Mommy Truth

Mommy Truth

No

You can’t have the last cookie

It’s been a rough day, week, year

That oreo is all that stands

Between Momma and losing her fingernail grip on sanity

Do

You want to risk life as you know it

It’s been a rough day, week, year

There isn’t any wine in the fridge

But there is a stack of bills on the table and not enough money

So

You are right about hugs

It’s been a rough day, week, year

The day will come when I have lots of time and money

Give me another hug then go ahead and eat the cookie

Love

Love

Love is a carved wooden goblet

Wood darkened by age and use

Base sprawling wide, solid, unshakable

Stem spiraling upward

The generous curve of the goblet whispers stories once carved deep

now erased by the caress of countless touches

While the lip of the cup runs round endless and smooth to the mouth

The well of the cup dwells deep and dark

waiting to be completed with something rich and filling

Love is a carved wooden goblet

 

This poem was inspired by Liz Prather’s A Walk Through the Forest prompt

Artwork by Lesley Shepherd

Because You Asked About the Line Between Religion and Faith

Because You Asked About the Line Between Religion and Faith

Books walls rules structure

Music poetry prayer

Bulwark and support

Minefields and cracked foundations

Blood and ashes on our lips

 

In ancient mountains

Touch comforting newborn cry

Rain soothing dry earth

Nurturing bloom and fruit for

Nourishing spirt and flesh

 

Religion a tool

Gripped to protect or destroy

Faith benevolence

A gift to lighten our load

Without faith religion fails

 

Interested in creating your own “Line Between” poem? Check out the the Line Between prompt that inspired me and #JustWrite.

I Am From

I Am From

I am from orchards and soccer balls, windmills and beaches where it is too dangerous to swim;

I am from hillsides of waving white and pink blossoms and truckloads of dark-faced strangers to reap their fruit;

I am from secret hideaways earned by battle-scarred arms and legs and hair torn out by the roots yet filled with sweetness and laughter;

I am from the pine trees are a home run and the power pole marks home plate;

I am from woodsmoke-scented nights huddled on the hill beneath a blanket, cradling a thermos filled with stew, the imprint of a soccer ball still stinging on my frozen thigh;

I am from snow forts that last all winter and “better use the garage door, it’s the only one not blocked”;

I am from shoveling the farm pond and begging Santa for ice skates, toboggans and runner sleds, hot chocolate and cookies, and hand-knit hats, scarves, and mittens;

I am from hot afternoons playing kick the can and late nights playing flashlight tag, “don’t swim there because of the undertow” and “didn’t you hear a kid drowned there,” and bet you can’t swim out to the raft without drowning;

I am from popup trailers, mountain pies, campfires, and climbing a new mountain every year;

I am from chocolate molds and elaborate easter bunnies, cherry cokes, and french-fries paid for with berry picking money;

I am from the War of 1812 and the Underground Railroad, lake freighters, and Great Lakes captains.

I created a more interactive version of this poem using ThingLink. Learn more about how to write your own “Where I’m From” poem modeled on George Ella Lyon’s famous work as well as other ways to explore your origin story in writing and #JustWrite.

 

Slam Poetry

Slam Poetry

Writing is therapeutic and perhaps Slam Poetry is the best therapy of all. We incorporate Slam Poetry into many of our Morehead Writing Project events and it is always a hit. I also like to use Slam Poetry in my classes to help my students uncover their deepest thoughts and fears as well as relieve stress. But ultimately, the beautiful thing about Slam Poetry is that it is poetry for writers who are afraid of poetry. There is no rhyme and the rhythm is only that of your own heartbeat, because there are no rules in Slam Poetry as long as it is true and real.

The Urban Dictionary defines Slam Poetry as:

A type of poetry expressing a persons personal story and/or struggle usually in an intensely emotional style. Very powerful, sincere, and moving.

Slam Poetry is meant to be read out loud and performed, but that doesn’t mean you can’t write it alone as a way to exorcise your fears and let your anger rampage. Bottom line is that Slam Poetry comes from your heart and your mind and your gut. It is the passions and thoughts always seething just beneath the surface. It might be better for you to experience Slam Poetry as I first did by hearing a slam poem delivered by the man who first taught me about this form: Taylor Mali with I’ll Fight You For The Library.

I created a Slam Poetry playlist to help you become a slam poet. The playlist includes two brief tutorials to help you get started with slam poetry, but our usual method is simple.

1.Think about what makes you hot as in angry, excited, thrilled; what weighs heavily on your mind, heart, or soul today; make a list of these things

2. Spend a few moments contemplating your list and pick the one thing that really matters right now and write about it — just let it all out on the page and don’t stop until we tell you

Yes, it really can be that simple. Give your emotions free rein. Clearly, you can craft and shape your message more tightly for performance or sharing purposes, but at its essence, slam poetry is a pressure valve. You can use it for this purpose alone or create something to share. Your choice.

Watch the slams I shared on my Playlist, cruise through Youtube to find still more slams, and then write your own. You can check out some of my rants on my other blog and I hope to have some slams to share here soon.

Now go forth and write your own slam poems! Don’t forget to share them using the #JustWrite hashtag.

Artwork by Martinak15 on Flickr

Praise Poetry

Praise Poetry

A praise poem is a tribute. Praise poetry holds a special place in southern African literature.

In Zulu, praise poetry is called izibongo. It refers to poetic expression that not only defines but names an individual. Praise poetry is written with bold imagery, expressed in the most distinct or carefully selected language. Writing a praise poem is to write about your life and the events or sacrifices that have brought you to the moment you are in today.

Praise poetry is often a celebration of heritage, family, and place – a celebration of who we are and where we come from. As such, Praise Poetry can be intensely personal. Sometimes praise poems are written about places, events, or animals. Praise poems can be a celebration of something much larger than ourselves, such as national identity, but they can also be intensely personal and focus on a specific person or relationship.

I have created a Praise Poetry playlist to help you on your journey to create your own praise poetry. It begins by sharing some examples that have touched me. I truly adore Lucille Clifton’s Won’t You Celebrate With Me — especially her closing line:

wont.you.celebrate.with.me

I also love Alice Lovelace’s Praise Poem for Jikki. You can also read another praise poem she wrote in tribute to a fellow writer: Praise to the Writer. In addition, I chose to include Annika Izora as her powerful poem is a wonderful example of praise sandwiched around an epic slam poem.

I love teaching, writing, and sharing praise poetry because it is such a celebratory and life-affirming activity. Some examples of my praise poetry include, Praise to the Teacher Writer and Won’t You Celebrate With Me. I often encourage my students and fellow teachers to write praise poetry to combat stress and guide them through difficult times, but I urge you to write about whatever sparks your passion. What has made you who you are? Who has had a dramatic impact on your life? Where do you come from? Those are all ideal praise poem prompts.

Now go forth and write your own praise poems! Don’t forget to share them using the #JustWrite hashtag.

The featured image for this post is the mythical African bird the Sankofa. The Sankofa inspires us to look at the past, lest we forget it. The Sankofa is an ideal visual representative of praise poetry as in these poems, we are to look at our personal and collective histories to make connections to the present and our future.