domingo, 5 de septiembre de 2010

Sisyphus Merriam Webster Definition


King Sisyphus's Last Trick (Haiku String)

Rock who had never
run away for boyish games
or adventure, now

could be measured by
his ever thinning waistline;
gone, a boy's corners.

Mother, a black sea
boulder, hated the king who
turned boy to pebble.

How quick kings forget
a mother's vengeance on fleets
of gold and soldiers,

on tricksters who turn
the effort of love to sand,
feet laughing at gods.



jueves, 26 de agosto de 2010

Seven line story

Jane sent me a set of guidelines for a contest from an online magazine called Opium. I reproduce it here as a game: "The rules? Write a story or prose poem that is seven lines or less (8.5" x 11" paper with 1" margins)." Below I posted a great little story as an example. Also taken from Opium:

Postcard from Mykonos
by Thomas Cooper
Estimated reading time: 30 seconds

When H and J were on vacations they wrote postcards to the Mortimers, a couple they never knew or met. They imagined the Mortimers at home, captivated, when they received postcards from San Tropez, Tokyo, Madrid. “Maybe we’ll visit this thanksgiving,” he wrote. “Why didn’t you meet us in Bangkok?” she wrote. It went on for years. But this morning,alone in Mykonos for Christmas, at a desk window overlooking the Aegean sea, he writes on the back of a hotel postcard that he has news he must share in person, and that he’ll soon be on his way.

At Home with the Mortimers

In the face of Buena's utter disappointment, Raul tossed the extravagant postcards out; where Buena saw friends in a secret new world, Raul saw the reflections of escape and excess: would his wife wear Lamborghini-red lipstick like the mouth of that postcard's Amsterdam whore? Would other men see the horizon of her bikini line from a yacht skimming the postcard's Baltic? Would she shame him, traipsing the card's naked edge of 42nd Street? All led to Buena's ultimate deception, he later thought, her hair in his hands. Buena watched the man she had once thought to love

suck in all his breath and loosen a ball of phlegm into the trash can. She said nothing because above all she knew that though Raul could control her, he could not control the mail. She let him mock her. "You're the sucker born every minute". Before the fire of his doubt could consume him, Buena secreted those minute love letters that beckoned her to sit in Parisienne cafe chairs lined like eggs in cartons; to touch Lady Liberty's prickly crown; to bathe in the yellow curry of a Nepalese hillside; to follow a gaggle of Geishas walking in a grove of

cherry blossoms. She never thought to believe the postcards were images of a life spent in dreams, that her reality existed in the garbage pail. A somnambulist, Buena mined, then rescued the pieces out from under the finger of Raul's suspicion. She cut her hands with the shark lids of bean cans and inhaled the stench of 50 cent half-smoked cigars. None of that mattered because she had never known the depth of her discontent until the mysterious arrival of postcards from a couple she'd never known nor met.



Megan walks into what seems to be a hospital, light beams shine brightly, so brightly she squints and shades her eyes with her hand. If she could only find a bed to rest her weary body. “You can use the one reserved for the homeless,” someone whispers in her ear. And there in front of her are six gurneys each covered in sheets of the most vivid hues: Tuareg blue, azalea pink, Flaming June orange. Although she yearns to lay down on the alluring field of colors, and rest her head she shivers at the thought that someone will come to reprimand her, and demand she give up her bed to one more needy. Finally, she sees a row of black chairs in a dark corner. And while she walks toward them thinking of how she’ll need to arrange her body to fit in, she hears what she thinks is an ambulance siren’s wail approaching quickly and loudly.


miércoles, 11 de agosto de 2010

El horóscopo/ the horoscope

Juego: Usando el lenguaje de los horóscopos, crear un poema. Puede ser tan corto como un haiku, o tan largo como un soneto. Game, anyone?

El amor ronda
tu puerta entreabierta.
Atrápalo ya.

In the year of the tiger
the mice scramble about quietly and oh so discreetly.
But beware,
the steady nibbling can even one so fearful and ferocious defeat
oh so completely.



Found (Horoscope borrowed from, Aug. 18, 2010)

Slip onto the lips of the information you receive
today, where you will find that some avenues,
previously blocked, are now opening:
however, be wary of the mouths of rapids and avatars,
jelly jars, and automatic garage doors.

Put yourself inside everything.
listen to streetlights, wake to witness storms,
a bitch's worry skulk into night, an iguana's
orange breath, mufflers and long winding kilometers.
The more information you get

to help you understand
the years of an imagined kiss, the tomato stain
on the kitchen floor, the knot at the nape
of your neck, the vengeance of an ingrown
hair, the more success you will have
with your endeavors, though acidic and mildly cellular.

