Tag Archives: poetry

Haiku with a Little Help (from my Friends)

The word “BLOG” was written (just like that, in all caps) on my to-do list for last Sunday. How confident of me! I should have known better.

As usual, I ignored the word “BLOG” that day, but, unfortunately, I noticed it again on Monday. (Maybe I shouldn’t have written it in all caps.) On Tuesday, I avoided looking at my list altogether and just read my email instead.

That’s when I saw a post by Ritu (“But I Smile Anyway…”), who shared a lovely haiku she’d written in response to a poetry prompt by Colleen (“Colleen Chesebro – The Fairy Whisperer”).

Colleen’s prompt was to write a haiku, tanka, or other specific type of poem using SYNONYMS for “fall” and “try.”

I like prompts. They give me ideas. So thanks to Colleen and Ritu — what would I ever accomplish without my wordpress friends?

Here’s my haiku using synonyms for “fall” (descend) and “try” (strive).

a chill in the air

I strive to reverse the clock

but leaves will descend.

 

tanka-tuesday-fall

 

 

 

The Night Before the First Day of School

This post is in response to a writing prompt by Lorna at Gin & Lemonade. The prompt is “A Sepia Toned Fall Memory.” I let my mind wander while imagining a sepia-toned fall memory, and found myself thinking about my first day of school. Thanks for the memories, Lorna!

The Night Before the First Day of School

The year is 1954

it’s dark out, and it’s time for bed
the radio plays Autumn Leaves
by Papa’s favorite, Harry James

I’ve had my bath and brushed my teeth
my hair is washed, my nails are trimmed
my saddle shoes are clean and new
my raincoat’s hanging by the door

I’ve knelt beside my little bed
and said my prayers as I’ve been taught
and prayed the Lord my soul to keep
I’ve no idea what that means

I’ve had a bedtime story read
I’ve been tucked in and kissed goodnight
tomorrow I will go to school
but that’s another mystery

I listen to the crickets chirp
while in the living room below
my mother sews the buttons on
the dress that she has made for me

It’s brown plaid, with a pleated skirt
that’s long enough to last at least
‘til June if I don’t grow too fast
or she could just let out the hem

She’s placed a collar at the neck
its crisp white cotton edged with lace
like snowflakes on the autumn leaves
or frosting on my birthday cake

With every button that she adds,
with every stitch so straight and strong
she makes a wish that my first day
of school will be the perfect one

She smooths the wrinkles, ties the knots,
secures her hopes within the seams
prepares the fabric of my life
while upstairs, I am sound asleep.

Yellow

YELLOW

In spring

yellow makes me feel like laughing

the tickle of a lemon breeze

ruffles my hair and

puckers my lips

In summer

it pours from the sun

like hot flat sheets of maple syrup

drenching my body

in liquid sugar

In autumn

yellow turns to orange

and licks my face like a ginger cat

purring

until I try to catch it

In winter

it’s a trickle of iced tea

dropping in to say

stick around

I’ll be back soon.

Acacia Flower

Hovering

Yesterday, while walking with a friend along the Rillito River, we stopped to admire a small wall that had been decorated with tiles. It depicted a desert scene, complete with cactuses, bees, flowers, and bats. There was a poem written in smaller tiles along the length of the wall. I’d seen the wall before and had read the poem, which is by Wendell Berry and is titled, The Peace of Wild Things.

I decided to snap a quick photo with my phone. Not wanting to hold up our walk, I gave the design a cursory glance and then decided to zoom in on just one cactus. My choice was almost random; there were many other images that I could have chosen, but this one seemed particularly colorful and I thought it would look good on Instagram.

After I got home and edited the photo, I noticed something almost miraculous. Right underneath the section that I had shot were the words, “Peace of Wild Things.” I thought it was a fitting photo for the day before Earth Day.

Untitled

And then I went for another walk, today, actual Earth Day, and I was lucky to spot a number of wild things, including the Anna’s hummingbird pictured at the top of this post. I also spotted several other birds, lizards, and flowers — all before arriving at my destination, a coffee shop where I enjoyed an Americano and a blueberry scone.

I felt lucky to be alive on this peaceful Earth Day morning, able to take a walk along a trail where wild things abound. I let my mind hover over that thought while sipping my coffee, much like that little hummingbird with her bright red flower.

