Friday, September 6, 2019

unboxing a new challenge


More encouragement, whatever your age and *especially* if you're feeling some remorse over the way you have contributed to climate warming, to get involved in demonstration activities coming up soon!


Did you have the feeling that Hurricane Dorian was unusual? Learn more about how these catastrophic events are directly connected to rising temperatures.

Thanks for your action!


This week the Sunday Night Swaggers are sharing responses to a monthly poem challenge. This one comes from Catherine at Reading to the Core. She presented photos of a sampling of boxes and asked us to write about one or more of the boxes.

It now being heavy-duty start-of-school time for me, I sought to cheat by searching my blog for something I remembered about "building the box."  I found the posts I was thinking of, here and here, but I DIDN'T find a poem written and waiting for revision and recycling, oh no.  What I did find was a picture that was very intriguing in the context of this coming-of-age WIP that is consuming me.  So this--and don't you, my teacher friends, all know that kid who is compelled to make up their own version of the assignment?--is a poem for my WIP about my self-selected "wonkbox" drawing.  Thanks to Catherine and the Sunday Night Swaggers (because we borrow & steal but we still keep it real) for all their challenging support for this ms!

built of boxes

my head is a dream box:
:press the sleep button and
the dreams stream out
nightlong string of tickets at the arcade
printed perforated flimsy cheap & precious

my body’s a straightup box of awkward
arms and legs crossing unexpectedly:
:knee jerk reactions, elbows like wings
bending and tilting at wrong angles
nothing ever the same size twice

my brain is a juice box
of sticky sugar endocrine, pure 
digital ones and zeros no longer compute:
:throwing exceptions left and right, 
thinking through my nether regions

my hands are two toolboxes I
don’t know how to use, wrench up 
hammer down liar liar pinch the pliers 
ratchet ratchet nail and screw:
:me the builder can I fix it 

  my way
out         of this 

©Heidi Mordhorst 2019

You can see other Swaggers' responses to the box challenge at their blogs:

-Catherine at Reading to the Core -Margaret at Reflections on the Teche -Molly at Nix the Comfort Zone
-Linda at A Word Edgewise

Our hosts today are poet-author-publisher friends, Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong,  at Poetry for Children.  Bounce on over to get info about the IBBY Regional Conference, which looks too good to miss!


  1. Loved your own build of the box poem!

  2. Hooray for making up your own version of the assignment! And thank you for your climate change reminders, always.

  3. Wonderful from top to bottom and especially the little box you built at the end.

  4. What a surreal and yet totally real poem, Heidi. I love your sort of channeling of e.e. cummings.

  5. love this! And yes....this works for your wip. I love, "liar, liar, pinch the pliers" so fun and funny. Your writing is always so smart. I love that.

  6. Your box poem is so imaginative. Thanks for the link for climate change action. I found a strike event in Portland, Maine that we may be able to attend!

  7. Thanks for the climate control update, Heidi. Catherine chose a great idea for a prompt. These lines strike me as an interesting descriptor for night dreams. I enjoyed your thoughts, Heidi.

  8. I'm so glad you made this prompt your own, Heidi. More often than not, that is what we do, right? I adore this poem. Your word play and imagery are perfect. These lines are my favorite:
    "...dreams stream out
    nightlong string of tickets at the arcade
    printed perforated flimsy cheap & precious"
    This poem is exactly right for your WIP!

  9. Excellent, Heidi! Wonderful voice.

  10. Marvelous, entangled box poem Heidi and I like your Escher-like box drawing too, thanks!

  11. I don't know what is in your WIP, but if it's like this poem, I definitely want to read more! I love what you did with your box poem.

  12. Hi, Heidi, and thanks for sharing the climate links-- such a concern for all of us--- and your quest for box history. You featured box poem is so lovely and vivid; thanks for sharing this Poetry Friday.

  13. Hello dear Heidi - you unboxed your way out into this great post so imaginatively. I keep looking at your box drawing & think - M.C. Escher Was Here -
    And your clever poem is brilliant. I especially like the last hands-as-toolbox verse, but the entire poem is satisfying & makes me read it over again, immediately. To See How you Did That :)

  14. Thanks all, and I see that a disclaimer is necessary...I did not make this box drawing but selected it from the internet. Attribution if I can find it:
    It might be called Cochran's Crate.


Thanks for joining in the wild rumpus!