(Prompt) Wake Me Up

Come to my lips
When I’m feeling low
You’re my cheerleader
Rah rah rah, let’s go!
Hype me, invigorate me
Through my veins
Send electricity

Midday still by my side
Get me through workday slumps
My loyal assistant
You make life less rough
When you go down
A smile crosses my lips
You help me to function
And give me my bliss

I breathe you in
Dark and sweet
Your taste lingers with me
Penetrates deep
My warm, cozy blanket
Wrap me up one more time

The last sip of coffee
Always divine

Prompt: Persona Grata

“I walked abroad, / And saw the ruddy moon lean over a hedge / Like a red-faced farmer.” In an interview with Anselm Berrigan at Literary Hub, John Yau, winner of the 2018 Jackson Poetry Prize, talks about puzzling over the personification in these lines from T. E. Hulme’s 1909 poem “Autumn.” In what way does personification affect imagery in poetry? Write a poem that uses personification in a straightforward yet unexpected way. How does this kind of description enhance not only the perception of the object being personified, but also the idea of personhood and the narrator’s idiosyncratic perspective?

As I was writing this, coffee became a person…a supporter, a lover, a friend. I contemplated what picture I would put for this, and at first it was a cup of coffee. But then I realized that it would give people ideas before they read it, so I decided against it. A lot of my work has these “plot twists” and I love the emotional reactions they get. Thus, I left it for the reader to discover!

The Time Is Now (from the awesome website Poets and Writers, https://www.pw.org ) offers free prompts every Tuesday, to help get your creative juices flowing or to challenge you to try something different.  What would YOU do with the same prompt? Leave a comment with your poem and you may be featured! Also, remember to like and subscribe for more original poetry!

Next Prompt: Plant Life

(Prompt) Paint Me Like A French Girl

Twisted lid comes off
Two slender fingers move in
They slide out newly covered
Nude, smooth
Dragging matte
Underneath a tired right eye
Tired left eye
War paint
To hide the responsibilities
Marked on her face
Blended to build
A new facade
Of perfection

Prompt: The Little Things

How many times have you tossed away a used tea bag without a second thought? In an interview series for New York Times Magazine, author Emily Spivack asks artist Laure Prouvost about the use of tea in her work, and specifically about a tea bag she’s kept for fifteen years once used by her grandmother. “I like that you can look at something that seems like nothing, like a very, very boring object, but it’s got so much history,” Prouvost says. Choose an everyday object that seems unexceptional, perhaps something ordinarily discarded, and write a poem that delves into a deeper history that adds complexity or magical importance. How does taking an in-depth look give more value to an object?

The Time Is Now (from the awesome website Poets and Writers, https://www.pw.org ) offers free prompts every Tuesday, to help get your creative juices flowing or to challenge you to try something different.  Feel free to join us and to see what you can do with the same prompts! Leave a comment with your poem and you may be featured!

(Featured) Poetry

Poetry is my friend when all others have fled.

Poetry is my life in amongst all the endless strife.

Poetry is my day when the night begins to fade, and my night when the sun transforms itself to shade.

When I have nowhere to turn and my every step is blocked

When there are no more words to say but I cannot turn away

It is poetry that dries my tears and strokes my cheeks and holds me tight and comforts me.

It is poetry for me, the words and boundless grace.

Poetry. My friend my enemy my foe.

Vonita is a poetry-loving wife and mother, based in Sydney, Australia. Vonita’s other work can be found at https://movingtowardsthelight.com/. Her book, Passion Through Poetry, can also be found here: http://www.lulu.com/shop/vonita-buirski/passion-through-poetry/ebook/product-22522099.html

(Review) Fealty by Ricky Ray

Ricky Ray is the kind of writer we need today, one that supports his fellow community of writers and stands for something beyond literary acclaim. From any outsider looking in, it is clear that he is a humble writer that is still inspired by others and welcomes comments about his own work. A writer’s writer.

Why is all this important? Because literature is often seen as a closed-off community. I started off as an English major during my undergraduate studies, and I was the typical, bright-eyed book-lover. But as my major progressed, my view of the literary community soured. It felt like if you didn’t read some obscure manuscript, you didn’t belong. Or if you liked to read Harry Potter more than War and Peace, you were looked down upon. So, I switched majors and never looked back. Luckily, my love of poetry and creative writing and books still remained. But the takeaway from all this is that we need people who support, inspire, and build bridges. Because these days, writers have an overabundance of places to show off their work. And sadly, there may not always be supportive people out there to encourage the next generation of writers.

