, Sara Eliza Johnson, Edgar Allen Poe, Pablo Neruda, Lacelles Abercrombie, Marquesha Babers, Naomi Shihab Nye, Emily Dickinson


Journal 4: Lineation Experiment

Poet’s Companion exercise 5, page 113:

The cows stand
under the trees in the wet
grass, lifting their necks to pull
leaves down. We slow the truck, pull
over to the side of the road to watch
them. How graceful they look, how unlike
themselves. We get out and lean on the fence.
The cows don’t seem to notice
we are there.

The cows stand under the trees in the wet grass, lifting their necks to pull leaves down.
We slow the truck, pull over to the side of the road to watch them.
How graceful they look, how unlike themselves.
We get out and lean on the fence.
The cows don’t seem to notice we are there.

cows stand under the trees in the
wet grass, lifting their necks to pull leaves down. We slow the truck, pull over to the
side of the road to watch them. How graceful they
look, how unlike themselves. We get out and lean on the
fence. The
cows don’t seem to notice we are there.

The first time I lineated the text I tried to make the lines increasingly longer until the longest one is end stopped and then shorter again so that the poem looked like stairs. I mostly separated nouns from their modifiers, verbs or objects which I think makes the lines more interesting and unexpected. In the second time I lineated the text, I just broke the lines at the periods so it is just a succession of sentences. This construction is pretty boring, like the speaker is just stating facts not describing a scene. There is not emotion in this construction. The third lineation I broke the lines after the word “the” or “they.” This construction is more interesting that the second one because the line breaks are surprising and they make you want to keep reading just to find out what comes next. The line lengths are varied which gives the text a nicer rhythm than the second example.


Journal 3: Similes Experiment

Where They Stood

Walking out onto that old platform,
disused and overgrown,
is like vomiting.

I think of all those broken lives
crowded into train cars like dying breaths,
rattling together.

Now there are piles and piles of shoes
like stacked up teardrops.

The sun is hot like feverish brows
and I am shivering in the
barbed wire shadows
like striped costumes on the earth.

There are so many lost and broken things,
the last collections of lives
someone believed he had the right to throw away.


The gates are like leaving time,
or like folding

you can never get open

again. The tracks are stretched out memories
or folded steel bodies, laid out end to end, stretching back toward freedom,

happier times.
The people here now are like ghosts

with cameras and selfie sticks like unholy idols
their voices loud, clamoring not to hear the softer voices

of the older souls,
of the waving grass like hope that has grown

like a bandage over scars
or like a rug that covers a trapdoor

leading to escape.
Empty chimneys stand like sentinels,

like the last ones who remember
or perhaps they are lined up for roll call

in the places between where brick buildings used to stand.
Today the gates are like open mouths

like open skies
like open roads

and I can walk out
where millions before me

did not.


Journal 2: The Next Thing Always Belongs

Let’s kill Cameron:
Screech and squeal of breaks that can’t stop fast enough, that horrible, hideous crunch and it would all be over.
I got thrown off a train once, too.
Cats have a 37 second attention span–Look!
Waves unfurl like old parchment scrolls,
crackling and crinkling, old and white and dry as bones.
Who knows how the dead will haunt us?
“Everything is broken!”
I want a miracle fix from some tacky info-mercial
I wish that everything could be fixed with needle and thread, the big things, like tears in the universe.
Storks bring a strange and sometimes wonderful destruction to lives.
Take that eggplant–En guarde!
They call us hooligans but we tell them being a hooligan is lit
Filling out tax forms box. By. Box. Monotony. And words you don’t understand. Not lit.
Actually, I think Cameron is more useful alive.
Where did you put it?
I don’t want those greasy, clunky spares in my house. Check the workbench.
Jeannie, I’m fixing the bike
a bike is freedom, don’t you think?
I can’t stop that bottom-dropped-out-of-your-stomach feeling when you’re flying down a hill
and you lift up your arms in exultation, but reach for the handlebars before you fall
percussion, pavement, pain
It’s better, perhaps, not to be Lance Armstrong
You stare up at unfurling clouds, like waves, like parchment, thinking about how cats have such short attention spans
We’ve decided not to kill you. Get up.


Journal 1: Personal Universe

Taste: peppermint, salted caramel, English breakfast tea, potato chips, ocean, crust, pomegranate, Colorado water, raspberry lemonade Blistex, mountain air, molten

Touch: cats, silk, suave, granite countertops, scales, aspen bark, rowing blister, sea breeze, leg warmers, swimming, sunlight, coral, lotion, hugs from Anna, silt mud, children’s sticky hands, kettle

Smell: rain, campfire, ponderosa, horses, pool chlorine, old books, cheap pens, Dad after a run, fresh bread, cut grass, Mom’s granola

Hearing: meadow lark, bike wheels, concert bass, thunder, cooked penne pasta, turntable, typing, pen tapping, rollercoaster screams, books opening, snow, purring, John Denver, camera shutter, Tube announcer, Anna’s silent laugh, rain on a tent roof, Abbey Road

Sight: autumn maple leaves, lightning, flame, photograph, the view from Twin Sisters, stars, spiral, DIA floor, smudged glasses, Sagrada Familia, Sarah’s face when trying not to yawn, dust motes, Hampstead Heath, skyline, Indian paintbrush, cherry blossoms

Action/motion: sand/surf, whispering aspens, waterfall, time-lapse, cinema, rolling, soarin’, crumbling, knocking, falling

Abstractions: art, finding, panorama, aftermath

Anything else: Essaouira, flamingos, San Francisco, pin, jellyfish, Camden Town, Katowice