Thursday, June 10, 2021

Fourth Day MVICW Conference


The morning session for Martha's Vineyard Institute of Creative Writing Writers' Conference was titled, "Who's on First? The Persona Poem at Play". The session was parallel to yesterday's session, but had unique aspects that expanded my understanding of the persona poem.  Again, these poems were done during the open writing time, so they will probably be revised later.

 The first writing prompt was centered on a fictional character. I chose the very hungry caterpillar on Saturday morning.

“In the Park”


There should be a song about Saturdays and parks

What a lovely day

I almost don’t feel the fear of why

I am so ravished with this hunger

It seems as if my very soul is empty

For days I’ve been searching

Enjoying delicious fruits

Walking in your rays

But each night, I fall into a troubled sleep

Stomach hurting

Feeling myself expanding

Each morning

When I see you

This hunger drives me farther from my home

I need more


What is this red and white thing on the ground?



The second writing prompt was centered on a historical event before we were born or during our lives.We were asked to take the perspective of someone at the event that wasn't a main figure. In the Love Poetry session yesterday we read the first ever recorded love poem, "The Love Song of Shu-Sin". I considered how a servant might have been there.


“The Love Poem”

I remember how much time it took

    Sun moving through the sky

I would bring her food and drink

She barely touched them

Her hands working the sharp reeds into the wet clay

The pile growing smaller as the edges became dull

I could see her mouth move

    Repeating words

    Verbal kisses she transcribed onto the clay

I don’t remember what she wrote

I was assigned to prepare for the wedding feast

Before she was done

The next time I served her

    She was queen


The afternoon session was focused on prose poetry, "The Pliable Prose Poem".  We had a number of writing activities that helped the attendees understand the form. With one of the exercises, our instructor shared info on the Blue Lake Rhino Cave.

“Blue Lake”

We’ve lost more than our names in the waters of today. The echo of us is in the caves formed in our lives by time and trouble. We must take a deeper breath than ever before. Dive into the lake that once created a cave from the death of a rhino.

Wednesday, June 9, 2021

Third Day MVICW Conference



The morning session for Martha's Vineyard Institute of Creative Writing Writers' Conference was titled, "The Masks We Want". The session was about writing persona poetry. We had to list four historical figures and four fictional characters as the first step. Through other steps we decided on one of the eight figures.  I ended up writing from Yoda's point of view just before Luke arrives on Dagobah. Again, these poems were done during the open writing time, so they will probably be revised later.

“Train or Not Train”

Tired, I am


Unsure, I am that I can train the son of Anakin

For years a lightsaber I have held not

Ready to fade this crude matter is

Too young, yet too old is he

Tainted his mind is

Of this war

Between soldiers it is not


For the Force he must have courage for

Past the emotions he will have to find his way


Tired, I am

Responsibility to fill, I know I have

Do what I must, I will

Train, I will

A path, I will show

Tired, I am


A Jedi or his father’s side choose he must


A disturbance in the Force, I feel

Arrived he has

Train, I will

Train, I will


Tired though, I am

Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Second Day MVICW Conference: Morning Session Love and Loss



The morning session for Martha's Vineyard Institute of Creative Writing Writers' Conference was centered on love and loss. Again, these poems were done during the open writing time, so they will probably be revised later.

The first part of the session was looking at how love is displayed through ordinary moments. It made me think about a somewhat joke that my wife thinks I'm sexy when I clean, so I went with that idea to a degree with the following poem.

“20 Years”

After 20 years together

She’s heard every line I’ve used in college

We’ve danced in bars

    And around the kitchen island

I still play my CDs loud in the minivan

    My six offspring 

    Moan as I sing to the 80s on 8

But we are all silent when she sings

Her first name is odd on my tongue

Her hairstyle changes 

    With the time left in the morning

We fall asleep too early

    Yet stay awake until the teens come home

This love was built on late night whispers

    But it is sustained 

    In the clean rows left on the carpet

    After I vacuum.


