Monday, April 12, 2021

30/30: Golden Shovel #10

source: Despite Screening Plans, Pentagon Faces Slog in Rooting Out Extremism

 

The cause of the shooting has not been determined, despite

clues that point toward a clandestine screening

for wrong thought. “There are no plans

to look for the pentagon

code,” an official says, but she faces

multiple inquiries while her department’s slog

through evidence offers the appearance of trust in

reason. Questions of who is rooting

for whom underlie deep skepticism as out

of control police fall deeper into extremism.

 

(This is more a short story than a poem.)

 

Here is how I am using Terrance Hayes’s Golden Shovel poem format, as proposed by the Sunday New York Times "At Home" section, for 30 Poems in 30 Days during National Poetry Month.

 

Take a newspaper headline that attracts you.

Use each word in the line as the end word for each line in your poem.

Keep the end words in order.

Describe the story that the headline is for.

The poem does not have to be about the same subject as the headline that creates the end words.

 


Sunday, April 11, 2021

30/30: Golden Shovel #9

Source: Breaking the Bonds of Mere Language

Suppressed words invade my dreams to the breaking

Point. I drown in mystery, obscurity, the

Enigmatic, cryptic, garbled, murky, until ripped bonds

Of intention, of significance, of

Meaning reduce rationality to mere

Surface, questioning the existence of language.

Here is how I am using Terrance Hayes’s Golden Shovel poem format, as proposed by the Sunday New York Times "At Home" section, for 30 Poems in 30 Days during National Poetry Month.

Take a newspaper headline that attracts you.

Use each word in the line as the end word for each line in your poem.

Keep the end words in order.

Describe the story that the headline is for.

The poem does not have to be about the same subject as the headline that creates the end words.

 

Friday, April 9, 2021

30/30: Golden Shovel #8

The lottery ticket is off-white with a

row of smudged numbers. It was dirty

when I picked it up from the street, a little

tear on one edge. I guess it didn’t have the secret

numbers, the reward of a top prize, no corporate

profits-type numbers. No one pays tax

on a win of zero. The rates

of winning this jackpot are very low and

still, wouldn’t I spend money I can’t spare in the

hope it would be a huge investment? It’s very

low odds. Still, I wish I were rich.

 

The news analysis here is about how corporate taxes rates have fallen dramatically since 1950, yet the winners have not been the American economy as a whole, which was the justification for the cuts, but only the top 0.01%.

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Here is how I am using Terrance Hayes’s Golden Shovel poem format, as proposed by the Sunday New York Times "At Home" section, for 30 Poems in 30 Days during National Poetry Month.

 

Take a newspaper headline that attracts you.

Use each word in the line as the end word for each line in your poem.

Keep the end words in order.

Describe the story that the headline is for.

The poem does not have to be about the same subject as the headline that creates the end words.

 


Thursday, April 8, 2021

30/30: Golden Shovel #7

At first the trip to the Capitol

was an adventure. I had no image of rioters.

I was a patriot who traveled

to save my president from

vague enemies. My towns

were all-American, all white, where

life was the way my grandparents said it should be, no fear

of strangers, because no strangers. But the shoving, pushing of

strangers who looked like me turned my racial

images upside down. Can I change

my racial images so harmony prevails?

 

Capitol insurrectionists came from towns where some white people feared a growing number of people who didn’t look like them.


Here is how I am using Terrance Hayes’s Golden Shovel poem format, as proposed by the Sunday New York Times "At Home" section, for 30 Poems in 30 Days during National Poetry Month.

Take a newspaper headline that attracts you.

Use each word in the line as the end word for each line in your poem.

Keep the end words in order.

Describe the story that the headline is for.

The poem does not have to be about the same subject as the headline that creates the end words.

 


30/30: Golden Shovel #6

 

Wishing for a room of my own with

A door, a window. Right now I have no

Place for myself, no address

For mail, no place where I sleep alone or

Never hear the snores of others. My ID

Says “homeless,” but I carry my home inside me, missing

Only the place where I can bring my  inside out,

Where I can place my memories on

The window ledge, and create my own stimulus.

 

The news story reports how people with no address or printed ID have been unable to receive the stimulus checks they are eligible for.

 

Here is how I am using Terrance Hayes’s Golden Shovel poem format, as proposed by the Sunday New York Times "At Home" section, for 30 Poems in 30 Days during National Poetry Month.

