Tag Archives: Poetry

A Little Christmas Cheer

Here are a couple of short Christmas tales:

mtnsAfter Christmas Blues

Even with a full day to deliver presents, Santa doesn’t finish on time. He gets home late on Christmas Day, and he’s so exhausted he’s in bed for a week.

“It’s outrageous,” Donner snorts when Mrs Claus asks for help. “We need a new plan.”

“Oh, it’s not so bad,” Rudolph murmurs. “After all, it’s only once a year.” His nose flashes a couple of times.

Donner tosses his antlers. “Just wait until you’re my age. That sleigh gets heavier every year, and when I get back I’m too stiff to fly for at least a month.”

“Well, what do you suggest?” Vixen pipes up. “We’re already limiting our deliveries to good children between five and ten who celebrate Christmas.” She tosses her antlers and smiles.

“Yes,” Blixen adds, “and we’ve got a stack of complaints from the parents of the under-fives.”

“There’s that new North Pole Federal Express office,” Prancer offers, shifting from hoof to hoof. “We could offload the excess, just leave enough so Santa doesn’t feel useless.”

The reindeer all nod.

And that, boys and girls, is why most Christmas gifts come in the mail.

 A Case of the Flue

“Santa has a fever. Mrs. Claus put him to bed.”  Rudolph pawed the snowy ground. “Who will drive the sleigh?”

“No one,” Blixen said. “We’ll send everything by Federal Express.”

“Belief in Santa is at an all-time low. If we send everything by mail, no one will believe.” Rudolph tossed his antlers, almost skewering Blixen.

“And Santa will feel useless and become depressed.” Blixen led the way into the barn.

“Ready to get hitched?” one of the elves asked. Without waiting for an answer, he began harnessing the reindeer.

Blixen  said, “Rudolph is in the lead. He could grab the gifts by the ribbons and drop them down the chimneys.”

“But what if the children spot the Santa-less sleigh? Then no one will ever believe again.”

“We should go. It’s our best chance to save Christmas.” Blixen stamped his hoof and turned to the elf. “Freddie, go tell Mrs. Claus to tell Santa not to worry, we’re on top of the delivery crisis.”

“Better hope everyone’s cleaned their chimney,” Blixen muttered as they rose into the air.

The rest of the reindeer snickered.

And so, boys and girls, don’t feel too bad if you got a lump or two of coal this year.
And now for a couple of poems …

Round
The sphere
is the perfect
shape

for conserving heat,
providing the least
surface area
per unit
of volume,

thus explaining
why Santa

lives at
the North Pole.

What Happens Christmas Night

I’ve noticed that Saint Nick’s a bit
too big around for him to fit
inside our chimney, Christmas night
the struggle must be quite a sight.

Perhaps he oils his nice red suit
all over so that he can shoot
right down the chimney. Then you’ll see
he’ll cut his hand and sprain his knee.

I guess that all those aches and pains
will hurt so much that he’ll complain
that getting down was such a chore
he’s going to leave us by the door!

 

 

 

 

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Poetic forms: Ghazal

What is a Ghazal?

A ghazal is poem with at least five and no more than fifteen (rhyming) couples with a repeated rhyme, typically on the theme of love. In Arabic, there is a set meter; In English, meter is not imposed, though the lines are meant to be the same length. The stanzas are meant to be autonomous, and typically there is a refrain. In the following poem, by Agha Shahid Ali, the refrain is “in real time.”

 

treb4cf

A well-known Ghazal

Ghazal
BY AGHA SHAHID ALI

Feel the patient’s heart

Pounding—oh please, this once—
—JAMES MERRILL

I’ll do what I must if I’m bold in real time.
A refugee, I’ll be paroled in real time.

Cool evidence clawed off like shirts of hell-fire?
A former existence untold in real time …

The one you would choose: Were you led then by him?
What longing, O Yaar, is controlled in real time?

Each syllable sucked under waves of our earth—
The funeral love comes to hold in real time!

They left him alive so that he could be lonely—
The god of small things is not consoled in real time.

Please afterwards empty my pockets of keys—
It’s hell in the city of gold in real time.

God’s angels again are—for Satan!—forlorn.
Salvation was bought but sin sold in real time.

And who is the terrorist, who the victim?
We’ll know if the country is polled in real time.

“Behind a door marked DANGER” are being unwound
the prayers my friend had enscrolled in real time.

The throat of the rearview and sliding down it
the Street of Farewell’s now unrolled in real time.

I heard the incessant dissolving of silk—
I felt my heart growing so old in real time.

Her heart must be ash where her body lies burned.
What hope lets your hands rake the cold in real time?

