I am transported beyond aerosphere to starbursts of promised land I step into a celestial vault explode into a million moonbeams no, sunbeams no, nimbi where am I with Pi in the sky no, some other cosmic abode with diamonds no, cherries no, bijous in the fat palms of deities
while the band surrender to the sorcery of euphonious third eye plane ever-seeing my inner domain now the trumpet speaks a conversation with the brass section breaks it down right down and the brass goes yeah I feel you while the piano butts in but can only agree as all are one in the family tree.
I’m in the indigo underworld swirling streams thought bombs beguile my dreams while men float in ether soup telepath me in puzzling tongues the cobra knows not the answer yet trusts implicitly where to go while the auricle hears whole and separate all at once.
My African dream spins in the cosmic orbs of firmament I’m a little bit just a tiny bit closer to some kind of seventh heaven thank you monkey man you fathomed the Sphinx’s riddle sun god understands and the divinities of fluent geometry sense you rumble through Geb desert earth course across Nut starry sky.
*Originally written last year for napowrimo poetry prompt for April 1st: to write a response to the animated version of Seductive Fantasy by Sun Ra and his Arkestra. I thought I’d finally share it (unedited) and kill two birds with a Throwback Thursday.
NaPoWriMo Prompt: And now – our final (but still optional!) prompt. Today, I’d like to challenge you to write a cento. This is a poem that is made up of lines taken from other poems. If you’d like to dig into an in-depth example, here’s John Ashbery’s cento “The Dong with the Luminous Nose,” and here it is again, fully annotated to show where every line originated. A cento might seem like a complex undertaking – and one that requires you to have umpteen poetry books at your fingertips for reference – but you don’t have to write a long one. And a good way to jump-start the process is to find an online curation of poems about a particular topic (or in a particular style), and then mine the poems for good lines to string together. You might look at the Poetry Foundation’s collection of love poems, or its collection of poems by British romantic poets, or even its surprisingly expansive collection of poems about (American) football.
1. Wild Geese, Mary Oliver 2. Kindness, Naomi Shihab Nye 3. We Have Lost Even, Pablo Neruda 4. Silence, Mourid Barghouti 5. Snow, Louis MacNeice 6. A Man in His Life, Yehuda Amichai 7. Happiness, Jane Kenyon 8. From Blossoms, Li-Young Lee 9. Sweetness Always, Pablo Neruda 10. Tell Me About It, Ruth Padel 11. Snow, Louis Macneice 12. Strawberries, Edwin Morgan 13. Though There Are Torturers in the World, Michael Cody 14. Wild Geese, Mary Oliver 15. Stationery, Agha Shahid Ali 16. Sweetness Always, Pablo Neruda 17. A man in His Life, Yehuda Amichai 18. Eurydice, Carol Ann Duffy (from The World’s Wife) 19. The Layers, Stanley Kunitz 20. Presents from My Aunts in Pakistan, Moniza Alvi (from Carrying My Wife) 21. Brink, Carol Ann Duffy (from Rapture)
*In some cases, I have used more than one line from the same poem, I couldn’t resist. A lot of the above poems can be found in an anthology called Staying Alive which comes as a trilogy of books. It’s wonderful to read, I highly recommend it.
*If I’d had more time, I would have asked permission from some of you fine poets to be able to use lines from poems of yours I love. Perhaps I’ll do this in the future. What a lovely collaborative form. It feels like you’re the director compiling a narrative using different artist’s work. It’s so cool.
*I have a habit of snapping photos of any poems that strike me whilst perusing bookshops or libraries so this came in supremely handy as I had a whole bunch ready to reference on my phone for this prompt. Still, I am pleased it’s the last prompt of the month – YAAAAAAAAAAYYYYYYYY!!!! Challenge accepted and demolished. Thank you, NaPoWriMo!
*Thank you so much to everyone for reading and commenting. It is always wonderful to know your thoughts and I will surely reply and return the favour in the coming days. Much love to you all ❤
Because you can paint like a wizard but it doesn’t pay for toffee so you end up working in HR then quite annoyingly become really good at HR.
Because you can secretly sing a pitch perfect Nessun Dorma in your own key but are crushed by shyness and can barely say hello to a boy you like.
Because you are good at countless things – even more on first attempt at trying another – then are torn between all the loves and cannot choose the one that will make your fortune.
Because you have every trapping of wealth imaginable and no friends or lover to share it with and even if you did, how would you ever know that they were not just there for the hors d’oeuvres and champagne a ride in your new yacht or have secret designs to make you fund their new life?
Because you discover the cure for cancer but the world ends because of another rampant disease or because a bullyboy dictator presses the red button.
Because you wish to be a famous actor but the only time you make it on TV is as a gun-wielding bank robber in a Crimewatch documentary.
Because you want to travel the world and have a job that occasionally allows you to but have a terrible sense of direction so end up in random locations and then spend the whole day trying to become unlost during which time you find yourself.
*I might have gone a bit left field with the prompt.
*only the odd one of these is true in my case. The last stanza is pretty much on the nose.
NaPoWriMo Prompt: And here’s our prompt (optional, as always). In certain versions of the classic fairytale Sleeping Beauty, various fairies or witches are invited to a princess’s christening, and bring her gifts. One fairy/witch, however, is not invited, and in revenge for the insult, lays a curse on the princess. Today, I’d like to challenge you to write a poem in which you muse on the gifts you received at birth — whether they are actual presents, like a teddy bear, or talents – like a good singing voice – or circumstances – like a kind older brother, as well as a “curse” you’ve lived with (your grandmother’s insistence on giving you a new and completely creepy porcelain doll for every birthday, a bad singing voice, etc.). I hope you find this to be an inspiring avenue for poetic and self-exploration.
moon, wh- en you touch me with s- ilver licking lunacy, my inne- r stores replenish once more…I fa- ll away into howling divinity, mate- rnal, replete, cake-dust-sweet…I f- all away into timelessness, a tr- ick you like to play with me …stardust fizzing in my bones.
*Wordpress doesn’t allow for much in the way of formatting so I kept it simple. It’s a total cheat as I wrote it a few months ago, but I was short on time.
*if you wish, you can check out another example of a concrete poem by me here.
*Sorry I haven’t responded to comments yet, everything’s a little topsy turvy right now, but I will respond soon. I really appreciate them though ❤
NaPoWriMo prompt: Today’s (optional) prompt is to write a concrete poem. Like acrostic poems, concrete poems are a favourite for grade-school writing assignments, so this may not be your first time at the concrete-poem rodeo. In brief, a concrete poem is one in which the lines are shaped in a way that mimics the topic of the poem. For example, May Swenson’s poem “Women” mimics curves, reinforcing the poem’s references to motion, rocking horses, and even the shape of a woman’s body. George Starbuck’s “Sonnet in the Shape of a Potted Christmas Tree” is – you guessed it – a sonnet in the shape of a potted Christmas tree. Your concrete poem could be complexly-shaped, but relatively simple strategies can also be “concrete” — like a poem involving a staircase where the length of the lines grows or shrinks over time, like an ascending (or descending) set of stairs.
NaPoWriMo Prompt: Today, I’d like to challenge you to write a “duplex.” A “duplex” is a variation on the sonnet, developed by the poet Jericho Brown. Here’s one of his first “Duplex” poems, and here is a duplex written by the poet I.S. Jones. Like a typical sonnet, a duplex has fourteen lines. It’s organized into seven, two-line stanzas. The second line of the first stanza is echoed by (but not identical to) the first line of the second stanza, the second line of the second stanza is echoed by (but not identical to) the first line of the third stanza, and so on. The last line of the poem is the same as the first.