 

Take a newspaper headline that attracts you.

Use each word in the line as the end word for each line in your poem.

Keep the end words in order.

Describe the story that the headline is for.

The poem does not have to be about the same subject as the headline that creates the end words.

x

Monday, April 5, 2021

30/30: Golden Shovel Poem #5

Corporations taking a stand on voting

Strikes some as money putting limits

On what elected representatives can do, but raise

Your sights to another limit, corporations already pressure

Elected representatives in their own favor,  on

Issues that favor companies.

 

This headline introduces a story detailing the political organizing behind getting businesses to take a stand in support of voting rights in Georgia, as well as in Texas.

 

Here is how I am using Terrance Hayes’s Golden Shovel poem format, as proposed by the Sunday New York Times "At Home" section, for 30 Poems in 30 Days during National Poetry Month.

 

Take a newspaper headline that attracts you.

Use each word in the line as the end word for each line in your poem.

Keep the end words in order.

Describe the story that the headline is for.

The poem does not have to be about the same subject as the headline that creates the end words.


Sunday, April 4, 2021

30/30: Golden Shovel #4

I hunger for change despite

the warnings that no vaccines

can halt the shape-shifting

creatures we become of

fog and smoke, failing to see the virus

of hate and fear that imperils

our connections to each one of us, a

sign that to return

is going backwards, not to

a future new rather than normal.

 

This news story reports that while we have vaccines, the mutations cropping up makes any return to life in the before-times still elusive.

 

Here is how I am using Terrance Hayes’s Golden Shovel poem format, as proposed by the Sunday New York Times "At Home" section, for 30 Poems in 30 Days during National Poetry Month.

 

Take a newspaper headline that attracts you.

Use each word in the line as the end word for each line in your poem.

Keep the end words in order.

Describe the story that the headline is for.

The poem does not have to be about the same subject as the headline that creates the end words.

Saturday, April 3, 2021

30/30: Golden Shovel #3

The batboy for the New York Yankees in the 1920s died alone and was buried without notice in 1935. A fan recently researched and got a headstone placed on his grave this year.

 

If only I had been a batboy

Being in the dugout and

Collecting balls and scraps as a talisman

against defeat, against what is

not to be seen, what must be honored.

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Here is how I am using Terrance Hayes’s Golden Shovel poem format, as proposed by the Sunday New York Times "At Home" section, for 30 Poems in 30 Days during National Poetry Month. 

  • Take a newspaper headline that attracts you.
  • Use each word in the line as the end word for each line in your poem.
  • Keep the end words in order.
  • Describe the story that the headline is for.
  • The poem does not have to be about the same subject as the headline that creates the end words.

 

Friday, April 2, 2021

30/30: Shovel Poem #2

This headline is from a feature by one of the New York Times's critics about five Instagram feeds she follows. They are comics ones, because they bring together images and words.

 

Warning

Mother Nature getting impatient with the

Slow awareness of humans to the mysterious

Workings of climate change, the alchemy

Of atoms, of molecules, of cells, of viruses, of

Organic and inorganic matter, visible in images

Of matter, yet invisible to our souls, and

Hardly able to exist in our words.

----------------------------------------------------------

Here is how I am using the Golden Shovel poem format, as proposed by the Sunday New York Times "At Home" section. 

  • Take a newspaper headline that attracts you.
  • Use each word in the line as the end word for each line in your poem.
  • Keep the end words in order.
  • Describe the story that the headline is for.
  • The poem does not have to be about the same subject as the headline that creates the end words.

Thursday, April 1, 2021

30/30: First of My 30 Poems in 30 Day

Last Sunday I learned about the Golden Shovel format for a poem: take a line from another poem or any text and write a poem in which each line ends with a word from the text, with last words being in order. Example: take this line from a poem: “Two roads diverged in a yellow wood”; the first line must end with “two”; the second line with “roads”; the third line with “diverged”; etc. I’m going to try to write a poem a day in April, for National Poetry Month, following the New York Times’s “At Home” project to start with a headline from the day’s papers. Here’s my first attempt.

 

In search of meaning I am finding

there is little in the common

lore to explain the ground

on which we stand, likely

because our different lives tend to

hide our similar desires to be

living, loving beings. It is an uphill

struggle, but I will continue to fight.


