Monday, September 29, 2008

Cloudy Reflections

Sitting on a swing,
head titled back,
legs swaying back and forth,
gawking at the bright blue sky…

I wonder how the clouds
assemble to fashion
such perfectly-shaped
white cottony images?

I’ve seen this before
almost a billowy-type motif.
Yet, it’s not important
because I like it all the same.

And just like that
without warning or discourse
sudden interruption:
the clouds dissipate.

Sunday, September 28, 2008


A natural release,
especially when I’m alone.

Flowing freely, rapidly…discreetly,
initiated by my countless emotions:
joy, sorrow, anger, humor, frustration, pain.

Some cast aspersions
and consider it shameful…even infantile,
yet, it is essential for my growth, expression,
my catharsis.

My eyes are transparent windows.
As my eyelids fill with water,
I embrace the instinctive, necessary washings…
the clarity.

*Image: Lotus Woman painting by Helena Nelson-Reed

Friday, September 26, 2008

How to Tackle Writing Assignments

Click image to enlarge

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Slums of New York

From the streets of New York
Lets get down to the nitty gritty
It’s called the projects, the ghetto
Ever been to the big city?

Dilapidated neighborhoods
No streets paved with gold
Barefoot versus $400 shoes
“That’s life,” is what I’m told

Product of my environment?
Prostitution, violence, and gangs
No. I fight to stay positive
Combating severe hunger pangs

Some say I’m a failure
Many tell me I won’t make it
Their words are excoriating
At times I just can’t take it

I’m just trying to live…survive
and make the most of my life
but the streets of New York
vomit fire flames -- grief…strife.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Rhyming Poetry

What's the difference between poetry and prose? One of the differences is line length. Another is the use of poetic devices that heighten the use of language and sound. Rhyme is one of those poetic devices.

Using end rhyme is the most common form of writing rhyming poetry. End rhyme is the use of rhyming words at the ends of the lines of a poem. The use of end rhyme creates what is called a rhyme scheme. The rhyme scheme is the pattern of rhyming words in a poem. If you have a stanza of four lines (known as a quatrain) and the words at the end of the first and the third lines rhyme, and the words at the end of the second and the fourth line rhyme, you have a rhyme scheme of abab. It will look like this:

The sky is blue (a)
The grass is green (b)
My heart's anew (a)
My life's serene (b)

There are other possible rhyme schemes, many of which often sound more sophisticated and more complex or more satisfying, such as abab, cdcd, efef, or abba, cddc, effe. There are even some quite intricate rhyme schemes that are pretty amazing, like Edgar Allen Poe's "The Raven." Check out a few lines:

1) While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door
2) Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December;
And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor
3) Eagerly I wished the morrow; - vainly I had sought to borrow
From my books surcease of sorrow - sorrow for the lost Lenore
4) So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating
'Tis some visiter entreating entrance at my chamber door
5) But the silence was unbroken, and the stillness gave no token,
And the only word there spoken was the whispered word, 'Lenore!'
6) 'Surely,' said I, 'surely that is something at my window lattice;
Let me see, then, what thereat is, and this mystery explore
7) Not the least obeisance made he; not a minute stopped or stayed he;
But, with mien of lord or lady, perched above my chamber door
8) Though thy crest be shorn and shaven, thou,' I said, 'art sure no craven,
Ghastly grim and ancient Raven wandering from the Nightly shore

You'll notice many of the pairs of lines have internal rhyming between a middle word and the end word, with those words then rhyming with the middle word of the next line as well. Pretty impressive if you ask me!

Monday, September 22, 2008

My Summer Love

Yes, I know.
You caught me staring.
But, I can’t help it.
Deep like my passion
I am searching your face
because the way you looked
at me last night, your eyes
whispered, “I love you.”

And under quiet winds,
you held me close,
burying your face in my hair
(peach-azalea scented shampoo,
your favorite)
gently kissing my neck.

And when you’re not around
I walk around in your t-shirt
smothered in your scent
closing my eyes,
wrapping my arms
around my body,
envisioning your touch.

This summer is so different
from last: colorful, intriguing,
hot and humid, lovely.
It’s like the sun is smiling
the love has healed the crying
it’s my summer love…

Featured in Acts of Faith anthology, published by Wright Jusino Publishing, 2008.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

The Road Not Taken

By Robert Frost

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Robert Frost's, "The Road Not Taken," has been one of the most analyzed, quoted, and anthologized poems in American poetry. A wide-spread interpretation claims that the speaker in the poem is promoting individualism and non-conformity.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Bright Birth, Dark Death

When the sun rises
it illuminates the world,
combating the darkness,
the once familiar cloak of comfort.
The infant yawns, stretches,
and allows small doses of sunlight
to enter the slits between her eye lids.

And when the sun sets,
it shades the world,
granting permission to the living
to rest, to sleep.
The elderly woman yawns, closes her eyes,
and allows the darkness to engulf her.
Eyes closed, she can still see the light.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

It's a Grind

Looking to display your work while enjoying acoustic music, poetry, spoken word, and art work from area artists?

Cultural Art Expression & It’s A Grind presents

A Special Evening of Performance & Art
Enjoy open mic performances of poetry, spoken word, and acoustic music as you view art work from area artists.

