found alphabet

#4 of 86: Alpha on Zodiac

Alphabet poetry is pretty self-explanatory. Each line starts with a letter of the alphabet, each word starts with the next letter of the alphabet, etc. I added an element of rhyme to this one, and I actually learned a lot about the zodiac in the process! Much harder than I thought it would be, but this form can be as easy or as difficult as you want it to be.

Alpha on Zodiac

Zodiac, by definition, is an imaginary belt of the heavens.
You can trace the concept back to Babylonian times.
Xenophiles of ancient Rome recorded the zodiac in essence.
Western astrology divides the zodiac into twelve signs.
Variations of the zodiac focus on animals, elements, or dates.
Universally, the signs are applied to astrological horoscopes.
True believers use these transmissions to predict their fates.
Skeptics dismiss such nonsense as a way to sell dreams and hopes.
Rams are the symbol of the fire sign Aries under planet Mars.
Quick to judge, but warm and vital, an Aries is a natural leader.
Peaceful and methodical is Taurus the bull, drawn to pleasures.
Often reserved, but only to a point, these are stability seekers.
Next is Gemini, the twin sign of the social and adventurous.
Much like Cancer, the loyal crab surrounded by friends and family.
Leo the lion is relaxed and in charge, yet proud and decorous.
Keep Leos grounded, as they can border on smugness or pageantry.
Just the opposite, Virgos are sympathetic, logical, and practical.
Introverted maybe, but always thinking and applying their skills.
Harmony and balance are key to Libras, who are fair and tactical.
Genuine and matter-of-fact, the Scorpio seeks passion and thrills.
Freedom, learning, and discovery are paramount to Sagittarius.
Enterprising Capricorn is ambitious, serious, and goal-oriented.
Decent and generous, yet stubborn, describes humanitarian Aquarius.
Casual on the outside, Pisces is inwardly sensitive yet contented.
By and large, the pop culture of the zodiac is a departure from science.
A glance up to the stars on a clear night can vindicate our compliance.

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American Flag

#3 of 86: Ae Freislighe for Election Day

Talk about a tricky form… The Ae Freislighe is an form is constructed of 4 line stanzas (or quatrains) that follow a tight rhyme scheme. Each line contains 7 syllables, the first and third lines ending in a three syllable triple-rhyme (xxa) and the second and third lines ending in a two syllable double-rhyme (xxb). The last line should start with the first word of the first line. (Who thought of this???) Anyway the form forces some sing-songiness, but I thought it could help loosen up a heavy topic like politics. You be the judge!

Let’s Talk Politics

Three cheers for democracy
A system made by choices.
Now I see dichotomy
and conflict forced by voices.

When stating your opinion,
don’t droll on and on carefree.
You might feign a position
which with others don’t agree.

It might not seem concerning
to not want to look aloof,
but others are discerning
if they do or don’t approve.

It can damage character
and it can hurt your business.
It makes online predators
and turns an old friend vicious.

Our system must continue,
the flipside is too scary.
Just know we all contribute,
Three branches and the many.

Crossword puzzle

#2 of 86: Acrostic Poetry

I love acrostic poetry I’ve added this element to other poems without calling it an acrostic because I think it’s a fun hidden message for analytic readers (which I’m not, but I like writing that way). Yesterday I wrote an abstract poem, Saturday Morning at the Diner, and I acrostic-ally added the word BREAKFAST using the first letter of each line. Actually, that was how I started and how I decided which sounds to use. These are really fun because they add the puzzle aspect of formal poetry that I really enjoy, but the chance of a reader spotting it is a lot greater than a particular beat or meter.

 

The Departure

Can you recall your first great read? An epic novel or time-honored classiC?

Once you crack that cover and read those first few lines—away you gO.

Verse and chapters build a world that becomes TOo real for movies or TV.

Experience another time or place, another life, without having to go anywherE.

Reading: The vacation you didn’t know you needed, the answer you weren’t looking foR.

40s Diner Black and White

86 Day Poetry Challenge

I haven’t been doing much writing for the past year other than to-do lists and emails, which has left me feeling dull and uninspired. What better way to encourage a little literary discipline than a writing challenge? I hope to reinvigorate my creativity with this challenge.

