Winging It in the Zombie Apocalypse ~ prosery

Winging It in the Zombie Apocalypse

Oh, the wonders of science, and all they make possible. For decades, genetic manipulation has allowed us to transport ourselves through levitation. Then there’s the resistance to disease. The common cold no longer troubles us, and COVID, despite the continued appearance of mutant variants, has been deterred with simple gene therapy.

However, the delay in eliminating avian flu has proven to be a deadly mistake, compounded by the crossbreeding of two viruses. This became apparent at a free-range poultry farm in Iowa, where the bodies of workers have been found lying among roaming chickens eagerly pecking away at their newfound meal. The workers had fallen from the sky, victims of SARS-CoV-ian. And so, like many, I live in fear, for how can I be sure I shall see again the world on the first of May, with the coming of the Zombie CoV-ian Apocalypse.

 This is my response to Prosery: Sara Teasdale and May, the prompt from Merril at dVerse ~ Poets Pub, where the challenge is to write a prosery, flash fiction or creative nonfiction, with a 144-word limit (here, exactly 144 words). Included in the bit of prose is to be a complete line from a poem. For this prompt, the line is the opening line from May Day, by Sara Teasdale.

For how can I be sure
I shall see again
The world on the first of May

                              – Sara Teasdale

Image source:
pngitem.com (chicken), fao.org (bird flu virus), Wikimedia Commons (SARS CoV-2)

Snack Bar Alchemy

Snack Bar Alchemy

There is no physics, no chemistry in your alchemy,
no sometimes where truth is concerned.
Not now. Never. No silver lining will change that.
Fools, drunk on the belief that gold lies at the end of
your rainbow, would sooner find wealth in a clod of dirt.
With words as filling as a snack bar of deception
flavored with delusion, your sincerity rings hollow.

This is my response to Wordle #252.

sometimes | never | snack | bar | drunk | fools | gold | silver | alchemy | physics | dirt | clod

Tear Drops ~ Crown Crapsey

 

Tear Drops

Tear drops,
when held back,
seep far into the soul,
the well that is deep inside us,
waiting

Waiting
for the moment
when it is essential
that our innermost emotions
be known

Be known,
that expressing
the passion within us
must not be considered shameful,
ever

Ever
should we believe
our emotions, when shared,
do not diminish our stature.
Never

Never
easily shed,
and never taken back,
they are always a part of us.
Tear drops

This is my response to MTB: Crowning Crapsey,
the prompt from Laura Bloomsbury at dVerse ~ Poets Pub.

The Crapsey (or American cinquain) is a form of cinquain first written by Adelaide Crapsey. It’s 5 lines are not rhymed, and have a syllable count of 2-4-6-8-2. A Crown Crapsey, then, is a sequence of five cinquain stanzas functioning to construct one larger poem, with each cinquain being a Crapsey. As it happens, my last stanza came to me first.

Spirit, in Place

Spirit, in Place

Bluffs and streams surround me.
Those who like to think themselves
native to this place when its indigenous
people were eradicated from the state
long before Roundup was even remotely
considered a hazard to a biology that would
include them if they were still here,
like to think it’s part of the Ozarks,
even if it’s a bunch of foothills to the north
with bluffs scattered here and there.

As for those bluffs and streams,
I walk trails that skirt them, cross them,
offer great views of them. Or I float
the streams, sometimes right beside
those bluffs, taking in the beauty
they hold in an eagle carrying a fish
to its nest, or an aged cedar clinging
to a hundred foot cliff, or a green heron
at the foot of that cliff watching
for a fish the eagle may have missed.

Will I ever consider myself a native,
when my mind always goes back to
the blue water of lakes that were great
long before I knew them, or a river
that flows from one lake to another,
rushing over a cataract midway,
or land that lies flat before it meets
mountains that aren’t afraid to be called
foothills of the Alleghenies?

When there is spirit of place in both,
where I witness both peace and struggle,
where I can try to forget my own struggles
and become a part of the peace
that surrounds me, is there any difference?

This is my response to earthweal weekly challenge: SPIRIT OF PLACE, where Brendan asks us to “write about the spirit(s) of place where you live and have your being in.”

Post Na/GloPoWriMo 2022

National/Global Poetry Writing Month is now over, and I met 21 of the prompts from Maureen Thorsen at napowrimo.net, plus the warm-up prompt on 31 March. I responded twice to the prompt on two of those 30 days in April, although one was a concrete poem I wrote 24 years ago. Some days saw multiple poems written, with a total of 41 poems posted in April, including 3 with audio. All but two were in response to various prompts, some coinciding with napowrimo.net. Those other prompts were from earthweal, Colleen Chesebro’s Word Craft Poetry, The Sunday Whirl, Misky’s The Twiglet, and dVerse ~ Poets Pub (where I also responded with a prosery). Coincidentally, two of those poems met prompts at napowrimo.net.