Now Friend, the Belovèd has stolen your words—
Read slowly: The plot will unfold in real time.

(for Daniel Hall)

My Ghazal

Here is one of mine:

 

The two of us

When we were first together
sun shone on the two of us.

We strolled down New York’s broad avenues,
noticed nobody but the two of us.

We scoured the local paper’s rental listings.
The apartment belonged to the two of us.

I smiled and the day was brighter
whenever I thought of the two of us.

We picked out new bookcases,
packed them with books for the two of us.

After a few years, we would sit and stare.
Nothing but silence between the two of us.

We would go to the movies,
our hands in our own laps, the two of us.

I would wake up at night
with the cat between the two of us.

Why did it go wrong,
when did it stop being the two of us?

 

What do I write?

I’ve been tagged by Joan Curtis a fellow MuseItUp author to participate in a blog hop, What three things do you write about/don’t write about.

1. Poetry.

I started out writing poetry. I’ve been writing silly verses for holidays and birthdays since I was a teen ager, as well as the usual angst-ridden outpourings, and scribbling the resultant masterpieces into notebooks which I stuck in the attic and forgot about.  I love to write Relocated 500x750(2)rhyme as well as free verse. I find the restrictions often free me to become more creative rather than less so. I never had any intention of writing fiction.

2. Writing for kids

I’ve written two sci fi books for young adults published by MuseItUp, as well as a chapter book that’s due out later this year. I started writing fiction around 2005 or so when I joined a writing forum that required its members to write both fiction and poetry. I started writing for children under the mistaken impression it was easier than writing for adults.

It’s not. It is, or can be, shorter, which was what concerned me at the time. I got hook and I’m still writing.

3. Sci fi and fantasy

My love affair with sci fi and fantasy goes way back. I’m a huge fan of the Alice in Wonderland books as well as James M. Barrie’s Peter Pan, and I was already a die-hard Robert A. Heinlein fan when I choose the then-new Farmer in the Sky for my tenth birthday, now long past. Still, I only started writing my own in 2010 when I decided to participate in National Novel Writing Month in order to overcome my phobia about world-building.

I wrote Relocated 

for 2010 Nano. You can read about my experiences here. Now I have three published sci fi novels and am finishing up a fourth.

What I don’t write

1. Horror

I am not a horror find. I find it, well, horrifying. I don’t enjoy reading it and I don’t want to write it. Not my thing. {shudder}.

2. Literary fiction

While I admire  writers of literary fiction, I lack the patience to both spend the effort reading it as well as writing it. I do love beautiful language, proper grammar, and elegant prose, but most literary fiction, for me, is too involved in admiring its polish and not enough in engaging the reader. Yes, I fail to appreciate most of it.

3.  Historical Fiction

I love reading historical fiction, but, sadly, I wasn’t paying attention in Social Studies and am in no way suited to write my own. It would require a huge investment of time spent in research, and, frankly, I’d rather spend my time writing.

A few poems about mathematics

cloudsI signed up for a course on mathematical philosophy on coursera.org, and I happened to mention that I have a poem on infinity, one of the subjects of this, the first week’s discussion. Since a couple of my fellow students asked to see the poems, and because I’m always delighted when anyone wants to read my stuff, I’m posting a couple of the poems here.

Infinities

In a countable infinity,
you start counting,
and keep counting,
and keep counting,
and never stop.

In an uncountable infinity,
count on failing
to pick out all the items
you want to count,
nor even find their limits,

thus proving that you can
count on mathematicians
for infinite complications
and definitions that limit
practical comprehension.

The two below have been published.


Inventing Zero

I wonder who invented zero,
a number representing “none.”
Did they hail him as a hero?

Maybe he was drinking beer, so
noticed when the drink was gone,
he needed to invent a zero?

Or did the idea just appear, slow,
thinking of the number one?
And did they hail him as a hero?

Or maybe when his funds got low,
he thought of nothing, just for fun,
and that’s how he invented zero.

You’d have thought they’d cheer and grow
excited, each and everyone,
that they’d hail him as a hero.

But many moons and many suns
have passed, and when all’s said and done,
we don’t know who invented zero,
I don’t think he was hailed a hero.
The Way it Should Have Been

In the beginning there was zero, void.
And the Mathematician said,
“Let there be a number one,”
and there was a number one.

And the Mathematician said,
“Let there be addition,
so numbers can be added together,”
and there was addition, the first operator.

And the Mathematician said,
“Let them go forth and add,”
and they went forth and added.
And there was two, three, four, five, …

And the Mathematician said,
“Let there be subtraction,
so one number can be subtracted from another,”
and there was subtraction, the second operator.