Robert Lee Brewer has a lovely list of 86 poetic forms on the Writer’s Digest website. The forms may dictate meter, rhyme, length, style, or any other poetic element. I will do my best to write one a day, but I’m a realist—I haven’t written in a while, and the point is just to get writing!

The list is ordered alphabetically, so I thought I’d start there, but I may choose to jump around. So here we go, beginning with Abstract Poetry, also known as Sound Poetry. The text itself is quite stupid, but it makes me laugh.

 

Saturday Morning at the Diner

Be Early… Be Early… Burble the brew… Bring near boil… Buy Brian a bran bar…

Run! Run rolls then ready rooms then rub royal-red-raspberry-rhubarb-rye!

Egg bake. Get egg bake. Get egg bake back to Pegleg Meg to take.

Apply the apron to the patron to pay the matron for her bacon.

Kill the will to fill the bill with spills but keep it neat and sweet and cheap.

Feast on exotic foods of Luxembourg expertly paired with expensive flax.

Away the day with a nice Earl Grey, gourmet whey, and lunch buffet.

Sardine sammies with sesame seed and soy sauce satisfy salty savory tastes.

Too much to do to and get into to continue my rendezvous AT THE DINER.

Girl applying makeup

Girls Will Be Girls

I just finished reading The Girls by Emma Cline. If you’re interested, the book is a spin on the Charles Manson cult, of which I don’t know much except what is now common knowledge. It opens the door to a subject that I probably wouldn’t have broached otherwise, but my greatest interest in the book is the girls themselves. I can’t believe how many flashbacks I had to my teenage self: the insecurities, the self-consciousness, the second-guessing, all completely self inflicted because you think everyone is watching and judging you. The reality is, 99% of people don’t care who you are, what you look like, or what you’re doing, but it takes years to learn that lesson. These characters are all so real, like people I’ve actually known. The way the girls seemingly exist just to be around a man, to please a man, waiting for a man to acknowledge them, or, that they strive for approval from other “girls.” I don’t know that all women feel this way, but it hearkens back to an outdated model that I’m not removed from. Fussing over your hair and make-up, clothes, diets, all the ridiculous things “girls” do to elevate themselves because their mothers, or their girlfriends, or Cosmopolitan magazine, or some famous beautiful women made them feel like they ought to. I also found it compelling that the narrator, Evie, spends most of the book pining after another girl who mocks cultural norms of 1969 women, but who herself is pining after a man and going to crazy lengths to please him.

Overall, I read the lesson to be that we all have ideal characters we want to play, maybe based on a conglomerate of real or imagined people, but a look behind the curtain reveals that they are just as conflicted and human as everyone else. And maybe it isn’t their fault that we build up a persona of perfection around them, but who would admit to doing that? I also have to add that Emma Cline is a beautiful writer–she concisely delivers these images and emotions in ways I’ve never read before, but that are really striking and enjoyable to read. Although I was irritated by Evie’s dull post-teenage existence, I couldn’t put this one down!

couple on bench

Thinking Thankfully

With the arrival of November and what I might call the start of the holiday season, I’ve been thinking about thankfulness and what it means to be grateful. As much as it annoys me that I’m about to quote Oprah Winfrey, I stumbled across this quote this morning and it’s stayed with me:

Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.

Some people are easily contented, and others are constantly thinking about what’s next regardless of what they have at the time. I’m part of the latter group. It’s either called ambition or the formula for a miserable life, but as I get older I’m making more of an effort to be appreciative of what I have and where I am. Sometimes those “what’s next” hopes and dreams are fuel, and sometimes they get in the way of happiness.

crowded sidewalk

In Plain Sight

A Curtal Sonnet–I wrote this for a poetry competition with Writer’s Digest.

In Plain Sight

He wakes and works and does all in plain sight,
a simple man in unassuming scenes:
Father, brother, partner, player and friend.
But consider this man who seems alright…
Beyond the smile and amid the routines
lies a great, confusing, complex loose end.
I only know this because he told me.
In plain sight, everything is as it seems.
To a select few we wouldn’t condescend
and act as who we think we ought to be.
Pretend.