Collaboration: Day 20

Instructions for Our Survival
April 6, 2020

Step 1: Take as many steps backward
as forward, then take a seat.

Move your gluteus maximus, one side at
a time, while sitting, over and
over again, and then again.

You put your right foot in, you put your
left foot in, and you twirled it back inside,
and that’s what you’re suppose to do.

Eat, sleep, play, repeat. Become the cat
of your dreams; cough, cough It’s only a hair all, phew.

Yesterday, I wore an N95 mask and clear plastic gloves
to Trader Joe’s and waited in line for 30 minutes
in the cold and pouring rain. I got drenched!

Yesterday,I wore a red bandana to the store.
I swear I’m not the Lone Ranger!

Two rubber bands plus a bandana
equals a lopsided face mask.
Gloves, masks and Lysol, oh my!

Close your eyes and open your
mind, now open your eyes.

Put your right hand in; put your
right hand out, then shake it…
Look up, look down, look
all around, nobody there.

Breathe your own breath
until you can’t taste it anymore.

Do not jump deeply into the canyons
of your mind; float on
with a balloon bouquet of
peacock feathers, smiling, smiling.

by Stevie Taken, Natalie Champion, Gudelia Vaden, Barbara Berg, Burcu Misirli Chatham, Frances Vasquez, Joseph Milazzo, Dar Stone, Robin Longfield, Nan Friedley, Magdalena Nunez, Cati Porter

Original prompt: Write one line for a “how to” poem, instructions for our survival during quarantine. But try not to list the obvious. Let’s let it get wacky and surreal.

Collaboration: Day 19

For What I Already Miss
April 5, 2020

For I will consider what I already miss.
For I miss flying through the park like sparrows
with my young Tinkergarten explorers.
For I shook each student’s hand and greeted them
before we began our school day.
For hundreds gathered together in the multipurpose room
of the middle school, bumping elbows
or fist bumps in greeting, no hands.
For even I miss air high-fives with sixth graders, sneaky
touches of hands with less cautious ones
For I sorely miss riding the Metrolink to visit my Granddaughter.
For I miss dearly when I took grandkids to the park.
For I miss also when I flew somewhat friendly skies to sunny Denver,
for time with too distant family and family-to-be
For I also miss when I travelled to the conference in London.
For I miss mixing and mingling with writers
in San Antonio and finding my tribe over margaritas.
Or watching the ocean waves up close.
Or yelling and screaming, karate training.
And also Cynthia’s Sunday morning class packed
with a herd of Zumba-ites. Miss you all
For there are few things better than Drag Brunch
at Hamburger Mary’s, bottomless mimosas, spontaneous dance party.
Or marinated olives, marinara pizza, Mexican Coke at our favorite pizzeria.
For duly is missed my marching, clapping and singing
protest songs with my sister resisters.
But moreso I miss those times I kissed the top
of my elderly MaMas head, goodnight.
Because you never know….

by to collaborators Gudelia, Burcu, Robin, Nan, Julianna, Stevie, Juanita, James, Kris, Steve, Cindi, Judy, Debby

Original prompt: Write one line writing about one thing that you did in the days leading up to the stay at home orders that would now be forbidden.

Collaboration: Day 18

Pandemic Spring
April 4, 2020

If you’re sick, stay home, people say.
Gray spring with pandemic, people
on the phone FaceTiming! Sing a song
of an ambulance without wailing.

Let’s take a lesson from the birds, they sing
and while outside doing yard work in my backyard, let’s
not think about this Panademic, though it
won’t go away soon. It’s futile to think about it

constantly. Birds sing, fly and are grateful
for their daily bread. She practiced
long-distance resistance to a hospital stay,
with an abundance of lipstick, some bling, and hairspray.

Gray hair, touch-up fail, masked face, lipstick for sale.
Resistance is futile, watching the day’s folly
in the briefing room. Pandemic distance, missing
the sea’s foam as I sit here at home.