Happy Earth Day Everyday.

 

 

Rapping It Up

Day 30 of the Nano Poblano (a.k.a. NaBloPoMo — National Blog Posting Month) challenge is finally here! Thanks for reading, thanks for writing, and thanks to the “cheer peppers” who made it all happen and cheered us on by “liking” our posts. I read the posts of my fellow bloggers religiously and learned so much from all of you.

I’m proud of myself for sticking with it, even though some days were a little rough. Somehow, I managed to eke out 30 different pieces, including:

  • two posts made within 15 minutes of midnight
  • one post consisting of only one sentence
  • two posts that were nothing but questions
  • one that included a video of me singing and playing guitar
  • a poem made up of 14 shorter haiku poems
  • many other posts, some with a bit of history, some just plain silly
  • no cat photos, and only one post with pictures of what I had for lunch

Even though I thoroughly enjoyed NanoPoblano, I’m looking forward to a little down time in December. (Did I just say down time in December?) This year, for the first time since I was a kid, I couldn’t wait for December to get here. I mean, I literally couldn’t wait. As soon as I returned home from New York yesterday, I changed both of my wall calendars to December without realizing that I was two days early.

There’s one thing I meant to post this month and didn’t. It’s a little embarrassing, but here goes: I don’t know how to rap. I don’t know much about it and I think I might be terrible at it. I’d like to learn, though, so that maybe I can use it in my songwriting projects. But how do you learn to rap? The same way you can learn almost anything these days: YouTube! I watched a few videos and I learned that some rappers (I think it’s called freestyle?) compose on the spot by thinking ahead to the end of the phrase before mentally writing the first line. I decided to try it, so I looked around the room for inspiration. I was in the kitchen. On the table was a glass, some cheese and crackers on a plate, and a vase of flowers. I grabbed my pad and pencil, and here’s the result. I may not win a Grammy, but if I make you smile it’s all worth it.

I had no support, I had no backers,
all I had going were these tasty crackers

I needed a genie to grant me three wishes
instead of all these glasses and dirty dishes

I wanted to be strong, I wanted magic powers
or maybe just a bunch of beautiful flowers

I had me some treble, I had me some bass
but I needed something else, like a flower vase

I asked that genie, pretty pretty please
can you bring me some money, or maybe just some cheese?

And on that note, I’m rapping up this edition of loristory. Happy December!

Featured image photo by Anita Peeples

img_2134

 

 

I Brake for Poetry

Can you think of a more boring and uncomfortable place to spend a couple of hours than an auto repair shop waiting room? The room smells like rubber and fumes. The coffee tastes like rubber and fumes. The television, usually set to the news channel I love to hate, makes me fume. To my mind, there’s nothing pleasant about an auto repair shop waiting room … but wait. Could it be an opportunity for creativity?

I wondered that one Saturday afternoon in 2011, while sitting on a hard plastic chair in a Brake Master’s waiting room, sandwiched between the coffee pot and a rubber tire display. Desperate to escape this situation but unable to do so, since my only method of transportation was currently up on a lift, I did something rarely done in an auto repair shop waiting room: I wrote poetry.

Specifically, I challenged myself to write three-line poems about random objects that I saw while sitting there. Here’s what I came up with. They might not be very good, but they passed the time. You might want to try this method of escape next time you’re in an uncomfortable situation. (Brake) drum roll, please!

FLOOR
I walk through life as if there is a floor
and a ceiling
and something of substance in between.

TELEVISION
The woman in the box prattles on, oblivious
thinking she's all that matters in this room
I accept this, knowing it is true.

FAN
Fans are useful in the tropics
where orchids spring from steamy earth
and bodies cling to gauzy shirts.

SANDALS
She slipped off her sandals and left them by the door
hoping they'd still be there when it was time to leave the cage.
You never knew about a hungry lion.

COFFEE POT
If a kitchen had a double agent, it would be the coffee pot
keeping things lively
while watching your every morning move.

BATHROOM
Bathrooms should be outrageous spaces.
A woman I know has the best one.
It's purple and is decorated with boobs.

MAGAZINE
The glossy magazine calls to me
with parted lips and false eyelashes
but I resist and choose reality, reluctantly.

