Sunday, April 2, 2017

A Poem-a-Day for National Poetry Month

April is National Poetry Month, and in the nick of time I signed up for the perfect National Poetry Month activity. I've committed to writing a poem a day, for the 30 days of April, in an eleven-member group organized by poet Molly Fisk.

The group works like this:
1. Every evening Molly posts a prompt for the next day, which we are free to use, or not. (Oh, but writing from prompts, I finally discovered ten years ago, is SO MUCH FUN.)
2. Then the next day we have all day to ruminate on the prompt and write our poem.
3. We post our poem on the classroom bulletin board.
4. We read each others' poems, and if so moved, post brief responses, with one rule only: appreciation, not critique. I LOVE THIS RULE.

It's only April 2 now, but already I feel new creative energy stirring within me. The first prompt was:
"Where are you going next?" I think my own poem on that prompt was just okay, but some of the other poets' offerings were brilliant and beautiful. It's fascinating to see all the different ways eleven poets can respond to the stimulus of the same five words.

Today's prompt is: "In reflected light." Hmm. What would I write? I'm not gifted at close observation of nature, or arresting turns of phrase, and this prompt seemed best suited to someone with those aptitudes. But then a memory forced its way to the surface of my consciousness, and then another. . .

Here's my poem. You don't have to like it, but I do! This month I'm trying hard not to criticize my poet self, I'm just appreciating her.


I made a million dollar bet once with my husband
that he had left the lights on in the car.
I could see them gleaming in the parking lot,
unassailable proof that I was right.

But I was wrong. Their dazzling beams
were reflected from the headlamps of the facing car.
A million dollars lost like that!

I made it back, though, when I bet two million to a friend
who said Billy Joel’s marriage to Christy Brinkley wouldn’t last.
I had “Uptown Girl” and “For the Longest Time”
as irrefutable evidence that I was right.

Because nothing lasts forever, for the purposes of the bet,
we defined “last” as “at least two years.”
And I won. A million dollars richer now!

That car’s been sold, that marriage ended,
as Christy and Billy’s ended, too.
But I’d still bet on a light reflected in the darkness.
I’d still bet on a song from a car radio
heard through an open window, on a summer night.

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