Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Cleaning Party: A poem and a prompt for Day 398

After writing and posting nearly 400 poems in as many days, I’m not afraid to admit to the occasional lack of inspiration—or energy. When that happens, I fall back on an ever-evolving collection of favorite prompts/games/tools. 

Today, for instance, I took a trip to a random word generator, where I collected 28 words (24 the first time, plus an additional four later on). Sometimes I only use six or eight words; it just depends on my mood. I cut and paste the words into a document, and after shuffling, sorting, and adding a word here and there, inspiration (usually) strikes. 

I came up with the following poem this afternoon... I left it quite “raw” to illustrate the process. Ordinarily, I’d build a longer, or more polished, piece on this intriguing (to me) skeleton.

Cleaning Party
arms uncovered to 
their elbows
swanky visitors performed 
lively wingstrokes 
with their hands, revealing 
fabulous details, 
like vintage grates, that render 
the current, homely place 
almost likeable

outdoors, in the winter 
garden, fallacious discussion 
absorbed the bitter jobless, 
sprawled like 
recent memories amongst 
the faded begonias 

(c) 2018, by Hannah Six

Original image: The Preservation Station 

Monday, February 19, 2018

When You Rise (Day 397)

When you rise above 
the clouds  say hello 
to the blue for me
memorize its myriad 
hues and shades from 
ice to indigo  tell me if 
you can see the stars 
when you look up or 
if they are hidden by that 
golden light warming 
your flushed cheeks  rest 
a moment on 
the terrible wind 
that bears you aloft 
and look down on 
the soft undulations of 
the sea stretching like 
bleached cotton sheets 
beneath you  only the quilts 
on our shared bed 
can enfold you as softly  
only my arms support you 
with the strength of that 
high gale and 
the roughest tides 
of time we long to sail 
together will quiet when 
you are near again

(c) 2018, by Hannah Six

Image: macayran via Pixabay

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Just Looking (Day 396)

Just looking
at the peeling paint
and thinking: Something 
is different. 

You see, I needed 
those dreams 
about my hands 
falling apart
to remember—How 
fortunate I was
to have not
locked the door.

Then I realized: 
You had already left 
the room.

(c) 2018, by Hannah Six

Image: toufik Lerari via Wikimedia Commons

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Breathless (Day 395)

for the longest  that  want  time making
myself  that electric blood-singeing 
current  making you  lingering darkening
that look  widening  that rising attraction  
moving  leaning toward  when entering 
a room where another is  a moment
already  waiting a fraction of   that 
attraction too slow  long  years eagerly
outpaced  too lately  too forward  ancient 
foldings inward  unforetold distraction  
enough  just that  enough  I am  I don’t  
want that  I want that  I didn’t  but I do

(c) 2018, by Hannah Six

Image: Jack Fiallos via Wikimedia

Friday, February 16, 2018

Those Unfrightened of the Dark (Day 394)

Blue buffeting those old wet bricks,
cars rumble over cobblestones 
too slippery for walking 
when the chestnuts shed their leaves. 
Night falls, burdens lighten for some, 
the daytime world is squirreled away, 
protected until sunrise. 
Those unfrightened of the dark may
wander, read, dance, play, fight, drink, 
and hope their eyes adjust, or risk 
the quicksand of nostalgia.
If the song’s not right, the perfume 
floating on a summer breath—jasmine, 
sweat, a baby-soft trainwreck of scent
—might lure the unfortunate into their 
own sweet mysteries, tangled as kudzu 
in the trees that line the roads back home.

(c) 2018, by Hannah Six

Image: Skeeze/Pixabay

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Black Coffee in Handpainted Mug (Day 393)

too bitter 
to ignore 
the purr it 
releases  finding 
purchase on 
the porcelain 
glaze  cobalt 
devoid of 
the grit and 
one might expect 
on an everyday
object made 
of clay intricately 
painted by 
tired-eyed woman 
in a dusty 
crowded room
so far away 
I cannot begin 
to imagine 
the language
she speaks
in her dreams.

(c) 2018, by Hannah Six

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

The Painter (Day 392)

summer’s verdant, musky vines 
painter consumed by her canvas

wildflower ghosts of spring
in a frigid, well-lit space

mushroom-colored, winter day
brushes slay dragons of gloom

(c) 2018, by Hannah Six

Image: Helen Galloway McNicoll, The Apple Gatherer (c. 1900), oil on canvas

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Safer Than This (Day 391)

I wish the world felt 
safer than this 
where, every evening, 
I lay my head amidst 
a firestorm of wild mustangs, 
steely hooves trailing sparks, 
thundering without warning 
down the narrow, 
perfumed path that 
no longer bears the weight 
of my few belongings

where yellowing bottles 
of laudanum dreams 
offer an ease, akin to 
daylight’s first soft fingers 
tickling my cheek, warm 
as laughter under the covers, 
last night’s violet silk 
shimmying on the bedpost 
in a lingering echo of smoke 
and dancehall jazz 

where hungry wolves, 
roused from their dens 
in the frozen woods, pace 
through the long, winter nights
—their claws puncturing 
the tense, icy crust 
with each step—waiting for me 
to emerge into the cold

(c) 2018, by Hannah Six

Image: Bhakti2/Pixabay

Monday, February 12, 2018

Watercolors (Day 390)

Where the edges
are not, there now
twist and turn, into cavernous
echoing chambers, bleeding
rivulets of umber diverging into
creases that vein the vast,
opaline expanse of 
love’s cold, hard floor,
over which we slipped and
ran, laughing until we cried, our
seawater tears blooming like watercolors.

