(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
Camouflage
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.

 

(Featured) Disassociation

I looked as the stars fell,

But I did not see them,

I listened for the screams,

But I did not hear them,

I searched for the answers,

But I did not find them,

Them,

Them,

Them,

They who do not understand,

I,

I,

I,

Me a soldier of my own reality,

Me,

Me,

Me,

Self-absorbed as my world crashes around me,

 

It is not their world,

But there is where help lies,

Where the fallen stars plummet.

Author: navi.  “My writing reflects how I feel at that exact moment so I guess you can glean a lot from in between the lines if someone wanted to find something haha!” Check out their site here, for more poetry:  https://navisaidit.home.blog/

(Poem) Forget

What ordered the fear
Compelled to obey
Under your watch?
Who took the reigns
When you turned help away
Held your own face?

Hey, he said
Remember? 

It’s like you don’t know
How you got here
Eight years later
A dream you woke in
Moving forward
But you don’t know where to

Remember? 

He looked at you and you smiled
Maybe it’s time to take a cue
From the uplifting lyrics
Playing in your heavy mind
Who’s to say there’s not
Another inception?
Maybe it’s time to wake up

Hey, remember? 

The sea breeze takes your hair back
Your hands pulled off your face
He was gentle and strong
Like you could ever forget

What? you asked

But you always knew
What he’d say
You just wanted to hear it

Remember

His words permeating your skin

You’re my girl 

Exhale.
And what if I can’t?

He grinned. Then you’ll try again 

How do you know?

Because you’re my girl 
And you, darling, 
Can do anything.  

(Poem) The Gift

To be an elder, sometimes
We look at their form and their wrinkles
Or their gait and their circular words
And wonder
How can we help elders?
But rarely do we see them
As a gift

A woman that I’ve come to see
Oftentimes she sits quietly
Observing, not initiating,
But one day she was outspoken
Her beautiful rings, bold and loud
On her tiny hands
She showed me, proud
Unable to name where they came
But they made her happy
The little things

Aw, I don’t have any rings, I said
And she looked at me seriously
You should, she said
Have your mother or father buy you one!
It was important, somehow
With her words so few
I wasn’t sure what she had meant
And I had laughed at the sentiment
But I took something from it
“See you tomorrow!” she said
For the first time

Over the weekend
I wandered into a knick knack shop
I came across a beautiful ring
And her message came to mind
Not bought by my mother or father
But by myself
My ring was empowering
I look at it sometimes
Such a little thing
Such an important thing

And now I think
How do elders help us?