PROMPT #356 – LEFT OF CENTER, RIGHT?

Write one. A left poem, a center or middle poem or a right poem. Left Out to Dry. Stuck in the middle. Right Kind of Wrong. You know where to take it and make it sing.

MARIE’S POEM:

ALL I HAVE LEFT

To say I’m right-dominant’s right.
My left side is nowhere in sight.
It’s like it went missing.
I’m left reminiscing. 
I have nothing left.  It’s my plight.

© Marie Elena Good, 2021

WALT’S POEM:

PICKLED IN THE MIDDLE

Drinking to excess
is not considered a success
if you can still stand,
or still stand still.
The difference between
falling and staying erect,
is just failing at being erect.
In the middle you're suspended
until you're upended.
Then the drink's on you!

(C) Walter J Wojtanik 
Marie will be in the middle of nowhere this week as she and hubby Keith embark on their annual trek to their personal Mecca, the cabin in Hocking Hills. She may join us, internet connection permitting. Her escape is well deserved.

PROMPT #355 – HAVE CARD, WILL TRAVEL

Well, I will have hit the road to head up to the North country to spend Thanksgiving with my daughter and son-in-law and his family. Haven’t been up in over a year and a half. So the car will be loaded up and I’ll be traveling.

Think of a mode of transportation and write it into a poem. Planes, trains and automobiles. Snow shoes, roller blades. Covered wagon (if you’ve got one). Head to your destination and tell us about it poetically. Even a garden cart to the back yard is going somewhere. Give us a view!

MARIE’S MODE:

Remotely Interested in Travel

With suitcase in hand as she leaves,
the thought of it drives her to heaves.
Oh what joy it might bring
but it isn’t her thing,
so she now leaves it up to Rick Steves.

© Marie Elena Good, 2021

WALT’S MOVE:

NORTH TO OTTAWA
Four-wheeling across the state,
the slate is clear. I am here
steering this starship, hip 
to the restrictions in place
to keep the world safe
from miniscule bacterium,
people staving I'm
with a smile hidden behind a mask.
The task not taken in 18 months.
Up to the Great White North
to spend Thanksgiving with
my daughter and her family.
Giving thanks for this gift!

(C) Walter J Wojtanik – 2021

PROMPT #354 – EDWARD HOPPER

It seems the paintings and works of artist Edward Hopper are great fodder to inspire other artists in their endeavors. We as poets have come across this from time to time. Many an Ekphrastic poem has sprung from these offerings. Some show the desolation of the human condition, or the interaction of the same.

Today I offer three such works for your poetic interpretation:

“Room in New York”
by Edward Hopper
“Hotel By a Railroad”
by Edward Hopper
“Sunday”
by Edward Hopper

Each painting expresses something and it’s your job to relate what it says to you. Choose one and tell us what you see!

MARIE’S VISION:

Room in New York (An American Sentence)

Here she has a house, but longs to be there, even if in one small room. 

© Marie Elena Good, 2021

#seventeensyllables

WALT’S VIEW:

ANY GIVEN SUNDAY
The man had many hang ups,
and this one will have him hung over
all day. Another Sunday with nary 
a prayer on his lips, but plenty of
Jack Daniel’s on his breath.
He curses God for his lack of strength
in battling his demons, for they’ve
cost him his job and his family.
Responsibility was never his, 
and he wasn’t laying claim to this.
On any given Sunday you’ll find him
pissing his life away; he thinks
he’s keeping his demons at bay.

(C) Walter J Wojtanik – 2021

PROMPT #353 – TAKE COMFORT WHERE YOU CAN GET IT

Autumn is upon us and as the season takes hold we take comfort wherever we find it. It could be from a bowl of hot soup, it might be a warm blanket or a seat next to a warm fire. What is your comfort? We’re writing a comfort poem!


