Poem-A-Day Challenge: Day 19

April is National Poetry Month so I’m tackling the Writer’s Digest 2019 April PAD Challenge hosted by Robert Lee Brewer.

Today’s prompt: Write a license poem. There are many different licenses available to people. Fishing license, driver’s license, license to plate, license to kill, and marriage license. Poem doesn’t have to be about the license, but it could mention a license, happen at a licensing office, or well, use your poetic license.

Photo by Ryan Graybill / Unsplash

Photo by Ryan Graybill / Unsplash

LICENSE TO DRIVE

A few miles from our church’s deserted parking lot,
where the Mississippi veers sharply west,
carving a flat underside to the knobby nose along Iowa’s eastern profile,
I slide behind the steering wheel of my mom’s black wagon in the lot’s back corner.
Early summer sun dapples the asphalt through vigilant trees.
I have no interest in this glinting light, or in the church roof’s steep midcentury slant.
I am fifteen and omniscient, brimming with rules of the road,
ready to join the traffic’s busy fray.
With a confidence swollen into arrogance,
I can already feel myself coasting freely down the sloped drive,
a casual hand flicking on the radio while I merge smooth and easy onto Middle Road,
one at last with the grown-up throng.

But I am not there yet, must still hide myself
behind this veneer of patience
until I’ve received the words I know Mom
has been waiting to say.
I clench the steering wheel and grit my teeth,
waiting for the sweet rush of sentiment,
certain there will be some jubilant proclamation,
a heartfelt toast to this momentous occasion,
some message of pride mingled with bittersweet joy.
Silently I sit, waiting
as she draws a deep breath, then speaks,
her voice firm and clear:
”Remember…
you are driving a
murder weapon.”

How could I forget that lace blanket of light falling heavy over the still, grave hood.

Poem-A-Day Challenge: Day 17

April is National Poetry Month so I’m tackling the Writer’s Digest 2019 April PAD Challenge hosted by Robert Lee Brewer.

Today’s prompt: Write a reason poem. If this prompt seems unreasonable, just remember all the reasons you write poetry or enjoy cooking, dancing, singing, etc. Or provide a reasoned argument for your lack of reason. Only you know your reasons.

Photo by Malcolm Lightbody / Unsplash

Photo by Malcolm Lightbody / Unsplash

PASCAL | SAINT-EXUPÉRY

The mind—that stern commander—is all business, baffled by the
heart and its fervent ways. (Doesn’t it know the mind
has things to do, schedules to keep?) The mind has
its orders. It needs no
reasons or cajoling, no flood of emotion to prime
the pump. The
mind is a marvel of discipline,
knows that without its firm commitment to the orderly running of the body,
nothing would get done, nothing would survive. The mind is disdainful
of the heart.
It is distracted, it
is weak—saturated with useless feeling and taking its cues
only from a soppy trust in some mysterious network of passion and intuition,
with no sense of
the control needed to survive. The
heart is obsessed with
that disorder called desire, the
one that anyone else
can see is destructive and cruel; it is only the heart that cannot
see it
rightly.
What does the heart understand of rigor, of restraint? The mind
is the one who gets it, the one who understands what is truly
essential. Without the mind, all would be—
is—lost. The mind may be
invisible (it’s gotten used
to being taken for granted) but it does not care, cannot care. The mind will be—is—
the stalwart machine, grinding out its methodical duties under its own watchful
eye.

Poem-A-Day Challenge: Day 16

April is National Poetry Month so I’m tackling the Writer’s Digest 2019 April PAD Challenge hosted by Robert Lee Brewer.

Today’s prompt: Write a catch poem. Catch a cold, a ball, a fish, or someone’s eye. <and/or> Write a release poem. Release your anger, a ball, a fish, or someone’s head (from a head lock while wrestling, of course).

Photo by Keith Johnston / Pixabay

Photo by Keith Johnston / Pixabay

1983

It was summer’s lazy sprawl, a long string of hot days
heaped with play.
I may have spent the morning mixing cookies or meandering
the Heights on my bike or maybe shooting a game of PIG
on the speckled asphalt.
Eventually the hours led to this: bright blue uniform in a flower-dotted
field, a nervously-chewed mitt hungry for its first game-time catch.
I waited, swooning in the heat and praying for the splintered bench.
The backstop spread its lacy wings behind the striving batter and
—crack!—
there it was: a hit so clean and pure I didn’t have time
to fear. Thrust my brown leather into the June air and
seized the red-stitched hope.
It wasn’t until my kind, lanky coach bounded toward me,
face and arms open wide in glee,
that I realized I’d finally done it.
My mitt never knew such celebration.

Poem-A-Day Challenge: Day 18

April is National Poetry Month so I’m tackling the Writer’s Digest 2019 April PAD Challenge hosted by Robert Lee Brewer.

Today’s prompt: Take the phrase “Little (blank),” replace the blank with a word or phrase, make the new phrase the title of your poem, and then write your poem. Possible titles include: “Little Guy,” “Little Richard,” “Little Mermaid,” “Little Italy,” and “Little Words That Pack a Big Punch.” I think if you think about it for a little bit, you’ll find a big (or little) poem to write.

Photo by Miki Fath / Unsplash

Photo by Miki Fath / Unsplash

LITTLE SPARK

James had it right.
The slightest spark can flare
into a wild conflagration,
a muttered word into a
deep estrangement.
The merest setback can
cause a rapid spiral downward,
a hateful voice
quickly curdle a whole nation.

But it also means
just one kind word can
change a person’s day,
a single step lead
to lasting change.
One brave act can
spawn a thousand more,
a minor shift
inspire a whole new way.

The Son showed how
the first dropped stone can
sway the judging crowd,
one seed of faith spread
wide in fertile ground.
A turned cheek can stanch
a tide of condemnation,
a humble life outshine
the vain and proud.

He is the one true King,
the only reason for
a million soaring spires,
the catalyst for radical love
that lifts all higher,
the sacrifice of
One for all,
an empty grave
the single spark
for lasting holy fire.