Monday, July 26, 2021

July Golden Shovel #23

You haven’t been home for years. It’s time to revisit

The homestead. Except you have no homestead or a

Single home where you grew up. The past

Is a patchwork of city, country, suburb, an experience

Of all schoolgirls named Judy Linda, Nancy, Joyce, or

All boys named John, Bill, Mike, Spike. Perhaps

You have lived many lives coded with a tap

On a tab of memory that mixes the kaleidoscope of your

Past life or lives that cannot connect your heart to your feet.

 

source: Revisit a Past Experience or Perhaps Tap Your Feet

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

July Golden Shovel #20.1

Fire meets Fire aloft, introduced by lightning, a

Cousin to cumulus. Sere redwoods bloom with fire.

Orange flames lick dry leaves, wrapping a necklace so

Tight on the trees, they shatter in overwhelming

Heat. Fire skims tender caresses over the forest. It

Melts into a gale where Fire nestles on sequoias, controls

All wind, sun, air, jilts water left steaming in the

Streams. Fire scripts love letters to Fire in the weather.

 

source: A Fire So Overwhelming It Controls the Weather.

 

a revision of what I posted earlier.


July Golden Shovel #20

Father lightning shoots down a sharp jolt and a

Dry tree welcomes his jab, leaping into fire

That creeps gingerly among dry leaves so

Slowly she’s unnoticed until a burst of overwhelming

Flame takes charge, leading fire’s advance. It

Revs up, gobbling all tinder handy. Fire controls

The earth, the air, all becomes nourishment for the

Fire, announcing her dominance to power the weather.

 

source: A Fire So Overwhelming It Controls the Weather

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I’m continuing to use 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.

 

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It’s Slice of Life Tuesday over at Two Writing Teachers. Check out this encouraging and enthusiastic writing community and their slices of life every Tuesday. And add one of your own.


Tuesday, July 13, 2021

SOL Tuesday: A Train Tale

Yesterday, I had to go to White Plains to see my dermatologist. He has not been coming to his Manhattan office since covid arrived, and I haven’t had a body scan for almost two years. (Since I’ve had two noninvasive melanomas, I want to be checked out regularly.)

 

I got on the train at Grand Central. At 125th Street, a young man got on, with backpack and two folded-up walking sticks, and sat across from me. When the conductor came around, the young man said he only had a receipt, said the ticket never got spit out of the machine. “Someone got a free ride,” the conductor said. “Show me the credit card you used.” The young man gave him a credit card, but the conductor said it didn’t match the receipt. “Find the transaction on your phone,” he said, and continued down the car.

 

I wondered if the young man was trying to use a receipt he’d found to get his own free ride. When the conductor came back later, he inspected what the young man had brought up on his phone, and was satisfied.

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It’s Slice of Life Tuesday over at Two Writing Teachers. Check out this encouraging and enthusiastic writing community and their slices of life every Tuesday. And add one of your own.

Tuesday, July 6, 2021

SOLTuesday: In the Heights for an “In the Heights” Walking Tour

A couple of weeks ago I went to a movie theater for the first time in a year and a half, to see Lin-Manuel Miranda’s “In the Heights.” The city street scenes were great, but I don’t know that neighborhood so well, and mentioned to a friend who lives in Washington Heights that there should be walking tours of sites associated with the film. She immediately volunteered to take me on one, and that’s what we did yesterday.

 


            If you haven’t seen the movie yet, I won’t say too much about the plot. But here are three scenes. The first is in the J. Hood Wright Park (a rich man who had a mansion on this site) where Benny and Nina, the secondary couple, sing a duet. This part is set on top of Manhattan’s bedrock and looks toward the George Washington Bridge, which BTW is the world’s busiest bridge: it carried more than 103 million vehicles, many trucks, in 2016 (latest figure on wikipedia). On the New York side it connects to the Cross Bronx Expressway, which I have heard long-haul truck drivers call the worst highway in the country; having driven it myself, I would agree.

 

           

            Next is a row of three-story houses on West 176th Street, very much like private homes in Greenwich Village much further downtown. Judging from the mailboxes, it looks like they have been converted to one apartment per floor. In the movie, people are sitting outside on the steps and Nina dances down the street, singing of her love for her neighborhood.

