Journal 6

Rules: Each line has the same number of words as its line number (ex. line 1 = 1 word, line 2 = 2 words)

Use an end stop line only on every line divisible by 3.

Dinner in Summer

Hot

coals burn

black, red, orange.

The pungent smell of

seared meat singes the hairs

of my nose; sweet, savory bliss.

The steaks can finally be taken from

the grate of that rusted red grill that

has been in our back yard since my birth.

My father cuts the steaks, juices cover the wooden cutting

board.  My mouth waters like a sprinkler on a hot, dry

Summer day.  He gives me the biggest one and I’m so excited!

Journal 5

Aftermath: Cento

 

That black forest and the fire in earnest

leaves a trace              leaves an abscess.

More & more I see the human form,

fire’s afterbirth, the long dangle of waste, pitted

mouths, volume turned off.  A band of iron,

fighting for a pure country.

The corpse, the flies, the world, the fact that we were

standing by blank and amazed — you touch that unnameable

outline of buried cities.

Rocks stick out of the shore like heads.

Nobody is ever missing.

 

Louise Gluck

Simone Muench (1)

Simone Muench (2)

William Dickey

Denise Levertov

Patricia Smith

Molly Peacock

T.R. Hummer

Katha Pollitt

Sharon Olds

John Berryman (2)

Journal 4: How Many Ways Can Cows Eat Grass?

The cows

stand under the trees in the wet grass,

lifting their necks to

pull leaves down.  We

slow the truck,

pull over to the side of the road to

watch them.  How graceful they

look, how unlike themselves.  We

get out and

lean on the fence.  The cows don’t seem to

notice we are there.

Breaking the lines before the verb helps build the anticipation for the reader of what action is going to be taken.  This is not very necessary, in my opinion, for this poem because there is no real excitement in the poem so there is not a real reason to build anticipation.  Using this method does create a nice flow for the poem by making most of the lines enjambed.  Perhaps the flow is a bit too quick for this poem of cows just eating grass.

 

The cows stand under the trees in the wet grass,

lifting their necks to pull leaves down.  

We slow the truck,

pull over to the side of the road to watch them.  

How graceful they look,

how unlike themselves.  

We get out and lean on the fence.  

The cows don’t seem to notice we are there.

In this form, I used the punctuation throughout the prose to break the lines.  This slows the poem down, making the reader stop at the end of each line.  This creates much longer lines that work much better for the content of the poem; it reminds me of how mechanical it seems to watch a cow eat grass.  It slows down the rhythm into a pace that relates well with the content.

 

The cows stand

under the trees in the wet grass, lifting

their necks to pull

leaves down.  We slow

the truck, pull

over to the side of the road to watch

them.  How graceful they look,

how unlike themselves.  We get

out and lean

on the fence.  The cows don’t seem to notice

we are there.

Breaking the lines after the verb does much of the same effect as breaking before the verbs as I did in the first instance.  The anticipation is still there, but rather than the reader being curious of what the noun is doing, they will be curious of what the verb will be modifying.  Out of all the instances I have provided, I believe this one is the worst; the line lengths are inconsistent (some short, some long) and because of that, the rhythm is not concise.  If this were a more erratic poem, then I would say the inconsistency enhances the poem, but in this case, I feel it just debilitates it.

Journal 3

As He Waits (v1)

Time moved as a snail across the interstate.

He checked his watch with wide eyes like a cat that spotted a mouse.

Nothing moved in front or behind him,

he looked like an owl searching for prey.

Why me?  Why me?

Repeating himself like a parrot.

Finally.

No, not yet.

Almost.

Now.

“Large black coffee ready for you, sir!”

He snags the wide cup like a seagull would a french fry,

inhaling it’s bitterness like police dog searching for drugs.

My time has arrived at last.

He drinks as an elephant at a waterhole.

Sweet bliss.

 

As He Waits (v2)

Time moved as a baby learning to crawl.

He checked his watch with wide eyes like a child seeing fireworks.

Nothing moved in front or behind him,

he looked like a young boy at Chuck E. Cheese.

Why me?  Why me?

Repeating himself like a tantrum from a babe.

Finally.

No, not yet.

Almost.

Now.

“Large black coffee ready for you, sir!”

He snags the wide cup like a kid at a toy store,

inhaling it’s bitterness like a little girl smelling flowers.

My time has arrived at last.

He drinks as if he were a baby finding his mother’s teet for the first time.

Sweet bliss.

The Next Thing Always Belongs

Swimming in the middle of Smith Mountain Lake,

Boat motors hum in the distance.

My trunks slip away as I dive down into the murky green.

The bottom is two-hundred fifty feet below me, too deep to fetch.

The fish swimming around me feel like a million cameras,

Exposing me down to the bone.

Who knew lake water could feel so transparent?

I recall a mother telling her boy,

“Remember to tie your trunks tight!”

I want to have heeded that advice for myself.

I wish I was not so easily judged by the very fabric of nature.

The birds overhead squawk in laughter

As if I am in a jar of pickled herring,

Still alive attempting to free my homies.

I’d choose gingivitis over this embarrassment.

I don’t really mind if anyone notices,

What’s the worst that could happen?

Perhaps I can find a discarded  hubcap,

like Uncle Jim always had too many of,

To cover myself and turn my face back from a tomato to a peach.

I can’t stop spinning to catch the eyes on onlookers,

But my ass is safe from sight every time.

Birds, fish, boats

Acted as if I was Johnny Depp on a nude beach.

The Sun begins to boil my shoulders and cheeks.

Now throw me some new trunks.

 

 

 

Journal 1

Taste:  fish oil, grease, rose, cinnamon, Mardi Gras, campfire, pine, lake water, copper, Thanksgiving, bile, plastic, dish soap, dust, sweat

Touch: thistle, paper-cut, steel, wax, beard, ice, velvet, clothing iron, sand, glue, sunburn, cicada, alpaca, glasses, vibration

Smell: electricity, conditioner, Christmas, state fair, vomit, freezer, leather, lavender, cigarette, gym, shotgun, grass, Pennsylvania, oatmeal, mold

Hearing: tattoo machine, computer, pet store, rubber, pit bull, vacuum, shower, snow, thunder, saw, telephone, piano, fireplace, cricket, dentist

Sight: Jell-O, torch, pimple, paint, moon, kitchen, highway, rotten, blood, crow, seagull, cockroach, earwax, cockatoo, buttercup

Action/Motion: penguin, slug, clock, ocean, humming bird, bicycle, sledding, oil, panther, syrup

Abstractions: fear, anticipation, abnormality

Everything Else: silence, Sunday, GEICO, Smith Mountain Lake, Atlantic City, nerd, Alyson

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