Friday, February 26, 2016

more found objects

I've been hard at work this week trying to keep up with the flow of found objects over at Laura Shovan's blog.  It's true, though, that as with anything, the more you do it the easier it gets, so I did get in a rhythm this week.  Here are drafts of poems for Days 23-26 (all are © Heidi Mordhorst 2016), and thanks to Laura and all the participants for the inspiration!

Traffic Stop

rolling rolling rolling
carry me away
it is my right to copy
it is my right to read

rolling rolling rolling
with the cargo of the mind
defend my right to congregate
defend my right to read
                         officer, please
rolling rolling rolling
carry me on home
home to shelves and piles and stacks
home to libraries


birdhuddle            home

we daren’t open that door

The action of attraction

There are screws that hold us tight
there are hooks on which we hang
there are locks that shut us in
there are keys that shoot our bolts

whichever way the waves rise
whichever way the wind blows
whichever way the ship rolls
whichever way the floor jolts

we’re shot, we’re shut, we’re hooked, we’re screwed
our brassy hearts hang hard and cold
waiting for a touch, a hand
waiting for the warmth of skin

and when it comes we leap to it!
we buzz with loosing, waking need
to staterooms, quarters, lockers, deck —
                                                                    and now the crossing can begin.

Sister Sun Sets You Straight

You thought the all-powerful
was a god?  A hot-blazing,
fire-roaring, staff-wielding god?
Helios Apollo Huitzilopochtli
Surya Toniatuh Ra--
                          ha!  I am goddess.

I do not blaze so much as simmer;
I do not roar so much as sing
(some say singe);
I do not wield a mighty staff;
I waft my hair of flame.
I coax the sweetness out with legendary heat:
from soil and branch, maple;
from stem and leaf, strawberry;
from pod and bean, chocolate.
(I do not claim the cookie dough.)

I forgive your errors--
my charms are hard to judge from lowly earth.
So every now and then I descend, all dulcet warmth
and eyelashes, to wink at humankind
from unexpected spots.
                         Don't forget the recycling.

Laura's project is hosted today by Michael Ratcliffe, and our Poetry Friday host is Elizabeth Steinglass, who's prompting us to consider process (very appropriate for this Found Objects exercise).  See you there!

Friday, February 19, 2016

bowl and spoon

Last night my Found Object poem intent was sidelined by several hours spent with my ailing 16-year-old--we suspect food poisoning.  Being awake with her into the wee hours, huddled and cuddled on the fuzzy rug of the bathroom with the blue commode, reminded me of an old poem from her toddler days.  It's dated February 14, 2001.


                        Stirred by jet lag

my small daughter

         deyicious, citing and diffent

 at twenty months

lies against me, heavy

         with wakefulness

in the narrow guest bed, and

               wetly practices whispering:

         Gama seep?  Danel seep?  Dulyet seep?

She checks

the roster of newly met relatives.

They’re all   

        asleep.          She falls quiet,

              rolls over,

                       and suddenly I feel her
   in the bowl of my body as    

          sleep lifts her a few hovering inches

                 into the white December morning.

All she leaves behind is her

                                  hand, Mama

(c) Heidi Mordhorst 2001

There was a LOT of Found Object Project action here on Monday--don't miss the approximately 15 takes on one half-empty cup o' joe!

Our round-up host today is  Donna at Mainely Write--oh, this is gonna be fun!

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

found object project day 17

I'm a little garish, yes--
A little tacky
with my rhinestone embellishment
and my approaching-neon
shade of pink
my squashy elevated heel
which no 4-year-old needs
to navigate.
So maybe Dad's reaction
was only a little extreme--
he scooped her, whining,
off the ground,
snatched me and my partner off her feet,
made to throw us in the bin.
There was a little snarling about
"a proper pair of sneakers."
But as he turned,
I did too, dropping
to the ground,
stepping towards freedom,
my garish, glittering future
in pink.

~ HM 2016
all rights reserved

Follow all the prompts at Laura Shovan's blog!
And see all the responses at Mainely Write with Donna today. 

Monday, February 15, 2016

welcome to the Found Objects project, day 15!

Ahhh....a snowy morning, a hot cup o' joe, and no school!  Thanks, George & Abe!

