Week 49: Asteroid

The asteroid has already struck
its furry is unleashed—fires burn
storms rage, islands disappear

pillars of smoke scar the horizon
as profligate humanity lays on its back
wistful for the days when evil wore swastikas
and wars could be fought—young men sent to god
to forestall the end of the world.

Author’s Notes:

I think this captures the frustration of our time very concisely, and I’m both pleased and disturbed by it.

Favorite Line:
“and wars could be fought—young men sent to god”

Fanciest Word:

Week 48: Nagging Question

A fascination, a faucet that drips
you are a nagging question
a distraction—the very best kind
just far enough away to be dangerous
a voice from around the corner—a mystery
a package waiting to be unwrapped
a thought that keeps popping into my head
a place to go when I don’t want to be anywhere at all

there will be no resolution or satisfaction
there will be no ending, because nothing ends
things just disappear—they are forgotten
and maybe one day I will forget you, maybe soon
but today I am on my toes, peeking over the fence
trying to figure you out, just because I am curious
just because I want to know you better
just because I am the way I am.

Author’s Notes:

Once my mind latches onto something, it can be very hard for me to shake it off. If I’m interested in something, it finds a way to leak out of its container and consume all of my idle brain power. This is one of those things where it’s both good and bad, because it’s very useful in certain contexts—particularly when I’m learning new skills, or working on a big project—but it’d be better to be able to switch it on and off with more control.

Anyway, this poem is about that.

Interesting note (well, to me): I use the word ‘just’ a lot in this poem. What an odd little word.

Favorite Line:
“A fascination, a faucet that drips”

Number of Times I use the Word Just:

Week 47: Puffy Eyed

Puffy eyed, but I’m alive
sitting on the side of my bed
cataloging dreams before they fade
and trying to decide how best
to punish my alarm clock
for doing its job with so much
unrepentant joy.

Author’s Notes:

Just a short one this week, but I wrote it three times. The first attempt was fun, but bad, the second rhymed way too much in a cheesy way that I didn’t like, and this is the third version.

Also, the whole alarm clock thing is a lie. I don’t use an alarm clock. I use my phone.

Favorite Line:
“cataloging dreams before they fade”

Most Rhyme-y Line that I Didn’t Cut:
“Puffy eyed, but I’m alive”

Week 46: An Empty Doorway

Strange and stranger, a knock at the door
a mad dash to an empty doorway
a tall and dark someone, back turned
cooly walking off into the weather

and you call out and they slow
and you see their head turn ever slightly
but they are gone sooner than seen
disappearing into the cracking storm

and you’re left standing there
no closer to the center
no closer to a beginning or an end
going in circles, quickly and more quickly
things being hard and never easy

Author’s Notes:

Often when I work I listen to some type of instrumental music, and this week I was struck by this impossibly sweet, melancholy Japanese folk song called “Takeda Lullaby.” So when I was working on the poem for this week, I put the song on repeat and let it set the tone.

I’m really not a music theory person and can’t really explain how the melody of Takenda Lullaby works, but it’s this beautiful, minor-key melody, flecked with glimmering moments of optimism that always resolve into a bittersweet kind of peace.

I don’t know if this poem contains all that, but that’s where it’s from. If you’d like to listen to the song, you can find it here.

Favorite Line:
“things being hard and never easy”

Favorite Use of an Adjective:
“disappearing into the cracking storm”

Week 45: As We Wait

The clock forgets, one day, to tick

the sun begins to rise, but stops and waits
just below the horizon, glowing dimly
like a fire burning in the next valley

an otter dives from her bank into the stream
and the water swallows her like honey,
without a splash or ripple

the laughter of a distant coyote is caught
in the liquid air and muffled to a whimper

the future is stuck
rain drops hover
the clouds stand still

we walk along with our hands in our pockets
and we find a spot under a tree whose leafs
are suspended delicately like ornaments
around us, shaken loose by a gust of wind,
and we lean back and sit in the silence
and talk about all the things we could be
as we wait for the world to start again.

Author’s Notes:

It’s very tricky for me to write notes on this, because I don’t think I have a good handle on what exactly this poem is doing quite yet. But I really like the combination of gentleness and uncanniness.

One thing I’ve noticed is that the ‘Favorite Line’ section of my notes has gotten harder and harder, because it’s becoming more common that I split things across lines more often now.

Favorite Line(s):

“and we find a spot under a tree whose leafs
are suspended delicately like ornaments
around us, shaken loose by a gust of wind”

Most Delicious Line:

“and the water swallows her like honey”

Week 44: Fields Shorn

Fields shorn, the grey stubble stands
November mist wanders through the draws
eyes closed, the frost delivers its fatal kiss
at last the hills surrender their weary colors

I am out here on the front step shivering
enduring a cataclysm of bare wind and dagger ice
just waiting for the first flake of pretty snow to fall

Author’s Notes:

I’m afraid I’ve taken liberties with reality here—this year we got snowed on in October. November is a nicer sounding month name though, and the month when the first snow should happen, so I’ve taken poetic license.

Favorite Line:
“enduring a cataclysm of bare wind and dagger ice”

Line with the Best Alliteration:
“just waiting for the first flake of pretty snow to fall”