My responses were in various forms, two of which – aisling and duplex – are new to me. All are listed here:

1 aisling
2 concrete poem (including one from the past)
1 duplex
23 free verse
4 ekphrastic poems (1 was a gogyohka)
2 haibun
1 haiku
2 list poems
1 nonet
1 prose poem
1 tanka prose
2 quadrille

In addition to these poems, I kept busy during National Poetry Month. I participated in a Zoom open mic with members of the Columbia Writer’s Guild and one with dVerse members. I also participated in a Zoom reading for “Poets in the Blogosphere,” organized by Luanne Castle and hosted by Liz Gauffreau. A video recording of that reading can be seen here. I participated in two live open mic sessions, one at Gumbo Bottoms Ale House in Jefferson City, Missouri, and one at Barb’s Books in Belle, Missouri. Also, I had a poem published by Vita Brevis Press, and I received notification that three of my poems will be in a forthcoming “Well Versed” anthology from Columbia Writer’s Guild (Columbia, Missouri).

It was National Poetry Writing Month that inspired me to start this blog in 2014, and I have participated in, and completed, the challenge each April since then. I always enjoy reading the many wonderful prompt responses from other poets at napowrimo.net, where I’ve been introduced to many of the poets that I follow on WordPress. I look forward to next year’s challenge. Thank you to all who read my poetry this past month and especially to all who commented.

Ken Gierke

 

Beside, Before, Beneath

 

Beside, Before, Beneath

Placement is paramount in understanding
this gift, to be so near a natural wonder
appreciated only by proximity and granted
by the good grace of introduction by parents
who appreciated the beauty around them
and were aware of the intrinsic value of water,
that essential element that lives within all of us.

To be held beside, to stand before and beneath,
and to ride on the waves below the Falls of Niagara.
All of these have been my pleasure, practiced
for the first six decades of my life.

While being with the one I love this past decade
has been an additional blessing in my life,
my distance from that natural wonder is now
nine hundred miles, a curse that is lifted
only when traveling to see family.
The day when it is once more a short drive
from my door cannot come soon enough.

This is my response to Day 29 at napowrimo.net, which is to “write a poem in which you muse on the gifts you received at birth — whether they are actual presents, like a teddy bear, or talents – like a good singing voice – or circumstances – like a kind older brother, as well as a “curse” you’ve lived with.”

Photos
American Falls with Horseshoe Falls in background
One year old, with my father & grandfather
Visiting Niagara Falls with my wife

(click each photo for larger view in new tab)

 

The Commons at Niagara

The Commons at Niagara

Passing from one great lake to another,
would this not seem a natural course?
But who could pass treacherous rapids,
or the mighty cataract they surround?
Of what use a river, if not for transit?
But let that not halt the progress of man.

Of what use a river falling great heights
if not to be harnessed for industry?
And so it came to be, mills and plants
along its rushing course, amid the islands
that divide those cataracts, atop the walls
that once were a stately gorge.

But oh, the steep price of progress
and the unbridled power of industry.
Far from sightly, the discharge
of chemicals to air and water
and the scars they leave the cost
of harnessing the power of nature.
If not for visionaries.

Free Niagara became the cry of those
who followed Olmsted’s lead.
And so they did. Land along that gorge,
beside those rapids, and on the islands
at the very brink of the falls,
once claimed by commerce,
became parkland for the people.

From one century to another,
and now another, the trails and paths
of Olmsted and Vaux continue to offer
views that show no sign of those past scars,
only the beauty of this natural wonder
at the Niagara Reservation, the Commons
that displaced an industrial wasteland.

 

This is my response to earthweal weekly challenge: The Commons, the prompt from Brendan which as us to “describe that half-wild, half-human habitat of sharing and sustenance in your locale?” The Niagara Reservation, later named Niagara Falls State Park, was New York’s first state park. I lived in the area for most of my life and often visited the Falls, sometimes several times a month.

Off prompt, but shared with Day 29 at napowrimo.net.

Aerial view of Niagara Falls from Niagara Falls Public Library
Black & white image: former industry along the Niagara Gorge, from Wikimedia commons
(click photos for larger view in new tab)

 

Within Nature’s Balance ~ concrete poetry

 Within Nature’s Balance

This is my response to Day 28 at napowrimo.net,
where we are asked to write a concrete poem.

Using a screenshot, the lower half of the image shows how it appears on my screen.
Click on the image for a larger view in a new tab.

Formatted differently, the poem might appear as below.

Within Nature’s Balance

Imagine the peace and harmony this world
would know, the balance
that could be
achieved

if life were as easy to navigate
as the waters that greet and accept

this paddle with-
out reservation, one of
many essential elements
within the greater
picture