Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Free Poetry Book Giveaways for National Poetry Month and Poetic Asides April 2014 Poem A Day - Days # 11-15

I'm probably ruining my own chances of getting some free books of poetry but we are all about the sharing here so -

For National Poetry Month, there are 30 or more blogs, including our very own CU Poetry blog, that are giving away free poetry books on their blogs. The rules - comment on their blog posting and you are entered into a random drawing to win one of the books they are offering.  Which books? At least one of the books has to be from an author the blog admires (other than themselves) - the other books may be their own books or from other authors as well.

How do you find the list of sites? Go to Book of Kells and be sure to scroll all the way down in the comment section for even more sites than the ones listed. What a great opportunity for you to explore new blogs and have a chance at winning some cool books

and if you are in town -

Our Last Workshop for April is Tuesday 22nd at Champaign library and is right before the Big Open Mic on Saturday the 26th - please join us as our Poetry Month Celebrations come to a close -

And these are from the Poetic Asides Poem a Day 2014 Challenge check it out here

(All the poetic aside contributors and all of their poems are found here as well on the poem a day search tool)

Day 15 - Love/Anti- Love -  two for tuesday

grandma and grandpa

after the great depression
he was the hand vise attached to the work bench
she was the thing that needed holding
gripping too tightly
the garage was his 
the thing they called god 
what sawed 
and hammered them
it made of her
a home

Day 14 - "If I were blank"

if I were to see the future waving at me
from down a crowded sidewalk
would I too casually ignore it
like confronting an annoying acquaintance
its right hand raised and scuttling and calling
my name as it wends its way through traffic
aiming straight at me
would I feel hemmed in by my duties
not to trample my neighbors
remember the rules of polite society
and decline to run away screaming
but instead turn to face it
face to my pimply faced high school past
too eager to please
the one the teachers always called on
as their ace in the hole example
old enough now to finally recognize
my old nemesis expectations
and the future 
I am leading
right now

Day 13 - Animal Poem - possibly a sestina?


The Phylum Chordata Sestina Blues

it’s hair of the dog, pouch of the wallaby time,
fuzz of the navel gazing wanna see
yurs too warm blooded heat
seeking missile builder heart
like my pecos laden bill of sale
before it was bread, bill and don knotts, fuck you

you say tunicate I say tunicata you
say I’m budding another you I mean me it’s time
to breathe and filter feed and everything's for sale
in this sessile existence stuck to a substrata in a sea
of us I mean me my swaying separate heart
beating in time with the tides but lacking any heat

thin skinned and breathable permeable to heat
and water mucous secreting amphibi-us you
are more than your egg laying larval staged heart
splayed and dissected on an 8th graders table- time
will tell you gotta kiss a lotta frogs you see
they’re evaporating in a flag waving distance and no longer on sale

tongue prestidigitation on a prodigious sliding scale
round rock hugging heat
seeking cold blooded slit eyed licker that sees
us feeling something in the dead yew - you
a desert blind slithering under a rock the last time
it beats for having disturbed your slumbering my heart

sweet birds of a morning feather one in the hand my heart
sings its territorial mating bill of sale
pecking order hollow boned migration time
lack of sun and seasonal green light food and heat
wing beat of a thin ancestral dinosaurian you
your black eye moving among twenty snowy mountains all i see

more than all the others there are plenty in the sea
gilly aquateers water runs your heart
schooled or stalking it’s all about you
always moving even breaking your atmosphere to sail
into an air you have no name for the sun’s heat
washing over you breathless and out of time

all this time wandering in and out of seas
in and out of sailing bodies minds seeking heat
seeking maybe the heart of another me I mean you


amoeba blues
or my single cell prison memoirs

they say
thin skinned
and exposed
little more
than a bag
all surface tension
and equilibrium
these too thin
of self
one small part
in one big whole.
I float -
getting too full
of myself -
too tight genes
and twisting
like some crazy
balloon animal.
a taste
of who I really am
neither he nor she
but another me
linked and joined
finally going
making something of ...
One final pop
and I split -
to myself
once again
and left wondering
if I can ever really be
more than just

Day 12 - City Poem

everyday we walk
the same city streets
past the same abandoned alleys,
on this day she insists we stop -
for my 11 year old daughter understanding
comes on one day old kitten paws 
kneading and mewling and blind to all else 
but hunger and warmth
every three hours the rough tongue
of her damp cloth
needed to stimulate the kitten to piss and defecate
before and after every feeding
the pin prick claws of conscience and insistent
crying waking her to the sheer amount of life it takes
to sustain one small life,
the quick calculation of the number of alleys by the
number of neighborhoods
and the great city mother once again on the news
boozy and bleary eyed and putting on make up
for the next big gala event and boardroom meeting
and if she will not be the city’s mother who will be?

