30/30: Day Nine

Today's poem comes from a prompt from Kundiman's Fireside: A Poetry Blog, written by dear friend and damn fine poet, Jane Wong:

 ...write a poem that includes the following, in order: 

  • A snail under a leaf
  • An overturned cabinet
  • Rush hour
  • Forgiveness is not an option
  • Wrecking ball
  • Cooling down


As you might notice from my response to this prompt, I'm a big fan of catalog; it's sort of a crutch. One of the aims of the 30/30 project is to try new things, to stretch, to let the crutches fall; however, I'm finding the daily grind to be new and stretching enough at the moment.

But, back to catalog, and more specifically, objects. Not too long ago, I had the pleasure of listening to Major Jackson talk about metaphor at Seattle's Hugo House. He had us do an exercise, creating a personal symbology of sorts: 


If you were to catalog the concrete landscape that comprises you; if someone were to paint a portrait of you--what would they include in the picture? Write down objects, images, concrete things.  Then, go back and write down the emotion or attachment you would assign to each thing. 


It was interesting to hear people's objects and associations (of course, the only I can remember now is "a sand pail = alienation" because that is such a different association than the one I have with a "sand pail," which is "joy" or "innocence").  Some of associations from that day:


koi pond = loss / love

a dancefloor flooded with discoball petals = exhilaration / sex

a cul de sac of equidistant houses = safety / frustration

I find exercises like this and prompts like Jane's generative and illustrative: the play, the interest happens within the spaces between our associative leaps from object to concept to object.   

30/30: Day Two

Second day and I'm still feeling pretty good! Less tired, mostly because I'm at Stumpdown, sitting in a sunny window, and I just finished a giant glass of Cold Brew and started a bunch of poems. (Hello, my dear friend, Caffeine!)

I feel like these folks:

Except, of course instead of "ima read" as my soundtrack, it's "ima write."  And, now, I have revealed myself (oh, c'mon, you knew this already) to be a huge dork.  Also: I really want this woman's shirt: THERE& THEIR& THEY'RE& THURR


Day Two's poem, is, uh, funny? My dear friend, married to a dear vegetarian, was the impetus for this one. And then somehow a portion of the Radio Lab I listened to this last weekend found its way into my poem. [Shrug] Ima try things out. 

I really admire poets that can skillfully juxtapose. Matthew Olzmann, I think, is so great at this: Mountain Dew and love; Spock and the construction of race. If you don't have his book, you should really do something about that. Matthew, at Kundiman, had us do an exercise in which we were given super-random bits of information and given the task of incorporating them into one poem. My random bits: something about chimpanzees' tendency to resort to cannibalism; just the place: Rahway, NJ; and once, in the 60's when they cleaned Niagara Falls, the found the remains of two bodies. Haha, it was fun! I ended up writing a poem entitled, "I'm No Annie Edison Taylor."

Anyway--feel free to suggest any odd juxtapositions! I am game to try.