formal poetry

Black and White Bridge

#9 of 86: A Bref Double for My Friend

Feeling introspective and thinking about a friend of mine. The Bref Double is odd because the rules are not limiting, but I did break one of them by not making the lines a consistent length. It’s sort of a weird sonnet with no meter. Maybe it sounds better in French (bref doo-blay?). I followed AXBC | XAXC | BXXC | AB for this one, but it sounds like there are a few variations.

 

A Bref Double for My Friend

You are lost. Just a little lost.
I know how that can feel.
That it hurts, but you can’t explain how.
No anchor, no sails, no sunshine. 

Brief joy in a hearty laugh or a found high,
and you buy those moments at any cost
because you know, once it’s gone,
you just have to wait until next time. 

But I’m happy to tell you that you can get out.
The truth is that those moments are not real joy.
They are distractions from what life is really about.
And it’s your own head that’s telling you that you are not fine. 

This shift in your mindset is a bridge you must cross,
from the person you will be Then to the You you are Now.

Fork in the Road

#8 of 86: A Purpose-Driven Bop

Onward to The Bop, a 3-stanza form that, in context, presents and attempts to solve a problem. No rhyme required for this one, but because I love rhyme I had to go for it. I just finished Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl, which is on several must-read lists, particularly for readers looking for inspirational and motivational options. If you haven’t read it, the first part documents Frankl’s experiences in four different Nazi concentration camps. Although the subject matter is delicate and could easily veer on gruesome, the tone is more matter-of-fact than graphic. It is hard to comprehend that the Holocaust happened in my grandparents’ lifetime… The second part discusses Frankl’s idea of Logotherapy, a psychiatric theory that places the quest for meaning ahead of pleasure, power, or any other construct. Overall the book spoke to me, but on my search for meaning, it gave me more theory and food for thought than advice. Still, it was nice to get out of my head and I realized just how rare it is that my thoughts don’t dwell on me and my existence.

 

I Just Need to Choose My Path… 

My parents never said “Ash, you can do ANYTHING!”
My teachers never thought “Wow, she’s going places!”
I might have looked in the mirror and felt the sting
of not being special – another face among faces.
But wait, I thought, I’ve got ideas… I’ll make big plans!
I’ll prove them all wrong with my fate in my hands!

I’m not afraid to live! But I’m a little scared to choose my path…

I had always loved to bake, so that’s it – I’d be a chef!
But I lost faith before I learned to boil water…
No, not a chef. But I’m an artist – what else is left?
Oh, film! I love film! That’s a much better offer!
A student in the city and the next Stanley Kubrick!
This is… really stupid. Why is everyone so pretentious?
Do I give up again? They’ll all call my bullshit…
I just need a little break to come to my senses.

I’m not afraid to live, I’m just scared to choose my path!

Fresh start starts NOW! I never wanted to make movies anyway!
It was never the photography, it was the stories that I loved.
I’ll write great stories, Oscar-winning screenplays!
Or, a novel! Best-seller! A Great American one, sort of…
Or, epic poetry! Gripping verse and masterful craft!
Or… Infrequently blogging poems reflective of my past???

I’m not afraid to live, but I’m still finding my path.

come by day

#7 of 86: Busy Blitz

Have to say I loved The Blitz, a 50-line, super-fast, meant-to-be-read-aloud form created by Robert Keim. There is no punctuation and no required rhyme. I could explain the rules, but it’s better to just glean the form by reading an example. Try to read this without moving your lips, or bobbing your head, or getting into some kind of rhythm. It has an inherent lyrical beat that’s hard to ignore.

Come by Day

Here we go
Here we come
Come and go
Come to know
Know your self
Know your name
Name the price
Name the game
Game is won
Game is lost
Lost in love
Lost in space
Space and time
Space and place
Place to stay
Place to be
Be on track
Be on time
Time is mine
Time is money
Money hungry
Money watch
Watch your self
Watch your step
Step to the front
Step to the back
Back of the line
Back of your mind
Mind your surroundings
Mind your manners
Manners matter
Manners and respect
Respect your self
Respect your neighbors
Neighbors are noisy
Neighbors will think
Think about the future
Think about your family
Family affairs
Family forever
Forever in debt
Forever young
Young and beautiful
Young and broke
Broke as a joke
Broke up the day
Day and night
Day by day
Day…
Night…

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.

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.

The Best I Can

A Rondeau…

My mom said “do the best you can”
back when I was nine or ten.
It recently occurred to me
that my “best” is an anomaly,
something to strive for now and then.

Who works magic time and again?
Can’t I say I don’t give a damn
without flinching or feeling guilty?
I mostly do the best I can…

I work hard and I love my man,
I hold doors and I follow the plan.
I read books and I earned my degree,
I tell jokes and I’m drug free.
I eat fries and I drive a sedan.
I am doing the best I can.

***No, that is not me in the photo. That is a cool French girl photographed by Christopher Hue.