Day 11 -  make a statement the title of your poem


“what kind of person are you actually?”

the latest facebook quiz
says the kind of person I actually am
is “neutral evil”
not “chaotic evil” or “evil genius”
but lukewarm evil
the worst kind of evil you can possibly be -
a lethal Lord Voldemort and Miss Piggy cocktail
for anyone stupid enough to taste the wrath
of my being me -
of course the results upset me like it would 
any normal person - so I changed the results,
trolled the author’s blog and facebook pages and tried 
to hack the quiz site unsuccessfully -
no one likes to be thought of as evil
the real evil ones have no buyer's remorse,
hearts filled with loves lost, slim fingers
of chance touching but taken away
by a vengeful fate
until it occurs to me those are exactly
the things keeping evil on the right path - the proper focus 
for an evil so epic it's incapable of change,
my own lazy ADD distracted personality
quickly onto the next quiz and keeping me from being
or doing anything important, good or really truly evil


"for the birds"

Sweeping bird seeds and shells and feathers and shit
off the front porch
I think
I don't want to feed them anymore
but they still depend on me
winter not quite over and spring not yet come -
this metaphor applying to many things in life
and not just my children
and I know I could just move the damn thing
to the back yard
but then
when would I ever remember
to look up to see such colorful madness and flying
and beauty and messes,
the last of winter's leaves
covering my knees and hips approaching my chest
and one final rest
so peacefully
settling in

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Poetic Asides April 2014 Poem A Day - Days # 6-10

Ok - heard about the National Poetry Month poetry book give away? Just comment on a participants blog and get a random shot to win cool poetry books. Hey we're doing it over here at cupoetry -we are giving away Lucia Perillo's Inseminating the Elephant and John Palen's Open Communion New & Selected Poems both awesome books

So who's great idea was this? Poetic Asides guest judge day #9 - Kelli Russell Agodon For a list of blogs go to - her blog. - Learn more about her at her website:  www.agodon.com. She can be found on Facebook here: www.facebook.com/agodon.

onward - writing everyday can mean some unlooked for success and some work yet to be done in the future - if you haven't yet why not take the plunge and participate

Day 10 - The Future

the next mass extinction event is terrifying

they said only when the last tree and fish are gone
will we realize we can’t eat money
but what they never mention
is all the other contenders
just waiting in the wings
for their own chance at the crown
and chances are they’ll look nothing like us
and who’s to say microbe jesus
won’t forget us
unless he’s portrayed riding atop our huge shoulders
in a not so distant past
like our own jesus saddling tame dinosaurs -
I guess what I’m saying is -
is a future without humans still a future
or will it be technically something else
depending on the sensory and metaphysical
predilections of the critters 
next up to bat -
these thoughts of the future concern me -
and I can’t say with certainty 
but I’m betting the fauna in our intestines 
are betting on us too
although there has been some grumbling lately
with the new genetically spliced organisms 
getting in the mix -
I’m just saying -
the next mass extinction event is terrifying
and the up and coming whatevers to rule
may not even see fit to invent the history channel 
much less a “when mammals ruled the earth” made for tv special
starring you know -us

Day 9 - Shelter poem



just as I am most my self when I am writing a poem
I am most alone just having written one

in this blanket fort of solitude
with cushions for doors -
a blue fuzzy filtered world
only slightly bigger than a prone body -
where you find
you are most your self
the same womb-like place
you are always looking for
when you are searching for
just the right word to inhabit
your latest creation
the meant for meaning more than in the becoming
right before it all crashes
into chaos the moment you jump up
forgetting where you are
finally ready to share it with 
someone else


sacrifice zones

on the pine ridge reservation
in south dakota, the average age
of death for a male member of the tribe
is 47
the mind easily taking shelter from a rain
of statistics and realities
with contrived images 
of lodgepole pine and tanned buffalo hide
tents pulled by travois of ponies through fragrant 
tall grass prairies in search of oases
of sacred ancestral hunting grounds -
yesterday I flashed past honking white haired
retirees barely going the speed limit
as they cross the country in wheeled metal boxes
pulled by gas engines
their twilight years spent in search of warmer climes
and paddle boat casinos
I don’t think they’ll flock to camden, new jersey
to get their quick fix of the american dream,
snap pictures of the picturesque mountain top removal
of welch, west virginia for the grandkids
or pick fruit with the workers of immokalee, florida 
in this mythical land of plenty -
no, I clearly see us in our golden retirement years
a generation of walmart greeters greeting each other
as we stop in to go shopping, food stamps 
in hand under big yellow smiley face logos
just happy to be out of the rain for a moment
so we can chat about the weather