Resistance may be futile but apathy is worse.
Open to the blinging voices, they sing
my name from a distance. Pandemic spring
meant staying safe in nature, with room to roam.

by Delia Vaden, Cindi Neisinger, Burcu Misirli Chatham, Frances T. Borella, Nan Friedley, Joseph Milazzo, Juanitz E. Mantz, Cati Porter, Robin Longfield

Original prompt: Write one line of poetry using at least three of the following words somewhere in your line:

Sick Pandemic Paramedic Lipstick Alone Phone Cone Bone Safe Space Pace Face Well Fell Hotel Hospital Ambulance Chance Dance Home Roam Foam Loam Holy Wholly Folly Spring Ring Wing Sing Bling Distance Resistance Assistance Stay Play Gray May Day Filet Hairspray

Collaboration: Day 17

Looking Forward
April 3, 2020

After this is over, I will never take for granted

The smiles, the laugh, the warmth, the love, the joy
of being with those I love….the fierce ocean of a hug.

I miss walking; I’ll get it back; looking forward

Hugging, holding, enfolding. Feeling the safety
and comfort of making others feel safe and comforted.

After this is over, I will never take for granted going unmasked to the grocery store.

Freedom, safety, security I was feeling tough not enough
appreciating! Wonder if wearing masks will become chic?

I miss walking in McLaren park with my husband

Laughter with family and friends, over food & drinks.
I’m wanting friends at my feast with plenty of red wine.

After this is over, I will never take for granted the healing power of a hug.

Singing, dancing, reading, playing with my precious little Natalie
Ramble, amble, straggle, stray, meander, maunder, wander.

I miss concerts, the crowd, dancing to the music in my ears echoing

by Frances Borello, Natalie Champion, Rick Champion, Magdalena Nunez, Burcu Misirli Chatham, Frances J. Vasquez, Barbara Berg, Kris Lovekin, Douglas McCulloh, Janine Pourroy Gamblin, Juanita E. Mantz, Nan Friedley, Gudelia Vaden, Tom Vaden, Julianna Cruz

Original prompt: What do you miss most about your life before the crisis? How do you envision your life after the crisis? What will (or will not) have changed? Write one line of poetry, about ten words or so long, give or take.

Collaboration: Day 16

Nostalgia is So Last Month
—after A Sunday Afternoon on La Grande Jatte by Georges Seurat
April 2, 2020

Back in the day-large, social gatherings.
Oh…to return to the past, together
again. I want to be outside in the
shade on a sunny day. A relaxing,
lovely day amidst friends. Leisure time in
the park: Thank you Meisieur Seurat. Cool breeze
off the water. I tilt my parasol
to let the warmth of the sun behold my
face. My shoes are off, now to unlace this
stifling corset. Do you think this dress makes
my butt look big? Oh look at this crowd – isn’t
that Mary? Would Georges Seurat, master
shuffler of dots, be surprised his name can
be rearranged to spell Go Eager Estrus?
A beautiful carefree day in sunshine
with friends and family, so unlike what
we are experiencing now. Sunday
at a park – pompous, stiff and socially
aloof – where’s the fun?

by Deborah Kotaka, Natalie Champion, Rick Champion, Tom Vaden, Delia Vaden, Ai Kelly, Doug McCulloh, Frances Vasquez, Cindi Neisinger, Debby Johnson, Nan Friedley, and Cati Porter

Original prompt: Write one line of poetry approximately ten syllables (give or take) long that responds to this painting in some way, any way you’d like.