You probably already have grand tenuous ideals
and visions: a box tied around what the past
would not give you. But now you must put everything
aside together. You may have to find yourself,

a minister to your pale hungers, helping each
learn patience, understanding, acceptance, only till
the lull is done, till the itch is gone, till the time
has .... An odd flavor, this psychology.

But by now, you already know
that what passes for love is not easy.
Remember: this is a time for prudence, a time to tend
to details: listen for when your body loosens,
unravels; be a titan, unabashed. Be okay
with princes in 18-wheelers, the metallic smile of youth,
the fantasia of body shop mechanics and all their boyhood
looks; most importantly, let yourself
be a tomtom for the heart.

But never drive while lonely.

domingo, 13 de junio de 2010

Juego: Myth-making

Ekphrastic writing is a fantastic way of re-envisioning an artwork. Choose a mythological or literary figure from a piece of art (literary work, painting, sculpture, etc) and re-tell the story in your own way, using your own perceptions, prejudices, dreams, visions, whatever speaks to you in the work. I've pasted mine below "Oberon Takes Wing". If you want to see other examples of ekphrastic writing, here's a link:

Oberon Takes Wing

He should have known he knew not the new wings. look how disproportionate, laced in iron. if he could make it, he thought, to the lamppost, the bench, the score of grass waiting like an unmade bed; but there was so much he didn't know. and so much of the little he knew: the light in a hostas leaf unfolding itself; romance in the red red brick seeking for him a new path; song trees waving him in. closer, they sang in lyrics made of rustle and whoosh. but it was the girl in green he could hear through all the mess. the girl who spoke to him best, spoke to him last, held him by a flimsy but tactile faith: the ephemera of her fingerprint on the border of his instep, the long shadow he made on her face. he followed her in his mind, heard the bells ringing in her flight and spanned what little he had of wing.


Artwork: VCCA Sculpture: information pending

El sueño de Ícaro

Sueño con la brisa acariciando mi rostro,
con pasajes de luz,
con alas blancas
agitadas al viento.

Sueño con el sol descansando sobre mi cabeza.
con el sabor de la libertad,
con el olor del vuelo
de colegas bípedas.

Y en el remanso de esa quimera
ni el sol ni el mar me son letales.

El desigual y caótico descenso al precipicio
Me recuerda lo fugaz de la felicidad.


sábado, 5 de junio de 2010

New game: Ode to a Body Part

Write a short ode to a part of your body, any part of your body. I've pasted below Lucille Clifton's "Homage to My Hips" as an example:

"these hips are big hips
they need space to
move around in.
they don't fit into little
petty places. these hips
are free hips.
they don't like to be held back.
these hips have never been enslaved,
they go where they want to go
they do what they want to do.
these hips are mighty hips.
these hips are magic hips.
i have known them
to put a spell on a man and
spin him like a top!"

miércoles, 26 de mayo de 2010


Write a ten line poem in which you play with a proverb or adage. (Adapted from Behn & Twichell, The Practice of Poetry) Here's my attempt:

I find myself
between the devil
and a hard place,
between a rock
and the deep blue sea
a place, a rock, the sea.
To find, to be, to see.
I, myself, the devil
and between,
a deep blue.


Not really a poem, but a smattering of ideas that were inspired by Elf's wonderful rendering above. This was fun!

some one threw a mossy stone
in my glass house
that was yours. It was
a stone's throw
away from everything
good and plenty, needles in haystacks.
bad apples, and seeds
gone to pot.
someone saved their nickel,
but threw a penny for my thoughts,
a wishing well, deep
as the devil's blue jeans.

viernes, 21 de mayo de 2010


Para Luis que pide un juego de conjugaciones verbales

El amor a la deriva

La quise
La quiero
La querré

Me quiso
Me quiere
Me querrá

Mas juntos

Y el amor se pierde
se perdió
se perderá
entre el hastío y la apatía.

Entonces querer y olvidar,
serán siempre subjuntivos
si te hubiese querido más
si hubiera luchado,
si no te olvidara...