And the Mathematician said,
“Let them go forth and subtract,”
and the went forth and subtracted.
And there was -1, -2, -3, …

And there were positive integers,
and there were negative integers,
the first set of numbers.

And the Mathematician looked
upon what he had created,
and behold, the sum was greater than the parts.

Inventing Zero*

I wonder who invented zero,
a number representing “none.”
Did they hail him as a hero?

Maybe he was drinking beer, so
noticed when the drink was gone,
he needed to invent a zero?

Or did the idea just appear, slow,
thinking of the number one?
And did they hail him as a hero?

Or maybe when his funds got low,
he thought of nothing, just for fun,
and that’s how he invented zero.

You’d have thought they’d cheer and grow
excited, each and everyone,
that they’d hail him as a hero.

But many moons and many suns
have passed, and when all’s said and done,
we don’t know who invented zero,
I don’t think he was hailed a hero.

*Inventing Zero is a poetic form called a vilanelle.

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Review of Possibilities Anthology

psscvrI regularly search for blog posts, articles, and the like containing my name. Usually I limit my search to the previous week, but today, intent on updating my author listing in Poets and Writers, I searched on articles posted over the past year.

Every once in a while, I turn up a gem, and this was one of those times: a review of Possibilities, an anthology to which I contributed a poem.

Not only did the author love the book, but his favorite piece was my poem:

“I think, however, my favourite piece was the single poem in the anthology, Margaret  Fieland’s ‘Neck Less’. Playing with the concept of ‘bracelet’, Fieland writes a witty piece about that which encircles; incorporating collars as, since she explains in the poem, very little rhymes with ‘bracelet’! Inferences between restraint and control play around each verse, and I think this is why this poem was my favourite…”

Check out the whole review:

http://reviews.futurefire.net/2013/02/mccalla-possibilities.html

You can download the book free from Smashwords:

http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/251712

 

 

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Progress report

National Poetry Month Display @ Forest Hills

National Poetry Month Display @ Forest Hills (Photo credit: mySAPL)

I managed to meet and exceed my walking goal, walking six days out of seven. Nothing prevented me from getting down to the gym at work on Thursday, the day I missed. I simply didn’t get my butt out of the chair and go down there. No excuse.

Still, I lost 3/4 of a lb. Hot diggety. I can’t give progress on measurements, because I didn’t take any last week and haven’t take any this week.

I actually submitted some poems this week, and I plan to submit some more today or tomorrow. Part of the problem is sheer laziness on my part: I’d far rather write than submit, and another is the many, many poems that need to be looked over and organized.

Yes, they’re filed in folders in Google drive. No, I don’t have a good list of what I have and what I want to submit where, blah, blah. Yes, organizing the poems, though important, is way down my list of things I want to do. Sigh.

Naturally, instead of organizing the poems, I wrote another:

Blind Side

Ignore it, hope it goes away,
wanders somewhere else to play,
on the beach in heaps of sand,
plucked by any stranger’s hand,

out of sight and out of mind,
turn my head, pretend I’m blind.
Hurl it over any wall.
Drop it in the shopping mall.

Shoo it out  or make it hide,
in the basement or outside.
Wonder if I’ll be here when
it meanders back again.

Here is the start of a story. Consider adding to it:

Meandering Tale

She was driving down the dark, foggy road at midnight, on too little sleep, and Kate realized she must have made a wrong turn. She’d come to a dead end. Backing the car up and making a three-point turn was beyond her, so she pulled her backpack from the back seat, grabbed her hat and gloves, and climbed out of the car. Stepping through a patch of fog, she became dizzy and crumpled to the ground. When she came to, she realized she’d crossed some kind of barrier and entered a new world.

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Flash Fiction Anthology, Possibilities, Goes Live!

 

 

Last February I participated in a seven week online event honoring the state of Black science fiction 2012. In my original post, which you can find here I complained about the disparity between the number of Black poetry anthologies (I searched on “African American Poetry Anthologies) versus the number of Black science fiction anthologies (I searched on “African American science fiction anthologies”). The number was  1244  to 144.

I searched again just now. The new numbers are {drum roll, please}:1391 to 168. We still have a lot of work to do.

And now for the good news. Possibilities, a state of Black SF Flash Fiction Anthology, is live!

