Saturday, August 26, 2017

Poetry Prompt #48: Movement

Movement:  by process, it's what makes the world go 'round.  There's movement in everything:  pedestrians jogging past, a dog galloping alongside its owner, cars whizzing by a busy freeway...or maybe they are slowly creeping past? 

The earth is in's been moving around and around for eons.  Air is floating beneath the wings of airplanes.  There's the fluid relevancy of dancers to consider.  The sensual gyrate of lovers.  Everything on this earth, inside the vacuum of the universe, exists inside, or through, some sort of movement.  

Actions, voices, songs, footsteps...anything you can think of consists of a certain type of movement.  Rather metaphorical, mental, or actual physical movement....things are constantly interchanging, matter is constantly in friction with other matter.

So, for today, I want you to consider the process of movement.  Pick an actual concept of something in mid-move.  Such as:  dancers, a couple kissing, clouds slowly flowing across the horizon, a storm.  Think in terms of micro-movement and atoms.    Pick something that is moving and describe how it is moving.  Use some comparisons and metaphors.  Throw in a little bit of symbolism.  Those aren't rings around Saturn, maybe they are hulu-hoops!

Write about the process of movement, what it feels like or looks like.  Is it invisible, conceptual, mental? 

Flesh the details out on paper, then write your poem.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Poetry Prompt #47: What is Desire?

Today we are going to explore our own personal definitions/perceptions of 'desire.'

verb (used with object), desired, desiring.
to wish or long for; crave; want.
to express a wish to obtain; ask for; request:
The mayor desires your presence at the next meeting.
a longing or craving, as for something that brings satisfaction or enjoyment:
a desire for fame.
an expressed wish; request.
something desired.
sexual appetite or a sexual urge.

I'd like you to go with your first automatic response at the thought of the word.  For some, I'm sure desire will be reflective of romantic love or a yearning for intimacy.  Others may think of things they want, or strive for (such as goals, status, or material things). 

'Where is your connection to desire?  Find it in your body.  Feel its resonance.  Does it feel strong or barely present today?  Pause.  Breathe.  Notice.  Open the soles of your feet.  Open the palms of your hands.  Open the top of your head.  Breathe into the still silence place in the center  of your belly.  Breathe from the soles of your feet to the crown of your head.  Begin to dance.'
-T. Thorn Coyle

So what is desire to you.  A fantasy?  Does it border on obsession?  Is it your true hearts' deepest wish...and if so, what is that? 

Think in terms of bodily vibration, what does desire feel like physically?  How about emotionally and mentally?  Does your heart begin to beat unsteadily?  Do your palms perspire of nervousness?  Or does your soul leap inside you?  Or is it a steady, calm security that what you want you have already acquired?

Whatever it is that desire means, and feels like to you...write about that.  Take it a step further, if you dare, and write about the things you most desire.  Go ahead, I know you have at least one!

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Three Poems by Catherine Keller


We are the generation obsessed with killing artificial pain,
This medicated madness.
We live in a world where people would rather buy Instagram followers,
Than a sandwich for a homeless man.
A Siddhartha Gautama tattoo and a Rolex,
On the same wrist,
We are obsessed with spirit animals,
Because being human isn’t exotic enough,
Buddhist tapestries adorn their walls,
But they have never heard of the Four Noble Truths.
We think we know and do not understand,
Self-proclaimed wordsmiths,
Who need to drink in order to write,
Facebook phonies and Twitter terrorists,
The generation of thin skin and thick skulls.
Self-esteems made of glass,
People who bleed greed,
We waste our time,
Trying to find soulmates who don’t exist,
We are opinionated on subjects we know nothing about,
We don’t read enough,
Constantly complaining,
Hoping other people will pick up the slack,
Because we lack the motivation to fix,
What our forefathers fucked up.
We buy shit we don’t need,
But neglect to donate,
We talk too much and don’t speak up enough,
We aren’t as brave as we think,
We lie because we can,
And say ‘you only live once’,
To justify the amount of shots you did,
Instead of trying to change the planet you were born on,
So you would not feel the need to drink.
Manipulation leads to success,
Seldom hard work,
We want to travel but we judge other cultures,
We want to leave where we are,
Because we can’t be bothered solve our own problems,
And worst of all,
We have become experts on concocting excuses,
Not solutions.