Of course, that should not be the only reason why people should read Fealty. As I said, Ricky Ray is a writer’s writer. He showcases a variety of poems that highlight different techniques and moods and topics, which makes Fealty a good addition to anyone’s collection.

What I enjoy most about his work is that he writes about moments of simplicity. I gravitate towards relatable poetry moreso because, in my opinion, the beauty in poetry lies in its simplicity. If I wanted grand works with verbosity, I’d find a nice, long fantasy novel. Thus, visiting a vet (When to Reveal) or words in a dictionary (They Used to Be Things) or insects (The Enmity Between Spider and Bees) are all given equal attention. They don’t make sense together, and there is not really a consecutive theme throughout the whole book. And that’s not the point. The poems in Fealty force you to make new meaning out of our expansive world.

However, that’s not to say that Ricky Ray’s writing is simple.  For example, A Neighborhood of Vertebrae is an interesting bit of prose about pain. It’s almost a run-on-sentence of thoughts, words someone would need to say to themselves as a way to distract from their situation. Thank You, on the other hand, is a dream-like piece, a little confusing at first until it binds itself together with the last lines:

I taste fate every time I swallow:
seaweed, bourbon, bile.
I spit at taunting death
and hear a star in my head say thank you.

Actually, there were many pieces like this, ones that get better after more readings, ones that make you think.  There are so many lines that make you think twice.  Instead of writing them here, I implore you to take a look at the book.

If you’re looking for a book of poetry that runs the gamut of a Poetry 101 course,  I’d suggest this book. If you’re looking for a book of poetry that turns the mundane into something more interesting, I’d suggest this book.  If you’re looking for modern poetry with some pieces that reflect an awareness of social issues, I’d suggest this book.  This is not a book that you read cover-to-cover a la an anthology of a certain type of poetry.  In that way, it’s slightly overwhelming in its scope. You might not know where to begin.  However, it won’t take you long to find some favorites.

Ricky’s latest book, Fealty, can be found here: https://www.amazon.com/Fealty-Ricky-Ray/dp/191247722X

Ricky Ray was born in Florida and educated at Columbia University. He is the author of Fealty (Eyewear, 2018) and the founding editor of Rascal: a Journal of Ecology, Literature and Art. His recent work can be found in The American Scholar, The Matador Review, Amaryllis, Scintilla and One. His awards include the Cormac McCarthy Prize, the Ron McFarland Poetry Prize, the Fortnight Poetry Prize, and a Whisper River Poetry Prize. He lives in Harlem with his wife, three cats and a Labradetter. Their bed, like any good home of the heart, is frequently overcrowded. Visit rickyray.co and rascaljournal.com for more.

Please also consider checking out a wonderful cause that Ricky is passionate about: https://www.wildbirdfund.org/ Their mission is to provide medical care and rehabilitation to native and passing migrant wildlife so that they can be released back into the wild. And to educate New Yorkers about the rich diversity of the city’s wildlife and how to help it thrive.


(Poem) Unicorn

Majestic footfalls raise fairy dust
Along the horizon
Where refractions of light
Bounce off magical water droplets
Replenishing the earth
Bringing forth flora and fauna
As the spectrum of color
Acts as a backdrop
For the pristine, white beasts
Galloping in formation.
Heads tilt forward
Their pearlescent horns
Navigating their way.

The little boy
Squeezed tightly his father’s hand
Held his breath in anticipation
Of their ascent to the clouds
On the rainbow road.
The father looked down
Smile creeping on his face
Looking up again
At his troop of horses
He nodded in agreement.

Magical creatures,
They are.

(Poem) Just another day, my liege

Prompt: King, Pepper, Steel

An odd harmony
Betwixt sounds of agony
and aggression
Backdrop to the dance
of death.

Beauteous, in a way,
How both sides
Stake their lives
On a single man they’re
Sworn to.

The long blade held up
With two confident gauntlets
Smoothly backs out
Having taken a poor lad’s life.

In the moment
Such like all others once ‘fore
The cacophony of steel
and screams fade
Each life deserving silence.

Absently, he licks his lips
As if the gods force him
To taste the sacrifice.
It’s sticky and warm and sweet
And accents his salt-and-pepper beard.

Behind this strong, noble man
Both virtuous and undoubtedly sinful
A perfect example
Of sadness and conviction.

What would you do with the same prompt: king, pepper, steel? Leave a comment, subscribe, and tune in for more!

(Poem) Fly

Spread your wings and fly if you want to
Soar above the clouds and dream again
Glide above the water and wish again
But don’t be afraid to fall on the hard concrete
That you will so surely meet
On your way down without your feathers
Without your net, but with all your tethers
For when you escape, you can fall right through it
And into another sky or ocean
Where escaping seems endless.