"The difficulty of literature is not to write, but to write what you mean; not to affect your reader, but to affect him precisely as you wish." ~ Robert Louis Stevenson

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Finish Line

The challenge of writing a poem a day,
searching for structures, topics, and rhymes,
is nothing compared to the challenge (that may
be familiar to others whose hair's going gray)
of remembering anything thirty times.

~ Tamary Shoemaker
(I came close to forgetting a few times, but happily managed to write a poem every day this month. They're not all great, but I'm happy with a few of them, and I had fun practicing.)

Friday, April 29, 2016

Haphazard Poems

Today's prompt at Poetic Asides is "Write a haphazard poem. The poem itself could be haphazardly put together, I suppose. But it could also be about a haphazard situation. Or whatever haphazard thing you can bend the poem into."

Since I had no other ideas, I decided to use random words. I got words from Random Word Generator in sets of 6, and made a rule that the poem must have 6 lines and must include all 6 words from one randomly generated set. It turned out to be quite a fun writing exercise that I will probably use again. Here are my three attempts for today.

Haphazard 1: dial fallout dusk fermentation host colony

At dusk the fallout was bad enough
to reach an eight on the dial.
The human host was beginning to panic but
the fermentation was still not complete
so the colony in the shoulder sent toward the brain
soothing messages of delay: All is well.

Haphazard 2: details defector moonbeam behavior uptown hollow

On an uptown street he paused for breath.
A moonbeam lit the pavement and suddenly
his behavior seemed to him inexplicable,
his reasoning hollow, the details drowned
by the knowledge of what he’d become.
Informer. Defector. Betrayer. Enemy.

Haphazard 3: clock group ambivalent fashionable aboveground belongings

The fashionable ones live aboveground,
their belongings around them like pets,
their beliefs ambivalent, their lives tied
to the progress of a clock. I did not choose
not to be part of that group, but even so
if I had a choice I would stay below.

~ Tamary Shoemaker

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Important Details

I wonder how we can know other people at all.
For example, I would not be the same me
without the sound of echoes under the street
crossing to school, or the horse chestnut tree
that lost my tooth, or the gooey sweet
cookies at Grandma’s recitals. You have too
a million million moments that are you
and who’s to say any one of them is small?

~ Tamary Shoemaker
(From a prompt at Poetic Asides to write a poem titled "Important ____.")

Wednesday, April 27, 2016


I dreamed I held my brain in my hands,
in two parts, heavy, slippery, awkward.
I had to ask a passing stranger for help.
As we carefully fit the halves together,
I wondered how to get it back in my head.
Would it hurt to take off the top of my skull?
Could I do it myself with a mirror to help?
Then I remembered this had happened before
and I had managed fine. But I wondered,
How was I thinking without my brain?
How flexible and clever the mind must be
to function this well with my brain in my hands.

~ Tamary Shoemaker
(From a prompt at Poetic Asides to write a "take off" poem. I really dreamed this last night. I'm not sure what that says about me.)

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Turn Around Again

So much declared without knowing
—Turn away, turn around again.
So many petty thoughts showing
—Turn away, turn around again.
So many lofty plans failing
—Turn away, turn around again.
So much lost time unavailing
—Turn away, turn around again.
So now for inward appraising
—Turn away, turn around again.
So to a welcome rephrasing
—Turn away, turn around again.

~ Tamary Shoemaker
(From a prompt at NaPoWriMo to write a call-and-response poem.)

Monday, April 25, 2016

Physical Therapy

My shoulder thinks I'm trying to kill it
with exercises like disco moves
that reach where it doesn't want to go.
The bright side is, when it improves,
I'll be ready to go on that dancing show.

~ Tamary Shoemaker
(From a prompt at Poetic Asides to write an exercise poem.)

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Lost and Found

Once again I realized I'd drifted off the path;
Once again I needed help but felt ashamed to ask.
Once again I put my pride aside and turned to You;
Once again You set me right and whispered what to do.
Once again I hope I won't forget the path You've shown,
But when I do, I trust Your patient love will guide me home.

~ Tamary Shoemaker
(From a prompt at Poetic Asides to write a poem about something lost and regained.)