Collaboration: Day 15

Haiku to You Too!
April 1, 2020

Knock!)) Knock!))) “Who’s there?” “BUM!”
”Bum who?” BuMFuZZled! Cati
answered her creative

calling. Haikus are
hard. Must count all the sylla-
Bam! = one syllable packs double

the spice. Rachael Ray,
cook by the bay, April Fool!
If your cat acts up,

blow the whistle. If
your dog licks you, you must kiss
him back! The loudest fool is

not the last to laugh.
Poem is a verb. I could
have poemed all night.

by Cindy Bousquet Harris, Cindi Neisinger, Ai Kelly, Delia Vaden, Natalie Champion, Larry Burns, Nan Friedley, Julianna Cruz, Dar Stone, and Cati Porter

Original prompt: Write one line of poetry that is approximately equal to ten syllables. Since it’s April Fool’s Day, if you want to work in a joke or pun or retell a favorite prank, feel free. Let’s keep it light today.

Collaboration: Day 14

Our Wishes for You Who Are Suffering Today, and Always
March 31, 2020

Happy birthday, César Chavez
For the nourishing harvests we enjoy

I wish you lazuli buntings, goldfinches,
ruby-throated hummingbirds,
the diamond cut of raven’s tails

Bare feet on the earth, warm sun
on your face–this I wish for you

Wishing you lollipops, sunshine
and colorful rainbows your way

Washed windows today, cleared
cobwebs, brightened views,
Windexed away worries

Small acts of personal kindness
stifle the fears of Corona Virus

For all of those incarcerated
unnecessarily, may you be released

Cocooned in darkness, I hope for you
the patterned wings you most desire

Zoom workshops with friends
and drinking wine, voyeurism is required

Remember the funnies
And don’t forget to dance

Sending you peace, love, and prayers
Peace in the moment the bee
blesses the peach blossom

May your roots deepen
May you find water and sun
May you discover what is prayerful in what’s plain
May you rest easy breathe deeply
wherever you feel safe

Time is precious, and you have more of it now
Dominus Vobiscum
The Lord be with you

And remember, when all clamor subsides,
yes—this is truly you.

by Natalie Champion, Delia Vaden, Tom Vaden, Rick Champion, Burcu, Cindi Neisinger, Cindy Bousquet Harris, Frances Vasquez, Barbara Berg, Nan Friedley, Magdalena Nunez, Joseph Milazzo, Sherry Mackay, James Luna, Juanita Mantz, Juliana Crus, Kris Lovekin, Rebecca O’Connor, Cati Porter

Original Prompt: Today, let’s put our positive energy into a poem — good wishes for all who are suffering during this time. One line of about ten words as an offering to keep everyone safe and well.

Collaboration: Day 13

Nineteen Couplets on the Crowpocalypse, or Corvid-19
March 30, 2020

The task: write one clean crow-related line consisting of exactly
nineteen simple words that resist turning any poetic somersaults

across the valley. The sky was dark with a tornado of crows
moving westward thousands of crows Cawing, cawing.

Caw!, caw!, scare crow you don’t scare me. I’m going
to eat your corn, caw!, caw! and peck your tomatoes.

Crows squawking, orange peels!, scavengers indulge!,
at the break of dawn, quick, one more morsel!, off they go!

Crows circling, diving high in the sky. Red Baron and Snoopy
afraid to fly, Black Plague falling on humans.

Shining, iridescent, pitch lingering above circling shadows on
the grass–cawing, clucking, gathering to roost–a murder of crows.

Sheen of oil slicks with lemon rind eyes, hyphens dragging wingspans,
pummeling tree crowns and cloudscapes and still blue skies.

Squinting into sky, as a crow flies by, I hear
the echo of his screech and wince then cry.

One day a crow flew over me and dropped
a white marble in front of where I walked.

The day was so sweltering that even the crow eating
in the crabapple tree’s shade was out of breath.

Crow seeking love: Must like crabapples and orange peels.
Must like traveling West. And have a sense of cackle.

Crows souring on silent wings, above the bay,
cool breeze blowing, my soul is at peace.

Feeding crows peanuts in my neighborhood hoping
they give me a name; if they do, will I recognize it?

Perched above the busy highway they wait. The murder of crows
swoop down grabbing, consuming so fledglings can survive.