MARIE’S COMFORT:

Fall


There’s a chill in the air. Just enough to grab a sweater
and cute boots.
Enough to birth sweet, crisp apples.
The kind of perfect chill that calls my dad to mind -
the pride I felt watching him direct the Star-Spangled Banner
for the football pregame on a perfect autumn afternoon 
that smelled of popcorn and stadium dogs. 
The kind of chill that warms my heart and feeds my joy.

Fall:  The season of my heart.
Fall:  Collapse.

As I drink in the season, life collapses at the feet of a friend.
She writes of the woeful loss of her husband
with words that both singe and chill.

I know her only from afar, 
but I know her. 
How often have her stirring words
and soothing photos of the beauty surrounding her
touched my heart, and lifted my spirits?
How often has she bravely shared the slow slide of Alzheimer’s
as it stole her sweetheart far too soon?
When the news came to me,
I spent much time vainly stringing words
and counting syllables -
only to realize there’s a chill in the air,
and no words warm enough.

© Marie Elena Good, 2021

Dearest Janet:  May you feel the strength of our Father’s love, and the warmth of your Poetic Bloomings family.  Gentle hugs …

WALT’S EASE:

ALLA FREDDA TUA CAPANNA

To Your Cold Hut (Translated)

In my travels, I have seen great opulence,
I have seen great want, just a scant spec of existence.
But even such a life will spark a persistence to survive.
The key is to keep alive. As the seasons transform
from the warm climates to a chilled alternative,
it is imperative we care for those sisters or brothers.

I will come to your cold hut
bringing a meal to feed you,
a warmth to fill you and seed you
with the spark of life meant for all.
I will call on you to bring you sustenance.

I will come to your cold hut
bringing clothes more substantial
than the tatters you cling to in modesty.
I honestly care to share with you
to fill your chests with my excess.

I will come to your cold hut
bearing logs for your fire,
meant to stoke the desire within you.
It is within you to lift yourself up
in the glowing warmth of love’s flow.

I will come to your cold hut
to comfort you in your time of sadness,
hoping to fill you with the gladness
which your life truly deserves.
It preserves your sanity, your humanity.

I will come to your cold hut
to share the joy of Christmas,
bearing gifts of life
meant to lift your strife
and bring you its blessings through love.

I have a purpose to help where I can
and be the kind of man I was meant to be,
to see the suffering of others,
buffering my sisters and brothers
from its pain, again and again.
And I will come to your hut in love.

In that, I take pause.
I am (everybody’s) Santa Claus.

© Walter J Wojtanik - 2021

PROMPT #352 – MANY FROM ONE

On Wednesday, during our exploration of Wallace Stevens’ work through his “Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird”, I instructed you to be mindful of this piece of poetics. Stevens observed his subject from many different angles, yet staying true to his subject, blackbirds.

I ask that you choose a subject, be it something in your travels or something in your realm of influence, and write your observations in as many parts as you see fit. The point of view is all yours. There is more than one way to skin a cat, so they say. There are many views of your chosen subject. Write them!

MARIE’S OBSERVATION:

GOLDEN DOOR

1.  Statue of Liberty

Mother of Exiles:
the unofficial greeter
who lights the entry.

2.  E pluribus unum (from many, one)

Though it may sing, the
human voice can’t, on its own,
create harmony.

3.  Breathe Free

Asphyxiated,
come! Inhale liberty, and
exhale oppression.

4.  Golden Door

Inexpensively
opening up a child’s world:
Little Golden Books.

5.  Rings True

You opened my heart
and sealed life-long allegiance
with just a gold band.

6.  Treasure Box

To the hungry child,
the dream door to open is
a fridge full of food.

© Marie Elena Good, 2021




WALT’S WIDE VIEW:

THE CHRISTMAS STAR

I

It shines in the night
To the children’s delight,
Clear and bright
It makes the world seem alright!

II 

They came from afar
At the behest of this star.
Leading them to the place
Where the Child born of grace lays.
Above Him it stays.

III

Twinkle, twinkle Christmas star
High in the sky is where you are.

IV

In the silence of night
The shepherds take comfort
By your fervent glow.
Angels call and the keepers know
That they need not be afraid.