I have the honor today of helping out my friend and Maryland neighbor with her annual February Write-Along Challenge.  (Laura's kind of busy right now, with her NEW BOOK* set to come out in April.) This project goes by many names, and I'll let Laura herself explain it thoroughly at her new blog, but the short version is:

one interesting prompt per day in February = one new poem per participant per day

Laura is very careful to let everyone know that perfect attendance is not a requirement for participation, although some do challenge themselves to that discipline.  I'm in the other camp, joining in when I can, but since today's prompt is the Found Object photo that I provided, I'll be working on my draft along with rounding up the responses of others today.

And let's be frank, shall we?  Although each of us blasting out a poem-a-day may enjoy a blazing moment of transcendent poetic glory here and there, it will be a very rare poem shared that doesn't need some time to percolate (heh heh "percolate" get it?) and another few rounds of review and revision.  Most of our responses are very definitely drafts.  But as I noted earlier, there is something liberating about just Going For It--conceiving a poem, typing it, cutting and pasting it and clicking to put it out there, all in under an hour.  This practice exercises all kinds of muscles other than actual composition, doesn't it!?

Now, let's go find some transcendent poetic glory....

Jessica Bigi gives us a related round, brown textured treat:

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Vanilla splashes
Flowery fingerprints
Cookie dough everywhere
Spoonful of chocolate chips
Magic baking on trays
The best part of all
Slurping leftover
Batter off fingers
From the mixing bowl
We're Grandma's
Little bakers

~ Jessica Bigi

Matt Forrest Esenwine finds himself transported by engrained marketing slogans, and it works, by golly!

Maxwell’s Kitchen

I sipped away
as time ticked by;
the Last Drop, though,
is growing nigh.

© 2016 Matt Forrest Esenwine, all rights reserved

Catherine Flynn writes: "I recently read Lisa Randall's Dark Matter and the Dinosaurs: The Astounding Interconnectedness of the Universe, and this poem is definitely under the influence of Randall's fascinating (although at times over my head) book."

Rings of sediment
line this mug of stone.
Remnants of cocoa
chart the history
of this poem.

Thin layers mark
many quick sips,
moments of confusion
or distraction.

Thicker layers tell
a tale of clarity,
ideas growing,
words flowing.

In the unfinished drops
at the bottom
I try to read the future,
and divine the fate
of the universe.

© Catherine Flynn

Laura also (in a phenomenon that I'm going to call "quantum entanglement," after Albert Einstein, but which I'm pretty sure has a different name when it's not about particle) connects the coffee in the mug to the surface of the Moon in a haiku:

La Luna flashes
her cappuccino craters
in my coffee mug

(c) Laura Shovan

And Mary Lee Hahn carries us far from the chill of this snowy morn, the strata of this half-empty cup:


It's late summer.
All that's left of Bijou Creek
is a sinuous path of green
between low eroded hills.

In the cutbank of a gully we find
fossilized fragments of turtle shell,
and a Paleocene tree trunk
buried in its upright, growing position.

                                                                                    ©Mary Lee Hahn, 2016

We do enjoy hearing how others' poems come to be, so Mary Lee shares her process notes here.

I myself intended a similarly thoughtful poem of time and strata, layers and decumulation; I even titled the photo both "Caffeinocene Era" and "Capuccinocene Era".  But, being the photographer, I know what was really going on during the drinking of this cappucino a few Saturdays ago...

Weekly Planning

See that warm cinnamon foam
at the bottom? I drank my capuccino upside down;
I mean I planned my week of second grade upside down.
I came to the frothy, spicy cinnamon layer last
even though it was topmost when I took my giant overflowing cup
from the baristo.  I was the one who liberally sprinkled the cinnamon,
for heaven's sake.  I was the one who poured in the raw brown sugar
crystals, the sweetness.

And then I plunged in--
new marking period, new topics, good stuff! technology and tools,
observing the moon, change over time, measurement
in inches and centimeters, distinguishing
fact and opinion.  How to compile it all together
into a coherent whole?  How to layer the concepts
by period of the day, so that "social studies and information
literacy inquiry project" might also link with "well-constructed
investigation" and "justifying mathematical approach logically"?
Relishing the challenge and the time to tackle it, I
sat in that noisy food court cafe and I
planned the bejeesus out of Week 1.

