Pantoum by Basia Miller

Pantoum of Guilt
                       
Soot collects on the pot-bellied stove.
A slight breeze raises murky clouds.
Pine-cones drop at random from black crows.
I steep the bark of a nutmeg frond.
 
My slight breath raises murky clouds.
I ask myself whether to confess.
I steep the bark of a nutmeg frond,
sip eggnog without bitterness.
 
It’s on my mind to confess       
and like lilac fragrance release secrets.
I sip eggnog without bitterness,
shut a golden butterfly in the closet.
 
Lilac fragrances release secrets.
I muffle the Mexican ojo de Dios,
shut a golden butterfly into the closet,   
bind wildflowers in a bouquet.
 
I fear the Mexican ojo de Dios.
Pine-cones drop at random from black crows.
I bind wildflowers into a bouquet.
Soot collects on the pot-bellied stove.
 

Pantoum by David Parlato

Desert Prayers

The plains stretch as far as the eye can see
The sky a vast forever open joy blue
The clouds enormous white ears twitching
Ravens scorpions pigeons tarantulas doves lizards

The sky a vast forever open joy blue
Cacti collecting the waters of grace
Ravens scorpions pigeons tarantulas doves lizards
Swallowtails fly in searching jagged paths

Cacti collecting the waters of grace
Chamisa and yucca longing to reach the sun
Swallowtails fly in searching jagged paths
Juniper and pinon hold pleading arms

Chamisa and yucca longing to reach the sun
Light heals gives green blessings
Juniper and pinon hold pleading arms
Roadrunners dart quickly after prey

Light heals gives green blessings
The mountains rise up from the plains to the sky
Roadrunners dart quickly after prey
Coyotes howl the waxing waning moon

The mountains rise up from the plains to the sky
Rattlesnakes slither in curving zigzag patterns
Coyotes howl the waxing waning moon
Silent stones of forgiveness resting everywhere

Rattlesnakes slither in curving zigzag patterns
Silver dollar rain drops wind whipped flash floods
Silent stones of forgiveness resting everywhere
Listening for the splashing waters of John the Baptist

Silver dollar rain drops wind whipped flash floods
In the desert water is an answered prayer
Listening for the splashing waters of John the Baptist
For coal black ravens roadkill is an answered prayer

In the desert water is an answered prayer
Thin red veined jackrabbit ears perfectly still unseen
For coal black ravens roadkill is an answered prayer
Bright white snowflakes gentle on all things being

Thin red veined jackrabbit ears perfectly still unseen
Who listens to our prayers?
Bright white snowflakes gentle on all things being
Fires flicker glow fighting the dark night mirroring stars

Who listens to our prayers?
Love whispers sweet melodies dripping honey
Fires flicker glow fighting the dark night mirroring stars
The mountain forest breathes a peace green quilt

Love whispers sweet melodies dripping honey
The clouds enormous white ears twitching
The mountain forest breathes a peace green quilt
The plains stretch as far as the eye can see

Pantoum by Lorenzo Atencio

 
A New Day In Eternity
 
The day breaks over the valley.
The mountain spirits awake.
The netherworld retreats to its cave.
The river in the valley never changes.
 
The mountain spirits awake.
Tall mesas stand as sentries.
The river in the valley never changes.
Colors write a message on the canyon wall.
 
Tall mesas stand as sentries.
The sun’s first rays shoot across the sky.
The colors write a message on the canyon wall.
Celebrate the birth of a parent.
 
The sun’s first rays shoot across the sky.
A child takes her first steps.
Celebrate the birth of a parent.
The old church’s door hangs on one hinge.
 
A child takes her first steps.
Tall evergreens cover the entire hillside.
The old church’s door hangs on one hinge.
The young lady is eager to meet the day.
 
Tall evergreens cover the entire hillside.
Be conservative in your movement.
The young lady is eager to meet the day.
See the traces of a  prehistoric ocean on the mesa.
 
Be conservative in your movements.
The netherworld retreats to its cave.
See the traces of a  prehistoric ocean on the mesa.
The day breaks over the valley.

Pantoum by Chantal Quincy

   To sleep or not to sleep, that is the question!

 
The nightmares almost became my friends
What a relief to wake up
The drama is finally shattered
I love life again
 
What a relief to wake up
What if my heart would have stopped?
I love life again
As the city slowly awakens in the mist
 
What if my heart would have stopped?
All the anxieties should melt away
As the city awakens in the mist
A sparrow calls at my window
 
All the anxieties should melt away
Shall I search the unconscious?
A sparrow calls at my window
Still conflicting thoughts fog my brain
 
Shall I search the unconscious?
Intricate dreams hide secret messages
Still conflicting thoughts fog my brain
Meaningful recollections begin to lift the veil
 
Intricate dreams hide secret messages
The drama is finally shattered
Meaningful recollections begin to lift the veil
Nightmares almost became my friends
 
 
Chantal Quincy

SFCC Poetry Class Pantoums

In the poetry class at SFCC we’ve been devoting a week to pantoums. So–students–share your work! You can simply paste into the comment box below or send me a pantoum email if you’d like it done as its own post.

The pantoum starts as an oral form–it may have
been composed as a work song for people who were hauling nets. The French poets picked it up from Malaya, and then it came into English. I learned it from poet Jane Shore who learned it from John Ashbury. The basic form of the pantoum is the four-line stanza or quatrain.

