Sunday, April 20, 2014

PAD Challenge - Day 20 - Became Family

I had a plethora of reactions when I read today's WD 2014 April PAD Challenge prompt to write a family poem. I've probably written enough family poems to fill a book.

My mind first went to one of favorite poems, Maya Angelou's Human Family where she tells us "We are more alike, my friends, than we are unalike." - the perfect family poem, in my opinion. Then my mind went to Sister Sledge singing "We are family/I got all my sisters and me."  in their song We Are Family, and, finally, Lisa Marie Presley singing "They are my chosen family." in her song Important. As I thought about why these were my first thoughts, I began to hone in on what I wanted to say about family today.

Family means many different things to people. I've expanded my definition of family over my lifetime, and I'm glad I have because sometimes family chooses us rather than us being born into it...

Here's my family poem...

Became Family

I took your hands in mine
I looked into your eyes
I smiled into your lips
I spoke into your words
You squeezed my hands, unflinching
You looked into my eyes, unblinking
You smiled into my lips, unwavering
You spoke into my words, un-interrupting
We spiraled around life’s axis
We gravitated toward the center of the Earth
We levitated above the clouds
We radiated happiness brighter than sunshine
Cells and nerve endings found electrifying connection
Surprising us both as we stared at an endless future
Our bond unbreakable
Transcending tradition

We became family

Saturday, April 19, 2014

PAD Challenge - Day 19 - Orange

Bet you thought I wasn't going to make it today... Well, I haven't missed a day yet, and I'm not ready to miss one. We might be down to the last few minutes of Day 19, but I'm here with a poem...

Today's WD 2014 April PAD Challenge prompt was to write a color poem. I read the prompt this morning, and, as is typical, had several ideas. My mind became focused on orange for some reason...

So here is my color poem hot off the press, sts...


Magnificent swirls of
Red and yellow make love
Orgasm into shades of orange
Light and dark across the canvas
Showing us how when we combine
We create a whole new essence
Taking us on a journey
From the deepest wells to the shallowest pools
Teasing us from ancient wells of rainbows
Stretching across our lives
Enhancing the beauty entwined in the spectrum
Light bouncing off light to invigorate each
Coupling of color
My eyes follow yellow and red swirls
To the center of orange

Friday, April 18, 2014

PAD Challenge - Day 18 - Heartfelt Drought

Today's WD 2014 April PAD Challenge prompt was to write a weather poem. Weather often plays a role in my poems. I've written about sunshine, rain, tornadoes, clouds, storms, etc. I considered writing about hurricanes or typhoons, but my mind kept returning to droughts.

The process of writing poetry is often one of surrender. One must surrender to where the inspiration takes one rather than going where one wants to go...

Here is my weather poem...

Heartfelt Drought

 The drought took our future
Turned our fertile hearts to deserts
Our love wilted in the fields
Our hope dried on the vines
Our trust withered on the trees
Our desire blew away on the wind
Our kisses couldn’t cure the parched hearts
Our embraces couldn’t revive our love
Our deception couldn’t save our hope
Our promises couldn’t save our trust
One day truth rained on our cracked hearts
We stared into each other’s eyes
Was there anything left to salvage?
Would the tears end our drought?

Thursday, April 17, 2014

PAD Challenge - Day 17 - Pop, Pop, Pop

Today's prompt, write a pop culture poem, for the WD 2014 April PAD Challenge, left me feeling a bit like someone popped my balloon at a party... I've never been a big fan of labels, and I feel that labeling things as part of "pop culture" is one more way to divide and even to insult either those who fall into the trap or those who avoid getting jumping into the mix. To me, we need more cohesion in our lives. Just like what you like. I'm sure someone will agree with you just as someone will disagree with you... That's what I do anyway...

Here's my pop culture poem...

Pop, Pop, Pop

Cool today, Uncool tomorrow
I can’t be bothered to care
My life is too full to worry whether
I’m in touch with the latest cultural references
Pop culture is just one more label
Designed to separate us into groups
Leave me out or include me
I like what I like, cool or uncool
If something sticks around, it becomes culture
If not, I suppose it goes
Pop, pop, pop

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

PAD Challenge - Day 16 - Quiet Words

Always in our hearts...
This morning when I read that WD 2014 April PAD Challenge prompt was to write an elegy, I wasn't sure who I wanted to write about. However, as the day progressed, one person kept returning to my thoughts.

Travis Wallingford was a classmate who died just before prom during our Junior year of high school. His birthday would have been April 12th, if memory serves, and the anniversary of his death is April 29th. With the prompt falling between the two, it just felt appropriate to write an elegy for him. For those of you who don't know, an elegy is, simply put, a poem for the dead. In this poem, I mourn a lost opportunity as well as a life ended too soon.

Another poem I wrote about Travis, Stolen, appears in my collection of poetry, Memory in Silhouette: Poems.

