Wednesday, April 08, 2009

It's a Poetry Reading
with Cheryl

I could ramble on about the busy day I have ahead of me (grading papers! researching an article! finishing up taxes!); or tell you about how Sydney's softball team just keeps on winning (6-1 now; yay!); or how this weather has absolutely killed me the last two days (40 degrees in the middle of the day!), but is now warming up (thank goodness!).

But, instead, I thought I'd share a few of the poems I've written over the last week for the Poem-a-Day Challenge I've been doing over at the Writer's Digest poetry blog.

I've never claimed to be a poet--in fact, it's a pretty big step outside of my comfort zone to put them out here for everyone to see--but there is something about being creative every single day, making your mind stretch in a different direction daily, trying to put an experience into a certain shape and movement of words, that is just very freeing and expansive. (I totally recommend that you try writing a poem today...or at least read some poetry. It does sorta the same thing for you.)

So, a few of the challenge prompts and poems I wrote as a result of them, include...

Challenge Prompt: Write an outsider poem.

An Out Sider

The cold
cooped her up,
trapped in her,
kept her out,
for too long.

Just today, though,

wooed her,
tempted her,
kissed her

with a hint.

But a hint was enough.

She flung open the door,
flew out onto the damp ground
(her tiny barefeet almost falling over themselves),

landed with abandon
the slide,
the sand,
the swing,
the see-saw.

Four months is enough.
Especially for a five-year-old.

She needs to be an
Out Sider
once again.

Challenge Prompt: Write a poem that starts with “The problem with…”

The Problem with Prom

She thinks the problem
with prom is that
she can’t find the perfect
or shoes,
or purse,
or makeup.

And that her hair is unwilling
to look like it does in that

And that her boyfriend
won’t want to dance,
and if he does,
he’ll have two left feet.

(evidenced by her squeals
and giggles and ‘I can’t wait’s)
that it can’t get here
quick enough.

I think the problem
with prom
is that it got here
quick enough.

Wasn’t it just
that she
played dress-up,
danced in plastic high heels,
thought boys had cooties?

Is it too late to return
the dress,
the shoes,
the ticket,
the boy

And ask for my little girl back?

Challenge Prompt: Write a poem about an animal


Four out of five
black cats
are named Midnight,
Or so it seems

but our Midnight
matches her moniker.

She crept
into our yard
at the witching hour
on a moon-filled night
on Halloween.

Seven years later
she still creeps
and crawls
on ghost-like paws,


like her namesake.

Challenge Prompt: Write a poem about a landmark

landmarks of us

The sign said
Ox Bar & Grill

We spotted each other,
(I) shyly stole glances
(you) boldly asked me to dance.

The sign said
Sal’s Italian Restaurant

We talked and laughed
and I dribbled spaghetti sauce
down my shirt.

The sign said
Midnight Rodeo

We drank and argued
and I (tried) to line dance

We kissed while we danced,
and then in the parking lot

and forced ourselves to
head home.

in 1995,
the signs blinked,
stood tall,
stood as landmarks

they all lie forgotten,
in some emblematic junkyard

the buildings they once
covered, replaced with
a hair salon,
a gas station,
a parking lot.

I’m glad
in signs.

Otherwise, my love might
be in ruins
just like the

Challenge Prompt: Write a poem about something missing

missing Aruba

the wind kissed us
with its
balmy tongue.

you kissed me
on the bed,
the sand,
those rocks.

“What time,
(what day)
is it?”

the questions unnecessary,
the answers ambiguous

in those

that poured into each other

as we poured
into each other.

If you want to enjoy some poetry (stuff that is a lot better than mine), go check out the poems that are being posted everyday at the challenge's blog.

And now....have a fabulous day! (I'm off to work on some deadlines...and then maybe enjoy the first warm day we've had in quite a while!)


Gretchen said...

I feel like I took a journey into your life with each poem. I can't possibly have a favorite--it'd be like picking children. Kudos to you for stepping out of your comfort zone and sharing your creativity with us.

Adrienne said...

Wow Cheryl! These poems are wonderful! TFS!

Lael said...

Cheryl,those are beautiful!
I realy enjoyed them.

Stephenie said...

Those are so much better than mine. HA. The first week's worth are on my blog, so go check them out. I'll be posting them by the week, I'm sure.

Anonymous said...

Clapping my hands for your beautiful poems. Thanks for sharing them with us. I think you did great with them!

Leah said...

Awesome poems Cheryl!!

Dettao said...

Those are so great. I really like the landmark one. I just did a layout about my love story. It is on my blog. I can totally relate to the prom one, too. Just wait till you pick out a wedding dress. Oh, the tears will flow....

Dettao said...

oh, BTW, what do you teach? My youngest is just starting interviews for teaching jobs. She is student teaching this semester.

Monogram Queen said...

I love poems, and believe me when I say you are a wonderful poet!

Cheryl Wray said...

Thanks to all of you. You guys are all so sweet!!!

Love ya!