Because I mistrust
my head & hands
I was taught
on my two
as the redwoods burn,
I so, fall asleep,
& in nomadic fashion,
I walk the Earth:
a mile walked
is a thought remembered.
& where did you go,
when I needed you
when I call out,
in the forest,
all I hear
is my name burn
in the sides
of all the legs,
rooted to the ground.
I was taught,
but not tamed,
& when the tree drops
again, goes my name,
the lone crack
in the day’s cloth;
the air, shriveled,
made impure by
The world is
what is balanced
when I stand:
a boy, sits,
but tall, is a man:
when I look up
into the window of night
I wonder why
you never told me
a bedtime story
or a sweet goodnight.
Because I mistrust
Because I mistrust my head & hands, because I know salt
tinctures my songs, I tried hard not to touch you
even as I pulled you into my arms. Seasons sprouted
& went to seed as we circled the dance with silver cat bells
tied to our feet. Now, kissing you, I am the archheir of second
Because I know twelve ways to be wrong
& two to be good, I was wounded by the final question in the cave,
left side of the spirit level’s quiver. I didn’t want to hug you
into a cross, but I’m here to be measured down to each numbered
A trembling runs through what pulls us to the blood knot.
We hold hands & laugh in the East Village as midnight autumn
shakes the smoke of the Chicago B.L.U.E.S. club from our clothes,
& you say I make you happy & sad. For years I stopped my hands
in midair, knowing fire at the root stem of yes.
I say your name, & another dies in my mouth because I know how
to plead till a breeze erases the devil’s footprints,
because I crave something to sing the blues about. Look,
I only want to hold you this way: a bundle of wild orchids
broken at the wet seam of memory & manna.
Choose one of the following lines to begin your poem with.
- Because I mistrust my head and hands…
- They fired a bullet…
Write your chosen line at the top of your paper. Start the poem. When you read the poem aloud to others/finish the piece, omit the ghostline. This is a great way to take inspiration from other poets’ work but still keep your piece original. Today’s ghostlines are taken from the first lines of poems in Yusef Komunyakaa’s “The Chameleon Couch”.
Give yourself 20 seconds to write a few lines for each word in one poem. Keep your pen moving! Don’t edit yourself - let the creativity continue uninterrupted.
Finish each of the following phrases using ONE to THREE words.
The ocean is…
Christmas lights are…
My family is…
And that is why…
…is why I need magic.
What is the itch under your skin?
This week we will write a letter to a feeling.
STEP ONE: What are three concessions you’ve made? Or perhaps, three promises you’ve broken. Maybe even to yourself. (ex: I will get my shit together, stop stalling life. I will stop turning people into poems. I’ll be careful with other hearts.)
STEP TWO: Pick a promise. (ex: I pick “I will stop turning people into poems”) Now we will make a list of two words/phrases. First, find one word that describes why you’ve broken this promise or let yourself/others down. (ex: idealism) Second, find one word/phrase that is the opposite of the word/phrase you just wrote. What word sums up the goal that could have prevented you from breaking that promise? (ex: knowing myself is the opposite of idealism)
STEP THREE: Write a letter from the positive to the negative. (ex: Dear Idealism, this is Know Yourself. Don’t you think it’s time to move on?)
Write either a letter of forgiveness, or; a letter of advice on how to do better, be better, grow.
See you this Wednesday.
What is the most beautiful thing you’ve seen today? Jot down your initial thoughts and try to keep your pen moving. This does not have to be stylistic; it’s meant to be a sort of journal entry about your day.
Pick three words from this list: apple, skin, comet, salt, church, gun.
Make a separate column for each of the 3 words and jot down 10 related words in each column.
List five thoughts you’ve had today. (ex: eggs are delicious, or I’m so grateful for my great-grandfathers life - it is because of him I exist today.)
Pick one thought. What if that was the only thing going through your head today? All you can think about it eggs. They show up in everything you do and see. Write out the internal monologue of this thought, dominating your life today. Pick one or two word lists from earlier and use these words for imagery in your poem.
Describe the place you live now or (one of) your childhood home(s). Use the following questions/prompts as inspiration.
- What does this place sound like? Make a list of up to 10 sounds (ex: my mother’s yelling, the stirring of a pot on the stove)
- What are some textures that you associate with this place? Make a list of up to 5 textures. (ex: my mother’s calloused hands, popcorn ceilings, smooth tiles)
- What are the people in this home doing?
- How do you remember this place?
- What events, however big or small, took place here?
*The poem we discussed at this meeting is Patricia Smith’s “Shoulda Been Jimi Savannah”.
theagilebeast asked: Hi, I'm sorry to bother you with this, but my name is Emily and I'm currently a freshman at a tiny school in Virginia. My family lives in Texas and UT Austin has become my dream school. I started the transfer process, but I keep getting scared because of the size. Finding this page was cool for me because I love all things poetry and writing. Do you allow everyone into your club? Do you think I'll survive a transfer?
Starting the transfer process can be scary, as all things that require big changes. We are happy to hear you enjoy our page! We post our prompts and poems for people like you, who are passionate about all things poetry and writing, because we are too!
Our organization prides itself on being a welcoming, encouraging and open space. Everyone is welcome! There are no dues, no process. We are a community of writers, who love to grow, through people and learning. UT is a big school, but it has so many great people that make it feel like home. The campus is big, there are a lot of people, but everywhere you go, somebody is smiling, and there is a bright energy that brings people together. If (and when!) you arrive on the forty acres, there is a community awaiting you, you just have to find it. We would love you to be a part of our organization, and help you feel less scared, and right at home.
Hello Poets! Hello People!
Tonight, Wednesday, October 16th, we are having our FIRST POETRY SLAM OF THE SEMESTER!
Woohoo! This slam is FREE and open to the public. It will be at Helios Co-Op (1909 Nueces Street Austin, TX 78705). The show willstart promptly at 8pm.
Here is the link for the facebook invite: https://www.facebook.com/events/1377211865850827/?ref=22