Sunday, June 17, 2012

National Poetry Month - Update

Hi Folks,

Here's a poem that knocked my socks off during our Poem-a-Day poetry challenge. This poem was in response to the "Ode" prompt from Day 14. And some fun WordParty trivia: Fred Schneider from the B-52s actually attended a WordParty when we were at Club Deluxe many moons ago. 

Bouncing Off The Satellites
By Bear Toffoli

Bouffants Kate red and Cindy yellow pump
beneath strobe light and lava lamp, party out of
bounds and work that skirt like space ladies, shake that
butterbean Keith, shake that that cosmic thing Ricky,
blow the building in a Fred topaz hot pants explosion, my
B-52’s tell it like it T-I is, nip it in the bud, throw that
beat in the can and shake your good stuff out on a dirty
back road flaunt your queen of Las Vegas, flaunt your big
bird, your deviant ingredient, your junebug and juicy jungle
back to loevland cause I’m on a detour thru your mind,
blasting by way of UFO to the wild planet – planet Claire where I
bebop-frug in hero worship to a song for a future generation
bebop-frug to a theme for a nude beach, me and 52 guys and  52 girls
bikini here in Mesopotamia, 53 miles west Venus where
bodies electro whammy! in an ultraviolet whammy kiss
basking where they say there’s a moon in the sky (called the moon)
basking in the deep sleep trism of a dreamland,
bites of cake, rock lobster, and quiche Lorraine
barking spaced out synth boogie runnin’ around and
breezin’ a revolution earth 6060-842 miles per groovy wig
baby so dance this mess around, cause we he, she
breaks for rainbows while hallucinating Pluto and you can
bet this boy-girl from Ipanema goes to Greenland to escape the
bad influence of the devil in my car flashing legal tender like a
bribe and trying to communicate his crazy channel z scheme a
bad idea that is too much to think about, to close to a party pooper
broken a vision of kiss in a dead dry county hanging out with some dead-
beat cronies sucking away all the world’s green laughter in one
boiled breath of too much housework, ain’t it a shame… well give me
back my man Fred, my Kate, my Cindy, my Keith and the late
boy wonder, Ricky cause I’m leaving my private Idaho and shagging on down to the
bohemian funplex, the intergalactic-interdimensional set way
back in the middle of a field Love Shack a giant future cosmic thing of
badass funhouse funplex summer of love good stuff cause I want to
beach party and make love in the year 3000, Juliet of the spirits
blonde Debbie and every wig-adelic riff created by the original party
band, I want to stand in a hot corner and roam with my eyes wide open to
brunette, blonde, red-headed bouffant bliss baby… Hey is that you Mo’ Dean well
brother get dancing now to the quantum cosmos keyboards and keep this party going.

Monday, April 30, 2012

WordParty Poetry Challenge - Day 30 - Work Poem

Day 30
by Ingrid
Work Poem

Sadly, today is the last day of April, which means this is the last prompt I will be posting for National Poetry Month. I hope you have enjoyed the challenge and encourage you to send your poems to

I also hope that you will come to the WordParty on May 15th and read some of what you wrote during the challenge.

Let’s face it: writing poetry is hard work. Revising that darn poem for the 23rd time, trying to find the right word, sound, rhythm, meaning, yes it can be challenging. But as poets know, the unnamable mystery, beauty, and magic that a poem can offer is so worth the work.  

So, for this last prompt, write a “work” poem. Take it however you like: don’t have a job but want one, did have a job but lost one, have a job but hate or love it. Write about how you avoid work, or how you are always late to work, or someone at work you admire or dislike.