Si estuviera donde estás
no estaría como estoy
no sería lo que soy
si fuera donde tú vas
si me dieras lo que das
a quien le diste lo mío
ya no sentiría más frío
sólo sentiría que siento
pensaría en lo que pienso
y si pienso, luego existo
pues nadie vería lo que ven
mis ojos que ya te han visto




loved, she not. so she loved back
and loves forward, and side and sidled
back to love, try again and tried, fit to be tied. because fit, she not
to that love. that one so broken. that love so broke.
breaking on the edge of love she gave, gives in,
she, given to a Loved
waiting, as he loving another speaks of love unspoken,
while the loves of his love
tease then teased and wait waited, then fade
to not a love.

loved, she not. still, she loves
back. stilled and till and under and drowned
and drown and downed
and down.


miércoles, 5 de mayo de 2010


Write a short piece, poem or story, in which you relate on a physical, psychological or spiritual level to another being (insect, flora or fauna). I've pasted an example below by Galway Kinnell. I will post mine soon:

The Fly

by Galway Kinnell

The fly
I've just brushed
off my face keeps buzzing
about me, flesh-
starved for the soul.

One day I may learn to suffer
his mizzling, sporadic stroll over eyelid or cheek,
even hear my own singing
in his burnt song.

The bee is the fleur-de-lys in the flesh.
She has a tuft of the sun on her back.
She brings sexual love to the narcissus flower.
She sings of fulfillment only
and stings and dies, and
everything she ever touches
is opening, opening.

And yet we say our last goodbye
to the fly last,
the flesh-fly last,
the absolute last,
the naked dirty reality of him last.

"The Fly" by Galway Kinnell, from Three Books. © Houghton Mifflin Co., 2002. Reprinted with permission.

ANother example:

Las moscas de Antonio Machado (1907)

Vosotras, las familiares,
inevitables golosas,
vosotras, moscas vulgares,
me evocáis todas las cosas.

¡Oh viejas moscas voraces
como abejas en abril,
viejas moscas pertinaces
sobre mi calva infantil!

¡Moscas del primer hastío
en el salón familiar,
las claras tardes de estío
en que yo empecé a soñar!

Y en la aborrecida escuela,
raudas moscas divertidas,
por amor de lo que vuela,
—que todo es volar—, sonoras
rebotando en los cristales
en los días otoñales...
Moscas de todas las horas,
de infancia y adolescencia,
de mi juventud dorada;
de esta segunda inocencia,
que da en no creer en nada,
de siempre... Moscas vulgares,
que de puro familiares
no tendréis digno cantor:
yo sé que os habéis posado
sobre el juguete encantado,
sobre el librote cerrado,
sobre la carta de amor,
sobre los párpados yertos
de los muertos.

Inevitables golosas,
que ni labráis como abejas,
ni brilláis cual mariposas;
pequeñitas, revoltosas,
vosotras, amigas viejas,
me evocáis todas las cosas.

Youtube video of Serrat singing Las Moscas:

First entry for edg

Cántico a un machambo incordio

Machambo, chango
Carbón cagón
que canta como cacharro que cae sobre el macadán
¡Quita, quita!
No picotees las carambolas que están verdes.
No mordisquees las guayabas que aún no crecen y
carecen de cáscaras que puedan cocerse en almíbar
para comerse como cascos rosados con queso blanco.
¡Quita, quita!
No chorrees tu caca en las camisas que cuelgan del cordel.
¡Quita, quita!
¡Calla, calla!
Quédate en una esquina matracando tu cantaleta discordante.
Escóndete como las cucarachas y coge camino hacia el carajo.
No me compelas a componer coplas cacofónicas.



Not as accomplished as the poet EPM but I hope you enjoy.

Complaint to the Gorgojo

Dear Sr. Gorgojo,

I hope this finds you well. It is unfortunate that we should find this space to meet but I need to ask you to please stay out of my oatmeal, my necessary rice, the package of maizena that sits at the front of the cupboard waiting. Do you not see
how you erode my work? You, who have painfully crawled out of a chrysalis, must understand that it is not easy being boricua. And yet you dismantle my small house
with your effortless burrowing. Do you not see how you spit at all my abuelita taught me?

You must have your own politics, Sr. Gorgojo, the own party line you meander, half-drunk, dizzy with the knowledge that I will find the graffiti your tongue leaves on my fideos.

There are others you know, who have abandoned snow, interstate highways and 7-Elevens for this shore. But they are still tourists. Talk to them; they know nothing of a heart that works so much to be. Move on to those new imports, their American-ness neon bright and pulsing with a need for cheese slices and mayonnaise. I'll have you know I love bacalaitos in a bag. I love my tattered Spanish in my mouth when I say avena. I love my foothill heart when I buy criollo rice. I promise you, Sr. Gorgojo, that I am not temporary. You will never scare scare me away, back to the places bereft of lizard tails, amapola wings, and you.

Cordially yours,

Here's an example by Billy Collins:


by Billy Collins

The way the dog trots out the front door
every morning
without a hat or an umbrella,
without any money
or the keys to her dog house
never fails to fill the saucer of my heart
with milky admiration.