 

            This location I didn’t think really existed. It’s part of Usnavi’s song and dance to honor his Abuela Claudia (Usnavi is the Lin-Manuel character). But it is real: the tunnel leads from Broadway under the hills of Washington Heights (it’s called “the Heights” for a reason) to the #1 subway train. The graffiti is still being worked on — one man was adding finishing touches of red to one part — and from all the paper and cardboard near the walls, I suspect that people sleep there at night.

            I will definitely watch the movie again — it’s available on Hulu — now that I can see outside the frame of the camera. 

 

 

 

 

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It’s Slice of Life Tuesday over at Two Writing Teachers. Check out this encouraging and enthusiastic writing community and their slices of life every Tuesday. Add one of your own.

Wednesday, June 9, 2021

May Golden Shovel #24

source: The Podcast 70 over 70 Puts a Forward Spin on Older People

 

Some think old people are unfamiliar with the

Internet. They think we don’t know what a podcast

Is. Now there is a podcast called 70 

Over 

70,

The mirror-image of 30 Under 30 lists. 70 Over 70 puts

The focus on we old folks and could be a

Positive, reversing the stigma on old people. Moving forward

On this rethinking requires we stop the spin

Of “age is just a number,” “you’re only as old as you feel,” “I’m 79 years young,” and on

And on. Age is real, we will all die sometime, and older

People are closer to the end than young people.


May Golden Shovel #23

source: World Is Facing First Long Slide in Its Population

 

She retreats to a distant cave in desert hills, feeling the world

Recede to a pinpoint. An alien force circles the Earth, is

Nearing her refuge, blocking the entrance, until it is facing

Her, a phantom filling her cave, the first

Visitor from another universe. It’s come a long

Distance away in space and time, but the phantom can slide

Past wormholes and black stars. The phantom senses her in

Her refuge. It haunts her dreams in an unknown language, but its

Intention is unknown to any population.

Monday, June 7, 2021

May Golden Shovel #22

So it's been a while since I wrote a golden shovel poem, but I've been saving source headlines to work on. Even though it's now June 7, here's one for May 22.

source: Rural Oregon Votes to Quit Its Own State and Secede to Idaho

They don’t want to start a war, the rural

Citizens of Oregon.

They only want to not be overruled by the votes

Of city citizens, to

Escape values that rural citizens dislike. Country folk quit

Empathy, its

Apparent weakness intolerable for people who carry their own

Guns wherever they go. They state

Their need for more compatible associates and

Demand to secede.

City folk escort them to the border, to

Their own private Idaho.

Saturday, May 22, 2021

May Golden Shovel #21

source: Summer Is Coming. Let the Words Flow

 

Words line up neatly in dictionaries, until summer

Heats the pages. Pages curl restlessly until one is

Tempted to fling itself from the binding, coming

To dance in sunlight. Sunlight rinses words loose to let

Them alchemize in any order: meaning the

Existence burnt into is new. New sentences of words

Revolutionize my mind as language takes on original flow.

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

I’m continuing to use 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, May 21, 2021

May Golden Shovel #20

source: Transforming a Fake Reality into Real Drama

 

Fireflies light up the meadows, transforming

Fields into a galaxy hugging the earth, where a

Constellation mirrors Orion, luring owls in their hunt to fake

Nests where sleeping mice feel safe in reality.

Ferrets, sloths, pangolins wander lighted grass streets into

A confusing dreamland where prey hide in real

Time, welcoming an escape from life or death drama.

 

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

I’m continuing to use 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, May 20, 2021

May Golden Shovel #19

source: What This Town Needs Is a Concrete Whale

 

He hitches up damp denim overalls in the morning after what

He feels is a call from unknown forces to bring this

Vision of trash turned into beauty to his town.

He cannot know how wants turn into needs

Desires into demands, peace into war. What is

The elusive route away from days drowning in a

Maelstrom, tsunamis of jeweled seas battering concrete

Dikes, planting seeds of the invasive whale.

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

 

I’m continuing to use 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.

 

Tuesday, May 18, 2021

May Golden Shovel #18

source: Finding a Sailor Lost to Ice and Time

 

She joins the exploration team in hopes of finding

Answers to all questions. She believes certainty is a

Requirement for wisdom. An alien sailor

From a galaxy far away whispers in her ear a lost

Knowledge of only question after question. She splits to

A shady world, leaving a closet full of known ice

And fire, opening up to unknowns, uncertainty, and

So many questions that overdoses on time.