Wednesday, March 31, 2021

SOL March 31: A 5-4-3-2-1 Post

I learned about this format from another slicer yesterday, and I thought I could post this much earlier, but got sidelined by my phone going dark. But I don’t want to slice about that. Here’s a more upbeat slice. The format is 5 things I see, 4 things I hear, 3 things I feel, 2 things I smell, and 1 thing I taste.


In Central Park

 

I see auras of golden forsythia soaring upward.

I see yolky daffodils, lemony daffodils, competing for who’s prettiest.

I see bedrock rising from the earth.

I see vacant playing fields anticipate warmer weather and baseball players.

I see glass spires and terraced apartment buildings girdle the park.

 

I hear distant swoosh of traffic on the road transversing the park.

I hear the distant buzz of construction drills.

I hear an ambulance siren speeding to someone’s aid.

I hear the internal hiss of tinnitus that accompanies  me.

 

I feel the chill brush of a March breeze.

I feel the stout wood of the green bench I sit on.

I feel the bristly fur of a passing dog I do not pet.

 

I smell the moisture of earlier rain, perhaps lurking for later.

I smell the tang of gasoline from a gardening vehicle or those cars on the transverse road.

 

I taste oncoming spring.

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I’m participating in the 14th annual Slice of Life Challenge over at Two Writing Teachers. This is day 31 of the 31-day challenge.  It’s not too late to make space for daily writing in a community that is encouraging, enthusiastic, and eager to read what you have to slice about.  Join in!


Tuesday, March 30, 2021

SOL March 30: Post Office, Semi-Success

Teachers, aren’t you always telling your students to read the instructions? I know I did. But do I do it myself?

            Today I walked to the post office to mail two packages of books and renew my passport at the passport window. (I’d tried this errand yesterday, but with only a credit card, I failed, because the post office’s internet was down, and without my checkbook, I couldn’t write a check for the passport fee.) Today I brought sufficient cash to pay for the packages.

            Next, the passport window. The woman there took one look at the form I’d filled out and said, “Well, I can’t take this. Didn’t you read the instructions?” She pointed to a line of rather small type right under the heading at the top of the form. The smallish type read: “Please Print Legibly Using Black Ink Only”

            I had used blue ink. I got the feeling that lots of people brought forms filled out in blue, or red, or even purple ink, and that she rather enjoyed pointing out how stupid, or lazy, she thought we were. And I guess we are, especially those of us who’ve admonished others for not reading the instructions. Now I just have to find a pen with black ink in my home.

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I’m participating in the 14th annual Slice of Life Challenge over at Two Writing Teachers. This is day 30 of the 31-day challenge.  It’s not too late to make space for daily writing in a community that is encouraging, enthusiastic, and eager to read what you have to slice about.  Join in!

 


Monday, March 29, 2021

SOL March 29: Post Office Motto-Fail

Don’t we all know the Post Office motto “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds”? It’s not official, but the words are inscribed across the top of the main Post Office building in New York City. We also know how slowed down mail delivery became under the “leadership” of Louis DeJoy, appointed as postmaster general by the previous president.

            Mail is still slow. Incredibly slow. Unbelievably slow.

            On February 10, I wrote a check to Janice, the woman who cleans my apartment every other week. Some days later, I mailed her the check. (I’ve continued to pay her through the pandemic whether or not she comes.) This evening Janice, who lives in Brooklyn, called to tell me she had just received the check. It was postmarked, she said, on February 16, the day I took it to the Post Office. That was six weeks ago.

            Now where has that envelope been sitting all these weeks? Or did it go around the world a couple of times? Janice’s home is 14 miles away by car. If I’d walked it to her, it would only have taken at most four and a half hours.

            As the humorist Peter Sagal, of Wait, Wait...  Don’t Tell Me,” said, we shouldn’t know the name of the postmaster general. Now is there any way to get rid of him?

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I’m participating in the 14th annual Slice of Life Challenge over at Two Writing Teachers. This is day 29 of the 31-day challenge.  It’s not too late to make space for daily writing in a community that is encouraging, enthusiastic, and eager to read what you have to slice about.  Join in!

 

Sunday, March 28, 2021

SOL March 28: Steven Wright's Deadpan Humor

My slice the other day about walking led Brian Rozinsky to comment that it reminded him of a quote by the comedian Steven Wright: “Everything is within walking distance if you have the time.”

            I love Steven Wright. Ever since I saw him on a comedy special, I’ve loved his playing with words. So Brian’s comment sent me on a quest for more Wright. Thus:

            `“Why do we drive on a parkway, but park in a driveway?”