CHAIR
I sit here and await the verdict
when all I asked for was an oil change
and some honesty.

img_2266


 

Branded on Black Friday

BRANDED

Who are you wearing?

Whose name’s on your shirt?

What’s on your label,

your purse, and your skirt?

Where did you buy that, and

where was it made?

Is it a knock-off?

How much have you paid?

Did you go shopping

or order by mail?

Visit an outlet store?

Find a good sale?

Did a designer

initial your dress?

Is that a Gucci?

Oh wait, let me guess!

What’s in your closet?

Did you pay enough?

Or did you just order

a bunch of cheap stuff?

Can you keep up with

her wardrobe, or mine?

Is yours generic,

or top of the line?

What does it say

on the soles of your shoes?

Do you insist on

the higher-priced booze?

Are your kids’ crayons

imported from France?

Do you have signatures

sewn on your pants?

Black Friday is here!

(so the ad-man demands) …

but can you imagine

a world without brands?

Maybe Monday

A poem inspired by a conversation I had recently, and also just because it’s Monday:

MAYBE

Maybe I use the word “maybe” too much,

imagining motives that might or might not be

the actual meanings for certain behaviors,

when maybe I need to just think and keep mum.

Someone’s suggested a savvy solution:

stay silent, stop guessing, and simply say “hmm …”

However, if I’m to hum “hmm …” for an hour,

what will become of my quizzical questions?

Will they queue up in my querying mind?

Will I develop a wrinkled expression,

willfully wandering, seeking solutions

to confounding conundrums?

Will I go crazy?

Hmm? Well … maybe.

Haiku Hour

Photo by Greg Rakozy on Unsplash

Haiku Hour

Can’t sleep, up at five
check my phone for messages
someone liked my post

I eat my breakfast
granola and some coffee
now to get to work

I could try haiku
I get a pad of paper
broken pencil point

maybe I’ll give up
go back to bed and dream of
being late for school

but something tells me
try again, you idiot
so what can I do?

another coffee
a sharpened pencil this time
and an eraser

it’s five thirty now
the sun has not arisen
birds are still asleep

my street is quiet
I don’t hear any traffic
writing time is now

ten minutes have passed
I have not written a word
the page is empty

maybe I should try
a little meditation
and see what happens

find a quiet spot
close my eyes, breathe in, breathe out
repeat my mantra

buzzing in my ears
I feel like I am floating
a dog is barking

five barks in a row
silent for a moment, then
seven barks, then five

secret learned today:
all the world is poetry
glad to be alive.

© Lori Bonati, 2017

Badge 2017

Sea of Cortez

It’s Day 12 of the Nano Poblano blogging challenge. I’ve managed to get through days 1 through 11 without too much trouble, but today I really struggled to think of something profound, interesting, funny, or newsworthy. My mind was a blank, so I looked in my blog closet. (That’s where I keep all of my old, wrinkled, dusty ideas.) But my blog closet was empty, except for a bunch of hangers. Well, there was one thing hanging in it. A t-shirt. The t-shirt said, “I went to the Sea of Cortez, and all I got was this lousy poem.”

Just kidding. I don’t really have a blog closet, or a t-shirt that says that. But that’s how I felt, until I re-read the old poem below and thought to myself, “I kind of like it.” So here it is, my old raggedy t-shirt of a poem. I hope you like it, too. Tomorrow I’ll post some Sea of Cortez photos.

Oh, and by the way, I went to Nano Poblano 2017, and so far I’m getting a lot more than a lousy t-shirt. I’m bringing back a lot of great souvenirs (your posts).

Sea of Cortez

Thin white clouds as flat as sheets
lay pressed and cool against the sky
while underneath, the warm sea surged
like liquid glass on wrinkled sand.

A bent man in a canvas chair
sat silently and watched the waves;
his hearing ran out long ago
and so he listened with his heart.

Two boys with skin as pink as shrimp
dug holes and filled them up with stones,
then threw them at some guileless gulls
just to make them fly away.

The old man saw the flat white clouds,
the pink boys, and the pale blue sky
and felt the pounding of the surf,
a pulse that came in measured beats,

A song of stones hurled into space,
of blood thundering through the veins,
a sound that only mermaids speak
and only hearts can understand.

© Lori Bonati, 2017

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