Who provides a finer example
of a life without encumbrance—
Thoreau in his curtainless hut
with a single plate, a single spoon?
Ghandi with his staff and his holy diapers?

Off she goes into the material world
with nothing but her brown coat
and her modest blue collar,
following only her wet nose,
the twin portals of her steady breathing,
followed only by the plume of her tail.

If only she did not shove the cat aside
every morning
and eat all his food
what a model of self-containment she would be,
what a paragon of earthly detachment.
If only she were not so eager
for a rub behind the ears,
so acrobatic in her welcomes,
if only I were not her god.

"Dharma" by Billy Collins, from Sailing Alone Around the Room. © Random House, 2002.

sábado, 17 de abril de 2010


Jane, Yaz,

How's this for a challenge:

Imitate in theme or form Sara Teasdale's poem: "The Look"

The Look
by Sara Teasdale

Strephon kissed me in the spring,
Robin in the fall,
But Colin only looked at me
And never kissed at all.

Strephon's kiss was lost in jest,
Robin's lost in play,
But the kiss in Colin's eyes
Haunts me night and day.

La mirada:(una traducción libre)

Juan me besó en la primavera
Pedro en el otoño
Pero José sólo me miró
y nunca me besó

El de Juan se perdió mientras jugábamos
El de Pedro durante el juego
Pero el que brillaba en la mirada de José
todavía me persigue


La mirada que me persigue

Cual Juan me besaba,
Pedro me tocaba, pero fue José
quien me miraba, desde lejos de su sueño

fatal. Desde lejos de planetas, cielo, o tierra,
fue tropezando con sus celos, ahogándose
en su dolor, y, óyeme, así fue su mirada, un cuento

de la marejada, un testigo de luto, una danza
de faja y volcán. Jamás podría ser la de Pedro
ni la de Juan, y jamás pensé ser la mujer

encontrada en el cuartel de su mirada brutal.
Con su fuerza, consumió mi corazón como si fuera hecho
de leña, una mirada que a un tiempo supo ser seda,

ahora tan militar, ocupando los espacios
de mi cuerpo, olvidados
por Pedro y por Juan.


domingo, 11 de abril de 2010

Not a game necessarily

I had to add this link. I'm a little of a spelling nazi myself.(Can one be a little of???)

domingo, 28 de marzo de 2010


This "game" was taken from a website called "," and was suggested to me by Jane. These are the instructions as posted:
"Since we believe writing exercises are often the start of new, innovative work, our anthology will be a collection of poems that use six words supplied by six of our "showcased" poets."

These six words are:
1. Anteros
2. crippled
3. spindles
4. stairwell
5. threshold
6. whirligig

Come again?

The first time Anteros was awake
and each kiss was a spindle from which
Love drew on.

The second time the god
slept, and afraid of speciously committing
Eros flew away
and crashed into a stairwell.

So, the crucial one never made it,
And love was left outside the threshold.
My heart like a whirligig
battered by the wind
searches for direction…




Once a great spindle of hay to gold,
once the witch of wine
-- forgive me if I brag but -- long ago
the magic maker, my heart now is the long
hobbled road to Oz. Don't bother picking Anteros'
pockets. Look for no requited there - find nothing
but a thrift store of whirligigs and termites, flea-bitten
hope and a bin of free double-headed nickels.
For the long spinners of tales and woe?
Oh, nothing. Seven years in the making of oh
and nothing to show for it. Not one
story to tell. Nor a crippled, pee-stained stairwell
to heaven; not even doggerel to cash in.
Carson said the heart is a lonely hunter. Or is it
the heart is a deer hunter? No matter.
Mine plays Russian Roulette
on the threshold of a Cambodian shack
built from regret.


miércoles, 10 de marzo de 2010

Poems of Place

Everyone: Write a short poem which mimics a map or directions to a place. Here's mine:

Map Poem 1: To the Marginal Road: First Calle Number 2 and then the Atlantic

It rains three days, a sky bent on keeping each day for itself. drops meet roof, gutters waiting. drops off-beat against a Camry's drum hood. rivulets like corn-rows snake their way down root, feet, down broken intersection, down street. water winds towards water, eating itself along the way - the edge of the margin waits.


On why you never go anywhere...

First, the thought must enter your mind.
Then your mind must enter your body.
Your body argues against moving.
Moving quarrels with the soul.

The soul swallows the notion,
imagines its potential, plans the outcome.

Meanwhile you sit back, clasp your hands
close your eyes,
And the moment is gone.

(Jane, does this qualify as a map poem??)

jueves, 28 de enero de 2010