Looked up trying to forget walls and fences, then saw
ugly birds, so envied their freedom, their swirls.

Different colored spots, different types of birds—
the crow recognized itself in the mirror.

Crows shriek as we step outside, then swoop past
as we head off on our many necessary errands.

The trees leaned into the breeze, and swayed, and their
shadows swerved to cover me, and the black bird —

Murdered? T’was not what we feared; instead,
not “corvid” but “Covid” that we dread!

by Delia Vaden, Tom Vaden, Carol Dorf, Juanita Mantz, Mary Ann McFadden, Dar Stone, Lynn Doiron, Burcu Misirli Chatham, Stevie Taken, Barbara Berg, Doug McCulloh, Cati Porter, Cindi Neisinger, Natalie Champion, Robin Longfield, Julianna Cruz, and Steve Perry.

Original prompt: Write one line of poetry consisting of 19 words exactly AND include an image of a crow (yes, the bird) somewhere in the line.

Collaboration: Day 12

Ghazal for Staying Home
March 29, 2020

Staying in pajamas with hot coffee and a good book at home.
Dancing to Bowie sans bra looking for Ziggy at home.

Plague be gone, I am tough at home.
Queen of the remote, channel surfing at home.

Organizing every last sheet of paper in my stationary box at home.
For Nurse Cathie Davis’ Eisenhower patient care packages gathering toiletries at home.

Safely working with John on our water-wise landscaping project, at home.
Like seeds, I wait for warmth, water, and light at home.

Orange blossom aroma and deafening bird chorus at home.
Cooking from scratch and enjoying each bite with my son at home.

Raking, weeding, digging up old bushes while drinking bottled water at home.
Calling family and friends while sipping peppermint tea at home.

Sipping cinnamon and lemon infused water at home.
Listening to the quiet as it wraps around my soul, blissfully at home.

Enjoying pan dulce & chocolate in my healing retreat at home.
Eating Costco assorted bite size chocolate candy, getting very fluffy at home.

A line of nine words ending with “at home”?
Taking in the blessings that surround me, kissing those afar, at home.

by Debby Johnson, Burcu Misirli Chatham, Tom Vaden, Natalie Champion, Rick Champion, Delia Vaden, Barbara Berg, Nan Friedley, Cindi Neisinger, Jean Waggoner, Juanita Mantz, Stevie Taken, Robin Longfield, Frances Vasquez, Frances Borella, Doug McCulloh and Cati Porter.

Original prompt: Write one line of no more than ten words, ending with the words “at home”.

Collaboration: Day 11

A Even Grimmer Tale
March 28, 2020

The ball was supposed to be tonight but
my basket in hand and my cloak around me,
going to grandma’s house, riding in a red ‘64 Galaxy 500,
they slow down and take off the hats, the men do,
nighttime in West Central Georgia, pine trees, heavy.
I smile and wave as if nothing is wrong.

When they smile back, I see the sharpness
and now I’m stuck deep cleaning the house,
my own eyes wide open, mind wandering, wondering—
for days on end with no hope of going anywhere.
Where does this road end? I can almost taste
sweet scented air, my brother asleep beside me.

When they come to the place where he’s laying’
retsina’ his back, I hope they cannot see
the fear on my face. They say,”Mornin’ Steel-driver.
You sure they’ve had to postpone it due
to the Coronavirus? The toasted cheese sandwiches made
Clickity clack clickity clack clickity clack clickity clack
with Velveeta; the Moon Pies from the Easy Shop.

Then they go on by pickin’ up a little bit of speed
of their teeth and the silken fur around their collar,
except sleep at the end of the day was a hammer-swinger.
And the “King” in his suit of gold was finally exposed.

by Dar Stone, Cati Porter, Julianna Cruz, Robin Longfield, Kris Lovekin

Original prompt: Let’s rewrite our favorite fairytale/folk tale. Pick a favorite fairytale and write one line that helps you explore a memory or journey through the lens of that story.