Inspiration Monday: The Empire State Building

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From the Top of the Rock

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View from the ESB
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ESB from the street below

Yesterday was the 85th anniversary of the opening of the Empire State Building. Here are a few pics of it from my trip to NYC. As you can see, we went up in it at night and the views were phenomenal – the photos don’t do it justice. We paid a little extra to go up to the observation deck which is totally worth it for viewing as its way less crowded. I confess to getting a little bit dizzy because you’re closer to the edge of the wide world up there.

Building began on St. Patrick’s Day of 1930 and four stories a week were constructed until it was completed. It was the tallest building in the world for 40 years until the first tower of The World Trade Center was built. It’s an amazing structure and a must-see for first time visitors to NYC.

Why It Must Come

“…poetry isn’t revolution but a way of knowing why it must come.” —Adrienne Rich, “Dreamwood”

Why It Must Come
(After Adrienne Rich)

The one great choice
is made instinctively,
there is no manual
no set of directions.
The hand-me-down desk
has no typewriter or even
a pen and paper. The poet
needs none of it.
Possibilities birth in the brain,
its crevices filled with currents
and hot-air balloons flying
with ideas.
The poem is the possibility
of a myriad of choices.
To create the poem is
the one great choice.

*****

So it’s the last day of National Poetry Month and I’m serendipitously ending it with a poem about poetry. Funny how that worked out. I didn’t write every single day thus month but I did for a good many of them. I’m grateful for the prompts provided by several websites and writers and the opportunities to stretch myself a little bit.

 

Bodies of a More Complicated Nature

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Vintage print via mammasaureus.co.uk

The small parallelipipeds traversed
on the hairs of leaves, its casual
adventitious body roughening
the surface while a hundred armed mites
rang’d, breaking one another’s necks.
Smutty daubings, engraved by furrows
and holes, are viewed as curious writing.
Light and shadows are watched through
the microscope where the least spot is
as big as the Earth itself.

*****
Today’s prompt courtesy of Beth Ayer on Found Poetry Review:

“In the spirit of heading into darkness after all things unseeable and obscure, write a poem using a text that is inexplicable to you. Could be quantum physics, thermodynamics, mathematics, aeronautical engineering – or something else altogether that to you speaks in incomprehensible language. Choose a text or texts and begin selecting words and phrases as they spark associations. Write a poem using the collected words and phrases. Let your imagination fire, and don’t worry about what these terms mean in their original context.”

My source:

The Project Gutenberg eBook, Micrographia, by Robert Hooke

By the Council of the ROYAL SOCIETY of London
for Improving of Natural Knowledge.

Ordered, That the Book written by Robert Hooke, M.A. Fellow of this Society, Entituled, Micrographia, or some Physiological Descriptions of Minute Bodies, made by Magnifying Glasses, with Observations and Inquiries thereupon, Be printed by John Martyn, and James Allestry, Printers to the said Society.

Novem. 23. 1664.

They Were All There, Gleaming

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Street side market, Upper Eastside, Manhattan Photo by Charlotte Hamrick, 2016

Without him, a faint image
became clearer.
The curtain hanging
before my eyes, flat and cold,
removed.
Over me, the jeweled colors appear
brighter than they were.

*****

So, I worked my own prompt today, my version of an erasure poem. Erasure poems, to me, are too messy – you know, all that black marker. So I just take a block of text and search for words and phrases  and either underline or write them down as I go.

This poem was derived from the following paragraph in The Girl With the Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier (Penguin Books, 1999) which I have in ebook.

And I was curious. It became easier to consider it without him watching me. I took a deep breath and gazed down into the box. I could see on the glass a faint trace of the scene in the corner. As I brought the robe over my head the image, as he called it, became clearer and clearer—the table, the chairs, the yellow curtain in the corner, the back wall with the map hanging on it, the ceramic pot gleaming on the table, the pewter basin, the powder-brush, the letter. They were all there, assembled before my eyes on a flat surface, a painting that was not a painting. I cautiously touched the glass—it was smooth and cold, with no traces of paint on it. I removed the robe and the image went faint again, though it was still there. I put the robe over me once more, closing out the light, and watched the jeweled colors appear again. They seemed to be even brighter and more colorful on the glass than they were in the corner.

Of Little Hands and Feet

What wasn’t:

Deliverance

Baptismal

Secular Miracle

A Happy Childhood

A Drowning Scene

What was:

A Burning

Resuscitation

Conversion

A Sanctuary

The Other Side of Drowning

*****

Prompt courtesy of Greg Santos on Found Poetry Review. Greg suggested several prompts and I settled on a Table of Contents poem which ended up a list poem. My source:
The Chronology of Water, Yuknavich, Lidia, Hawthorne Books, 2011.

Btw, this is an astounding book. I wrote about it here

Movement

Lulled in blood and tissue
the child sleeps in nutrients,
grows in layers prophesied
in mitochondria, in nuclei,
in cells growing and dividing
into a life evolving from strata 
younger than the extinction 
of unknowable worlds. Bone
and gristle, minerals and collagen,
glistening pink skin, all fed by
the cord of life.

la madre protegge

Her voice is his first sound,
her eyes his first love.
Her walk is his, her hands
deftly guide.
Approval, acceptance is the air
the child breathes.

la madre insegna

The sky is high, the world
is wide with many unreachables
yearning to be reached, with people
dancing undanceable steps, but
all, he is learning, are doable arts
and his time has come,
protected and taught, his life’s alloy.

i rilasci madre

*****

Prompt courtesy of R. A. Villanueva on Found Poetry Review. It was quite a complex prompt including specific requirements (suggestions) including incorporating a different language, using a phrase from this text, and watching a video he posted as inspiration, among other things. All of the specifics of the prompt can be found here.

I was really challenged by this prompt. The video was especially inspiring and is the key to my poem. The text I have in bold is a partial phrase I took from the required text and I chose Italian as my second language because, well, Italy is my dream home.

Anyway, big thanks to R.A. For this experience. The poem is a little rough around the edges but I’m pretty satisfied. Also, please excuse the wonky formatting as WordPress isn’t cooperating very well tonight and now it’s past midnight so I’m a bit late posting.  Hopefully, I can fix the formatting tomorrow.

‘Night, all.

*Update: Formatting fixed!

Thank You for a Funky Time

Pick a day when the sunlight dances
on little red Corvettes and snow
in April, when elevators reach
a higher floor and you can always
see the sun.

Choose a day that incites a parade
so purple the cells in your body tingle like
pop rocks and guitars exploding, feeling
proud in the light of this power.

Give the world all your extra time and kiss
this parade we call life where he taught us to
love and laugh and celebrate in purple rain
and stars that fall from the sky.

*****

 

Prompt courtesy of Found Poetry Review:

Take an erasure poem (FPR is full of them) and then add words to fill in the empty spaces in order to create a new text that flows naturally and coherently. Words should fit exactly — to the letter — so that the result appears to be perfectly justified prose. Don’t cheat by kerning.

I chose an erasure poem by Austin Kleon on Instagram (pic below) and incorporated lyrics from *Prince songs (including the title) as a tribute.

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*Lyrics from the following songs included:
Kiss
Little Red Corvette
The Most Beautiful Girl in the World
Darling Nikki
Sometimes it Snows in April
Purple Rain