(c) 2018, by Hannah Six

Image: JMW Turner, Lyme Regis, Dorsetshire, England (ca. 1834), 
watercolor, Cinninnati Art Museum (via Wikimedia)

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Her White Whale (Day 389)

shaking her head at the modern world’s distaste 
for promises, she vowed instead to pursue her 
White Whale deep into the indigo mystery

to that end, eyes wide open, she dove headlong
into an icy pool of stars, and broke the surface 
again in a shimmering burst of breath and water

later, sinking into the multi-layered depths of midnight,
she found herself wondering if she wanted to 
awaken from the liquid solitude of dreamless sleep

but a ghostly fluke, like mermaid hair, beckoned, 
and she leaned into the sweet awareness of loving
the precious freedom of being neither here nor there 

(c) 2018, by Hannah Six

Image: iwona_kellie via Wikimedia

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Emigrée of Western Skies (Day 388)

high above a metaphysical 
sea the color of a Greek 
fairytale deep as poetry
considering the place  
where you woke yesterday

there you sat in solitude 
humming sinuous  
seaweed songs to the waves 
and to yourself 
(using the unpronouncable 
name you bore 
before you were born) 

emigrée of western skies
defeated by 
the patriarchy and 
the strictures of technology
eyes closed against 
the coffeepot the doorbell 
and your neighbor’s funeral 
next Friday

love the crone 
who sings you home
whose candle flickers 
and softens belligerent day 
into well-mannered evening
like a bay relaxing 
into a wide half moon 
as if the shore 
disowned the world

neither here nor there
you will find yourself 
back in the air 
yours the voice of paradise 
abundant language and 
tempestuous tales of blue 
shark-shadowed water

(c) 2018, by Hannah Six
Image: Pixabay

Friday, February 9, 2018

Sore Passion (Day 387)

he is raw  that’s what 
she thinks  he deserves this 
sore passion like cassis 
in his blood  the ripe red 
cherries of their sins  
a fortunate situation shared  
high in the rarified air  violet 
mountains reflect the world 
for him a million times over  
elevation  a lingering death  
berates  persecutes  permeates 
the ozone-spiced mist  distant 
lightning strikes the moon  
thunder like laughter stinging 
her chest  frothing 
with unsuppressed elation 

(c) 2018, by Hannah Six
Image of Sri Lanka via PxHere

Thursday, February 8, 2018

An Ordinary Letter (Day 386)

He takes what looks like an ordinary letter 
the paper slightly worn and smudged, 
but scrolled and looped with his extraordinary
handwriting, to the blue mailbox up the block.

Left hand snug in the pocket of his beige jacket, 
right barely holding the graying pink leash, 
at the end of which a heavy-set, low-slung 
white mutt ambles companionably.

Requiring only a moment to relieve herself, to 
sniff a leaf here, a carelessly-tossed food wrapper 
there, the dog (like the man) has few expectations, 
and is therefore seldom disappointed.

At the end of the block, he glances sheepishly 
at the empty streets and sidewalks—chastising 
himself for his inexplicable sense of shame—
counts to three under his breath, pulls the handle.

Like a jail-cell door, the mailbox clangs shut. 
His letter slides down the chute, off the other mail
with a swoosh. Then, shrugging imperceptibly, as if 
to say: Well, that’s done, then, he turns toward home. 

(c) 2018, by Hannah Six

Image: Pixabay

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Strange Country (Day 385)

strange country 
under pale empty skies   
the women, walking, stand 
straight (no stoop-shouldered, 
martyred shuffling, no slouchers 
or complainers) walking, wonder 
why and whether they will ever 
learn when their parents die,
if they will ever know their 
nieces and nephews 

(c) 2018, by Hannah Six

Note: I chose not to include a photo with today’s poem, in the interest of inclusivity. Everywhere, throughout time, women have gotten a bum deal. We need to stand together. 

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Corners, folded (Day 384)

knit of starlings and fog   a boggy mix 
of saltwater  sand  clay  long days 
of diving between pages  corners 
folded like shame  covers angled away 
from prying subway eyes and damp 
mumbling hands that grasp 
and fumble at your back pockets  
lace curtain as shawl  that lock of 
chocolate hair  curling like a fetal kitten 
in its smoke-yellowed envelope at 
the bottom of a forgotten drawer  
expectant sound of a telephone ringing at 
two o’clock in the morning  and  lingering 
in shadows beneath a persistent spruce  
the August haze  illuminated like a memory  
by the streetlight on the corner

(c) 2018, by Hannah Six
Image: NinoCare via Pixabay

Monday, February 5, 2018

Ice Music (Day 383)

come out   into 
the dearest sliver 
                       of night   
intuit  improvise  take 
    turns warming 
thin sensitive fingers   tickling 
the pitiless ice   the brush
  of its steely surface 
       like the merest kis
            of arctic fur  
breaking against 
your bare neck   curved 
strings of errors composing 
instrumental openings 
into delicate 
     musical lakes 
resonating   a still 
  slight sound
in a softer space  

(c) 2018, by Hannah Six
Photo: Emile Holba