V

Multitude of stars shine
But their combined light 
Is not as bright as the one star,
A constellation of itself.

VI

Christmas comes
Not in foil wrapped boxes,
Not with ribbons and bows.
God knows where the Son rises
And there are no surprises to find.
For where the star glows
Can salvation be far behind?

VII

Polish tradition states
That the meatless meal on your plate 
is not consumed before the star’s first light is seen.
A familial scene of togetherness.
The adults prepare their Christmas eve fare,
While the children keep watch in the skies.
Soon the starlight will come.
Star light, star bright, first star we see tonight!

VIII

My eyes don’t deceive,
For every time I leave for my flight
On that special night, the Star of Christmas 
shows its bright light. Christmas has come once again,
and I and my reindeer friends embark
into the dark night with only that star to lead.
Everywhere the starlight touches
Does as much to announce the day.
And I in my sleigh bow my head at that blessed sight,
I am Santa Claus, and all is right. 
It is Christmas!

© Walter J Wojtanik - 2021


PROMPT #350 – NIGHTS IN SHINING ARMOR

We’re writing a night poem. The shining could be the moon and stars. The armor can be an alcove of trees. The romance is whatever stirs your emotions! Take your words and try to get medieval on us. Or better yet, make us swoon.

MARIE’S NIGHT:

Still


If time stood still, would I continue on?
Would forward movement cease then to exist?
Could sun and moon be viewed from dusk to dawn,
And deadlines not be met, yet not be missed?

Would falling stars suspend themselves in space,
Like frozen fireworks across night’s sky,
As lovers fused beneath in warm embrace
Would never need to say the word goodbye?

Would guarantees be suddenly fulfilled, 
Or would our contracts be for naught, and nixed?
Would all that’s overflowing go un-spilled?
Might what was once detaching be affixed?

If all that was foreshadowed was foregone
As time stood still, would we continue on?

© Marie Elena Good, 2021


(The first stanza was taken from a poem I wrote in 2013.  I liked that stanza at the time, but not the remainder of that poem.  I decided to use it as the first stanza of a sonnet, and use the first line as an echo at the end.)

WALT’S PEACE:

NIGHT FALLS

Evening descends like a hushed silence,
and tranquility is its marker.
Your song is a lilting lullaby
in the shadows of the night.
There’s no threat of violence
as the midnight sky grows much darker.
The constellations fill the sky
contradicting darkness, bringing light.
I see you in silhouette.
I see you in whispers.
I see you in every moonlit sky.
You are the vision this night craves.
It saves me from the pain of my wretched soul.
It takes its toll. From the moon to the stars,
from Venus to Mars, from these hearts of ours. 
When love calls, night falls.

© Walter J Wojtanik

PROMPT #349 – A “SHEL” OF YOUR FORMER SELF

Hi, Walt here. I begin with this poem:

THE LITTLE BOY AND THE OLD MAN
By Shel Silverstein 

Said the little boy, sometimes I drop my spoon.
Said the little old man, I do that too.
The little boy whispered, I wet my pants.
I do too, laughed the old man.
Said the little boy, I often cry.
The old man nodded. So do I.
But worst of all, said the boy,
it seems grown-ups don’t pay attention to me.
And he felt the warmth of a wrinkled old hand.
I know what you mean, said the little old man.


Source: https://www.familyfriendpoems.com/poem/the-little-boy-and-old-man-by-shel-silverstein

This week we breech a subject with which more of us here deal than not. Aging. As we get a little older, we become more and more a shell of our former selves. Our highlighted poem by Shel Silverstein (a personal favorite poet of both Marie’s and mine) approaches the subject tenderly and lovingly as the similarity between the little boy and the aged gentleman is compared.

In spite of the prompts I post and the Reading Room features offered on occasion, I am again faced with my mortality and the prospects of aging. Health issues have prevented me from being more of a presence than I’d like of late. But, my saving grace is my wonderful granddaughter, Brooklyn Ariel. She pulls me from the brink of that precipice time and time again.