            “I spilled spot remover on my dog. He’s gone now.”

            “I used to have an open mind, but my brains kept falling out.”

            “I couldn’t repair your brakes, so I made your horn louder.”

            “I bought a house on a one-way dead-end road. I don’t know how I got there.”

            “I almost had a psychic girlfriend, but she left me before we met.”

            “For every action, there is an equal and opposite criticism.”

There are lots more here.

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I’m participating in the 14th annual Slice of Life Challenge over at Two Writing Teachers. This is day 28 of the 31-day challenge.  It’s not too late to make space for daily writing in a community that is encouraging, enthusiastic, and eager to read what you have to slice about.  Join in!


Saturday, March 27, 2021

SOL March 27: Baseball!

I am a huge baseball fan. It started with Don Larsen’s perfect game in the World Series of 1956. Could someone actually do something that was perfect? Then it wasn’t impossible for me to be perfect in my life.

            At the time, I was living in a Philadelphia suburb, so of course I became a Phillies fan. Being a Phillies fan in the mid-’50s was good practice for later becoming a Mets fan. But first I had to go through a Yankees phase: when my husband and I were first in New York and lived on the Upper West Side, I thought we must live closer to Yankee Stadium than to the Mets’ Shea Stadium. Then my daughter’s high school offered tickets to a Mets game late in the 1986 season, which turned out to be their World Series year. For the first time, I read the sports pages in the off-season so the new players and the gone players were not a huge surprise come April.

            A few years later I joined a group of Mets fans who had turned their fandom into a bit of money. They were the Mets scorers for Project Scoresheet, started by the baseball historian and statistician Bill James, who had invented a new way to score games that could be computer coded. The scorers only had to watch games, score using the Project Scoresheet system, then fax our completed scoresheets to the computer coders—and get paid $10 per game. Each year, in March, this Mets group of scorers met at a brewpub in New York or southern Connecticut (many of the men, and they were all men, lived in Connecticut), signed up for the games we’d score, talk baseball and play baseball trivia.

            Project Scoresheet failed as a business, replaced by the Elias Sports Bureau, but the Mets group has continued on. Last year our in-person meeting was canceled, but five of us had a watch-party for the Mets’ opening day. That may have been my first zoom ever.

            This year, we zoomed for our preseason gathering. A couple of the men were on grandfather duty, so baby sounds were background. We talked about the Mets’ prospects with their new, super-rich owner; we remembered all the superstars of the past who came to the Mets and didn’t perform; we wondered what had happened to former members of our group; we watched the Mets rather handily beat the Astros. Perhaps we will all go to a game this year—perhaps. It’s an hour subway ride from my home. I hope the positivity rate will have declined by later this summer.

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I’m participating in the 14th annual Slice of Life Challenge over at Two Writing Teachers. This is day 27 of the 31-day challenge.  It’s not too late to make space for daily writing in a community that is encouraging, enthusiastic, and eager to read what you have to slice about.  Join in!


Friday, March 26, 2021

SOL March 26: My Lucky Day

Yesterday, too, but too late for me to find out. Here’s what happened.

            Yesterday I lost my major credit card. I was at the dentist, about to pay for two crowns. But the credit card was not in my pocket. Since the pandemic, I’ve gotten into the habit of putting my credit card into my pants pocket and not carrying my purse because 95% of the time I’m not going out of the neighborhood. But this is the first time the card hasn’t stayed in my pocket.

            I had no idea when it fell out, and it didn’t occur to me at the time to look around or ask anyone to look around the office. Instead, I rushed home, called the bank that issued that card, and should get a new one early next week. Whew! (In the morning, I got a call from the dentist’s office; the person cleaning the office had found my card under one of the chairs. Oh, well, too late. I asked them to cut it up and toss it.)

            Today, as I was coming out of the subway, I felt something hit my back, but couldn’t tell what it was. I should note that I carry my purse behind me, putting less pressure on my back. Up on the street, I checked my bag to make sure my wallet was still there — and it was. But what was missing was my datebook! Perhaps as important to my life as my wallet. I looked all around, went back down to the subway platform. Called the doctor’s office, thinking, hoping, I had left it there.

            Back home, I gathered my thoughts to see what I had to do if that datebook is really gone, because it had some important passwords in it. Within minutes, however, the house phone rang, and the doorman said there was a young man in the lobby with a notebook that seemed to belong to me.