State of Black SF authors have created a flash fiction anthology that opens imagination to the idea of what Black speculative fiction can become…  What’s the flash fiction prompt? A mystical bracelet. Specially created Black SF images along with the 500-word super short stories are morsels of raw potential.    Join artist Winston Blakely and authors LM Davis, Milton Davis, Margaret Fieland, Edward Austin Hall, Valjeanne Jeffers, Alan Jones, Alicia McCalla, Balogun Ojetade, Rasheedah Phillips, Wendy Raven McNair, and Nicole Sconiers as they endeavor to explore the possibilities of Black SF in the broad ranges of Science Fiction from Paranormal to Steampunk. Readers will see the immense possibilities of Black SF.
Here’s the link to download your FREE copy:
Please, if you enjoy our work, leave a review! And check out the other work by all of the artists in this fine anthology.

L. M. Davis, Author–began her love affair with fantasy in the second grade.  Her first novel, Interlopers: A Shifters Novel, was released in 2010, and the follow-up Posers:  A Shifters Novel will be released this spring.  For more information visit her blog http://shiftersseries.wordpress.com/ or her website http://www.shiftersnovelseries.com.

Milton Davis, Author– Milton Davis is owner/publisher of MVmedia, LLC . As an author he specializes in science fiction and fantasy and is the author of Meji Book One, Meji Book Two and Changa’s Safari. Visit him: http://www.mvmediaatl.com/Wagadu/  and http://www.wagadu.ning.com.

Margaret Fieland, Author– lives  and writes in the suburbs west of Boston, MA with her partner and five dogs. She is one of the Poetic Muselings. Their poetry anthology, Lifelines http://tinyurl.com/LifelinesPoetry/ is available from Amazon.com  Her book, “Relocated,” will be available from MuseItUp Publishing in July, 2012. The Angry Little Boy,” will be published by 4RV publishing in early 2013.  You may visit her website, http://www.margaretfieland.com.

Valjeanne Jeffers, Author — is an editor and the author of the SF/fantasy novels: Immortal, Immortal II: The Time of Legend and Immortal III: Stealer of Souls. Her fourth and fifth novels: Immortal IV: Collision of Worlds and The Switch: Clockwork will be released this spring. Visit her at: http://valjeanne.wordpress.com and http://qandvaffordableediting.blogspot.com/

Alicia McCalla, Author- writes for both young adults and adults with her brand of multicultural science fiction, urban fantasy, and futurism. Her debut novel, Breaking Free will be available February 1, 2012.  The Breaking Free theme song created by Asante McCalla is available for immediate download on itunes and Amazon. Visit her at: http://www.aliciamccalla.com

Carole McDonnell, Author–She writes Christian, speculative fiction, and multicultural stories. Her first novel is Wind Follower. Her short fiction has appeared in many anthologies and have been collected in an ebook, Spirit Fruit: Collected Speculative Fiction. Visit Carole: http://carolemcdonnell.blogspot.com/ or http://writersofcolorblogtour.blogspot.com

Rasheedah Phillips,Author–is the creator of The AfroFuturist Affair in Philly. She plans to debut her first spec/sci-fic novel Recurrence Plot in Spring 2012. You may catch her ruminating from time to time on her blog, AstroMythoLosophy.com.

Nicole Sconiers, Author-is also a screenwriter living in the sunny jungle of L.A. She holds an MFA in creative writing from Antioch University Los Angeles, and she recently published Escape from Beckyville: Tales of Race, Hair and Rage.  Visit her: http://nicolesconiers.com/index.html

Balogun is author of the steamfunk novel Moses: The Chronicles of Harriet Tubman and the fantasy novel Once Upon a Time in Afrika. He is screenwriter and director of the action film A Single Link and the steamfunk film Rite of Passage: Initiation. On his website,ChroniclesOfHarriet.com, he discusses steampunk and steamfunk.

Wendy Raven McNair is the author of Asleep, Awake, and Ascend (WIP), a young adult fantasy trilogy about teen super-beings. Her stories celebrate African American teen girls. McNair has a B.A. in English from the University of Texas and is certified in Graphic Design (WendyRavenMcNair.com).
Edward Austin Hall writes journalism, poetry, and fiction. He serves as host of Eyedrum’s monthly literary forum, Writers Exchange, and as an organizer of Eyedrum’s annual eXperimental Writer Asylum (a part of the Decatur Book Festival). His writings about comics and comics creators have appeared in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Code Z: Black Visual Culture Now, and the Dictionary of Literary Biography. His forthcoming first novel is titledChimera Island. See more at EdwardAustinHall.com.

Alan Jones is a native Atlantan, a former columnist for the Atlanta Tribune, and a Wall Street consultant. His brand of science fiction blends fanciful characters and scenarios with generous doses of philosophy and social commentary. His book, To Wrestle with Darkness, is available at most major retailers.