Week 15: Wake Up

Wake up
faint morning arrives
black burns into ashy-gray
and gray blooms into roses

Wake up
there’s coffee
it’s hot and ready
so wake up

Author’s Notes:

This week’s poem is on the minimalistic side, but I’m really happy with it. The description of a sunrise is understated in a way that I think suits the poem, and I think that the poem makes a very practical argument to get you out of bed:

Wake up
there’s a beautiful sunrise out there
and also I made coffee.

(Note on the Author’s Note: At this point in writing the Author’s Note, the author has stopped writing and now has a very confused look on his face as he slowly realizes that the little poem summary he just wrote is probably a better poem than the actual poem itself. He looks at his computer dumbly, and doesn’t really know what to do about that.)

Favorite Line:
there’s a beautiful sunrise out there

Favorite Poem:
The poem I accidentally wrote when I was trying to describe the original one.


Week 14: With a Smile

Nights so dark they are navy blue
Her eyes are candles in the desert
She wanders like a leaf falls to earth
Lizards dance at her ankles
Even the owls have forgotten how long

One more step is the very last one
Suddenly she is a pile of bones
A brittle memory bleached white
Her tired lungs hardly whispering

Rolling onto her back she sees the north sky
Draco arches his spine, white teeth glittering
She shudders and rises unsteady to her feet
She lifts her chin and addresses the starry dragon

He bows his great head to listen
A quiet moment passes

Now he snaps his tongue and snarls
A comet of fire rages from his nostrils
Red hot, it glows and spits as it rattles down
Sparks cascade, igniting fires across the galaxy

She reaches out and her fingers melt into gold
The flame wraps around her like a silk cloak
She crumbles into ashy oblivion with a smile
And Draco curls back into his timeless slumber.

Author’s Notes:

I like the first stanza of this one. It’s very loose and ambient, but together creates an image that I think is really nice.

Favorite Line:
She wanders like a leaf falls to earth

Line that I Think is a Bit Off:
Suddenly she is a pile of bones


Week 13: Child of Fury

A crisp, magnificent shadow cast off a rough monster
the impotent child of fury, a cauldron of denial
this drowning man, the last ember of a raging fire
this is the vividness of desperation

no gentle voice will soothe or quiet
no hand upon hand will lend comfort
no drink will quench or satisfy

the man steps out onto the balcony
he beams as the crowd chants his name
only I can save you, he says—only me

and they don’t believe him
but they’d love to watch him try—
a step off of the brink just might be
a step in the right direction

Author’s Notes:

I’m not sure what sort of frame I need to put around this week’s poem. It has political subtext, but it’s also interesting that it doesn’t have to be read as being about a political figure. There are lots of charismatic leaders who fit this mold in some way or another.

I think the thing that feels good about this poem to me is that I don’t think it is about the leader as much as it is about the crowd.

Favorite Line:
“No hand upon hand will lend comfort”

Most Overwrought Line:
“this is the vividness of desperation”

p.s. I tend to think of myself as a progressive liberal, so yes this is written with Trump in mind, who I don’t care for. If you do happen to have a positive perception of the guy, I think you’re foolish but that’s ok. Incidentally, for those who are curious, at this early point I’m most interested in Pete Buttigieg and Elizabeth Warren in the Democratic primary.


Week 12: These Letters in a Row

These letters in a row I place
They are no accident, but their reasons
Are ants slipping through cracks
Escaping from the desert sun

This line is only an acquaintance
She knows me better than I know her
She bats her eyelashes from afar
And I may do naught but write her

With every word I scrawl
I am whittled into a new shape
I am a creature of the creation
It has made me more than I have made it

Again, these letters in a row I place
They are no accident, but their reasons
Are ants vanishing through fissures
Hiding from the glowing moon

Author’s Notes:

This poem is definitely on the more self-reflexive, pretentious side, but it feels like a good description of the creative process to me, both in doing this project and in other things like my day job. Obviously, I am the one making the stuff, but it’s not something that I feel like I have much control over, even though from an external perspective I do. When I make something good, I usually feel lucky more than I feel accomplished.

The line about being a “creature of the creation” reminds me of my favorite book, Frankenstein by Mary Shelley.

Favorite Line(s):
Are ants vanishing through fissures
Hiding from the glowing moon

Least Favorite Line:
She bats her eyelashes from afar


Week 11: A Difficult Day

An orange cat is draped awkwardly across my lap
purring as he cuts off the circulation of blood
to my legs, and my feet begin to tingle, but
I don’t move because now he is asleep and
I don’t want to bother him after he has had,
no doubt,
such a difficult day.

Author’s Notes:

This one took three minutes to write, which is by far the fastest of any so far. It’s sort of a different style than I’ve done up to now, with a more sentence-like feeling. The stanzas are sort of arbitrary, which feels like cheating, but it’s a style that I’ve seen before so it must be ok. Writing a poem about a cat also feels like cheating.

Favorite Line:
‘no doubt,’

Most Unruly Line:
‘to my legs, and my feet begin to tingle, but’


Week 10: Even on Wednesdays

Cold dawn, groggy good morning hellos
muddled consonants and misshapen vowels
eyes barely open, hair blading loosely down your cheek
water dancing in the kettle, lazy pirouette of steam

Sitting down for breakfast, you beside me
standing beneath icicles, catching their drips
thawing our cheeks in the shadow of a volcano
washing our feet in the panama sea
together, because we are the very same thing

I know you like ten thousand years knows a second
like lightning knows every crack in the sky
like a bird on a branch knows a song
on Wednesdays—even on Wednesdays
even when I forget that I know, I still know
even on Wednesdays, I know I love you so.

Author’s Notes:

I’m normally against using the word love in a poem (because it both seems too easy and it’s just not a thing I’d do), but in this case I convinced myself that using the cutesy, sweet little rhyme at the end was like adding frosting to a cupcake rather than dumping a bowl of sugar into that horrible Oreo Salad stuff that people bring to potlucks.

Favorite Line:
‘standing beneath icicles, catching their drips’

A Line that I Like, but Almost Cut:
‘water dancing in the kettle, lazy pirouette of steam’

p.s. I didn’t capitalize Panama because it looked bad capitalized. I’m rationalizing this decision by claiming in this case ‘panama’ is an adjective that is describing a sea, rather than a proper noun referring to a sea near Panama. My road, my rules.