 

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

I’m continuing to use 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.

 

Monday, May 17, 2021

May Golden Shovel #17

 source: Three Ways of Looking at a Performance


Auditions for summer start in three

Weeks. The summer months search for ways

To make themselves the hottest by the obvious of

Too much sun. June throws her pearls before swine, looking

For a salty advantage. July throws red-white-blue-green-orange fireworks at

A dumbfounded sky. August breaks all heat records as a

Hurricane floods Earth for 40 days, in a total performance.

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

I’m continuing to use 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, May 16, 2021

May Golden Shovel #16

source: In a Renamed Town a Legacy of Violence Continues to Play Out

 

She remembers a time when her town in

The new country was a haven from memories, a

Balm to help her build a new family. She is renamed

Shiloh in hopes she will bring peace to her town.

Golden granite lines the path leadingv visitors to her home, a

Large room roofed in azure slate tiles, with no walls,  a legacy

Of the ancient tents of her people. Visitors seek her guidance of

Insights, for she has a way of speaking that averts violence.

Yet the battle between old residents and those who claim ancient rights continues.

Her visions alarm banshees, whose cries alert to

Dangers minute and huge, dangers of scarlet sweet that play

To greed and fear, dangers pretending to be thrown out. 

 

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

I’m continuing to use 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, May 15, 2021

May Golden Shovel #15.2

source: Pipeline Hack Reveals Seams in Nation’s Cybersecurity Armor

 

Their attack on the oil pipeline

Did not require metal tools, only a coded hack

Devised by a human brain. The damage reveals

Arrogance embedded in big business. Its seams

Split, exposing basic weakness that lies in

The hope that ignorance will protect the nation’s

Infrastructure. But who will create the code for cybersecurity

When future coders prefer games to true armor?

 

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

I’m continuing to use 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.

 

May Golden Shovel #15.1

source: Unearthing the Roots of Black Rebellion

 

It should not be so difficult, unearthing

America’s past and present in black and white. The

Facts exist today, tomorrow, yesterday, their roots

Not entombed in an ancient past. The face of

Truth is not Medusa’s. How long will it take for Black

Lives to remain real for whites when Blacks are not in rebellion?

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

I’m continuing to use 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.

 

May Golden Shovel #14

 source: A Vision That’s Epic and Brutal

 

The plot to save democracy unravels a

Skein of weeds and lies. It promotes a vision

Of sourdough, of braised love, of salted action that’s

Protecting its defenders. It could be the most epic

Picnic, feeding all, or it could drive off and

Abandon democracy, defenseless against those brutal.

 

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

I’m continuing to use 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, May 13, 2021

May Golden Shovel #13.2

source: Sign of Relief Amid a Frenzy of Gas Buying


She hopes there will soon be a message, a sign

To tell her what her next step should be, whether of

Moving forward or backward. She wonder what relief

Will look like, one step up, two steps down, amid

A cacophony mordant yet joyous, voices in a

Language she once knew before the frenzy

Of today overtook soft memories of

Gloom. She lacks enough gas

To escape the forced urgency of buying.

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

I’m continuing to use 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.

·        

 

May Golden Shovel #13.1

source: Residential Areas Hit as Fears of War Grow

 

She tiptoes past mansions in the residential

Parts of the city. She’s hiding in gilt areas

Where goblins cannot see her. She fears a hit

Of ancient anger aiming at her heart as

Stories she’s never known unspool her fate. Fears

Gallop through her sleep, disarraying dreams of

Justice and injustice battling, at war

With peace and calm, unsure where to grow.

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

I’m continuing to use 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.


May Golden Shovel #12

source: Post Names First Woman as Top Editor

 

Stars glaze the night, sending a blog post

Reporting news from time’s origin. It names

Prophets from centuries past who claim the first

Humans created histories in starlight, written by a woman

Shaman. She leads her people to a feast as

Strong storms crash on a beach leading to the top

Of a pyramid staffed by not one editor.

 

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

I’m continuing to use 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.

 

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

May Golden Shovel poem #9

source: Where Will Our Masks Go Now?

 

She searches for the moment where

Time slows, quickens, reverses. She will

Wrap time in knots, hopeing our

Need for certainty masks

A deeper need for time to

As far as imagination can pop now.

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

I’m continuing to use 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.

·