 The second part of the session was diving into loss through those ordinary moments. The poem I wrote is based from something my half-brother said after he lost his partner.



The hallway 

    Our pictures in your favorite frames

The kitchen

    Too much coffee sitting in the carafe

The patio

Sunlight reflecting off the flower pots

All is silent

    It feels like it will stay this way forever

Just yesterday your voice echoed off of the picture frames

Bounced on the table settings

And sank onto my skin like the sun

    As we sat drinking lemonade

I feel the air

    Still and unwavering

An emptiness

    Filling the space we shared

I am drowning in it

    Lungs burning

    My heart in a panic

    I am blinded by more than tears

If I open the door I know the world will be swamped

By this silence

I move slowly through the aching silenced

    of all the times I won’t hear you say

        “I love you.”


 The afternoon session was an ode to joy, but was broken into different elements, like food, a body part, a moment. This poem isn't joyful, but that is OK.


“My Shoulders”

My shoulders hurt almost all the time

    A quick movement

    A different angle

    Will bring a jolt of age to my teeth

I’ve carried so much over the years

Thousands of circles soothing my children

    Father and daughter in orbit with the moonlight on the floor

Moved my whole home into a house overnight


Parental expectations

    I’ve shouldered for decades

My shoulder hurt almost all the time

The world seems to have lodged a spur

    Into my collarbone

I can’t lift my arms up

    To hold back the onslaught of its icons

I cry tears of pain

    Of frustration

Holding myself up against the door frame

    Fearful of the weight my children

    Already carry on their shoulders

        As they dart down

            The front steps


Monday, June 7, 2021

Poem from the MVICW Conference


Today is the first day of the Martha's Vineyard Institute of Creative Writing Writers' Conference. I thought it would be fun to share the works I create during this week. These works may be revised after the conference is over.

"This is a Moment"

This is a moment

    The one between the lighting strike

    And the thunder

Like children counting Mississippies

    To know when to cower

    In fear of the storm

The window panes

    Rattling the historical pain

    Of every tornado

    That touched down in our fields

    Of dreams

Tearing up the newly planted crops of stories and poems

    That could one day feed the souls of this Earth

This is a moment

    Filled with backward steps

    Mental debates

    Like standing on the high dive in June

Your dad watching

Your mom’s hand resting on his shoulder

The water looks so far away

    And the teenagers are getting angry

    At the bottom of the ladder

This is the moment

    This is the sentence

    This is the word

    That allows us to crawl out of the covers

        To play in the rain 

        12 feet above everyone

Friday, May 28, 2021

April Poetry Challenge 2021: Day Thirty


Day 30 Prompt: Goodbye

Form: Imayo

“Loss is a Home”

There are moments that break us - in words and belief

We hold on to picture frames - hang them in the halls

The glass forged by their goodbyes - feel hairline fractures

Hallway dark with our shadow - worn into carpet

April Poetry Challenge 2021: Day Twenty-Nine


Day 29 Prompt: Evening

Form: Rondel


House, dark and asleep, I can write.

The last of my breath fills the page,

as the writer now takes the stage.

Computer screen shines, a spot light

on my monologue, so quiet -

keep the peace, even when I rage.

House, dark and asleep, I can write.

The last of my breath fills the page.

Words roll on the screen like headlights,

blinding my tired eyes of age.

Time’s script always sends me downstage

to find a rhyme to this good night.

House, dark and asleep, I can write.

Thursday, May 27, 2021

April Poetry Challenge 2021: Day Twenty-Eight


Day 28 Prompt: Remix

Form: Nonet

“In a Park: Part II”

In a park there is a statue of

a girl holding a red balloon

shaped like a heart. She looks up

with a serious gaze.

I always think she

is wondering

what to do

with it



a moment

I hear laughter

from my three daughters

as they run through flowers.

I walk away from the girl

holding a heart shaped red balloon,

sad because she cannot feel this love.