And then last--
I mean actually last, I thought about our morning meeting,
a new greeting for a new quarter, personal sharing.  Last
I thought about the topmost layer, first things first,
the spicy cinnamon "hello I see you," the frothy foamy
"you have a life outside of school, it sounds like
you had fun," the liberally sprinkled "you belong here
in this class, in this family" of e pluribus unum, every color
from the espresso of Mali to the milky froth of Scotland + Belarus
to the cinnamon of Indonesia to the raw sugar of El Salvador

and as we know
all that caffeinated coherent curriculum
none of it will happen
without the spicy cinnamon foam on top,
the sweet greeting, the "hello I see you,"
the "you belong here" of
"January, February, March April May--
I choose YOU. What do you say?"
(c)  Heidi Mordhorst 2016

Well, it would appear that I have met a goal of mine without intending to...could this be my first slam poetry composition?

Diane Mayr has come by to remark, "I took what I thought was the obvious path, but, I guess it was only obvious to me. The variety of subjects amazes me!"

On the Seconds Table

Clay in his hands
I had spun--rising,
molded--into a vessel.

I'd been transformed
into soft stone by
fire, yet I was
still vulnerable.

He covers me now
with silica and
oxides--knowing my
potential. I have
good lines.

The warmth of a coat
is augmented by fire.

Like the Wicked Witch
I feel I am melting.
Melting, melting...

I stand strong.
Turn incandescent.

Then cool. Ping! Ping!

At first glance [Ping!]
I am a beauty.

Ping! Ping!

Crazed! In a word,
I remain stone.

I survived. And, I,
still have purpose.

© Diane Mayr

And here's Buffy Silverman, firing on her second cup of the morning:

Cuppa Joe

Inhaling the scent of morning,
cold fingers curl
around a steaming mug.

She takes a sip
and stops to savor

the jolt of caffeine
the warmth of routine
the start of a new day.

© Buffy Silverman

Carol Varsalona has fashioned a digital composition for us...I think I can share it "wholecloth"...

So, at 7:30 9:30 pm, it would seem that that's all the entries for today. there are still three more to post!  Welcome to Julieanne!

The lip curls
it can carry
toward its early morning partner.

The solid presence
and softens the light,
and lifts the spirit.

Left alone
it bears
a stain of worthy use.
Waiting for tomorrow.

© Julieanne Harmatz 2016
Charles joins in today too, with this tribute to one who fills the cup:

My once ivory coffee cup
now has hot chocolate
rings, reminding me of
the warm beverage that
thawed out my insides
minutes ago.
As trees shiver-sneeze
outside my window,
Grandma pours another
cup of love into my mug,
dunks in a marshmallow
 then says, “Be thankful for
what you have.”

(c) Charles Waters 2016

And here's Linda Baie, our hands-on finale:

A Cupful of Story

A cupful of hands,
dug the clay,
formed it round,
to finish in the kiln.
Another cupful of hands
harvested the pods,
gathered the cocoa beans,
shipped them off to the world.
A cupful of hands
ground the beans,
prepared the cocoa,
to sell at a grocery.
Your cupful of hands
brought the cocoa home,
heated the milk,
stirred in the chocolate,
touched the cup to the lips.
smelled and sipped.

This cup remembers hands.

Linda Baie ©All Rights Reserved

And, for the final finale, Donna's little sip, with a lovely title:

Time in a Cup

Like tree rings and
Layers of rock,
A chocolate trail
Records time
In a cup.

©2016, Donna JT Smith, all rights reserved

Jone joins late, and if I'm not mistaken, has the chance to feel an influence  from all the previous poems to create hers:

Morning Mocha
Chocolate moon craters
lava steam

Use the mug
as a hand warmer

before morning work

before students

daily ritual

© 2016 Jone Rush MacCulloch all rights reserved

Thanks to all who participated today and most especially to Laura for chivvying us all along in this most inspirational way!

*Laura's new book is The Last Fifth Grade of Emerson Elementary and it's due out from Wendy Lamb Books on April 12.  The book is enjoying a thrilling amount of pre-publicity, so pre-order now to make sure it's in your hands as soon as possible!