Two nights only:

Friday, October 10, 7 – 10 pm
Saturday, November 8, 7 – 10 pm
It’s A Grind
2350 Rt 33
Robbinsville, NJ 08691

Anyone interested in submitting work or participating, please contact E. Stelling, at or 609.356.3186.

Open to the Public

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Persephone, Falling

From Mother Love by Rita Dove.

One narcissus among the ordinary beautiful
flowers, one unlike all the others! She pulled,
stooped to pull harder—
when, sprung out of the earth
on his glittering terrible
carriage, he claimed his due.
It is finished. No one heard her.
No one! She had strayed from the herd.

(Remember: go straight to school.
This is important, stop fooling around!
Don't answer to strangers. Stick
with your playmates. Keep your eyes down.)
This is how easily the pit
opens. This is how one foot sinks into the ground.

Mother Love is a modern interpretation of the Greek myth of Demeter, Persephone and Hades. It is the story of Demeter's anguish at the loss of her daughter, Persephone, who is kidnaped by Hades, king of the underworld, and becomes his consort. According to the myth, the frantic and despairing Demeter spends her time searching in the earth and, overcome by sorrow, neglects her duties as the goddess of agriculture and the harvest. Crops and flowers wither and die, trees lose their leaves; there is no spring or summer, only winter.

Demeter refuses to return to her duties until Zeus promises to make his brother Hades give Persephone back to her mother. Hades agrees, but before Persephone leaves the underworld she eats six pomegranate seeds.

Friday, September 12, 2008

A Meme of the Unspectacular

On this spectacular Friday, I learned that I was tagged by Sam, for a "meme of the unspectacular." Interestingly enough, I've read some other bloggers' unspectacular responses, and I've found them to be quite spectacular.

You be the judge as to whether my responses are worthy of the unspectacular:

1. I'm addicted to reality TV: Big Brother, America's Next Top Model, So You Think You Can Dance, America's Best Dance Crew, John & Kate Plus 8, American Idol.

2. My personality type represents between 9 and 13% of the US population: ESFJ.

3. I listen to my favorite songs at least once a day: Like a Star (Corinne Bailey Rae), Blurry (Puddle of Mud), Don't Speak (No Doubt), and anything and everything by Beyonce.

4. I tried apple cinnamon rice cakes today. It's been added to my list of favorite "I-wish-I-was-eating-a-warm-brownie-with-ice-cream-but-this-will-have-to-do" list.

5. I drink pickle juice.

6. I always enjoy the book more than the film version (e.g., Devil Wears Prada, The Mermaid Chair, Not Without My Daughter, Needful Things, Pet Cemetery, Along Came a Spider)

I've almost fulfilled the terms and conditions of the meme...

And so now I have to tag six other bloggers:

Amy, Anthony and Rebecca, Cara, Emily, Jennifer, and Lori...tag, you're it!

And are the meme rules:

1. Link the person who tagged you
2. Mention the rules on your blog
3. List 6 unspectacular things about you
4. Tag 6 other bloggers by linking them

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Moving Day

A white room with no pictures
yes, this is rare
an infrequent routine I begrudgingly welcome.

Tripping, but not falling, completely
to pick up so-called “durable and quality leather”
penny loafers with polyurethane soles
So, how did Sparky chew a hole through the heel?
False advertising at its best.

And look at the ceiling:
cob webs attached themselves to all four corners of the room
like cotton affixed to adhesive,
dust bunnies scattered across the floor, poorly camouflaged.

My perfectly-manicured hands,
armed with a dust mop and Lysol disinfecting spray
(dreaded days of aggravating my allergies are soon nonexistent!),
my mission: eliminate and destroy
all that is filthy and damaging…
memories included.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Everlasting Domicile

Like a pale yellow lotus flower
she emerges from the muddy waters
rising to the surface during the day
limbs outstretched, ready to embrace life
and absorb the sun’s natural heat.

Sinking below the terrain at night
she hibernates, seeking shelter from
the gusty winds and dusty air.

Yet, she remains
entrenched in the clear, pure water
rich in oxygen, with submersed roots.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Peace Fair

Looking to exhibit your artwork and read your poetry? Check out the information below:

SEPTEMBER 20, 2008
5684 York Road, Routes 202 and 263, Lahaska, PA
Promote harmony while exhibiting your artwork and reading your poetry. Contact Barbara Simmons at

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Japanese Poetry

Poetry has been a major Japanese influence on the literature of many countries. Here are four types of ancient Japanese poetry:

Haiku: An unrhymed Japanese poem recording the essence of a moment. Nature is combined with human nature. It usually consists of three lines of 5/7/5, 17 syllables (kana) or less.

Senryu: A Japanese poem similar in structure to haiku, but more concerned with human nature, and is often humorous or satiric -- usually in three lines of 17 syllables (kana).

Tanka: An unrhymed Japanese poem consisting of five lines of 5/7/5/7/7, totaling 31 syllables (kana).

Kyoka: A poem in the tanka form but with the satirical, ironic, humorous aspects of senryu.

Here's my attempt at writing Japanese poetry:

The earth’s crust opens
The Roman God of fire
Erupt and release.

Sound democracy
salacious majority
win big, lose nothing.

On daddy’s lap
methodically, I ponder profusely:
time is running out
mother arrives
my visit ends abruptly.

Appointed official
unwavering to the world
benevolent to your family
calculated in your approach
who’s pulling your strings?

I'm a novice, but hope to progress as a writer of Japanese poetry!