            I can’t tell you how relieved and happy I was. I rushed downstairs, and there was my datebook. The young man refused to take any money — I was ready to give him $20 — said he found it on the street, and my address was inside. I really do feel like today was my lucky day.

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I’m participating in the 14th annual Slice of Life Challenge over at Two Writing Teachers. This is day 26 of the 31-day challenge.  It’s not too late to make space for daily writing in a community that is encouraging, enthusiastic, and eager to read what you have to slice about.  Join in!

 


Thursday, March 25, 2021

SOL March 25: Depending on when you met me...

I might have been

            —listening to a baseball game on the radio late at night in the late 1950s;

            —a college dropout living in a commune in Washington, D.C.;

            —riding in a car late at night through Pennsylvania to visit my boyfriend in New York City;

            —a new assistant editor after my boss died, and I was unable to write a rejection letter unless I pretended to be my own secretary (because I didn’t have one);

            —a free-lance part-time copy editor at one of my favorite publications, “The Village Voice”; then full-time staff; then copy chief;

            —a free-lance part-time copy editor at “Publishers Weekly”; then full-time staff; then managing editor;

            —co-founder of the Network of East-West Women, an organization supporting women activists in the newly non-communist countries of Eastern Europe;

            —a member of multiple writing communities, including this one.

 

(I got this idea from Heidi's Musings, and just what I needed for a late-night post.)

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I’m participating in the 14th annual Slice of Life Challenge over at Two Writing Teachers. This is day 10 of the 31-day challenge.  It’s not too late to make space for daily writing in a community that is encouraging, enthusiastic, and eager to read what you have to slice about.  Join in!

 


Wednesday, March 24, 2021

SOL March 24: Steps

 

I try to walk every day, outside if possible, inside following a 2-mile walk video if it’s wet or too cold. I used to think that 10,000 steps a day was the goal, until I read that there’s no science behind that number, 5,000 is sufficient, and more than that is even better.

            Today, I walked outside only twice, on errands, and I still managed to get to 7,000 steps.

            First errand, an appointment for a CT scan (just checking up on something that may be, but probably isn’t, a problem). It was at my local hospital, just a few blocks away, but maybe even a block or two of walking once I was inside the hospital, walking down long corridors. After the CT scan, I went to the bone density office; I was supposed to have had that scan last year, but of course, Covid. There, I heard that the machine was down, and I don’t even have to make an appointment: it’s walk-in, three days a week. I’ll be back.

            I walked home for lunch.

            Mid-afternoon, I walked up to a stationery store to get passport photos. I’m not planning any international travel even this year, but my passport expires next month, so I’d better get it renewed when I am not in a hurry for it.

            I walked home.

            I might have gotten to 10,000 steps if it hadn’t started to rain, and my plan to meet a friend out in the park to give her a couple of books was canceled. I’ll do better tomorrow.

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I’m participating in the 14th annual Slice of Life Challenge over at Two Writing Teachers. This is day 24 of the 31-day challenge.  It’s not too late to make space for daily writing in a community that is encouraging, enthusiastic, and eager to read what you have to slice about.  Join in!

 

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

SOL March 23: Into the Real World

Not that we haven’t been living in the real world the past year, but that world has been severely constricted.

            Today I had lunch with three friends from my women’s group, at a restaurant outside, sitting next to and across the table from each other. It wasn’t a zoom call, it wasn’t a phone call. It was Real Life.

            One of these friends lives in my neighborhood, so we had been having the occasional lunch at outdoor restaurants last summer and fall. But the other two lived in further neighborhoods, and we’re all in our 70s and 80s, so playing it very safe. At lunch today, we still played it relatively safe, keeping our masks up while not eating, and the one friend who’s only had one shot so far ordered for herself, while the other three of us ordered a selection of mezze (it was a Turkish restaurant) and appetizers. Food was delicious, if service not quite at the same level.

            After lunch, as I walked up the street, everything felt and looked different. That is to say, it looked and felt as it had before the pandemic changed the world. It was a little disorienting, though eagerly so. We will continue to cautiously return to, or enter, the new Real World.

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I’m participating in the 14th annual Slice of Life Challenge over at Two Writing Teachers. This is day 23 of the 31-day challenge.  It’s not too late to make space for daily writing in a community that is encouraging, enthusiastic, and eager to read what you have to slice about.  Join in!