So this one is for Travis but also for his family, our schoolmates, and our hometown...

Quiet Words

We were tumultuous
You and I
Never quite getting along
We argued
We insulted
We ignored
You thought I talked too much
I thought you were a show-off
I never admitted I admired you
Maybe I didn’t know it, at least not then
You played basketball with elegance
You made friends with ease
You laughed and joked with abandon
You wore confidence like a multi-colored cloak
You teased me mercilessly
I was sure you hated me
Yet you reached out
Like none other had
When you saw behind the fa├žade
Upon hearing words not meant for your ears
I still remember those quiet words you spoke
The look in your eyes
The expression on your face
A mix of anger, compassion, and concern
I wanted to make you understand
It wasn’t as bad as it sounded
I feared you’d tell someone
I wondered if we could be friends
But then you were no more
Your charming smile
Your teasing nature
Your lanky height
Your freckles and red hair
Never knowing the maturity
I glimpsed in those few words you whispered
A teenage boy
Life cut short
Never knowing just how much
Your quiet words changed my life

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

PAD Challenge - Day 5 - Love as the Enemy

It's both the halfway mark and Two for Tuesday in the WD 2014 April PAD Challenge. Half the month is gone! Wow! How quickly! And that means on fifteen more prompts after today... Let's see how that goes.

Today's prompts were to write a love poem and an anti-love poem. My love poems usually have some hint at both love and anti-love if you think about love as the absence or loss of love. I'm not sure what that says about me... They are opposites that co-exist in life. How can one appreciate love without having known the absence of love? Besides love is never perfect.

I've written so many love poems, I often wonder if I have anything left to say about love... Yet, there always seems to be another one as I live a life built around love. If you'd like to read more of my love poems, I have a whole collection, Love in Silhouette: Poems, available.

In both of the poems I wrote today, I explored the importance of love to life and living, but I decided to share my anti-love poem with you.

Here is my anti-love poem...

 Love as the Enemy

I saw love as the enemy
Love felt like nothing but a distraction
I wanted nothing to do with love
No matter how genuine the presentation
No matter how heartfelt the romantic gesture
I turned my back on love
I saw suitors as an attempt to curtail my ambition
I thought love and career couldn’t live in harmony
I despised love with intense passion
I rejected love without even a first thought
I dismissed love as unnecessary
I refused love when it was offered
I left love in tears
It had no place in my life
Love offered me nothing I sought
Little did I know my aversion to love
Reflected back an aversion to life
For to live one must find love within one’s core

Monday, April 14, 2014

Day 14 - PAD Challenge - If I Were Everything I'm Not

Cocoa Beach, Florida
If I were... - a beginning with endless possibilities, is the prompt for Day 14 of the WD 2014 April PAD Challenge. The idea is to use these words, fill in the blank for the title, and then write a poem. My mind landed on one possibility and then another... If I were perfect... If I were your favorite fantasy (I might go back to that one)... If I were the sun... If I were your heart's desire... and so on. I came back to If I were perfect several times, but it just didn't feel quite right. As I went about my morning chores, I started thinking about what I'm not, what I'd like to be, who I'm not, who I'd like to be. Finally, I landed on the following "If I were everything I'm not...." I had no idea where I could go with it, but it haunted me, so eventually I wrote it down and immediately the second line showed up on the screen almost without thought. Then I was stuck. I had some abstract thoughts about trees and the sea and the journey to become one's best self... After a couple of hours, the rest of the words came to me... 

Here's my If I were... poem

If I Were Everything I'm Not

If I were everything I’m not
Would I still be me
As I strive to step into me
I sometimes imagine
Being like a tree
Growing ever upward and outward
Strong and beautiful
Or I imagine
Being like the sea
Filled with ever flowing water
Drifting up on distance shores
Taking with me whatever I discover in my reach
Then I look in the mirror
I see everything I am
I see everything I’m not
I realize I am both
Everything I am
Everything I’m not
As I struggle on this journey
To find my place as the best me
I am neither a tree nor the sea
I am simply me
Standing today in the wind and sun
Emanating the calm of my core
Combating the chaos of my heart
Embracing the nature of my mind
Finding my connection to Gaia
In this every changing journey
Of finding what I am and what I am not
Realizing how you define me
So often reflects what you don’t see
Rather than the truth of who I am
So, I stamp the label you apply to me
“Return to sender”
You can keep your judgments
I am everything I am and everything I’m not
I don’t dream of being anyone but me
All I want is to unleash the best of me
To roam the world standing still like a tree
To find my footing flowing like the sea
To be all my contradictions
To know love and be love
To open my heart and mind to possibility
To make fantasy reality
To create reality from fantasy
I want to be it all
Because I know in my core
I am…
Everything I am
I am…
Everything I am not
I am…