And so, we come to this week’s prompt. Re-read the Silverstein poem to refresh the concept. Then, you are charged with writing a poem that reflects your process as told to a young person. You are the Old (Woman/Man) talking to a little one, be they a grandchild, a young family member, a wide-eyed neighbor child… someone who can benefit from your packet of wisdom surrendered in your poem. You’re writing a poem in language a child would understand. It’s a bit of a challenge if you are not used to writing a children’s poem, but I have faith in your collective poetic abilities to be able to pull it off. As always, I appreciate each and every one of you as poets and friends.

MARIE’S THOUGHTS:

Nonna Ree's Priorities

The older I get, the older I feel
     It’s hard to run. It’s hard to kneel.
           Can’t cartwheel as in childhood.
                  (But, truth-be-told, I never could. 😉 )
                        Consistently can’t find my words -
                              Can access just perhaps two thirds.
                                    Can’t run too fast. Can’t hear when asked.
                                            My skates and skis were long-since trashed.
                                    But I’ll still race you on my bike,
                        and take a walk or even hike
                and talk and laugh and draw (kind of 😉 )
        and listen well 
  and deeply love. 

© Marie Elena Good, 2021



WALT’S WORDED WISDOM:

POPPI, OPEN THE EYES!

You sit with me upon my knee
as we watch your program on TV.
You’re light as a feather and I’m not
sure, whether you know how loved you truly are.
I begin to doze and I sense you know
and you wrap your fingers around my nose.
You give a shake, to my surprise and you say,
“Poppi, open the eyes!”

I startle awake at your gentle shake
and you laugh at the funny face that I make.
To sleep through our time is a big mistake
so, I wake up, for heaven’s sake.
I give a hug to you my love bug 
and you respond with your simple shrug
as you huddle closer, nice and snug and say,
“Wake up Poppi, open the eyes.”

My sleep eludes me and you exude such joy,
like you do when we sit and play with a toy.
I marvel at the smarts you possess
and the pride I feel inside my chest
tells me you just might change the world,
girl with the straight blonde hair (with no curl).
You search me out and you smile oh, so wide,
you grasp my hand and you hold it so tight.

And I’m happy you came along when you did,
and I laugh when you claim “I’m a big kid!”
And you certainly are, I believe you’ll go far,
and I wish I’ll be here to bask in your star.
But, there will soon come a day when
our time at play will come to an end,
and I will miss you, my lovely young friend
who worked so hard to keep me so young.

On that one day, my eyes will stay closed
and no bit of shaking upon my cold nose
will stir me from my timeless sleep.
And my non-response might make you weep.
But, don’t be sad for your old granddad,
just remember all the fun that we had.
Over time you’ll feel glad to recall it all.
Before it's all gone, it would be wise 
for your Poppi to open up his eyes!

 © Walter J Wojtanik - 2021 

PROMPT #347 – SO MUCH FOR TECHNOLOGY

ANCIENT WORD PROCESSOR

Today, we vilify technology. We found some new gadgets made our lives better. But some were like opening Pandora’s Box. Think of some technological wonder of this modern age and then consider its predecessor. We want that poem. Write of an old technology as it was or as we remember it. Lift it up or paint it with a dour brush. Your cell phone is your old land line (still have one). A cassette or CD was your music player. We’re getting anachronistic of you. Today, everything old is still old but we’re resurrecting the idea of them. Write a new poem about an old thing!

MARIE’S OLD DAYS:

Milk Delivery
 
Back in the days of house-to-house milk delivery, Uncle Ray had the greatest technology:  a horse-driven, refrigerated milk cart. The horse knew what she was doing.  She would take Uncle Ray to the first home on the route.  He would grab enough ice-cold milk from the cart for the next several homes.  She would walk the cart to the spot where he would need to grab more milk, and wait there for him. Then along came even newer and greater technology:  refrigerated delivery trucks.  Unfortunately, Uncle Ray was not permitted to turn down the newer technology.  Not only did it make his job harder, but he lost a dear friend and coworker. 

