Friday, June 2, 2023

turquoise inklings + happy pride!

Greetings, PF People! It's June and that means Pride Month in the US and in much of the world (but let's spare a thought for LGBTQ folks of Uganda). I had the pleasure of kicking off the month by participating in my first public reading in a very long time last night, with 4 other queer poets who all have poem-videos that will appear one by one throughout June at  The very first video is from Ishanee Chanda, whom I met last night--she had a certain offhand, subtle style that jumped up and grabbed you when you weren't expecting it, a great reading! My poem will appear on June 21st--don't worry, I'll remind you.

Typing the title above has reminded me of something from my ur-memory: that for a period, probably in 9th grade, I wrote exclusively with a cartridge fountain pen full of turquoise ink. I believe that's also when I figured out handwriting finally--getting it even and regular came slow to me and it only happened when teachers stopped fussing at me about the Palmer Method.

I'm thinking about these things because our Inklings Challenge on this first Friday of June is to write a color poem, thanks to Molly, who says, "I’m always startled by the dazzle of color that arrives in spring after months and months of blues and whites and greys. This month I’m inviting you to write a color poem." She kept it broad with a just a couple of examples, and I'm going with this poem about something else that came slow to me--although the fountain pen might suggest otherwise.

           I Finally Choose a Favorite Color

Turquoise, you persist, you win,
and I shake your hand.

You are slick and solid
with sharp enamel edges,
which shocks me.

You smell like sky upside down water.
Next to my ear you breathe
a Mediterranean sound

of cavewave, squid and pebbles.
When I open my mouth for a taste,
I find you are liquid, tart,

which slakes me.
Returning you to you,
you reshape yourself, no longer

a tile of middling blue but a bowl,
a curved mirror
exactly the size of my face.

You can find this poem published at Lines + Stars Journal.  Let's go see if anyone else had trouble committing to a favorite color (I was 34 years old and had married two people before I married turquoise; there were just so many other great choices!)

Catherine @ Reading to the Core
Mary Lee Hahn @ A(nother) Year of Reading
Molly Hogan @ Nix the Comfort Zone
Linda Mitchell @ A Word Edgewise
Margaret Simon @ Reflections on the Teche

Thanking our host today, Tricia at The Miss Rumphius Effect, and leaving you with the opportunity to enjoy KIDS' POEMS every week at...


  1. Such a sensual poem "sky upside down water". I don't think I've seen turquoise in years due to my cataracts. Thanks for turning my mind to this turquoise morning in June. I look forward to your reading. Please do remind us.

  2. Happy Pride Month, Heidi. I love that you wrote with the turquoise ink, such a teen thing to do. I am older so don't remember any color in the cartridges but red, & I used them! Your words about this color are full of love, maybe for that girl you were. I love "middling blue", exactly!

  3. Nice, Heidi! Congratulations on the reading and on publication. It's funny. I've been thinking about fountain pens lately, too, and considering trying one out again.

  4. oh, heck. That was me, Susan, above.

  5. Happy Pride! I shall imagine you, veiled in Mediterranean blue, a fat turquoise fountain pen clutched in your lithe poetic fingers. What a beyoootiful feast of words you've invited us to devour.🔥

  6. Hi Heidi. I love color poems and love turquoise. Your color poem is adult in language but also remembers the kid who loved the color, the pen, and the fact teachers stopped fussing! I've written numerous color poems and enjoy picking new colors to peruse. In fact, I have two iterations of my red poem and just edited both! Your poem is a wonderful melding past and present! Caro at The Apples in My Orchard

  7. Happy Pride! Wow, this is fabulous. I extra love "You smell like sky upside down water.
    Next to my ear you breathe
    a Mediterranean sound

    of cavewave, squid and pebbles." There are enough anchors there that the clouds are beautiful rather than confusing. Gorgeous.

  8. Heidi, Happy Pride Month! Before leaving LI, my husband and I strolled the boardwalk and saw a Pride Festival on the stage near the shore. It was fun and everyone was smiling with happiness. Your color poem reminds me of that day and the colors of outfits, bands, etc. In the summer turquoise is a beautiful color and the way you envision its smell reminds me of the turquoise waters of the Bahamas. Love this post.

  9. 'cavewave' - love. And a color that reshapes itself. Who doesn't love turquoise?!! Wishing you all a rainbow of goodness this Pride Month, with turquoise and all the colors besides. xo

  10. Wow! WOW! All those sensory details...from sharp edges to tart. Beautiful poem, Heidi. Happy Pride Month. I am holding queer folks of Uganda in my heart. I know some folks that do humanitarian work related to adoptions there. I cannot imagine how scary it must be for the LGTBQI community. xo

  11. Oh, I just love this poem and all the unexpected images, along with the whiff of grade school Heidi in your post. The third and fourth stanzas really popped out for me. The breath of a color is surely something important to contemplate and that combination of "cavewave, squid and pebbles" is brilliant! Thanks for this sensory delight of a poem and Happy Pride Month!

  12. Happy Pride Month to you! I love the curved mirror at the end, the shape of your face. Yes do remind us of your poem when it comes out! Congratulations.

  13. A perfect Pride-Poem to celebrate with - drenching oneself in liquid love! -- And ALL smiles reading through Whisper-Shout (enamored of pine cone POV)!

  14. I've been in and out of love with fountain pens (currently in) for quite some time. And my favorite color fits every season. In the spring, I love the purple of rain clouds against the new green of the trees. Soon, I will love the summer purple of cone flowers. In the fall, it's the purple of asters alongside goldenrod. Winter's purple is snow shadows. Happy Pride! Shine on in all your turquoise glory!

  15. Heidi, I love turquoise. And these words/phrases: "sky upside down water",
    "cavewave, squid and pebbles". I am really sad to read about Uganda. It's unfathomable.

  16. "You smell like sky upside down water" — I love that turquoise has a scent. Happy Pride, Heidi!


Thanks for joining in the wild rumpus!