Reminiscing of nights with long cars rides,
Staring at sparkling streetlights,
Listening to old songs,
That will never get old.
Thinking about how we were taught to live in fear,
And that is why we hardly ever live.
Now I just have nights I won’t remember,
With people I will never forget.
And I’ll be in my room until midnight,
Staring at a blank notebook,
Waiting for the words to find me.
And all I really want is to go back,
To the nights I felt alive.
Nowadays I’m burning brain cells and wasting time,
I wake up tired and wired,
Pondering how I profit,
Off of my framed, pricey piece of paper.
Can I really call myself a writer,
For stringing a few sentences together?
Is my true purpose being published,
Or picking pennies off the concrete?
I try my damnedest not to left my self-pity swallow me,
Secluding me on this island of sedation,
Struggling to balance on,
The thin line between conformity and madness,
In the midst of an identity crisis,
The not-so-happy medium,
Of psychoanalysis and philosophy,
My sense of self disintegrating,
Second guessing my passions and my purpose,
Those moment my brain feels as though it’s boiling,
Interferes with my train of thought and veers off,
Shacking up with my impulses.
The cursor taunts me when I attempt to type,
To say anything of substance,
Trying to make my words worth more,
If seven or eight-year-old me,
Could see the disaster I became,
I don’t think she would be too surprised.


Asbestos infested schools,
Curbs cracking from the weight of the poor,
Overtaxed and underemployed,
Even welfare checks bounce here,
Duct-taped cars and broken boulevards,
That were once booming,
More cardboard signs than street signs,
Spikes in corners,
And this is supposedly,
A great nation.
Faced with foreclosure, famine,
And underdeveloped citizens.
This is our beloved toxic wasteland,
With vacant streets and 40’s in paper bags,
Hepatitis inducing tattoo shops,
Sullen faces with no more food stamps,
Insect-infested couches on the side of the road,
Barefoot beggars on the curb,
Wreaking of cheap cigarettes and charity,
And you wonder why they try to cheat the system.
Rusted pipe dreams and scarce resources,
Public schools that prep for imprisonment,
And their lighter-singed thumbs,
Are the only things keeping them warm,
In this cold world.
This is the neighborhood where if you see someone running,
It isn’t to lower their cholesterol.
You say end welfare to starve the lazy,
And you have audacity,
To accuse US of poor work ethic,
But the thinnest people carry the most weight.
There is no faith here,
When the church feeds us lies,
Indulgences to excuse our inhumanity,
Crowded ERs and police brutality are intertwined,
And we wonder why the War on Drugs,
Hasn’t completely dissolved just yet,
Like the chemicals they’re crowding their nasal cavities with.
Do thugs have prayers?
Because they certainly aren’t heard,
Worshipping and devoting only distract,
When life becomes a game of credit and debit,
And they wonder why we soak our problems,
In cheap vodka.

Catherine Keller is 21 years old with a Bachelor’s in communications with a minor in sociology from The College at Brockport. She has had 10 articles published in the NeXt section of the Buffalo News, as well as poetry published in seven literary magazines. She was also a social media intern for BP and Esperanza magazines and has also been writing creatively since she was 15.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

A Poetry & Photography Collab by Deborah Setiyawati and Carl Scharwath


She has a rendezvous with the darkness
Under the moonlight
When apple blossoms fill the air.

While the melody of night flowing softly
She showers cold water
And the breeze fondles her beauty.

When the aroma of sin entices her
She could not bear her stride
To receive the clandestine meeting.

Secret behind the secret
She’s directed to have a rendezvous with death
After the fallen.

She still dances with the wine on her hand.
The shadow of her blacks cover her soul
And lead her into the dark land.


Freedom to Love

The glow of the soul
Comes from the bottom of heart
It's like a rainbow
Being the bridge for others
To know the source of the light.

Model and poet: Deborah Setiyawati (from Indonesia)
Photographer: Carl Scharwath

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Poetry Prompt #46: What Would Zimmer Be?

Paul Zimmer once wrote a poem titled, What Zimmer Would Be, which was really a poem about the chosen professions of his childhood whims:

What Zimmer Would Be

When asked, I used to say,
“I want to be a doctor,”
Which is the same thing
As a child saying,
“I want to be a priest,”
“I want to be a magician,”
Which is the laying on
Of hands, the vibrations,
The rabbit in the hat
Or the body in the cup,
The curing of the sick
And the raising of the dead.
“Fix and fix, you’re all better,”
I would say
To the neighborhood wounded
As we fought the world war
Through the vacant lots of Ohio.
“Fix and fix, you’re all better,”
And they would rise
To fight again.
But then
I saw my aunt die slowly of cancer
And a man struck down by a car.
All along I had really
Wanted to be a poet,
Which is, you see, almost the same thing as saying,
“I want to be a doctor,”
“I want to be a priest,”
“I want to be a magician.”
All along, without realizing it,
I had wanted to be a poet.
Fix and fix, you’re all better.
- Paul Zimmer

Now it's your turn!  When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?  If you can't recall, then write about something you once remember pretending to be as a child.  Was it a cowboy or a princess?  Maybe something more grand, like a Tibetan monk or Santa Claus.  Whatever it was, re-explore it.  Write a poem about just one, or like this poem, throw a few in the mix and see what the results are.

You can read more about Paul Zimmer HERE.