Often new knowhow’s
know how is negligible
or nearly inept.

© Marie Elena Good, 2021

WALT IS ANCIENT:

LOST DISCONNECT

A lost connection:
a faulty wireless router,
giving and taking away.

A frayed cord on the telephone
cracking and crackling and
inaudible incoherency.

A heart string that was
forever pulled taut but
was never allowed to break.

A sibling rivalry that threatened
the familial bond beyond repair,
brought to bare by the passing of our Pa.

All misdeeds and failures forgotten, a phoenix rising,
in the imminent demise we will all face,
dealt with in grace and dignity.

I find that lately I balk at technology.
I'd rather talk to my genealogy
face-to-face in full embrace.


© Walter J Wojtanik - 2021

PROMPT #345 – YA GOTTA HAVE HEART

Today, we’re writing a “HEART” poem.

Be it, the Heart of the Matter, or artichoke hearts. The heart as a vital organ, or a heart felt expression of something. I hope you ❤ this prompt. You’re not necessarily writing a “love” poem, but if that’s what’s in your heart, by all means, go for it. I ❤ Poetry!

MARIE’S HEART:

THE HEART OF AN OLYMPIAN

Dreams held within resist all hindrances,
As though an iron breastplate shelters it.
Equating fear and doubt as hidden sins,
It will not recognize them, nor admit

Susceptibility may lie inside.  
It soundly strikes a metronome-like beat  
That pulses toward the goal that it has eyed,
Where grueling pain and utter joy may meet.

But when a running water hose crimps tight,
The urgent fix outweighs the aim at hand.
The crimp must be relaxed … And this despite
Whatever lofty plan was in demand.

Olympic hearts are human, in the end.
They’ve earned soft hands to hold them as they mend.

© Marie Elena Good, 2021


WALT’S HEART:

THE HEART OF POETICS

“True ease in writing comes from art, not chance”

  ~An Essay on Criticism (Sound and Sense) Alexander Pope

The heart expresses all that its eyes can see;
it is a voice that’s clear and speaks to all who wish to hear.
So, do not close your mind to what is possible. It can be
that a heart so blind will make love disappear.
But pens that stroke in broad and heartfelt hues,
will yield a master work in the words you choose.

© Walter J. Wojtanik

PROMPT # 341 – HOME IS WHERE THE POEM IS

We’re giving the heart a break (not as in broken heart, but as a rest) when we say the title of this prompt. Your poem is inspired by someplace close to your – heart (break’s over). Take the place you were born, where you grew up, or somewhere you lived, and use it is the base of your poem. If this place is famous for something, write that poem. I was born in Lackawanna, New York and for the longest time it was a steel town. So, Lackawanna Steel became my title/topic. You can take this poem anywhere you want and you’ll never leave home. Write that home pome!

MARIE’S HOME:

The Heart of it All (Fibonacci)

Home
Is
The state
Of my heart:
Heart-shaped Ohio.
“Ohio, The Heart of It All,”
Is more than its slogan, to me. It’s a certainty
Born of dappled sunlight, porch swing swishes, marching bands, sure love, and lingering laughter.

© Marie Elena Good, 2021

(Bummer. My final line, written in 21 syllables, breaks up on site.)

WALT’S PLACE:

LACKAWANNA STEEL

Lackawanna was home long before I knew I’d roam,
and find another place that fills this space in my heart,
From my start I was forged in Lackawanna Steel; a real
sense of structure and foundation built upon the
rigid girders of steel. Bethlehem Steel gave us all we had,
or all that Dad earned to set us up to succeed.
He worked hard and lived harder with liquor the answer,
and a demise from cancer. The plant had long since closed,
and I suppose it was just as well. The swell of steel workers
had found a similar fate, much too late to save them.
But this steel town outside of Buffalo, found itself
deeply seeded in each native son’s hearts. From the start
they were all “Men of Steel” good to feel at home
just south of where the Buffalo roam!

© Walter J Wojtanik – 2021