November Poem-A-Day Challenge: Final Week

Here is a belated posting of the final collection of poems written during the last week of November. There are a few that I am fond of from this week. Day 26 gave me a reason to peek back to 2005 and try to finally figure out why I asked my wife to marry me the way that I did. The final day sums up the basic daily cycle I often found myself moving through as I took on this challenge. On the first day of November I had no idea that would take up this task, and I am glad that I did. A few new songs even came out of it. I would strongly recommend this to anyone even remotely considering writing a poem for each day. Thank you, everyone, who read these and encouraged me along the way.

Day 22

Sometimes I am amazed
at the places we get to go
in conversation.

Today I braved a cabin in the Adirondacks
with an outhouse and a Franklin stove.
A log rolled out of the fire
and almost set us all ablaze,
all while I was eating smoked turkey
in a Tennessee suburb.

This week alone I’ve been to a New York Ad Agency,
a 19th Century transcendental commune, a hollywood animation studio,
a hunting reserve across from a nuclear power plant,
and a 17th century Puritan meeting house.

Yesterday, from a cleft in the rock
of my classroom,
we traveled beyond time
and peaked at the Source of all beauty –
One who makes all
inspirations for
sonnets, symphonies, and wars
painfully dull by comparison –
and our skin lit the halls
when we walked away.

Day 23

“Rain god”

Sitting in my comfortably conditioned corner of this city
I watch the harmless rain and think about how far we have come
from the antiquated temptations of ignorant, pre-civilized men
to worship rain gods and other divinities of fertility.

Well, I can’t really blame them. It must have been extremely
vulnerable to have to barter with the moodswings of clouds to stay alive.
Think about it: How could anyone depend upon the whims of weather?

Today, my cookies are made by elves and my breakfast by a cartoon bee.
Their smiles eternally tell me that it is their good pleasure to serve.
What could ever happen to those guys? Right? Ok, I know that’s not real.

Still, today, we needed some milk, so Lyndsay was able to drive minute
down the road and pluck a gallon from a cooler. There must have been
hundreds lined up in rows, like a little faithful terracotta dairy army,
assuring they will defend our right to plenty.

Who fears famines
when we have factories?
Who needs Ba’al
when we have Wal-Mart?
Thank God for progress.

Day 24

“Never Stop Improving” *

Never Stop Improving.
Shop now for timeless appeal,
added sparkle,
glow and glisten,
strength, durability, and lasting beauty,
a soft country look
exalted by absolute elegance,
today’s hottest trends,
delicious results,
and long-life.

Never Stop Improving.
Create a room worthy of a fairy-tale princess
without sacrificing performance, style or comfort.
Cook with confidence-
big ideas, bold solutions, driven by potential-
until you are ready to serve.

Never Stop Improving.
Eliminate odors. Freshen clothes. Improve productivity.
Remove blood, tomato, wine, dirt and grass
until everything and everyone is ready
and year round comfort is reached.

*This is a “found” poem. Every word comes from lowes.com.

Day 25

Never Stop Improving: Part II

Never Stop Improving.
Today I came home
to a disembodied kitchen and dining room,
unpainted trim above the fridge,
smudgy walls waiting for a second coat,
soaking wet carpet that still looked
like a Jackson Pollock mud and baby puke party,
a dead mower, stranded out of reach of any trailer,
and glumps of feces on the flowerpots —
lava cleared from the blow-hole
of the poopcano of our congested septic system.
Never Stop Improving.

Day 26

“The Right Time”

As we peered down upon the lights
of Westminster Abbey and Big Ben
spilling across the Thames,
I reluctantly released the ring
buried in my inner jacket pocket
despite your eyes widening
as we rose to the apex of the Eye.

This became the pattern:
During the late, long walk home from the theater district,
I secretly reached for the ring
until bus routes consumed our conversation with worry.

In Bath we walked the steam haunted ruins
and I, more than once,
got down on one knee
and tied my shoe.

In King’s College chapel, the voices of the candlelit evensong choir
rose like incense, and we later walked out with fresh reverence
as if someone had gently, graciously
returned us from the sky
to the courtyard terrain.
Still, I moved us on
beneath the string lights
strung across the empty cobblestones.
Around the corner a brass band bellowed
slow Christmas carols to only us
cueing the snow to fall like wedding confetti.
I tied my shoe again,
and we walked on to the station.

I still don’t fully know why,
after our extravagant outing,
the common commute from
Cambridge back to campus
was the right time.

Maybe my joyful secret
had been kicking and contracting,
and it was simply time for delivery.

For some reason
as we jerked along the tracks
in our cold, coffee stained seats, and
as stern newspaper readers
pretended not to eavesdrop,
I planted one knee on the sticky floor
and imperfectly proposed the preposterous
on a perfectly plain commuter train
and you said, “Um… yeah…”
as if we had just taken steps
as inevitably obvious
as catching a train
headed home.

Day 27

“I Know How You Feel, Snoopy”

After Ninny, Rah-Rah, Forrest, Alex, Leighton, Stacy, Laura, Joe, Shoo, Giggy, Kendall, Josie, Lila, Alex, Megan, Brad, Emily, Hazel, August, Lyndsay, Shepard, and Sally Ann.

After the gravy soaked  dressing, squash casserole, smoked turkey leg, mashed potatoes, homemade bread, san pellegrino, red wine, apple pie, and chocolate cheesecake.

It might take twice as many people to anchor me with ropes,
because I’m feeling rather inflated and high.

Day 28

“Once”

Once I kicked with cowboy boots,
barrel rolled in mad pursuits,
Swung along vines
and grappling hook lines,
howling o’re bottomless chasms.

Once I put it all at stake.
Buildings blazed within my wake.
I could destroy
with innocent joy
and sleep the sleep of Adam.

The upright walk with the strength of the just.
The guilty falter in fogs of mistrust.
Once I fought like the Fourth of July
before I became the bad guy.

Day 29

secret kiss
secret knife
secret bliss
secret strife

secret blueberries
secret sick germs
secret fern ferries
secret glow worms

secret soldier, stealthy spy
secret sneaky, shifty eye
secret smile sucked in slightly
secret soup snack sipped up nightly

secret sombre ranks – at ease
secret sacred sanctities
secret stealer selects screwdrivers
secret signals save survivors

secret celebrity cinema stars
secret skin-scorched stigmata scars

secrets shared for seminal spectacle
secrets seen seem scintillatingly skeletal

secret sarcophagus sanskrit sign
secret snake eyes suddenly shine

secret celestial seraphim song
secret shepherds sing along

secret supple sunday steaks
secret sparkly snowglobe shake

secret shadow silhouettes
secret stolen statuettes

secret handshake
secret shopping
secret secret
secrets stopping

Day 30

“Philosophy of Poetry”

Listen

Record

Commit

Play

Fail

Wait

Steal

Quilt

Tinker

Simmer

Season

Share

Sleep

Regret

Tweak

Obsess

Forget

Repeat

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