* Note: just got days of destruction, days of revolt- by the great author and activist chris hedges in the mail today - he covers in words and pictures four of america’s “sacrifice zones” pine ridge reservation in south dakota, camden new jersey, welch west virginia and immokalee florida - emphasizing in each different aspects of our history -

Amazon description - “Two years ago, Pulitzer Prize winner Chris Hedges and award-winning cartoonist and journalist Joe Sacco set out to take a look at the sacrifice zones, those areas in America that have been offered up for exploitation in the name of profit, progress, and technological advancement. They wanted to show in words and drawings what life looks like in places where the marketplace rules without constraints, where human beings and the natural world are used and then discarded to maximize profit. Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt is the searing account of their travels.

Day 8 two for tuesday - peaceful/violent poem


peace and violence
they fought wars for your right
to not to have to see your relatives at christmas

this is the great gift america and democracy
has brought to the world - after 200 years
of almost continuous warfare,
after a certain age
you don’t have to go home for thanksgiving
if you don’t want to,
chances are you don’t like them, never did
and have nothing in common anyways,
a meal is anything but peaceful
when you’re the main dish,
but of course, main course or not,
most of us will go back,
we are inherently a violent people
with something to prove,
a chip or two or a log on our shoulders
and we know right where to find  
that just right someone
unable to resist knocking it off
no matter how many times 
we’ve yelled or whined and told them 
to stop



“Blood of my blood” the supreme viral condition
of the human race
Beautiful candor we are born into
this tribalness
naked on the outside
we are clothed in rules
of engagement
and the naming of things -
Blood of my blood
I say to you
the world is an ocean
just waiting
to wash us away

8 years old
father of a friend
balding head, basketball belly
smirking about the black player on his
favorite team arms so long
fingers drag the ground when he’s standing
he said there once was a boy, when he was young,
who buried kittens up
to their necks in the ground
and used the lawnmower
on them

28 years old in the adolescent wing
of the long term psych ward
“They’re gonna eat you alive” the supervisor
said shaking his head - the torture of small
animals leading to the killing of them stopping just before
the neighborhood kids start disappearing
paper cups with meds QID BID every shift
lift up your tongue let me see
promiscuous manipulators screaming in rage
not getting their way
monitored continuously a danger
to themselves and others just
batshit crazy
everyone said
the hardest days were always
when the families came
to visit

Day 7 Self portrait poem


me without u
is a play without
an audience
hamming it up
without a laugh track
is no fun I tell you
that all the world’s a stage
scares the shit out of me
I really don’t want it to be
all about me or even us
and I know it’s not
a noisy 5th avenue in an empty corn field world
burning my brain
your head pressed against my chest
you say my heart is always running
too fast
my left arm cupping your head
thumb massaging your neck tense
from straining
to hear me say I love you
for real just this once
I say I’ve been practicing for this moment
my whole life
arms spread wide on one knee in front of you
as if on cue I stage whisper to you just as you
stage whisper to me
“your line next”
and the whole world breaks out in laughter


The silver on the rims of my new glasses
matches exactly the gray of my eyebrows
just coming in.
The brown on the rest of the frame
is the color of what’s left of my hair
and the light reddish fringe near the temple
is indistinguishable from my fading
fall tan line.
I don’t know why I ever thought they would look
good when I bought them.
Looking in the mirror they seem strange
as if made for another person -
a mask for a patient,
as if I had stopped seeing myself years ago -
as if in my mind’s eye I always see someone
20 years old, shirt off admiring himself -
a passport picture used and worn
from crossing all those dangerous
borders like age and time 
and despair

Day 6  Night poem


breaks my will every time
it falls I fall
dawn so redeemably convenient
like a red laser checkout scanner 
at the Safeway
Night does not fall but we think it so
it is why we invented Euclidean 
Night does not fall or even glide
except we will it to
Night is why we live in a Legoland movie 
and why I like to believe 
we were once at one with the night
living back to basically
like birds in their nests in yurts
and roundhouses and tepees
back before we brought our outhouses
our houses hanging like infinite dwelling places
moon shaped full and glowing
unfolding forever in an open star filled sky