With Love and Poetry,


by Bernadette Mayer
why am i doing this? Failure
to keep my work in order so as
to be able to find things
to paint the house
to earn enough money to live on
to reorganize the house so as
to be able to paint the house &
to be able to find things and
earn enough money so as
to be able to put books together
to publish works and books
to have time
to answer mail & phone calls
to wash the windows
to make the kitchen better to work in
to have the money to buy a simple radio
to listen to while working in the kitchen
to know enough to do grownups work in the world
to transcend my attitude
to an enforced poverty
to be able to expect my checks
to arrive on time in the mail
to not always expect that they will not
to forget my mother's attitudes on humility or
to continue
to assume them without suffering
to forget how my mother taunted my father
about money, my sister about i cant say it
failure to forget mother and father enough
to be older, to forget them
to forget my obsessive uncle
to remember them some other way
to remember their bigotry accurately
to cease to dream about lions which always is
to dream about them, I put my hand in the lion's mouth
to assuage its anger, this is not a failure
to notice that's how they were; failure
to repot the plants
to be neat
to create & maintain clear surfaces
to let a couch or a chair be a place for sitting down
and not a table
to let a table be a place for eating & not a desk
to listen to more popular music
to learn the lyrics
to not need money so as
to be able to write all the time
to not have to pay rent, con ed or telephone bills
to forget parents' and uncle's early deaths so as
to be free of expecting care; failure
to love objects
to find them valuable in any way; failure
to preserve objects
to buy them and
to now let them fall by the wayside; failure
to think of poems as objects
to think of the body as an object; failure
to believe; failure
to know nothing; failure
to know everything; failure
to remember how to spell failure; failure
to believe the dictionary & that there is anything
to teach; failure
to teach properly; failure
to believe in teaching
to just think that everybody knows everything
which is not my failure; I know everyone does; failure
to see not everyone believes this knowing and
to think we cannot last till the success of knowing
to wash all the dishes only takes ten minutes
to write a thousand poems in an hour
to do an epic, open the unwashed window
to let in you know who and
to spirit thoughts and poems away from concerns
to just let us know, we will
to paint your ceilings & walls for free

Sunday, April 29, 2012

WordParty Poetry Challenge - Day 29 - Memory Poem

Day 29
by Ingrid

Write about an event you see differently now that a little time has passed. Perhaps you have grown in some way that makes you see the situation differently. Perhaps not. What and how do you see the situation now? Has the memory faded or is it still clear as daylight?

Perhaps the event is ....the time you called up an ex-boyfriend after 5 margaritas to tell him what you REALLY think about his new girlfriend, listening to gangster rap while at your grandmother's house, your wedding, a friend's wedding, birth, death, anything really goes here!

by James Tate

One of Daniela's breasts fell out of her blouse
during dinner in our favorite restaurant. I liked
looking at it and didn't say anything. The waiter
liked looking at it, too, and just smiled. The other
diners tried not to stare, but some of the men couldn't
help themselves. Daniela takes a certain pride in her 
breasts, so perhaps it wasn't an accident. I knew I
should say something to her, but i was also getting
really turned on. It was as if I had never met this 
woman before. The public aspect of breast exposure
had a mystery to it that I couldn't name. I said,
"The fileto tre pepe was exceptionally good tonight."
I stared at her breast as if it were about to speak.
"The gnocchi was delicious," it said. "You're looking 
especially beautiful tonight," I said. "It's good
to get out and see the people," it said. Daniela
had gone into a swoon or trance of some kind, and the 
breast had taken over. When the waiter came for the
bill, he said to Daniela's breast, "Very nice to see you tonight."
The breast blushed, gently swaying in the candlelight. 

Sleeper Wave
by Ingrid 

The chill was damp, deep in your bones
there simply was no warming up.
Memorial Day at Dillon’s Beach
was filled with grey hues:
the sky darkening
sand cool to the touch
salt in the air, everywhere
the sea a darker shade than the sky,
the sea like a rabid dog
waves foaming at the mouth along the shore.
My family members never seemed to notice
the froth and intensity.
I ran up the beach
playing in the dunes.
They turned their backs to her,
and she raged, higher and higher in the sky
The water was a wall coming toward us.

I screamed “LOOK OUT”
but no one listened to a 5 year old
it overtook, swallowed them like small fish.

I sucked in my cheeks
jumped up and down
held my breath
counted 1-2-3-4
they were all still there, when the water receded.

Laughing. They were laughing!
My mother with her head swung all the way back,
her wild and free belly laugh,
wobbling on the wet sand like a drunkard.
Aunt & Uncle dripping
with the sea’s ravishing act,
one helping the other up.
my Father’s red and white plastic flip-flop
the cheap kind from Walgreens
eaten by the ferocious jowls of an angry sea.

WordParty Poetry Challenge - Day 28 - Heroic Poetry

Day 28
Little Heroes = Big Poems
by Bear

"I like it when a flower or little tuft of grass grows through the crack in the concrete. It’s so fuckin’ heroic." -George Carlin

Write a poem about something really small that you find heroic. Write about it using "large heroic" language. This is a chance to really run wild with hyperbole.

Friday, April 27, 2012

WordParty Poetry Challenge - Day 27 - Seasonal Poem

Day 27
Seasonal Poem
by Ingrid

Today's prompt is: write a seasonal poem. 

Perhaps you are inspired by or depressed by a certain season.  We all know "April is the cruelest month" according to T.S. Eliot in "The Wasteland." Or perhaps you are delighted by spring and summer months floating our way.  