1. Write a four line stanza. Highly imagistic or emotional lines work because the pantoum is a cut-up–you can’t tell a strict story with it.

2. Now let go of your sense of control!

3. The pantoum is based on repetons–repeating lines. Lines 2 & 4 of a stanza become lines 1 & 3 of the next.

Case in point:

Comet

A comet above my house LINE 1
I wear a dead man’s coat LINE 2
I can’t see the comet for the haze LINE 3
Clouds, snow, a waxing moon. LINE 4

I wear a dead man’s coat LINE 2 REPEATED
A Chinese merchant’s of finest wool NEW LINE 5
Clouds, snow, a waxing moon LINE 4 REPEATED
The night we said farewell NEW LINE 6

A Chinese merchant’s coat of finest wool LINE 5 REPEATED
Or the poncho you gave me second hand NEW
The night we said farewell REPEATED
For the first time, or the last time NEW

The poncho you gave me second hand
Wraps around me like a lover
For the first time, or the last time
I watch a movie about astronauts

Wrap around me like a lover
Men in a capsule hurtle towards earth
In a movie about astronauts
I’m crying about something else

Men in a capsule hurtle towards earth
This comet appears once a lifetime
I’m crying about something else
Everyone else has seen it

This comet appears once a lifetime
Above my laundry frozen on the line
Everyone else has seen it
Rising in the quadrant of Arcturus

Beneath my laundry frozen on the line
You say I have a presence
Rising in the quadrant of Arcturus
And the dead I can’t speak to

You say: the comet is a presence
I can’t see for the haze LINE 3 FROM FIRST STANZA, VARIATION
And the dead I can’t speak to
Blaze above my house. LINE 1 FROM FIRST STANZA, VARIATION

ENDING THE PANTOUM

Note in the last stanza you are left with two new lines, but also two lines that have never been used–Line 1 and Line 3 from the first stanza. This ending is to flip those lines and end with the first line of the poem,
which gives a great feeling of unity. I prefer this, but a variant is equally good which is to end with Line 3.

Use whichever works best for you.
TIP: Make that first line a great one if you also end with it!

Love Poem Texting Contest!

Dearest Friends,

I’m new to txting, and am endlessly fascinated when I get these brief messages. Within this simplified message, where is human emotion, where is love?

I am announcing a contest called “Luv 4ever.”
Who can write the best love letter using an abundance of txting language.

the criteria:
-use of txting language, the more the better
-compelling, human, funny, serious, anything real.
(hey, a rant against the commodification of love is just as well)

The prize:
This is a collaboration. I will be letterpress printing an edition of 50 of this letter as a kind of contemporary proclamation. (the typeface Futura comes to mind, for this futuristic language.) You will receive a percentage of these broadsides (poster) that you can do what you like with. The winner and runners-up will have their letters posted on my new website which I will launch in mid-march.

Please have fun with this and forward this to anyone (especially teenagers) who might be interested.

Deadline: march 1, 2012

Yours truly,
Edie Tsong

!
http://www.edietsong.artaxis.org
http://www.edietsong.blogspot.com
http://www.cloudexchange.etsy.com

Spiritual Quest Novel Class

I’m working on my reading list for a course I’ll hopefully teach in the fall.The basic syllabus is the”the novel” but customized as “Speculative Fiction: Spiritual Quest.”

Gawain and the Gren Knight–translated y Burton Raffel
Le Morte D’Arthur–Malory (probably just the Holy Grail section)
The Once and Future King–White
The Princess and the Goblin–MacDonald
The Hobbit–Tolkien
Till We Have Faces–Lewis
A Wrinkle in Time–L’Engle
The Mists of Avalon–Zimmer Bradley
The Dispossessed–Le Guin
Walk To The End of the World–Charnas

There are probably a dozen different ways to do this, but I thought I’d start with what I love. Thoughts? Suggestions?

Dollar Store by Miriam Sagan

I wrote this list poem while in residence last fall with Center for Land use Interpretation in Utah. The photographs, which give a sense of macrocosm, are by Christy Hengst.

At The Dollar Store

Florida cologne
Mexican diet tea
Brillantine
wreath of fake autumn leaves
safety pins
dress up plastic glass slippers
toilet seats
automobile oil
flannel pj bottoms
washcloth printed with violets
pillows

there probably isn’t a real autumn leaf between here and Salt Lake City

nothing is really a dollar, but pretty cheap

the guy at the cash register asks me urgently, but where are you FROM?

finger nail polish remover
scrunchies
sewing kits
craft pipe cleaners
drano
kids’ mittens
towels printed with angry looking Italian chefs

the serenity prayer engraved on glass

the most exciting place in Wendover, Utah.

***

Art of a Border–Ada Medina

Ada Medina interweaves two and three-dimensional art forms, multiple interests, diverse reading, visual/non-visual sources, and everyday life as they resonate through each other. This is an extension of growing up on the Texas-Mexican borderlands where ordinarily bilingual children of immigrants braid singularity and indivision into one another.

Ada Medina lives and works in Santa Fe, New Mexico. She was born in Carrizo Springs, Texas to Angelita Mejia Medina from Guerrero Viejo, Tamaulipas and Cecilio Vargas Medina from San Luis, San Luis Potosí.

http://www.adamedina.com