Here are a few examples to get you started:

[in Just-]
By E. E. Cummings

in Just-
spring          when the world is mud-
luscious the little
lame balloonman

whistles          far          and wee

and eddieandbill come
running from marbles and
piracies and it's

when the world is puddle-wonderful

the queer
old balloonman whistles
far          and             wee
and bettyandisbel come dancing

from hop-scotch and jump-rope and




balloonMan          whistles

Every day You Play with the Light of the Universe
by Pablo Neruda

Every day you play with the light of the universe.
Subtle visitor, you arrive in the flower and the water.
You are more than this white head that I hold tightly
as a cluster of fruit, every day, between my hands.

You are like nobody since I love you.
Let me spread you out among yellow garlands.
Who writes your name in letters of smoke among the stars of the south?
Oh let me remember you as you were before you existed.

Suddenly the wind howls and bangs at my shut window.
The sky is a net crammed with shadowy fish.
Here all the winds let go sooner or later, all of them.
The rain takes off her clothes.

The birds go by, fleeing.
The wind. The wind.
I can contend only against the power of men.
The storm whirls dark leaves
and turns loose all the boats that were moored last night to the sky.

You are here. Oh, you do not run away.
You will answer me to the last cry.
Cling to me as though you were frightened.
Even so, at one time a strange shadow ran through your eyes.

Now, now too, little one, you bring me honeysuckle,
and even your breasts smell of it.
While the sad wind goes slaughtering butterflies
I love you, and my happiness bites the plum of your mouth.

How you must have suffered getting accustomed to me,
my savage, solitary soul, my name that sends them all running.
So many times we have seen the morning star burn, kissing our eyes,
and over our heads the gray light unwind in turning fans.

My words rained over you, stroking you.
A long time I have loved the sunned mother-of-pearl of your body.
I go so far as to think that you own the universe.
I will bring you happy flowers from the mountains, bluebells,
dark hazels, and rustic baskets of kisses.
I want
to do with you what spring does with the cherry trees.


Thursday, April 26, 2012

WordParty Challenge - Day 26 - Love poem

Day 26 
Love Poem
by Ingrid

This prompt is meant to be playful: Write a love poem from your right hand to your left hand. Or, from your left hand to your right hand. What does one hand do for you that the other cannot? Vice Versa? Look at the appearance, skin, color, nails, scars, and write about it.
Which one is dominant? 

By Jane Hirshfield 

A hand is not four fingers and a thumb.
Nor is it palm and knuckles,
not ligaments or the fat's yellow pillow,
not tendons, star of the wristbone, meander of veins.

A hand is not the thick thatch of its lines
with their infinite dramas,
nor what it has written,
not on the page,
not on the ecstatic body.

Nor is the hand its meadows of holding, of shaping—
not sponge of rising yeast-bread,
not rotor pin's smoothness,
not ink.

The maple's green hands do not cup
the proliferant rain.
What empties itself falls into the place that is open.

A hand turned upward holds only a single, transparent question.

Unanswerable, humming like bees, it rises, swarms, departs.

By David Bottoms 

Sometimes my old man’s hand flutters over his knee, flaps
in crazy circles, and falls back to his leg.

Sometimes it leans for an hour on that bony ledge.

And sometimes when my old man tries to speak, his hand waggles
in the air, chasing a word, then perches again
on the bar of his walker or the arm of a chair.

Sometimes when evening closes down his window and rain

blackens into ice on the sill, it trembles like a sparrow in a storm.

Then full dark falls, and it trembles less, and less, until it’s still.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

WordParty Poetry Challenge - Day 25 - Bar Poem

Day 25
by Bear
Bar Poem

Write a bar poem of no more than 25 lines where you meet a fictional/mythological/historical/character(s) for drinks.

Is it a modern day dive bar or a old-time pub?  What do you and your compatriots drink and discuss?  Are you talking, playing darts or pool?  Dancing?  Making out? All of the above?

Here are some ideas to get you going:
  • Maybe you go to a bar with Miss Piggy and she gets into a jealousy driven fight with another woman.
  • Maybe you meet Mary Poppins at a pub and she feels completely out of place and says nothing sipping on her Irish coffee.
  • Maybe you go to a sushi bar with Izanami and she goes into a drunken rage because people stopped worshiping her for Buddha.
  • Maybe you meet Richard Feynman at a bar who spends the evening correcting all your errors.
  • Maybe you spend the evening being condescended to by T.S. Eliot.
  • Maybe you and Benjamin Franklin people watch at a tavern and make snarky comments.
  • Maybe a Galileo marvels at the new technologies of a present day bar.
Title the poem with the name of the bar (I.E. At The Pie 'n' Mash, At The Elbo Room etc)